Top Ten

May 6, 2008

Burlington city staff oppose funding McMaster campus

Burlington city staff are recommending city councillors vote against providing $10 million toward a new campus for McMaster University's MBA programs. This is Mac's second attempt to secure a Burlington campus; in 2006, the school proposed a downtown site but abandoned it, citing a lack of space for future expansion. The Wednesday night vote will be crucial to Thursday's board of governors debate at Mac. Burlington Post

uToronto med students to train in Barrie

Starting next June, Barrie's Royal Victoria Hospital will become an official teaching hospital of the University of Toronto. The hospital will develop a Family Medicine Residency Program that will be run by a faculty of local doctors. The program will be one of the first Family Medicine Teaching Units outside of the Greater Toronto Area. Residents will work alongside family doctors in a 10,000-square-foot family medicine teaching unit to be built on hospital property. The program will have 4 residents begin their practices in June 2009, with the expectation of 18 residents within 4 years. Barrie Advance

Manitoba invests $3 million in campus safety

The Manitoba government is providing $2.5 million for security enhancements at the province's colleges and universities to help protect campus communities from threats of violence. Manitoba's education minister said yesterday that, while security features have always been in place, recent threats (such as one made at the University of Winnipeg last fall) have warranted extra security measures. The funding will go toward updated public address systems and researching new alert systems. Manitoba News Release

Energy, mining sector grads in growing demand

Already there aren't enough natural resources grads in Canada, and in the next decade there will be a shortage of 6,000 energy industry engineers in Alberta alone. By 2017, the mining industry will need 92,000 workers, most of whom will be engineers and engineering technologists. Currently, only 9 universities offer mining engineering programs, producing fewer than 150 graduates a year. Meeting future needs will depend on a mix of expanding university and technical college graduates, providing national credentials for foreign-educated newcomers, and recruiting from overseas. Globe and Mail

Girls still losing interest in Engineering

Engineering schools are struggling to boost enrolment by female students, despite targeted scholarships and bursaries, outreach programs and special events involving female engineers and graduate students. Between 2001 and 2005, the number of women enrolled in Canadian undergraduate engineering programs dropped 2.8%. In 2005, the number of women enrolled in such programs totalled 9,588, compared to 45,266 men. In order to attract female students, several engineering schools host a GoEngGirl day, where girls in Grades 7 to 10 and their parents can explore the field. Globe and Mail

"Brand promises" just don't cut it any more

Renowned marketing prof Don Schultz of Northwestern U writes in the March/April 2008 issue of Marketing Management that, in a Web 2.0 world in which media are under the control of the consumer, the old-school approach to branding has been "blindsided," and "the barbaric hordes seem intent on tearing down brands faster than the brand owners and their minions can build them up." In the new social media world, "useful and repeatable brand experiences... delivered... at the store shelf level" will matter more than "highfalutin promises." Schultz argues that "brand actions speak much more loudly, consistently and effectively than all the brand promises." For colleges and universities, this means managing campus visits, online discussions, blogs, media relations, and "customer service" in all its manifestations are integral aspects of managing your brand. Marketing Management (AMA membership required)

Canada should consider European-style articulations

In recent months, six provinces have commissioned reports on the future of PSE, partly triggered by concerns that institutions are not meeting domestic demands for access, quality and system planning. In Monday's Globe & Mail, CPRN founder Judith Maxwell suggests Canada should adopt something like Europe's Bologna Process, where ministers of higher ed from dozens of countries have established credit articulation frameworks, guidelines for quality assurance, and fair recognition for foreign degrees and qualifications. Globe and Mail

UBC, U of Hong Kong establish legal ed program

Last week the University of British Columbia and the University of Hong Kong established a joint legal education program that opens doors for graduates to practice law in both Canada and Hong Kong. Law schools at both institutions will accept up to 5 students per year, starting in 2009. Students in the program will be able to earn the law degrees required to practice law in the other jurisdiction. The joint program will require an extra year of study for students from both institutions. UBC News Release.

What's wrong with undergraduate education?

Marty Nemko, a career counsellor and education consultant, questions the perceived value of a bachelor's degree. Just 23% of last year's US high school graduates who took the ACT exam were ready for college-level work in core subjects; more than 40% of freshmen at 4-year schools do not graduate within 6 years; 45% of freshmen said they were not satisfied with the qualify of instruction they received, while 44% said they were "frequently" bored in class. To improve undergraduate education, he says, schools should report financial aid averages, retention data, safety data, graduation and employment rates on their websites and in print material. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)