Top Ten

May 8, 2008

Quest U challenges Canada's public PSE assumptions

Quest University has attracted some more attention south of the border with a feature article in The Chronicle of Higher Education. The private, liberal-arts school is a new model for Canada. Students enjoy the focus on interdisciplinary learning, the scenic setting, and the 1:10 faculty-student ratio. One prof says he moved to Quest "to be able to say that I helped change the quality of education in Canada." Quest's founder sees his university as a valuable alternative to Canada's public PSE system, with its chronic money shortages, large undergraduate classes and increasingly unhappy faculty members. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

BC may be "diluting" university designations

A Vancouver Sun editorial argues strenuously that the BC government violated the spirit of the Campus 2020 report when it bestowed university status, not just on Kwantlen, Malaspina, and UCFV, but also (in a last-minute addition) on Capilano and Emily Carr. "Campbell may have the authority to give away university designations like a clown passing out balloons at a birthday party, but he should take care that he doesn't deflate the brand of B.C.'s highly regarded universities and specialized colleges." Becoming a university is a mixed blessing, too, in a province where $16 million was just redirected from universities to colleges.  Vancouver Sun

Postscript: May 12, 2008
Controversy continues to grow. Some consider the timing suspicious, in the wake of major cuts to PSE funding. Maclean's Erin Millar joins the editors of the Vancouver Sun in wondering if these new universities are really universities, and worrying the new titles may mislead prospective students about certain programs, degrees and accreditation. Maclean's OnCampus | Vancouver Sun
Postscript: May 13, 2008
The Vancouver Province continues the attack with a column by Michael Smyth that labels the new designations "a clever public-relations move" on the part of the provincial government, but argues it won't amount to much in light of the PSE budget cut. "Cutting funding and playing politics like this is a pretty lousy legacy for Campbell, who once said education was his top priority and who promised to make BC the most highly educated jurisdiction in North America." Smyth says the announcement "cheapens and devalues the designation" of university. Vancouver Province

McGill principal urges university access for Alberta

While in Calgary to celebrate some major gifts, McGill University principal Heather Munroe-Blum spoke with the Calgary Herald's editorial board about Alberta PSE. She urged more educational options, particularly for the 5,300 qualified Albertans turned away from local universities in 2006, and bluntly asserted that "getting skilled workers at the trade level will not be what advances Calgary as a city or Canada as a country." Munroe-Blum believes that each province should provide a combination of good colleges, highly-accessible universities, and elite universities with rigorous standards, where the best minds go for leading-edge research. She believes that Alberta falls short in the accessible university area. Calgary Herald

Royal Roads campaign is "on track" in Vancouver

Royal Roads Subway Posters

Yesterday we drew your attention to an airport-themed campaign for Mount Royal College's new baccalaureate degrees. Thanks to Mary Caros, Manager of Marketing & Recruitment at Royal Roads University, for sharing the above two executions from their current Vancouver transit campaign, developed by a Vancouver agency, targetting working professionals interested in career education. The transit-themed transit campaign includes station banners, platform ads and interior cards for the Waterfront Station in downtown Vancouver, where the Skytrain rapid transit system, WestCoast Express commuter train, Seabus water ferry and Helijet service converge. Share your thoughts below!

Alberta government has yet to invest in Urban Campus

Alberta's Advanced Education Minister says he won't invest hundreds of millions of dollars into the University of Calgary's proposed East Village educational complex until he is certain the project is the best answer to Calgary's PSE access woes. The $235-million Urban Campus Partnership, which began in 2004, involves creating a joint downtown satellite campus with other PSE institutions to accommodate 4,000 students. The minister says he wants specifics about which programs will be housed in the urban campus and which faculties will have expanded student spaces before taking it to cabinet. Calgary Herald 

Campaign takes flight for new Mount Royal degrees

Mount Royal College degree ads

Calgary's Mount Royal College has developed a new print ad campaign in-house to promote its 5 new degree programs. The ads, shot on location at the Calgary airport with real MRC students, urge students to "get on board" and repeat the motif, "this is your boarding call... your future is about to take off." We noticed the half-page full-colour ad in the Globe & Mail last Saturday, and Director of Marketing Lucille Gnanasihamany tells us that a series of the ads will run in heavy rotation in Calgary. 

See all 6 ads enlarged. Then please comment below!

China commits $25 million to UoGuelph DNA project

China has pledged over $25 million to the University of Guelph's International Barcode of Life (iBOL) Project, which will allow the rapid identification of any animal, plant, fungus or protist. China will be a Central Node in the project, which will involve over 100 researchers from 25 countries. The consortium will create the world's first reference library of DNA barcodes for use in species identification around the world, and will develop new informatics tools and technologies. UoGuelph News Release

75 students arrested in San Diego campus drug bust

75 San Diego State University students were arrested Tuesday on drug and weapons charges in an undercover probe, which stemmed from the deaths of two students from cocaine overdoses. Law enforcement seized cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy and several weapons. The investigation found that some fraternity members openly dealt drugs, and one even advertised cocaine through a mass text message. Investigators made more than 130 undercover drug buys at a frat house, student parking areas and residences. The university has suspended 6 fraternities pending an investigation. Globe and Mail | USA Today | New York Times

UK cuts Canadian eligibility for Commonwealth scholarship

The British government is cutting Canadian and other foreign students from its Commonwealth scholarship program, which awards top students funding to pursue studies in membership countries. Instead, Britain will focus on giving awards to scholars from countries such as China and India, which it considers more important to its "foreign policy success." Academics and former scholarship winners decry the move, saying both Canada and the UK will suffer as a result of this change. The cuts will not affect Canadians who have recently been awarded the scholarship, or are already in the midst of their studies. Globe and Mail

Postscript: May 27, 2008

British vice-chancellors have called on the government to reinstate the program for Canada and Australia. The Chief Executive of Universities UK says the cuts would affect Britain's ability to attract highly-talented students, and the competitiveness of British universities in the global education market. University World News

Postscript: Oct 9, 2008

The British government has cancelled its plans to exclude Canadians and other foreigners from its Commonwealth scholarship program. Instead, the UK will offer a scaled-down version of the program to Canadian scholars, who will be eligible for up 10 scholarships. In previous years, about 30 Canadians received the scholarships annually. Under the new program, costs will be shared between the government and participating universities. Globe and Mail | The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

Suicide bigger threat than campus snipers

In the wake of campus shootings at Dawson CollegeVirginia Tech, Northern Illinois U, and elsewhere, panelists at the American Psychiatric Association's annual meeting emphasized that suicide is actually a much bigger threat to college students. Schools are struggling to meet increased demand for mental health services, and some are mishandling suicidal students by forcing them to leave school after a mental health episode. Schools should evaluate whether a student is mentally healthy enough to stay in school on a case-by-case basis, rather than having a one-size-fits-all policy. Diverse Education

Students should embrace blogging

In an interview with the Chronicle of Higher Education, Kelly Sutton, who runs a technology blog by and for college students called "Hack College", encourages students to take up blogging. He says blogs are starting to replace resumes as indicators of talent and past experience. Sutton says technology has changed student life, in that it's no longer weird to spend a lot of time on the Internet, but it does add a lot of overhead to a student's life. He predicts a lot of social networks will putter out, but Facebook is here to stay. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) | Read Kelly Sutton's blog