Top Ten

September 27, 2007

Langara College opens $39 million library

Langara College in Vancouver officially opened a new library and classroom building on Monday.  The award-winning $39 million facility was built with a number of unique environmentally-friendly features, such as 9-metre wind towers that assist in automatic ventilation, and an innovative heating/cooling system that uses less natural gas and electricity than conventional heating. The facility also contains computer labs, study areas, meeting spaces and a food service area.

PR campaign to increase Ontario college enrolment

 In response to declining college enrolments, Colleges Ontario is launching a $1 million public relations campaign aimed at "ending the second-class status attached to a college education." Overall, applications to Ontario colleges dropped 2.2% last year, while university applications rose, especially in the Toronto area.  CO is also funding research to highlight a skills shortage in the province -- an issue that "could be partly addressed by an additional 30,000 students at its campuses over the next four years."

Ontario faces labour shortage of 360,000 people

According to a new Conference Board of Canada report released yesterday, Ontario faces a labour shortage of more than 360,000 people, with widespread effects threatening a number of economic sectors.  Without a supply of skilled workers to replace the number of retirees over the next few years, labour market pressures are expected to escalate to a shortage of more than more than 560,000 by 2030.  This report comes as the economy continues to suffer through layoffs in major industries such as the auto sector, signaling that a significant challenge will be to train and re-train adequate numbers of workers to meet the province's needs in other areas.

Threatened "incident" fails to occur at uWinnipeg

A threat scrawled on a men's room stall was taken very seriously at the University of Winnipeg this week, although the campus remained open for business. Enhanced security measures stay in effect, including restricted entry to campus, bag searches, a 24-hour tip hotline, additional security and police presence on campus. Senior administration has offered a steady stream of media updates since the threat was first reported.

UVic ban on military recruiters sparks student outcry

The University of Victoria is letting students have the final say after facing heat (including a 350-member protest group on Facebook) for a controversial decision to ban active Canadian Forces recruiting at an upcoming January 30th career fair.  Students have shown strong feelings about the issue on both sides -- some are concerned about the recruiting practices of the military and don't agree with a military presence on campus, while others feel the ban is an act of censorship.  The final decision will be made at the student body's annual general meeting October 18th.

uSask asked to dismantle Virtual College of Biotech

The committee that oversees the Virtual College of Biotechnology (VCB) at the University of Saskatchewan is asking university council to "demolish" it by July 2008.  Founded in 2000 to develop interdisciplinary programs to teach science, business, social and ethical aspects of biotechnology, VCB offered 12 courses and developed 10 degree programs without ever having exclusive faculty members, a building, or a dedicated dean.  Citing many limitations of the virtual approach, the VCB steering committee is focusing on better ways to organize interdisciplinary programs.

Kings University College, UWO faces bomb threat

 In the midst of heightened security at the University of Winnipeg this week, two buildings were evacuated and cleared at King's University College in London, Ontario yesterday following the report of a possible bomb in the area.  London police apprehended a young male who may be linked to the threat, and were conducting a precautionary search to ensure the area is safe.

New Brunswick PSE changes to cost more, not less

In response to the controversial Commission on PSE report released on September 14th, New Brunswick premier Shaw Graham warns that the province won't save any money by following the recommendations to blend universities and community colleges to form polytechnic institutions. Graham says the recommendations would actually cost taxpayers more, but would create greater accessibility and better connectivity between New Brunswick universities and community colleges.  Graham promised a formal response to the report in the throne speech this fall.

Pakistani officials to explore best practices in Canadian education

Mount Saint Vincent University is hosting a delegation of Pakistani federal, provincial and district level representatives this month as part of the Canada Pakistan Basic Education Project.  The focus of the tour is to provide insight into best international and national practices for improving the quality and delivery of basic education, especially for young Pakistani women.  Stops will be made in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Ontario, and Saskatchewan.

Free Humber tuition with purchase of a used truck

In an unusual promotion, Arrow Truck Sales is offering pre-paid tuition to a Humber College professional transportation certificate program with the purchase of each pre-owned truck from their Mississauga location.  The Certificate in Small Business Management for the Trucking Industry, the first PSE program of its kind in North America, requires completion of 8 specialized courses, and is offered entirely online through a partnership with CarriersEdge.  The program includes safety and compliance courses from CarriersEdge, as well as business skills courses from Humber College. 

Dal students push for more student governors

In a recent report on behalf of the Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group, a Dalhousie University student explores issues of "access, control and commercialization at Halifax universities" -- concluding that, despite the fact that students are funding universities more than ever, they are increasingly under-represented on university boards of governors. The research group has made a number of recommendations following the report, including student control of at least 28% of the seats on Dalhousie's board of governors (up from 12%). An Education Board spokesperson notes inaccuracies in the student report.

US colleges to establish common dataset instead of rankings

Looking at new and effective ways of evaluating and comparing colleges, more than 100 college officials gathered at Yale University on Tuesday to discuss the development of a website to provide "educationally relevant information about colleges without ranking them."  The idea (similar to the Common Dataset proposed by Ontario universities) was conceived in response to growing frustration over the US News & World Report annual college rankings. This meeting comes as another American association debuted its own online database yesterday, listing information on student life with statistics such as graduation rates, tuition, and enrollments for more than 600 private institutions.

US early-admissions policy may end before it begins

In an effort to reduce application pressure and give students extra time to consider their options, the National Association for College Admission Counseling voted to prohibit colleges from making admissions offers before September 15th of a student’s senior year.  Set to go into effect next year, the decision is now up in the air given increasing criticism by public universities and community colleges, who say the "one-size-fits-all" policy makes no sense for them given their less selective admission policies.  Last year, Harvard and Princeton announced that they were ending early admissions to "tone down the admissions frenzy," though most other Ivy League schools did not follow suit.

Britain authorizes first for-profit company to grant degrees

In a landmark decision that could open the door for further privatization of education, the BPP College of Professional Studies will be the first for-profit organization in Britain to award degrees, following a three-year review by Britain's Quality Assurance Agency.  BPP Professional Education specializes in graduate law and business education, and will offer a broad range of courses including accounting, finance, marketing, human resources, financial services, and actuarial science.  Following the announcement, shares in the company went up 13% overnight.

Despite gender gap, college women still face many obstacles

Although women are a growing majority on university campuses, enrolment data collected by the US Freshman Survey point to a number of obstacles still facing women in PSE.  A confidence gap causes women to evaluate themselves lower than their male counterparts, despite earning better grades and being more likely to complete a college degree.  Women are also found to enter college with higher levels of stress and depression, and to face a bigger gap in median family income compared to men.  Institutions need to help female students feel more competent, be better equipped to handle stress and other mental-health problems, and pay attention to the financial concerns of female students.

English students working less than Europeans

A recent survey by the UK’s Higher Education Policy Institute found that English undergraduates spend less time studying per week than their European counterparts -- casting doubt on the quality of degrees at English universities.  English students were found to spend an average of 26 hours per week on teaching and private study, in comparison to 41 hours in Portugal, 35 in France, 34 in Germany, and over 30 in other countries. The report suggests that the findings could have serious academic and financial consequences for the UK, resulting in fewer full-fee-paying international students attending UK institutions from outside the EU. takes on Facebook

"Facebook has largely abandoned its core student audience in favor of an open platform for widget aficionados, businesses and soccer moms," said founder Jon Davidman as he announced the launch of a college-only social network yesterday.  Serving as a "one-stop shop for information and communication between students," integrates user profiles and online interactivity with course schedules, professor profiles and rankings, event listings, study aids and even a wake-up call system that will alert your phone when you need to get up for class.

Applying to college frustrates students

A recent US study that looked at issues of college marketing and the application process found that while applicants "absorb both good and bad lessons" during this rite of passage, they are generally frustrated and cynical toward the recruitment process.  Among the findings was a belief among students that they had to make a number of sacrifices to create a well-rounded resumé to improve their admissions prospects, in exchange for time that could have been spent pursuing their real passions.  Though serving to "hold a much-needed mirror up to the admissions industry," the initial study has motivated a much more comprehensive look at the educational and developmental impact of the college application process.

9 best practices for implementing a website CMS

According to recent estimates, only 15% of colleges and universities have implemented a Content Management System to ensure quick and efficient site updates.  In order to effectively deploy a CMS, experts recommend getting other users on-board early in the decision-making process, tailoring the product for the right user group, and applying standards to help ensure long-term sustainability.  These (and 6 other best practices) will help to "ease the transition from performing ad hoc Web efforts to adhering to the structure of a CMS."

Look out CNN, here comes the Second Life News Network

Here is yet another real business with real employees, based on the virtual world of Second Life. The SLNN offers in-depth reporting on breaking news and events in Second Life, as well as real-life developments that affect the Second Life world. SLNN claims to fill a much-needed gap by serving people unbiased and objective information about relevant topics on a daily basis. Will we be seeing SLNN reports of your institution making waves in the Second Life education space anytime soon?