Top Ten

October 17, 2008

Mohawk College opens new skilled trades institute

Mohawk College has announced that it has officially opened the doors of its new Institute for Skilled Trades & Apprenticeship Research, Resources, and Training (STARRT). The project was a $24-million initiative on the Stoney Creek campus, aiming to create opportunities for more apprentices and college students to pursue "gold collar" careers in skilled trades. The building has two vertical wind turbines mounted on the roof for renewable energy production and demonstration. Daily Commercial News

Undergraduate enrolment drops at Atlantic universities

According to preliminary enrolment data from the Association of Atlantic Universities, undergraduate enrolment has decreased slightly at Maritime institutions, with a 1.3% drop from last year. 8 universities have seen declines in enrolment this year, and Mount Saint Vincent University had the biggest drop at 7.3%. Mount Allison University, Université Sainte-Anne, and Cape Breton University made the most gains in undergraduate enrolment, with jumps between 6% and 7.5% from last year. AAU Survey of Preliminary Enrolments

SFU prepared to join NCAA

Like the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University is planning to join the US-based National Collegiate Athletic Association. SFU's athletics department is awaiting board approval to join the NCAA at the Division II level. For SFU, the decision to move to the NCAA has to do with history, as the university had once competed exclusively south of the border. Should the board of governors approve the plan, all of SFU's teams could play in the US by the 2010-11 season. CanWest News Service

uCalgary will be home of biomedical engineering

The University of Calgary plans to open the National Biomedical Engineering Innovation Centre to focus on developing new technologies for the health care sector. The centre will be the first of its kind in Canada, and will concentrate on new innovations such as imaging technologies and robotics. The establishment of the centre was announced Wednesday. The cost and completion date for the centre are still unannounced. Calgary Sun | CTV News | Calgary Herald

Queen's Homecoming policing costs exceed $300,000

The cost of policing liquour-fuelled parties coinciding with Queen's University Homecoming last month so far totals $296,000, and the tab could go higher should the Ontario Provincial Police bill the Kingston department for staff time. The OPP loaned Kingston 2 riot squads of 30 officers, and city police borrowed officers from a number of towns to help prevent violence during Homecoming weekend. Last year, policing cost $231,000. Kingston Whig-Standard

McGill University receives $20 million gift

McGill is celebrating the first anniversary of its $750-million fundraising campaign this weekend, which has raised more than $440 million so far. The most recent gift is a $20-million contribution from the JW McConnell Foundation, which has given $120 million to McGill since 1937. About $13 million of the gift will go toward scholarships, student advertising, internships and field work, and the remaining $7 million is to be set aside to endow 5 faculty chairs. The Montreal Gazette

uManitoba opens Apotex Centre

Last Thursday, the University of Manitoba officially opened the Apotex Centre, which will house the university's pharmacy faculty and immunology department. The $32-million facility features 3 lecture theatres and substantial laboratory space. uManitoba News

US colleges brace for drop in corporate giving

As the economy enters what is likely a recession, institutions that rely on philanthropic donations are expecting to see cuts in corporate donations. Some companies are going bankrupt, being bought out by others, or are experiencing a steep decrease in stock value. Historically, corporate donations to education drop about 1.9% during years with recessions that last 8 months or more. Despite this, many companies are continuing their social responsibility giving to education, potentially moving to help organizations with more dire needs in a recession. Individual donations are not expected to decline as much. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

Hate crime investigation at UNB

The University of New Brunswick is investigating an allegation that a law student has spread hate literature on the Internet. In March, a law student filed a complaint to the university after he uncovered online postings featuring hate literature by a fellow student whom he was looking up for contact information. UNB officials say the incident falls outside of its normal disciplinary code because it happened off campus; however, a panel of inquiry was struck earlier this month to look into the complaint. The panel members are expected to make recommendations to UNB's president in November. CBC

Enrolment jumps at Ontario colleges

Despite the current economic climate, enrolment for first-year students at Ontario colleges is continuing its upward trend. September enrolment at the 24 Ontario colleges totalled 95,805 first-year students, up 5.6% from last year. The demand for college graduates is expected to increase further in the coming years as more baby boomers retire. The Globe and Mail

VIU proposes controversial policy on faculty interviews with media

Vancouver Island University professors are concerned about a proposed policy that would require all media interviews with faculty during election campaigns to be "co-ordinated" through VIU's public relations office. One professor says the draft policy amounts to vetting and threatens freedom of speech. VIU's media relations director denies that the policy would restrict professors from speaking freely to the media, and faculty have an opportunity to comment on the policy before it is finalized. Nanaimo Daily News

Brandon University students return to class

The 17-day strike at Brandon University has ended, as faculty and administration reached a tentative agreement Wednesday night. Classes will resume for students today, and they will suffer no academic penalty, university officials promised. The details of the agreement will not be released until a ratification vote is held. Classes have been on hold since September 29, when about 240 professors, library, and administrative staff walked off the job. CBC News | The Winnipeg Free Press

Mount Royal launches new brand

Calgary's Mount Royal College unveiled a brand new website yesterday, and their new brand slogan, "Face to Face". (The visual identity has not changed.) Academica's brand strategists worked with MRC last year to lay the groundwork for a clarified institutional position. Since that time, MRC has developed the "Face to Face" concept further, creating a brand microsite and brand guidelines to communicate the brand promise to internal and external audiences. MRC News Release

uWaterloo launches green website

The University of Waterloo recently launched a sustainability website to feature its green initiatives on campus and in the community. The site centralizes information on sustainability that had been scattered throughout the university web space. The site features sustainability-related news from campus and external publications, events, research, and a carbon footprint calculator. uWaterloo Daily Bulletin | UW Sustainability

Missing Afghan students found in Canada

5 Afghan students studying in Washington state on a 3-month study visa have fled to Canada, according to US customs officials. All five are men under 30, who went missing two weekends ago with nearly all their belongings from the University of Washington. They were reported missing last week after they did not return. Their visas are now invalid, preventing them from being able to return to the US, so American investigators have closed their case. The Canadian Border Services Agency will not confirm or deny the crossing of the men, who are believed to have entered Canada in British Columbia. A total of 38 students from Afghanistan came to Washington for the program. The Globe and Mail

How to communicate training and employment information

According to a new report from the Canadian Policy Research Networks, communication about needs and opportunities is a key requirement in the delivery of successful skills development. The report found that website use is the most popular way for training institutions to communicate with students, followed by brochures and prospectuses. Personal contact with prospective students is the most successful way for institutions to recruit students. CPRN e-Network | Read the full report

HEQCO examines student course evaluations

The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario has released a new paper evaluating and review the effectiveness of student course evaluations. This is the first review and summary of existing research from a Canadian perspective. The paper finds that course evaluations are a generally reliable tool for assessing teachers, but also points out a variety of issues that surround the issue of their effective use. These findings are intended to aid institutions in improving teaching performance. Full Report (free)

Students listen to podcasted lectures at high speed

Several professors are reporting that students are reviewing online lecture materials in fast forward, some zipping through hour-long lectures in as little as 30 minutes. Students claim that they can absorb the information faster than their professors deliver it. The trend appears to be popping up all over the globe, from Taiwan to the Netherlands to North America. The Chronicle of Higher Education

The benefits of bilingualism in Canada

In a new report, the Canadian Council of Learning touts the benefits of bilingualism. Studies have shown bilingual children are better able to focus their attention on relevant information, and that the effects of aging on the brain are diminished among bilingual adults. Employment rates and income are higher for French/English bilinguals in Canada. While Canadians are aware of these benefits, relatively few speak both official languages. To maintain the bilingual advantage, the CCL recommends continuing French immersion in PSE and boosting exchange programs in Francophone communities for high school students. CCL