Top Ten

May 1, 2008

McGill raises $400 million, seeks "Best in the West"

6 months after it launched one of the largest fundraising campaigns in Canadian history, McGill University has reached the $400-million mark with Campaign McGill. The campaign began last fall as a 5-year initiative to raise $750 million to support the school's top academic priorities. Yesterday in Calgary, McGill's principal also announced a new "Best in the West" campaign, to raise scholarships for BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan students to study Science at McGill. The campaign began with a $1 million donation by Richard Walls (and his wife, both McGill alumni), Chairman of Fairborne Energy Ltd. McGill News

uToronto announces Dalla Lana School of Public Health

The University of Toronto has launched a new school of public health, to be named after Paul Dalla Lana, a real estate investor who made a $20-million donation to fund scholarships and research chairs at the school, and his wife Alessandra. uToronto has recruited renowned public health researcher Jack Mandel to lead the new graduate school, which will build on the expertise of uToronto's public health department, with about 300 faculty members and over 250 graduate students. Mandel has spent 30 years in the US, where he was most recently chair of epidemiology at Atlanta's Emory University. Globe and Mail

McMaster launches MacAUTO research institute

McMaster University announced yesterday the establishment of a new research institute to coordinate the school's increasing involvement in the automotive sector. The McMaster Institute for Automotive Research and Technology (MacAUTO) brings together over 75 researchers in engineering, science, business and other faculties involved in automotive research. This work involves collaboration with over 30 private and public-sector organizations. Research initiatives include studies in the areas of labour, globalization, sustainability and driver behaviour. McMaster Daily News | MacAUTO

Sault College shut down after bomb threat

Sault College, in Sault Ste Marie Ontario, was evacuated Wednesday after a man called police and made a bomb threat. An hour after the call was made, the school was cleared of staff, faculty and students, and the campus remained closed Thursday while explosive-detection dogs and police canvassed the premises. A notice on the College website indicates that the campus would be open this morning as usual. Exams ended last week, and the Sudbury Star implies the threat may have been related to a Creationist presentation scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.  The Sudbury Star | Sault This Week

NL budget includes tuition freeze, trades, medical programs

On Tuesday, the Newfoundland & Labrador government unveiled its 2008 Budget, including $27.2 million for public PSE. The funding will go toward a tuition freeze, infrastructure, expanded programming, adult learning and literacy, and the development of the skilled labour market. $4.9 million will fund the Skills Task Force Action Plan, and the expansion of programs in business, IT, engineering, and marine management, along with trades and apprenticeship programs. $4 million will go toward expanding Memorial University's Faculty of Medicine and Bachelor of Nursing program, while $2 million will be spent on incentives to attract nurses, such as bursaries, relocation allowances, and signing bonuses. NL News Releases ( Education | Labour Market | Health Care )

Memorial U now supports Grenfell autonomy

In the past, Memorial University has spoken out against Sir Wilfred Grenfell College independence from the university. In light of Newfoundland's recent budget announcement to provide funding to Grenfell to receive autonomy, Memorial now accepts the move. "We are fully committed to working with our colleagues in Corner Brook to see these changes bring positive benefits to our students and to university education in the province." Memorial News

Grenfell inches closer to independent university status

Tuesday's Newfoundland & Labrador budget set aside $500,000 for a new governing structure for Sir Wilfred Grenfell College in Corner Brook. The province's plan includes a new academic building and student residence. The college is currently a campus of Memorial University, but its faculty has been lobbying for years to branch out on its own. Memorial administration has spoken out against the move; last summer the university's president at the time said a single university still makes sense for all of Newfoundland. CBC

Campaign for McGill MBA promotes Montreal nightlife

What appears to be a new MBA recruitment campaign for McGill University's Desautels Faculty of Management began with a quarter-page black & white ad in yesterday's Globe & Mail. The ad emphasizes "a world-class reputation, a beautiful downtown campus and the endless attractions of Canada's most exciting town," and clearly targets a twentysomething crowd with silhouettes of young people dancing behind the Montreal skyline. The headline cheekily observes, "You'll have too much work to go out, but at least you'll wish you could." McGill MBA Program

McGill MBA Ad

NB grads can receive up to $10,000 tuition rebate

The New Brunswick government announced last week that PSE graduates who live and work in the province will receive up to $10,000 cash back on their tuition. Under the New Brunswick Tuition Rebate, anyone from anywhere in the world who has graduated from an eligible PSE institution after Jan 1 2005, and chooses to work and live in New Brunswick, can apply for the rebate. Graduates can obtain a non-taxable rebate of up to $2,000 a year, and 50% of their tuition costs, with a maximum rebate of $10,000. Last year the NB government released a $2,000 rebate to all full-time first-year undergraduate students at the province's public universities. New Brunswick Tribune | NB News Release

Cape Breton U to offer own BEd

Starting in the 2009-2010 academic year, Cape Breton University will offer its own Bachelor of Education degree, provided it receives approval from the Nova Scotia government. The province's education minister says CBU would require approval from the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission, and that 70% of the funded 40 seats meet labour market demand, meaning educating teachers with specialties in French, Math, Science and Technology. The minister is basing her conditions on her response to a report on teacher education, which recommended an end to teacher education partnerships with schools outside Nova Scotia. CBU will cease its education partnership with Memorial University after the current cohort of students graduates. CBU News Release | CBC

Curriculum reforms linked to Quebec student success

Education observers say Quebec teens' top ranking in a national test may reflect the success of the province's curriculum changes. The changes, introduced in 2000, emphasize skills over knowledge and are meant to shift away from rote memorization in favour of project-based learning. The curriculum reform is not without controversy -- critics decry the changes for neglecting the basics, such as language, science and math, and students may reach the end of primary school without knowing fundamental rules of punctuation or syntax. Some say the changes cannot be credited for the students' ranking, and note that Quebec students have fallen behind in international scores since the reform was introduced. Globe and Mail

Nova Scotia introduces new student grants

The Nova Scotia government announced in its budget this week it will give up-front grants worth an average $775 a year to PSE students, with even more funding to those balancing academia and parenthood. Starting this fall, students who apply to the Nova Scotia Student Assistance Office will see the first 20% of their student loan turned into a non-repayable grant, which would save students a maximum of $1,560 annually. Students with dependent children are eligible for another grant worth $1,040 every year they're in school. Halifax Chronicle-Herald

More details for $235-million Calgary "Learning Village"

At its annual community information session on Tuesday, the Urban Campus Partnership unveiled new developments in the $235-million "Learning Village" for downtown Calgary. The partnership has begun discussions with ACAD about relocating the college on the east block of City Hall. Talks are also underway with EnCana about leasing about 100,000 square feet of its headquarters to accommodate 400 students in cultural, continuing education and business programs. The Urban Campus Partnership, which began in 2004, includes uCalgary, Athabasca U, SAIT, Bow Valley College, uLethbridge and ACAD. uCalgary News | CBC

Ryerson unveils Master Plan

On Wednesday, Ryerson University's president disclosed the institution's new Master Plan, the process of which involved about 250 meetings held with the Ryerson community, alumni, City of Toronto and several organizations, since late 2006. The plan focuses on urban intensification, putting people first, and design excellence. The first two buildings to be constructed under the Master Plan are the Ryerson Photography Gallery and Research Centre and the new Student Learning Centre. Ryerson News | Ryerson's Master Plan 

Canadian youth better educated, but earning less than parents

According to census data from Statistics Canada, workers aged 25-29 make less than their predecessors. In 1980, median earnings for full-time male workers in that age group were $43,767 in today's wages; by 2005 they were at just $37,680. (For women, the drop is much less, from $32,813 to $32,104.) Young men's wages began declining in the 1980s, as companies offered lower starting salaries in order to reduce costs and maintain morale among senior employees. Young people these days are staying in school longer and men are less likely to find full-time work once they finish, unless they work in a trade sector. CTV | Statistics Canada

Target under-represented populations for future enrolment

In a review of the latest research on PSE, the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation concludes in a report that the need for higher education in Canada will continue to grow, and demographic factors will make it more challenging for the country to graduate the number of skilled and educated young adults its economy and society requires. Canada's population of 18- to 24-year-olds will peak in 5 years, after which it will start to decline, by 2016 becoming less than it is now. According to the report, longer-term gains in enrolment will depend on producing graduates from populations currently under-represented in PSE: low-income youth, children of parents with limited PSE, and Aboriginals. Read the full report

PhD student asks, is university just job prep?

With research funding from big business, the prevalence of online courses, and the pull from the workplace to teach "marketable" knowledge, uToronto PhD student Romona Goomansingh argues commercialization threatens what distinguishes universities from other forms of PSE. In her research, Goomansingh has found critical-based teaching, which involves learning through problem solving, encourages students to become socially responsible citizens, something they were less likely to be exposed to in classes where teaching marketable skills is the priority. Promoting critical-based thinking and creating a mentorship program would challenge university commercialization, she says. Toronto Star

US colleges slow to adopt latest web strategies

A new survey of 1,371 college admissions officials finds that on average, US colleges still spend 24% of their recruitment budgets on printed materials, and just 11% on web marketing. While 98% have a website, and 56% a virtual campus tour, only 44% incorporate blogs by current students, and just 7% include faculty blogs. About 36% offer online chats or instant messaging, just 17% have live webcams on campus, and only 15% use podcasts for recruitment purposes. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) | Survey (subscription required)

Social networking gaining popularity among teen girls

In a recent issue of Youth Trends, US-based research firm Harris Interactive says more than half of American girls aged 13-15 used social networking sites in 2007, about the same as in 2006. More than twice as many children aged 10-12 reported using these sites in 2007 as in 2006. In a study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project and National Commission on Writing, 66% of teenage girls surveyed have a social network profile, compared to 50% of boys, and 34% of girls have a blog, compared to 20% of boys. (By comparison, Academica Group's survey of Canadian grade 12 students finds 75-85% of PSE applicants are actively on Facebook.)  eMarketer

Don't be intimidated by "web-savvy" youth

Sociologist Eszter Hargittai says students aren't nearly as web-wise as they or their elders believe. In her research on the technological fluency of college freshmen, Hargittai found that students seem comfortable with technology, but lack detailed understanding of functions such as BCC (blind copy on email), podcasting and phishing. Students often have difficulty evaluating the credibility of online information, and in particular women, minority students, and students whose parents have lower levels of education are less web-savvy. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)