Top Ten

August 30, 2010

CUPE raises concerns over for-profit online education

Following up on an article on the growth of private, for-profit education in Canada, CUPE offers more examples of how PSE "has become commercialized and globalized," with particular focus on for-profit online education. The article states that mounting evidence from the US shows the for-profit virtual university is "no solution" to enrolment pressures at Canadian institutions, and "universities, faculty and potential students should be more aware of the potential pitfalls of privatized post-secondary education." The article makes reference to Lansbridge University, a Fredericton-based private online school, losing its degree-granting status. In announcing Lansbridge's accreditation revocation, the New Brunswick government stated that the school "was still non-compliant and significantly sub-standard" after 2 failed institutional reviews. CUPE News

Application, enrolment boom at BVC

Bow Valley College reports that applications to its full-time career programs are up 48% from this time last year. Full-time career program enrolment at the Calgary-based college has risen by 21%. Institutional figures show a 20% increase in total applications to BVC programs, a 7% increase in ESL applications, and a 65% increase in part-time academic upgrading enrolment. The most popular programs at the college this year include Practical Nurse, Health Care Aide, Hospital Unit Clerk, Justice Studies, and Dental Business Assistant. BVC News Release

Smartphones mandatory for new RRC creative communications students

For the first time, new students to Red River College's creative communications program will have to bring mobile application-based devices to school when classes begin today. For future graduates to stay competitive, they must master the mobile trend, says an RRC instructor who helped champion the change. Some of the biggest costs linked to these devices are not mandatory, the instructor says. Students can tap into the college's free wireless Internet instead of getting a cellphone contract or data plan, and 2 expensive textbooks were removed this year to balance the cost. Winnipeg Free Press

Carleton to offer Canada's first graduate program in religion and public life

In September 2011, Carleton University will launch the country's first graduate program in religion and public life. The program, open to 12 students, will take a broad view of religion and examine the issues and debates about religion in society, with a historical or sociological focus. The mix of students expressing interest in the program has been encouraging. Some have an undergraduate degree in religious studies and want to pursue a graduate degree; others hope the program will help them in their professions. Ottawa Citizen

Residence shortage at Dal

At least 75 incoming Dalhousie University students will have to spend some time in temporary accommodations when the academic year starts due to a shortage of residence space at the university. 4 of Dal's 7 residences are converting common areas into free provisional sleeping space to accommodate the overflow. The university guarantees all new undergraduates a spot in residence if they apply before August 1, but even students who applied before the deadline are feeling the pinch as there is not enough space for everyone right away. Dal guarantees everyone will eventually get into a room. CBC

Grenfell to open observatory next year

In 2011, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College will open its new observatory, which will feature the largest astronomical telescope. The Grenfell telescope will be incorporated into 3 physics courses already offered at the Corner Brook campus of Memorial University. The campus may offer a physics degree with a focus on astronomy in the future. With the observatory, Grenfell will be in a position to not only do research on campus, but also collaborate with other universities and astronomers. Western Star

UQO launches new campaign, website

The Université du Québec en Outaouais is marking the new academic year with the launch of a new marketing campaign bearing the slogan "Sois reconnu" (Be Recognized). The campaign will promote the accomplishments of the university and those of its students over the next 3 years. The campaign will be rolled out over the next few weeks in traditional and social media. UQO has also launched a new website, which reflects elements of the campaign. UQO News (in French) | UQO website

How not to improve innovation in Canada

In a recent Globe and Mail column, uToronto president David Naylor and UBC president Stephen Toope express skepticism about some of the quick fixes offered to narrow the innovation gap and transform Canada's economy. Such nostrums include "better commercialization of publicly financed research is the key to accelerating innovation," "government must limit wasteful spending on 'curiosity driven' research," and "universities and colleges should focus on educating more students in science and technology." The presidents note that many of Canada's successful business leaders and social innovators are arts or social science graduates. Naylor and Toope write that "independent-minded university and college graduates from diverse backgrounds are critical to building creative societies with innovative foundations." Globe and Mail

Trend in US colleges encouraging student philanthropy

With alumni-giving rates at record lows and state support of PSE lagging, US institutions are focusing their efforts on building lifetime loyalty among new students. Fundraisers at Atlanta-based Emory University distribute piggy banks for first-year students to collect spare change, while California University of Pennsylvania asks for $1 donations at their new student convocation. Other institutions have developed more elaborate efforts, with 4-year programs teaching students the value of philanthropy as a civic virtue as well as the nuances of PSE funding. Associated Press

Oxford English Dictionary may become available online only

Oxford University Press announced Sunday that demand for the Oxford English Dictionary's online version has far outpaced that for the printed versions, raising doubt there will still be a market for the printed form. The online OED now gets 2 million hits a month from subscribers, while the current printed edition, published in 1989, has sold about 30,000 sets in total. OUP's chief executive doesn't think the newest edition will be printed. The publisher says the convenience of the online format is also affecting demand for its shorter dictionaries. The online version of the OED will be relaunched in December to include a historical thesaurus to make cross-referencing easier. Associated Press