Top Ten

January 15, 2008

NCAA Division II opens membership to Canadian schools

The long-awaited NCAA pilot program, first mentioned in the Top Ten in October 2006, finally won approval at the convention this week in Nashville, by a vote of 258-9. Canadian teams can apply for NCAA Division II membership as soon as June, which might mean some Canadian athletes will be competing in Division I sports this fall.  Canadian schools that join NCAA would be able to award full-ride athletic scholarships. UBC, SFU, and St. Clair College (in Windsor Ontario) have previously expressed interest in the NCAA. 

Employers, schools and government share blame for skills shortage

Judith Maxwell, former head of the Economic Council of Canada, knows why there are no plumbers for hire: "No one wants to train them."  Some say that high schools and colleges simply do not have enough funding for vocational programs.  Others say employers are not offering hands-on learning experiences such as apprenticeships.  Some accuse guidance counselors of ignoring vocational choices.  In an op-ed piece in Monday's Globe & Mail, Maxwell writes that our education system's expansion to meet the need for academic credentials has strayed too far from a balance that also includes practical, vocational skills. 

Canada at a loss regarding aboriginal literacy

Only British Columbia tracks the performance of aboriginal students, making the question of aboriginal literacy difficult to answer.  70% of First Nations and 55% of Metis in Manitoba and Saskatchewan fall below "minimal levels of literacy."  By 2017, aboriginals will comprise 30% of the young adult population in Saskatchewan (23% in Manitoba).

U of King's College launches course on Beer

The University of King's College is offering a new course entitled "Brewing Science: The History, Culture and Science of Beer."  This multidisciplinary course will explore the idea that bars have "played important roles throughout history."  The course is only being offered for a single year, as an experiment.  Local microbreweries have expressed interest in offering class tours, and have even offered to help set up experiments recreating historical brewing conditions. 

Students increasingly use stimulants to keep up

Use of both Modafinil and Ritalin, prescribed for narcolepsy and ADHD respectively, is "prevalent" in student communities, by students who want to succeed academically and maintain an active social life.  Health experts are concerned that the use of stimulants can have "deleterious" effects on physical health, and reflects an unhealthy emphasis on competition and academic achievement.  Students using Ritalin without a prescription can become jittery, irritable, anxious and may experience headaches, loss of appetite, sleeplessness and depression. 

Student activists "declare war" on UBC administration

The University of British Columbia's campus has been the victim of several acts of vandalism committed by an activist group called "Wreath Underground."  The group claimed responsibility for the attacks in an email sent to UBC's student newspaper.  They claim "lack of student consultation about campus development projects" as one of their primary motivations, and say that previous attempts to be heard were unsuccessful.  A green space built by students, Trek Park, was apparently bulldozed by the administration.

NDP members begin push for PSE funding and change

The federal NDP are reminding Ottawa that they want to see "strong commitments to student financial assistance" in the upcoming federal budget.  The NDP believes that all Canadians should have "equitable" access to PSE, without shouldering a lifetime debt-load, and has put forth 5 recommendations to reach this goal.  The recommendations include reducing the interest rate on Canada Student Loans, establishing a federal loans ombudsperson, increasing relief to borrowers during repayment, and relaxing loan repayment requirements.

"Techno-MBAs" from uSask's Edwards School

Specialized "Techno-MBAs" are disappearing into the background as technology pushes its way into traditional MBA programs.  Technology has rebounded not just as a successful industry but also as an environment and skill set holding value for almost any industry.  Business faculties are transitioning from developing their own information and technology programming, to pairing with other departments at their universities.  uSaskatchewan's Edwards School of Business MBA is profiled in the Princeton Review as an MBA program that successfully produces grads with the skills needed to operate in a technological world.  Email Newsletter

Acadia's approach to Recruitment 2.0

Like many schools in eastern Canada, Acadia University is making use of several different Recruitment 2.0 technologies.  It has armed itself with a Facebook group, SkoolPool profile, YouTube Channel, virtual campus tour, and several recruitment micro-sites/portals (Meet Acadia, Acadia Boarding Pass).  Acadia's YouTube channel is linked directly from the school's official homepage.  How is your school using technology to engage prospective students?

Aging labourers head back to college for new skills

As their backs and shoulders grow weary, many blue-collar baby boomers are going back to school in order to secure employment that is less physically demanding.  Several community colleges are recognizing this new pool of students and are "fine-tuning" their programs to be more accessible for older adults.  Traditionally, older students head to campus for "life enrichment" or personal enjoyment, but more and more this demographic is looking for employable skills.