Top Ten

July 26, 2010

Ottawa pledges over $32 million for college research and equipment fund

Science and Technology Minister Gary Goodyear announced yesterday that the federal government is investing $32.5 million with the Canada Foundation for Innovation to support a new college fund, which will ensure that colleges have the latest research equipment and facilities to take innovation research from the laboratory to the marketplace. Recognizing that colleges and polytechnics support private sector innovation in a different manner than universities, the CFI will launch one or more competitions by December 2010. Industry Canada News Release | ACCC News Release | Polytechnics Canada News Release

Saskatchewan shuts down private vocational school

Saskatchewan's advanced education ministry has shut down a private career college in Estevan, affecting 18 students. The ministry cancelled the certificate of registration for the Academy of Learning in Estevan last Wednesday because of the school's failure to comply with legislative requirements governing private vocational schools. The ministry has notified the affected students, and will assist them to either continue their post-secondary education or receive tuition refunds. Saskatchewan News Release | CBC

Fire breaks out at Dal's Life Sciences Centre

Firefighters were called to Dalhousie University's Life Sciences Centre Saturday night after witnesses reported flames and dark smoke coming from the top of the facility. The fire damage was isolated to the top floor, but the sprinkler system and a broken water main damaged the rest of the centre and a passage linking to other buildings, also resulting in the closure of the Chase, Chemistry, and Macdonald buildings. Most areas were reopened yesterday morning. Classes and events in affected facilities have been rescheduled or relocated. The cause of the blaze is under investigation. Dal News | Halifax Chronicle-Herald | CBC

NB universities expect to reap benefits from track and field competition

Université de Moncton president Yvon Fontaine says the publicity the institution has received from last week's IAAF World Junior Championships should result in increased enrolment of international students. He hopes that the 2010 Moncton Stadium, built at uMoncton's campus, will turn into a "centre of excellence in athletics" and draw young athletes from across Canada and the world to study at the university. The stadium is featured prominently in upcoming television ads for uMoncton and in recruitment brochures. Mount Allison University hosted the second athletes' village for the competition. While Mount Allison president Robert Campbell says the athletes themselves are not likely to come to the university because it is not a track and field powerhouse, they will spread the word about the institution. "They'll say we stayed at Mount A and it was the chillest place in the world. The positive story for us is the brand affiliation and the word of mouth." New Brunswick Business Journal | CBC

What PSE lessons America can learn from Canada

The installation of University of Waterloo president David Johnston as the next governor general reflects a Canadian push on higher education, write University of British Columbia president Stephen Toope and sociologist Neil Gross in a column published by Inside Higher Ed. That's quite different from what's happening in the US, they state, where PSE spending is a partisan issue and university budgets are being decimated. Despite some inevitable belt-tightening, Canadian policy makers recognize that a strong PSE system is key to long-term economic competitiveness and a successful society. One distinction about the Canadian approach is the notion of fairness and equity -- ensuring that qualified students can afford PSE is not just the right thing to do, it also makes good economic and social sense, the pair write. If the US does not act soon to shore up its PSE sector, Toope and Gross state, its loss will quickly become Canada's -- and other nations' -- gain. Inside Higher Ed

McGill med school calling for "non-traditional" applicants

McGill University's faculty of medicine has launched a "non-traditional pathways" program designed as a means of increasing the diversity of medical classes and to address the shortage of general practitioners. For the program's first year, which begins in the fall of 2011, up to 3 seats in the Quebec University category have been reserved for candidates who hold a bachelor degree and who have interrupted their academic studies for 3 or more years. McGill's medical school is open to adjusting the number of seats of the coming years as the program evolves. McGill News Release

Groundbreaking for NIC First Nations Gathering Place

North Island College held a groundbreaking ceremony at its Campbell River campus Friday for the new First Nations Gathering Place. A significant part of the vision identified for the Gathering Place was that the structure would have a story from its very beginning in planning stages and the importance for its hosts to know the story well and remember to tell it often. The Gathering Place has received financial support through the BC government's Gathering Place Capital Fund, whose goal is to support Aboriginal students in starting, staying, and succeeding in PSE by providing appropriate spaces for ceremony and celebration. NIC News Release

VIU wins SCUP Award for Institutional Innovation and Integration

The Society for College and University Planning has honoured Vancouver Island University with the 2010 Award for Institutional Innovation and Integration for the university's Nanaimo Campus Master Plan. The award recognizes and honours the achievement of post-secondary institutions or teams of individuals whose work demonstrates "innovative thinking, planning, and implementation in an integrated fashion." VIU president Ralph Nilson says the master plan "will aid the institution in crafting a superior learning and teaching environment for students, faculty, staff, and the community." VIU News | 2010 SCUP Institutional Innovation and Integration Award

uSask removes Visa from tuition payment options

Effective September 1, the University of Saskatchewan will no longer accept Visa cards for tuition payments as part of changes to payment options available to students. uSask will continue to accept MasterCard, as it, unlike Visa, allows universities to charge an administration fee. The university will charge a 1% administration fee to all tuition payments made with MasterCard, which will be accepted online only. In 2009-10, uSask paid about $900,000 to accept credit cards for tuition payment. The university's vice-president of finance and administration says the new administrative fee will cover about half of that expense moving forward, allowing uSask to direct those savings into projects designed to enhance the student experience. uSask News Release | Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

"Nixty" allows users to take, create free courses

This month marked the launch of a new website that allows any user to take and create courses for free. The new learning platform, called "Nixty," started up with more than 200 course offerings culled from open-source content already available online. Like a course-management system, Nixty comes with a grade book, testing, and discussion boards. Through the site, students can ask other users questions, and instructions can collaborate to improve their teaching material. Nixty's current features are just the beginning of what its developers have planned. In the next month, the company plans to roll out a payment system for courses. Nixty's chief executive hopes to establish partnerships with several online institutions. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access) | Nixty