Top Ten

October 2, 2007

uManitoba booming with $66 million in construction

A new engineering and computer science complex, nursing building, Richardson Nutraceutical facility and gym are all open for business at uManitoba.  $66 million of construction projects are currently underway at the university, including a new $31 million pharmacy building at its downtown medical campus.  Plans for 120 acres that will be taken over by the university in 2010 might include much-needed student housing, as well as retail services.

Construction begins on $909 million Edmonton Clinic

uAlberta broke ground yesterday for the new $909 million Edmonton Clinic, scheduled to open in 2011.  140 beds will be added to the uAlberta Hospital and Stollery Children's Hospital, and 800 new spaces for health science students will be created.  Technology will allow rural Albertans to connect and learn remotely.  "The Edmonton Clinic will be a world-class facility that transforms the way patients receive care and the way in which health professionals and health sciences students work and learn."

2 teens stabbed outside Toronto's OUF

This year's Ontario Universities' Fair saw about 80,000 students pass through its doors to meet with representatives from 20 Ontario universities.  Despite significantly increased police and security presence, the OUF also saw 2 teenage boys receive stab wounds, for which 9 others were arrested.  The boys were attacked outside the Metro Toronto Convention Centre by as many as 20 other high school students. Police suggested to CTV news that the brawl might actually have been caused by long line-ups to clear security. (A less serious attack shattered a glass escalator inside the MTCC on Friday.)

Athabasca University to build new $30 million facility

Athabasca University has received $30 million from the Alberta government to construct a new Academic and Research Centre at the university.  The new facility will increase space at the university's main campus by 50%, and increase learner capacity by approximately 1,500 full-time equivalent students.

OCUFA study says PSE quality at risk despite increased funding

The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) asserts that Ontario's $6.2 billion funding increase for colleges and universities falls short, in light of larger than expected enrolment increases. "We will continue to see deteriorating student-faculty ratios, overcrowded facilities, and insufficient resources for basic research." Yesterday, OCUFA released a new research study, Leading Higher: Funding for Ontario Universities.  OCUFA is calling for an additional $1 billion or more in funding, to match average funding in other Canadian provinces and in the US.

UOIT & Durham College announce 800 new on-campus housing spaces

UOIT's rescheduled Town & Gown meeting has announced that 800 new on-campus housing spaces will be available to upper-year students by September 2009, 350 by next September.  The units will be apartment-style and will offer "an independent lifestyle similar to being off-campus," in order to attract students.

Proposed UNB-SJ / NBCC merger causes dissent among Liberals

Some of the New Brunswick government's own Liberal riding associations are speaking out against the proposed merger of UNB-Saint John and the New Brunswick Community College.  A commission on post-secondary education in the province recommended that the schools be combined into a single polytechnic institution.  Enrolment at NBCC has been increasing steadily in recent years, while UNB-SJ has seen declines.

Ottawa conference addresses student funding

The Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation (CMSF) and the Canadian Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (CASFAA) held a successful conference this past weekend in Ottawa, "Modernizing Student Financial Assistance in Canada." Academica's president Rod Skinkle attended, as did representatives from student unions across the country. The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance blog called it "an invasion" of student associations, and noted that the conference brought together people conducting "research that will directly affect the landscape of education in years to come."

Go ENG Girl! hits Ontario universities

On October 13th, eleven university campuses in Ontario will host grade 7 to 10 girls for "Go Eng Girl!"  The event is only offered for female students, and hopes to get them excited about studying engineering with stories of successful female engineers and hands-on activities.  Students are allowed to bring a parent and friends to the free events, and must register ahead of time with the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers. 

SFX meets fundraising goal for Coady Institute

After raising $8 million over the last four months, St. Francis Xavier University will begin construction of a new building for its 48-year-old Coady International Institute.  An anonymous $3 million donation took the institute to its final goal of $14 million last week.

uCalgary gives students a taste of drinking and driving with arts project

Booze Cruise is a new video game created by a Fine Arts professor and four students at the University of Calgary, designed to tackle the problem of drinking and driving.  Booze Cruise is a driving game that simulates the experience of being under the influence of alcohol: blurred vision, delayed reflexes and "skewed reality."  The Calgary Police Service also had substantial input to help create realistic scenarios.

uManitoba receives $3.2 million for biomedical research and new facility

uManitoba's Faculty of Engineering has received $3.2 million through the Winnipeg Partnership Agreement.  The funds will allow the school to purchase state-of-the-art biomedical imaging and biosensing equipment, and establish a bio-engineering facility for students and commercial researchers. 

Recent survey of US student satisfaction

A new survey of more than 622,000 students at 800 US colleges found lower levels of satisfaction among male students, African-American and Asian-American students, those with lower GPAs, and those attending colleges in the Eastern US. Students attending community colleges, and in particular students attending their first-choice institution, were much more satisfied. "When students believe they are where they want to be for college, they are more likely to be satisfied."

Millions donated to uMan, NAIT, Haskayne, and McGill

Normally, $1 million funding announcements wouldn't make the Top Ten, but we're making an exception seeing as there were four of them at once. uManitoba's Internationally Educated Engineers Qualification program received $1 million from the Manitoba Government.  Imperial Oil announced a $1 million investment in NAIT's new Centre for Instrumentation Technology, as well as to support Aboriginal student initiatives at the school. Stephen A. Jarislowsky, Canadian investment expert and philanthropist, announced a $1 million gift to fund the Jarislowsky Fellowship in Business Management at the Haskayne School of Business at uCalgary.  McGill University's Montreal Neurological Institute received a $1 million donation from Manulife Financial. 

Adrian College increases enrolment by 91% in 2 years

Michigan's Adrian College is getting some attention with its 91% enrolment increase over the past 2 years.  Starting with out-dated facilities and a million-dollar deficit, the school has positioned itself against out-of-state public universities, and successfully recruited 1,400 students with a bundle of lifestyle activities such as marching bands and athletics. The College promised the ability to participate as well as a quality education.

Fanshawe College marketing students partner with Yahoo! Canada

Fanshawe College, in London Ontario, is the first educational institution in Canada to form a partnership with Yahoo! Canada.  Third-year students in Fanshawe's Business Administration program will work with Yahoo! Canada to run search engine advertising campaigns for real clients, such as 3M, GoodLife Fitness, Museum London and the Thames Valley District School Board among others.

Prospective students look to unofficial online information

Whether or not your website lets students comment, post reviews, or connect with each other in a social network forum, they are doing it anyway -- just somewhere else.  Students are relying more and more heavily on the internet as a source of information when researching colleges and universities, and they're not just using official school websites to get this information. Through social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, high school students are able to get their friends' opinions and read reviews from other kids their age -- even current or former students.

Video games hinder GPA scores

According to the US National Bureau of Economic Research, video games reduce study time and hinder academic performance. The study, which "didn't intend to prove anything about video games" but focused more on distractions and study-time in general, found that first-year students with regular access to video games studied an average of 40 minutes less per day.  This reduced study time was found to lead to a reduced GPA as well -- averaging a drop of 6% or 0.241 points on a 4-point grade scale in first-semester grades. 

What would it take to get you to another conference?

Academica Group is sponsoring a conference on higher education marketing next year, and in collaborative "wiki" spirit we're inviting our friends and clients to help shape a thought-provoking, enjoyable and energizing event. What? When? Who? Please take a few moments to share your thoughts with us in this month's "One-Minute Poll" on our website. 

From the president's mouth

Four of Canada's illustrious college and university presidents have taken to keeping personal blogs on their school websites.  A presidential blog can carry the same information as a formal presidential statement or news release, but with a much more personal flair that seems to be all the rage in corporate communications lately.  The University of Calgary's president is joined online by fellow presidential bloggers at Mohawk College, Red River College, and Quest University.