Top Ten

August 31, 2010

Alberta Health invests $44 million to increase number of health grads

Alberta Health Services will allocate $44 million to post-secondary spots for nurses, doctors, and other health-care professionals after the medical superboard ran a significantly smaller shortfall than originally budgeted. The move, which comes at a time when uAlberta's and uCalgary's medical schools trimmed the number of student spaces due to budget cuts, is intended to help meet key government targets for graduating health-care professionals. The province's post-secondary institutions are waiting to find out who gets a portion of Alberta Health's funding as details have yet to be worked out. Calgary Herald

$15 million for Collège de Maisonneuve infrastructure

Yesterday the federal and Quebec governments announced over $15 million from the Knowledge Infrastructure Program in support of an expansion project and major repair work at Collège de Maisonneuve. The majority of the funding will allow the Montreal-based CÉGEP to provide space that is more functional and better adapted to the needs of current and future students. The expansion, focusing mostly on classrooms, includes the redevelopment of the library and additional space for student activities. Quebec News Release (in French)

SFU contemporary arts school receives $4-million gift

Philanthropist Djavad Mowafaghian is donating $4 million to Simon Fraser University's School of Contemporary Arts in support of its new home within the redeveloped Woodward's complex in downtown Vancouver. When the school opens this month, 2 of its major performance spaces will be named after the donor. The 350-seat Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema will showcase student film projects as well as festival and community film screenings. Providing a dramatic setting for the performance and study of world music, the Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre will also house SFU's extensive collection of Indonesian gamelan instruments and African drums. SFU News Release

UVic resumes rabbit trapping

The BC Supreme Court has set aside an injunction barring the University of Victoria from capturing on-campus rabbits. As a result, UVic will begin to humanely trap rabbits and provide them to sanctuaries with provincial permits and commitment from veterinarians to sterilize the animals. In arguing against the injunction, the university stated that its feral rabbit management plan meets the requirements of the legislation governing the rabbit population on campus. UVic hopes to trap 400 to 500 rabbits this month, primarily in the area of the university residences. UVic News Release

Record PSE enrolment in BC

According to a statistical profile of higher education in BC, more than 440,000 students are enrolled in public post-secondary institutions in the province, the highest number ever. There are more than 24,000 international students at public institutions, also a record figure. Over 21,000 public PSE students in BC identify themselves as Aboriginal, a significant increase since reporting began in 2003. BC Information Bulletin

What is the value of a university degree?

According to AUCC, a university graduate will make $1.3 million more over his or her lifetime than someone with just a high school diploma. Compared to community college graduates, university grads will earn $1 million more. University grads also have fewer periods of unemployment and tend to live healthier lives -- points backed up by Statistics Canada data. A university degree proved even more valuable during the recent recession, AUCC notes. From September 2008 to March 2010, there were 150,000 net new jobs for university grads, compared to 684,000 fewer jobs for those without a degree during the same period. AUCC released this data to emphasize the benefits of investing in PSE. Additional data will be issued in the fall, followed by the release of a major publication in January. AUCC News Release | The Value of a Degree (AUCC brochure)

What Ontario undergrads want

Financial assistance, student services, and teaching pedagogy are top priorities for Ontario undergraduate students, according to survey results released yesterday by OUSA. Respondents ranked financial aid and support services as the highest and second-highest spending priorities, respectively, for universities. While satisfaction was high for most campus services, students surveyed were significantly less satisfied with the quality of financial aid services, career counselling, and services for students with disabilities. Students cited available and helpful faculty, well-prepared lectures, and an engaging presence in the classroom as characteristics of a high-quality learning experience. The integration of technology in the classroom and having a prominent researcher as a professor were of lesser importance. OUSA News Release | Read the survey

NS university tuition remains highest in Maritimes

Average undergraduate tuition fees in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick remain at $5,922 and $5,433, respectively, for the 2010-11 academic year due to a tuition freeze in place in both provinces, according to a new MPHEC survey. Tuition fees rose by 3.2% over the last year in Prince Edward Island, but they remain the lowest of the 3 provinces at $4,860 for 2010-11. Ancillary fees remain relatively unchanged in the Maritimes. Total undergraduate tuition fees, including ancillary fees, increased by 2.6% in PEI, 0.2% in NB, and did not change in NS. MPHEC News Release | Read the survey

Welcoming the world in "open teaching"

An online class in learning theory at the University of Manitoba has become a landmark in the small but burgeoning push toward "open teaching," where courses extend participation to anyone around the world. By removing certain barriers to distance education, open professors are inventing a way of learning online akin to the open, connected Web of blogs and wikis, which can expose students to a far broader network than they would experience by discussing lessons with a small group of students. That exposure does have some challenges, such as the lack of privacy some students find jarring, or people enrolling with intent to spam or troll. Beyond the issue of privacy, distance educators also question how well the open-teaching model -- limited mostly to educational-technology courses -- would apply to more traditional subjects. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

Toronto career college students ineligible for discounted transit pass

Students enrolled in private career colleges in Toronto are not eligible for the Toronto Transit Commission's new discounted monthly pass for PSE students, a move the Ontario Association of Career Colleges calls "unfair" and "discriminatory." The TTC says the exclusion had to do with budgetary concerns, given the great number of career colleges and programs, where students may be only enrolled for a couple of weeks. The TTC may consider looking to include private career college students in the discounted pass program as part of the budget for 2011. Toronto Star