Top Ten

August 9, 2010

UFV full to capacity

Projections indicate that the University of the Fraser Valley will operate at up to 108% of its government-set target for the coming school year. The institution's provost and vice-president academic notes that admitting students beyond government-funded capacity is not a good situation, as the university does not receive extra funding from the BC government for critical student services such as library resources and counselling. Aside from the problem of providing critical learning support to extra students, the VP says UFV will have to become more selective as student line-ups grow. Enrolment at the university has exceeded government-funded targets for over a decade. Overall student numbers are up 11% over this time last year. Few student seats are still available in select programs and courses, UFV reports, but applications to most major programs are now closed for the fall. UFV News Release

Lunenburg, NSCAD officials to meet over residence issues

Officials with the Town of Lunenburg will meet with their counterparts from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design next week to discuss how to address mandatory upgrades required at the former Lunenburg fire hall, which NSCAD has leased from the town for studio and living space for students of the artist-in-residence program. Following an inspection earlier this year, the town's fire inspector outlined $27,000 worth of safety improvements required in order for students to live in the building. During budget deliberations in June, town council opted to cut funding for the upgrades, putting the program's future in potential jeopardy. However, at a subsequent meeting, council revisited the matter, deciding to find a way to address the fire inspector's report while making sure the relationship with NSCAD and its presence in the community continue to work. SouthShoreNow News

McMaster receives $2-million bequest for high-performance track program

McMaster University has received a $2-million bequest to enhance and build an elite track and field program. The donation will be used to fund coaching, training programs, scholarships, tutoring, recruiting, and travel to special competitions. McMaster president Patrick Deane says the bequest from philanthropist Mona Campbell, who passed away in 2008 at the age of 89, will help the university "strengthen an already excellent program and ensure our students have access to the best possible education, training and facilities." McMaster Daily News

97% of Conestoga's Academic Upgrading students successfully complete first semester

Every year, Conestoga College tracks its Academic Upgrading students who enter a post-secondary program to make sure the preparation the college provides forms a solid base for success. Conestoga reports that 97% of Academic Upgrading students who began their post-secondary programs during the fall of 2009 and winter of 2010 successfully completed their first semester of their chosen program. Just over half of Academic Upgrading students attend programs in the field of Health and Life Sciences and Community Services. Conestoga News Release

Kaplan halts enrolment at campuses US investigators found recruiting abuses

Kaplan Inc. has suspended enrolment of new students at 2 of its campuses, where recruiting abuses were highlighted at a recent US Congressional hearing. The suspensions have been put into effect at Kaplan College campuses in Pembroke Pines, Florida and Riverside, California. At the Florida campus, undercover government investigators posing as applicants encountered admissions officers who lied about the school's accreditation and admissions-test proctors who coached the investigators on the answers. A Kaplan spokeswoman says such actions "are contrary to our standards and values in every way" and are "simply unacceptable." She says Kaplan has begun an investigation at the 2 campuses. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

Foreign students a significant group in international migration flows in OECD nations

For the first time in its annual International Migration Outlook, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development calculated "stay rates" for students converting their status from student to migrant. The 2010 report states that "international students have become a significant group in international migration flows in OECD countries" due to "broader policies to attract and retain highly skilled migrants." Such policies include Canada's facilitation of permanent residency for international graduates. According to figures based on 2007 status changes, the number of student-to-worker status changes is nearly 13,000 in Canada, one of the highest numbers among OECD nations. The OECD reports that the majority of students (61%) who changed status did so for work-related reasons, with a higher share of changes due to marriage in Germany and for humanitarian reasons in Canada. University World News | Read the report

Trend in US colleges turning to for-profit companies for international recruitment

American institutions have increasingly turned to for-profit firms for assistance in recruiting foreign students. Now, with the rising popularity of "pathway" programs, which feature a blend of credit-bearing coursework and instruction in English language and academic skills, some colleges are also outsourcing the responsibility for teaching and supporting foreign students their first year on campus. The suggestion a post-secondary institution can best serve and retain international students by outsourcing their recruitment, support services, and even academic instruction to a for-profit company is controversial. The growth of pathway programs has proven contentious in Britain and, more recently, in Canada, where faculty unions at Dalhousie University and the University of Windsor have waged campaigns against the outsourcing of teaching functions. Inside Higher Ed

"Place-based" colleges to be less important in 5 years, predicts Bill Gates

Although they're good for parties, "place-based colleges" are becoming less crucial for learning thanks to the Internet, Microsoft founder Bill Gates said at the Techonomy conference in California on Friday. "Five years from now on the Web for free you'll be able to find the best lectures in the world. It will be better than any single university," Gates argued. In the effort to provide higher education to every kid who wants it, only technology can bring a $200,000 education ($50,000 over 4 years) down to not just $20,000, but to $2,000, he said at the conference. Gates expects place-based activity at the college level to be 5 times less important than it is today. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

College-bound students value academic info the most from institutional websites

In a new US survey, 54% of responding college-bound high school students ranked academic-related information as the most valuable on a college website, with 30% stating that cost-related content was the most valuable to them. The survey found that content on institutional websites appears to shape student impressions of campuses more than other website features. A quarter of students reported they had dropped a school from consideration because of a bad website experience, with half of those students saying it was because they could not locate the information they wanted. 92% of students said they would be disappointed with an institution or drop it entirely if they could not find the information they needed, up from 88% in last year's survey. News Release | Read the report

Michigan college to make adjuncts "temps" to save on pension contributions

Michigan-based Washtenaw Community College plans to have a temporary services agency do the formal hiring of adjunct professors. By doing so, hundreds of part-time instructors will be taken off payroll, ending the college's need to pay into a retirement system on adjuncts' behalf, and potentially saving Washtenaw about $800,000 annually. As part of the change, the college will increase adjuncts' pay by 3%. Asked about the criticism raised last year about a similar plan proposed by another Michigan institution, Washtenaw told Inside Higher Ed he disagreed, stating the plan "puts more money in (adjuncts') paychecks and the relationships they have with the college are the same." The president of a national adjunct group sees the move reflecting the way many part-time instructors are treated. "What kind of message does it send to students to be told 'your professor is a temp'?" Inside Higher Ed