Top Ten

July 12, 2010

UNB chancellor pledges $20 million to university's Currie Centre

University of New Brunswick chancellor Richard J. Currie has revealed that he has donated over $20 million in support of the construction of the university's new multi-purpose facility that bears his name, making it the largest private gift UNB has ever received. Based at the Fredericton campus, the Richard J. Currie Centre will be a 5-storey structure with state-of-the-art gyms, research facilities, and fitness and conference centres. The building will also be the venue for convocations once it opens next spring. What drives his generosity, Currie says, is his belief that higher education in a strong institution such as UNB is the key to New Brunswick's future success. Times & Transcript

UTSC undergoing Cinderella-like transformation

The University of Toronto's Scarborough campus is growing in importance as a major research centre in its own right, uToronto president David Naylor said during a recent tour of what he calls the university's Cinderella campus, which is being transformed by a $78-million makeover. A new 4-storey academic building, opening next fall, will add a 350-seat lecture hall, 7 classrooms, study space, a rooftop garden, and a courtyard. The new facility is long overdue, says UTSC's principal, who notes the campus's "desperate" space crunch "affected the quality of the student experience." Also under construction at the campus is a $170-million aquatic centre for the 2015 Pan Am Games. uToronto would like to see Military Trail rerouted to make way for a pedestrian mall in the heart of UTSC. If the promised transit hub to Morningside Avenue next to campus is realized, "Cinderella will have her coach," Naylor said. Toronto Star

How Canadian universities contribute to the digital economy

In its submission to the Digital Economy Consultation, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada identifies 3 key functions universities perform in contributing to and preparing the country for the digital economy: developing talent, conducting research, and creating new and maintaining existing research infrastructure. The submission observes that active recruitment of top-tier international students and underrepresented students in Canada will be essential to meet the increasing demand for highly qualified personnel in the digital economy. Long-term, sustainable support for internships and university incubators such as research parks and collaborative research networks will be necessary to develop the environment in which students and the private sector can help drive Canada's innovation, productivity, and competitiveness. Read the submission

uCalgary developing global energy EMBA

The University of Calgary's Haskayne School of Business has partnered with IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates to launch an executive MBA program focusing on the oil and gas industry. The tuition for the program, to be taught in 5 three-week modules, is $105,000, nearly twice the fee for the standard executive MBA at Haskayne. The fee will rise with the cost of travel, as each class will take instruction in 4 oil and gas hot spots -- Calgary, London, Houston, and either the Middle East, Moscow, Beijing, or Latin America. Haskayne will provide 60% of the teaching, thus allowing the program to obtain accreditation under the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The plan is to launch the program in the second or third quarter of 2011, with a target of 60 executives in each class. The program's development is funded by a $1-million donation from the business school's namesake, Richard Haskayne. uCalgary News | Globe and Mail

RESP effectiveness hindered by lack of awareness, study finds

While refinements to Canada's Registered Education Savings Plan have made it an effective savings vehicle, Canadians are not taking full advantage of the RESP due to poor awareness and understanding, according to research by the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada. Because the savings plan comprises several components, most people lack a clear understanding of how the program works and what its benefits are, and this is particularly true among lower income Canadians, says one the paper's author. The report also notes that rising tuition fees are countering the benefits of the RESP and they should be addressed directly. CGA-Canada News Release | Read the report

Durham College "GPS" helps students navigate through first year

Durham College has launched a new portal called "Get Prepared for Success" (GPS), through which first-year students can virtually navigate through campus services and complete their college business, such as paying tuition, booking a locker, and registering for courses. Through the microsite, students can take a virtual tour of the campus, get in contact with current students, and schedule an in-person GPS Live session. The portal is one of 2 new microsites developed by the college. The other, called "Building for our Future," documents the ongoing construction and expansion taking place at the Oshawa and Whitby campuses. Get Prepared for Success | Building for our Future

Sustainability a popular recruitment tool in the US

Universities and colleges across the US are increasingly incorporating an environmental focus in their recruiting efforts. At Washington, D.C.-based American University, prospective students are taken through the institution's arboretum and green-certified buildings. Dubbing itself "The Green University," Colorado State University, which is building what could be the largest solar power plant on a university campus, is looking into buying battery-powered vans to shuttle prospective students and their parents around campus. According to the 2010 College Sustainability Report Card, 69% of colleges and universities reported incorporating a sustainability message during the admissions and student orientation processes, up from 27% in 2009. USA Today

"Call us this, don't call us that"

At a number of American institutions, public relations information produced by college athletics programs carry specific demands over what schools want to be called, and what not to be called. Referred to as "Western" for years, Western Kentucky University states it should always be called by its full name or by "WKU," in part to distinguish itself from other institutions with "Western" in their names. The university formerly known as North Carolina-Asheville wants the hyphen dropped, preferring the use of UNC Asheville or Ashville. Ohio-based Miami University deems the popular vernacular "Miami of Ohio" an improper name, and dictates the use of Miami University, Miami University (Ohio), or Miami (Ohio). For this institution, the goal is to separate itself in the public mind from the University of Miami in Florida. Lexington Herald-Leader

Alumni magazines less popular with younger alumni, CASE survey finds

According to a new survey conducted by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, alumni magazines are much less popular with younger alumni than with older alumni. A majority of responding alumni 50 and older "generally" get information about their alma maters from these publications, compared to just 21% of alumni under 25, the survey found. Younger alumni are much more likely to visit a college website for information or rely on word of mouth. 70% of alumni aged 50 and older reported reading every issue of alumni magazines, compared to 38% of those under 25. 58% of respondents agree and 30% strongly agree that the magazines strengthen their "personal connection" to their institutions. Inside Higher Ed

International-student enrolment in US rises 3%

Despite the global recession, the total number of foreign students in the US grew by 3% from fall 2008 to fall 2009, according to a new report from the National Science Foundation. Annual growth is on decline -- total international enrolment increased by 4.3% from 2006 to 2007, and by 3.7% from 2007 to 2008. Most of this slowing in the growth rate stemmed from the biological sciences, education, business, or health, while the rate of growth for most fields related to science and engineering actually increased. New enrolments in science and engineering rose by 4%, a larger increase than in recent years. Inside Higher Ed | The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)