Top Ten

May 11, 2008

Algonquin College trades facility awaits funding

About 16 months ago, Algonquin College began asking the Ontario government for funding toward construction of a planned $66-million Environmental Demonstration Centre for Construction Trades and Building Sciences, with capacity for 600 construction students a year. Now the price has risen to $69-million, and Ottawa-West Nepean MP John Baird says he hopes to meet with Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty in the next few weeks to ensure some $35 million of federal PSE transfers go to Algonquin. The Canadian Construction Association reiterates that the industry will need more than 300,000 new recruits by 2016. Ottawa Citizen | CCA News Release

uAlberta introduces Aboriginal governance program

Last Thursday, the University of Alberta's Faculty of Native Studies launched its new Aboriginal Governance and Partnership program with a full-day Aboriginal governance symposium, led by Aboriginal leaders from across the continent. The school's provost and VP Academic says through the faculty, the university as a whole is learning that equitable, successful governance and partnership partnerships are key in creating and maintaining healthy Aboriginal communities. uAlberta News Release

Businessman offers free building for NB medical school

Late last week, Saint John businessman Guy Barbara heeded the call of the New Brunswick government, whose PSE minister says private investment is required to open a medical school in the city. Barbara offered to donate the 12,000-sq-ft Key Industries building to the province to house the med school, which would be established in partnership with Dalhousie University. His only condition is that the school stay put for at least 10 years. Barbara says he made the announcement "to force Dalhousie University, UNB-SJ, the government, whoever is involved in this decision to hurry up and do it." Saint John Telegraph-Journal 

Queen's PhD student on improving PSE accessibility

A Queen's University doctoral student presented a study last Wednesday on the difficulty low-income students have in attending university or college. She suggests improving PSE accessibility by turning tuition tax credits into up-front grants, creating a federal student assistance plan to replace the varying provincial systems, increasing student grants as opposed to loans, and covering tuition fees up to $6,000 for low-income students. The student also suggests schools should give detailed accounts of how they reached a level of excellence, and eliminate the "information gap" about the cost of PSE. Kingston Whig-Standard | Maclean's OnCampus | Read the full report

uWaterloo publishes weekly news on BlackBerry

The University of Waterloo has become a publisher of a free weekly news digest called "UW Mobile." BlackBerry users with an interest in uWaterloo can subscribe to a news digest of stories, downloaded each Monday. The digest appears instantly when the UW icon is pressed, thanks to technology developed by Polar Mobile Group, a content delivery firm founded by UW alumni. So far the news digest is accessible only by BlackBerry, but the company hopes to expand the service to other smartphones in the future. uWaterloo News Release | UW Mobile

Strong parent-child bonds can actually hurt PSE prospects

A new US study concludes that strong family ties may encourage children to be honour students in high school, but can actually discourage them from pursuing PSE. Students reporting good relationships with their parents were less likely to enroll in university, more likely to want to live at home during PSE, and those were more than 40% less likely to enroll in university. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

Students at manliest campus in America have no regrets

Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia is among the last male-only colleges in the US, and is arguably the manliest -- and its students wouldn't have it any other way. When asked why they chose to go to Hampden-Sydney, students don't mention the lack of women; they cite the school's solid liberal-arts curriculum and strong alumni network. By the time students graduate, they appreciate the single-sex aspect. One positive, students say, is there's no pressure to meet or impress girls. In the mid-1990s the college's faculty voted in favour of admitting women, but the idea was quickly shot down. Since then the college has seen its applications more than double, and its fundraising numbers improve substantially. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

Trend towards six-day classes on US campuses

Several universities in the US have added Saturday classes to accommodate varying schedules. A New Jersey university is considering the move to a six-day school week in order to relieve some of the financial strain. By offering classes on Friday afternoons and Saturday, Kean State could attract more students, get those enrolled to graduate quicker, and add flexibility for those who work on the side. The change would make the campus more accessible to different kinds of students, and could keep the tuition increase down to single digits. Inside Higher Ed

Mature student boom in California

The state of California is experiencing surging enrolment by older students in its PSE institutions. Between 1996 and 2006, the number of California college students aged 50-64 rose 61%, while enrolment increased 32% for those aged 40-49. Economic need, career changes and the invasion of computers and technology in the workplace are driving the increase of mature student enrolment in the state. Some schools, particularly community colleges, are accommodating this demographic by offering flexible hours, urban campuses and specific services. Sacramento Bee 

"Mature" market very much active online

A new report from Focalyst and Dynamic Logic finds Americans aged 62 and above spend a collective three-quarter-billion minutes a day on the Internet, or an average of 44 minutes daily individually. A large portion of the demographic, especially those under age 71, are online and engage in various activities: 59% of adults over 62 use search engines and contact friends and family, while 13% use the Net for education or training. ClickZ