Top Ten

April 28, 2008

$60 million to upgrade equipment at Ontario colleges

On Friday, the Ontario government announced a 3-year, $60-million program to renew campus equipment at the province's 24 colleges. Each college will receive funding for tools, books and equipment identified as priority items. Eligible first-year expenditures include computers or software for classroom use, books or digital material for libraries, and equipment or machinery for lab instruction. Ontario news release

Opportunities, challenges face uWaterloo Abu Dhabi campus

Earlier this year the University of Waterloo announced it would establish an overseas campus in Abu Dhabi. Last week, the UW senate discussed the progress of the branch campus. While economic indicators are relatively high and the United Arab Emirates' score of "corruption" in business has significantly dropped, starting a business in the Middle Eastern country appears to be difficult, as the country ranks 77th on the Ease of Doing Business Index. The senate discussed issues about accreditation, gender segregation, and financial risk. uWaterloo Daily Bulletin

Attracting female engineering students in Calgary

Worldwide, universities are struggling to attract more females to Engineering programs. The University of Calgary's Schulich School of Engineering and Faculty of Education are working together to encourage young women to pursue careers in engineering with the help of a $550,000 investment from Imperial Oil. The outreach program will work with specific schools and communities to promote the world of engineering. The funding will go towards school and research programs, summer camps and internship opportunities. Female engineering students are 24% of the class at uCalgary, compared to a national average of 18%, and about 8% of the professional engineering workforce. uCalgary News Release

New Carbon Storage Research Consortium at Dal

The federal government has announced $5 million for research into the potential for carbon dioxide storage in Nova Scotia. Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia Power and the NS Department of Energy will work together under the Carbon Storage Research Consortium. Through the consortium, researchers from Dalhousie and other universities, industry, government and consultants will assess the possibility of carbon dioxide storage. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a technology that helps prevent emissions from reaching the atmosphere. Dal News

BrandonU launches information and warning system

Like other Canadian universities, Brandon University is creating an information and warning system to alert students and staff of a campus emergency. BU NOW will allow administrators to interrupt content on 23 campus monitors with alert screens, and draw attention to the monitors with a high-pitched tone. BU NOW will also provide up-to-the-minute news, events and community information. BrandonU news release

Students face career angst upon graduation

Barbara Moses, a career management consultant, writes in Friday's Globe & Mail that recent university graduates and working twentysomethings are facing more career angst and confusion than young people did a generation ago. To reduce this confusion, twentysomethings will choose quick-fix solutions, continue on to grad school, or get married because they don't know what else to do. Parents aren't making things any easier; young professionals have confessed to Moses that they stick with jobs they don't like for parental approval. Globe and Mail

Government policies need to consider adult students

Last week, a British professor urged New Brunswick schools to seek out older students. In the US, universities and colleges are already actively targeting adult students, but government policies are written from a focus on the traditional direct-from-highschool age group. The "Adult Learning in Focus" report shines a spotlight for the first time on national and state data on how adult learners are served.  The study found that many states are not even collecting the data necessary to properly understand and serve this market. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) | Read the full Report

US colleges launch social networking sites to reach alumni

Many US colleges and universities are creating their own social networking sites for alumni, but others are finding that alumni are more easily engaged on Facebook, MySpace or LinkedIn.  Public networks, however, do not make it easy to collect valuable contact information, which is why many schools continue to plug away with their own network solutions.  In order to compete with Facebook, some colleges are using open-source frameworks for their sites so alumni can connect with people outside the college community. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

RateMyProfessors correlates with prof evaluations

While professors like to say is a less-than-reliable source, a new study claims there is "high correlation" between results on RateMyProfessors and IDEA, a national student evaluation system used by about 275 schools across the US.  The study finds correlations in rankings on the ease of courses and professors' "clarity" and "helpfulness." The high correlation offers "preliminary support for the validity of the evaluations on" Inside Higher Ed

Teens don't regard email, texting as actual writing

A new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project finds that 60% of youth between the ages of 12 and 17 don't classify electronic communication such as e-mail, instant messaging and text-messaging as writing. The study suggests teenagers see an important distinction between the "writing" they do in school and outside school for personal reasons, and the "communication" they engage in using electronic means. While 73% of teens say internet-based writing makes no difference to their school writing, 38% have used abbreviations like "LOL" in their school assignments, and 25% admit to inserting emoticons. Pew News Release | Read the Report | Inside Higher Ed | NPR | eMarketer