Top Ten

November 10, 2007

uWaterloo receives $12.5 million from Bill Gates

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced $12.5 million (USD) in funding to expand uWaterloo's program that encourages elementary and high school students to get interested in math and computer science.  The university's Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing will further develop its contests, workshops and online resources.  The Centre currently reaches about 10,000 teachers and 450,000 students in grades 4 to 12 each year, mostly in Canada.

Eric Lindros gives $5 million to UWO clinic

With his retirement, NHL hockey player Eric Lindros also announced a $5 million donation to the London Health Sciences Centre and the Fowler Kennedy Sports Medicine Clinic, both affiliated with the University of Western Ontario.  The former Philadelphia Flyers player has designated the funds for programs at the LHSC, including the UWO clinic where he received treatment during his NHL career.  Lindros thanks the clinic for allowing him to continue to play without compromising his medical well-being, by "doing brilliant work putting me basically back together again."  The donation is apparently the largest given to a hospital in Canada by a professional athlete.

UCFV partners with Abu Dhabi university

 The University College of the Fraser Valley is sending professors to the United Arab Emirates, not to teach students, but to teach the teachers.  UCFV's Fashion Design department has partnered with the Al Khawarizmi International College in Abu Dhabi to develop a new program for the UAE institution.  UCFV will travel to Abu Dhabi four times to help set up the new associate degree in fashion design, and will provide continuous advice to staff via the internet. 

UBC Golf Course to be turned over to Musqueam tribe

The BC government has announced a "fair and reasonable" resolution to the dispute over the UBC golf course.  The Musqueam band is expected to gain control of the University Golf Club, and has agreed to keep the course open for at least 40 years.  $20 million in cash, and land from the Pacific Spirit Park, are also rumoured to be changing hands.  A fair amount of protest from the community is expected. 

Canada will need 89,000 IT workers over the next 5 years

Canada is potentially facing a major shortage of IT professionals within the next 5 years.  It is estimated that Canada will need 89,000 IT workers by 2012.  One software company says their IT needs are so high they could hire uAlberta's entire graduating class of 2,000 IT students, and would still need more.  Some companies report turning to international recruitment to meet their needs.  Parents are partially blamed for the shortage of IT students, due to latent fear from the dot-com bust. 

Laurier MBA provides seed money to student startups

Wilfrid Laurier University's Innovation & Entrepreneurship MBA offers up to 2 students a year the opportunity to start up their own business for academic credit.  Students who participate in the program receive coaching and mentoring, office space, and enough funding to cover incorporation fees and a small stipend. The school believes that the Waterloo community is an ideal place for such a program, as a national centre for innovation. 

UNB-SJ to lose money due to uncertain future

The University of New Brunswick-Saint John is predicting a drop in revenue next year due to uncertainty about the school's future, and is asking the government for financial assistance.  Some MLAs are even suggesting the province pay UNB-SJ for damage to its reputation.  The government is expected to respond later this month to the controversial NB PSE commission report that recommended converting the school into a polytechnic.  At this point, the government has confirmed that the school will always be a university in name, but warns the community to expect changes in its operation.

Marketers engaging consumers in conversation online

The web is displacing television as the marketing medium of choice, according to The Globe and Mail.  More time is being spent on the internet, and television commercials can now be skipped thanks to PVRs (like TiVo).  Facebook has recently followed MySpace in allowing products to establish their own page.  This ushers in a new form of advertising, according to The Economist.  Whereas advertisers used to target "opinion leaders" and hope word spread through social relationships, they can now join the social arena and be a part of the conversation directly.

Canadian schools jump into Facebook Pages

We took a quick look through Facebook and found quite a few Canadian institutions making use of Facebook's new Pages. "Facebook Pages" allow businesses, non-profits, artists or public figures to create a profile on the Facebook network. Until last week, only individuals were permitted to maintain profiles on the network. Each Facebook Pages profile includes a large display picture, mini-feed, basic information, conversation wall and discussion board. Each page also includes a link to "Add this Organization or Product," and a list of those members displaying the company in their "I am a Fan of... " section.

Should college marketers be involved in program decisions?

A speaker at a UK Effective Marketing in Higher Education conference recently called on marketing professionals to get outside of the communications silo, and start participating in high-level academic planning.  Marketing staff, particularly recruiters, are the front line with prospective students, and can contribute valuable market insight. Often marketers are more familiar with market research about student and employer demand for programs. Naturally academics resist the trend toward market-driven programs, pointing to the surplus of forensics graduates based on the popularity of TV portrayals.