Top Ten

October 15, 2010

UBC asked to scale back expansion proposal

A City of Vancouver staff report urges the University of British Columbia to scale back its ambitious plan to build more market housing and expand its campus population to 51,000 over the next 20 years, warning the move will put more pressure on the region's roads, transit, and other infrastructure. UBC argues it is located in "some of the most expensive real estate in Canada" and more market housing is needed. Metro Vancouver's chief administrative officer says while the regional district supports UBC's general plan for a "balanced university town," he worries UBC officials want to build more high-end market housing at the expense of student accommodation. Postmedia News

uHearst opens campus in Timmins

Last Thursday marked the official opening of the Université de Hearst's new Timmins campus, a project "30 years in the making." Although the Laurentian University affiliate has been a fixture in Timmins since the 1970s, uHearst students and staff have moved locations several times and dealt with challenging conditions. The new campus, comprising 15,000 square feet, currently offers 8 programs, 23 classes a week, and accommodates 68 students. 9 full-time professors work at the campus, with additional instructors travelling from the university's Hearst and Kapuskasing locations on a weekly basis. uHearst shares the location with Collège Boréal. Timmins Daily Press

uCalgary opens downtown campus

The University of Calgary Downtown Campus opened its doors this fall for the first phase in its staged opening over the current school year. Continuing Education, the first of the major occupants, is now offering a few classes, with further programming, mostly business and professional, to be offered in January. The Haskayne School of Business, the School of Public Policy, Canada School of Energy and Environment, bookstore, and library will begin operations in the new year. UToday

uSask revises research reactor proposal

The University of Saskatchewan is dropping medical isotope production from its new proposal to construct a nuclear research reactor that would complement the Canadian Light Source and help make Saskatoon a centre for nuclear science. The federal government's decision this summer not to build a medical isotope-producing reactor to replace the aging Chalk River facility essentially killed a joint proposal from uSask and the provincial government. The proposed Canada Neutron Source would cost between $500 million and $750 million and take up to a decade to build. The reactor's operating costs would range between $45 million and $70 million annually. Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

Leamington donates land to uWindsor for environmental research

The Municipality of Leamington recently announced a donation of 9 hectares of land to the University of Windsor. The property, located in southeast Leamington, will eventually be the site of the university's Pelee Environmental Research Centre. The future development will be the only centre in Canada focused on the Carolinian forest and Great Lakes. The donation marks the first time the municipality has partnered with a PSE institution. uWindsor News

Enrolments rise at Atlantic universities

According to new figures from the Association of Atlantic Universities (AAU), enrolments have increased in all key categories at Atlantic Canada's universities for the second consecutive year. These institutions experienced a 2.2% increase in full-time undergraduate enrolment. In addition, full-time graduate student enrolment rose by 5.4%, international-student enrolment by 15.2%, and first-year enrolment by 2.3%. AAU chair and Mount Allison University president Robert Campbell attributes the positive enrolment trends to 3 factors: the universities' increased marketing efforts; their growing reputation as an academic destination; and students' and families' recognition of the need for PSE in the emerging knowledge economy. Because of challenging regional demographic trends, Atlantic universities must continue to work hard at being nationally and internationally competitive, Campbell says. AAU website | AAU Survey of Preliminary Enrolments

Canada needs to improve PSE access, innovation, says Governor General

In an interview with Postmedia News, Governor General and former University of Waterloo president David Johnston says Canada has a ways to go toward improving secondary school dropout rates and access to higher education for low-income students. Johnston points to Finland's high school completion rate of 97%, while educators in Canada recently set a mere objective of 90%. He adds that Canada also lags when it comes to innovation. "One would have thought that given the activity in this country, given the attention that we are paying to being a smart society, that we should be doing better at closing (our productivity gap with the US)," Johnston says. Postmedia News

Mobile apps, lecture capture gaining ground on campuses, US survey finds

According to the 2010 Campus Computing Survey, over 70% of participating senior campus IT officials agree or strongly agree that mobile applications are an important part of their campus plan to enhance instructional resources and campus services. Yet less than 25% either have mobile apps in place for e-learning or plan to by the end of the current school year. Over 60% of respondents agree or strongly agree that lecture capture is an important part of their campus plan for developing and delivering instructional content. As with mobile apps, lecture capture is in the early phase of campus deployment. As of this fall, just 4.4% of courses use lecture-capture technologies, up from 3.1% in fall 2008. Inside Higher Ed | 2010 Campus Computing Survey

New partnership will see Blackboard selling online courses

Blackboard Inc. announced last Wednesday it has struck a partnership with K12 Inc., a for-profit education provider, to sell online courses to colleges looking to outsource their remedial offerings. Blackboard would sell online courses designed and taught by K12 employees, and the courses would be delivered on the Blackboard course-management system. This is the first time Blackboard has sold full courses, rather than just software to deliver them. The companies plan to make the solution available in 2011 to any PSE institution, not just those already working with Blackboard. Blackboard News Release | The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

Conference concentrates on drop in international students in Australia

Australia's shaken image as an education destination for foreign students cannot simply be fixed with new marketing, a plenary speaker told delegates at last week's Australian International Education Conference. The number of international students in the country is on the decline, spurred in part by attacks on Indian students and by investigations into shady private colleges. Government figures show foreign-student enrolments dropped by 0.4% in the 12-month period starting August 2009, driven by steep drops in English-language classes. While colleges and universities are still experiencing a rise in enrolments by students from abroad, they predict the numbers will decline in 2012 in part because English-language schools often feed students into universities. Leading institutions have called on Australia to consider revising immigration regulations in order to get foreign students back. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)