Top Ten

November 8, 2010

Families of SAIT alumni give $10 million to institution

The families of 2 Southern Alberta Institute of Technology alumni -- David Johnson and Murray Cobbe -- announced yesterday they will each contribute $5 million to the institution's $75-million "Promising Futures" campaign in support of the $445-million Trades and Technology Complex, set to open in 2012. In recognition of the donations, the west wing of the complex will be named the "Johnson-Cobbe Energy Centre." The combined gift is the latest in a series of significant personal donations made to SAIT during the campaign, which includes a $15-million donation that was announced in April. SAIT News Release

Globe releases 2011 Canadian University Report

Yesterday the Globe and Mail released its 9th annual Canadian University Report. In terms of overall student satisfaction, UWO and McGill received an "A" and "A-," respectively, among large institutions; UoGuelph and Queen's scored "A" grades among medium-sized universities; Grant MacEwan University and Mount Royal University each earned an "A" in the small university category; and Bishop's U and Redeemer University College both received an "A" among very small universities. This year's report includes a "personality test" designed to explore what undergraduates thought about various aspects of their university's "personality." Also new this year is "Working Knowledge," a careers-oriented wealth of information designed to help students tailor their university search to complement their future career goals. Globe and Mail News Release | Canadian University Report 2011

uCalgary Facebook case may set Charter precedent for universities

In her ruling favouring students who were sanctioned by the University of Calgary for online comments criticizing a professor, an Alberta judge asserted "the university is not a Charter-free zone," sparking debate in the media over whether PSE institutions should be considered part of government, and what the implications are for Canadian universities. In a Calgary Herald article, a local lawyer writes that if uCalgary "wishes to censor speech it considers offensive, it should become truly private and turn down the hundreds of millions of dollars it receives from Alberta taxpayers for the express purpose of fostering ideas and debate." Maclean's OnCampus editor Carson Jerema argues that it makes little sense to rule that universities are akin to government, especially as public support to universities, as a proportion of operating funds, is declining. While the case is not binding on other Canadian courts, it could be cited as persuasive in other courts. Some say that such a ruling may encourage other students to challenge university policies. Calgary Herald | National Post | Winnipeg Free Press | Inside Higher Ed

University leaders discuss budget concerns with finance minister

The heads of major Canadian universities say they are facing budget crunches with a 55% increase in enrolment over the last 15 years, combined with dwindling operating budgets. In a meeting with federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty this week, the administrators said that while they were pleased with the outcome of the $2-billion Knowledge Infrastructure Program, they will need sustained and balanced support from federal and provincial governments to keep top students and faculty members in the country. The administrators hope the different levels of government can continue to work together with initiatives similar to the Knowledge Infrastructure Program to make the necessary investments, without infringing on each other's constitutional responsibilities. Postmedia News

British government to slash higher ed budget

Government funding for higher education in Britain is to be cut by 40% over 4 years, suggesting that public funding for arts, humanities, and social science education may come to an end. The British government's Comprehensive Spending Review, unveiled Wednesday, includes a reduction in the PSE budget of £2.9 billion -- from £7.1 billion to £4.2 billion -- by 2014-15. The Treasury says the department that overseas higher education will continue to fund teaching for STEM subjects. No mention is made of other fields of study. The announcement suggests the UK is following the funding model set out in the Browne Review, which recommends there should be a minimum £700 million annual budget only for teaching "priority subjects," such as STEM. Times Higher Education

HEQCO report supports greater differentiation of universities

A new report from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario says universities should set measurable goals on their strengths, and the province should base new funding on whether those goals are met. According to the paper, the results would produce a higher education system that is more cohesive, more fluid, more sustainable, and of higher quality. A cornerstone of the differentiated approach, HEQCO states, is a comprehensive agreement between each institution and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, identifying the expectations and accountabilities of each university, including target enrolment and student mix, priority teaching and research programs, and areas for future growth and development. HECQO News Release | COU News Release | OUSA News Release | Toronto Star | Read the report

St. Clair president critical of uWindsor digital journalism proposal

The University of Windsor is proposing a digital journalism program, potentially drawing students away from St. Clair College and its new mediaplex, a move which will harm the relationship between the 2 institutions, St. Clair president John Strasser warns. "This is direct competition with what we are doing," Strasser says. "There hasn't been any discussion with (uWindsor). It's completely unacceptable, from my standpoint." uWindsor organizers say the programs are not competitors because the university program focuses on academics. The university says it will also teach photojournalism, video, and design skills, areas of specialties at St. Clair. The college's journalism co-ordinator does not see uWindsor's proposed program as competition, noting that the bedrock of St. Clair's program is teaching writing and reporting skills. Windsor Star

Balsillie School director unjustly fired, CAUT investigation concludes

A Canadian Association of University Teachers investigation finds that Ramesh Thakur was unjustly fired from his position as director of the Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA) over his objection to the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), the school's principal private partner, asserting a stronger role in the institution's governance. The report calls on the school's partners -- CIGI, the University of Waterloo, and Wilfrid Laurier University -- to apologize publicly to Thakur for his termination, and calls for changes to the BSIA's governance structure to ensure the 2 universities have independent control over the school's academic mission. uWaterloo and WLU say they "strenuously" disagree with the report, arguing it is based "on flawed and incomplete interpretation of the circumstances and rationale for the decisions." CAUT News | uWaterloo News Release | Globe and Mail | Read the report

uAlberta investigates allegations of frat hazing

University of Alberta officials are investigating allegations surfacing in a student newspaper that a fraternity is subjecting its recruits to severe hazing. The investigation involves video footage that allegedly shows members of Delta Kappa Epsilon telling recruits to eat their own vomit, confining them in a plywood box, and forcing them to hold still in uncomfortable positions for long periods of time. If found guilty of the alleged offences, individuals within the fraternity could face sanctions ranging from a letter of reprimand to expulsion. The fraternity could also lose its student group privileges. uAlberta ExpressNews | Edmonton Journal | Edmonton Sun | CBC | The Gateway (student newspaper)

uManitoba prof lacks right to challenge PhD issue in court, university argues

In court documents filed Friday, the University of Manitoba states a math professor challenging the decision to award a PhD to a student who lacks the academic qualifications does not have the right to fight the matter in court. The professor was suspended for 3 months without pay in October after he launched his legal action against uManitoba after the student, who had twice failed a critical exam, had been reinstated on the grounds the student suffers from exam anxiety disorder. Meanwhile, the university's senate has turned down a proposal to give sweeping powers to the graduate studies dean to waive the academic requirements for graduation. Winnipeg Free Press

uWaterloo fundraising campaign raises over $613 million

The University of Waterloo's "Campaign Waterloo" has ended with $613.2 million in donations, more than twice the original goal of $260 million. In what was informally dubbed "the puck in the net," $45 million was raised in the last 3 months before David Johnston left the role as president of the university to become Canada's Governor General. In all, more than 60,000 individuals made contributions to the campaign. Of those donors, 66 made gifts of $1 million or more. It is expected that uWaterloo will continue to raise $100 million each year. uWaterloo News Release | Waterloo Region Record

Ontario post-secondary presidents ordered to post expenses online

The Ontario government unveiled yesterday legislation that would ban publicly-funded entities, such as post-secondary institutions, from spending taxpayers' money on lobbyists. The legislation also includes new accountability measures requiring top executives in the public sector to post their expenses online. Executives of Ontario hospitals and post-secondary schools already disclose their salaries under rules that capture every public sector employee who earns over $100,000 a year. Earlier this month, the provincial NDP revealed that 9 colleges and universities have spent $1 million on lobbyists. Ontario News Release | Globe and Mail

CBU maintenance workers on strike

trades people who look after maintenance at Cape Breton University went on strike yesterday. The president of the union that represents the employees says the main issue is wages. The striking workers are seeking annual wage increases of 2.9% a year over 3 years. Canadian Press

Globe investigation reveals poor service of Chinese recruitment agencies

A Globe and Mail investigation found that some Chinese student recruitment agencies abuse their partnerships with Canadian schools, promising Chinese families far more than they can deliver. Often, students are charged thousands of dollars for what ends up being a semester of English-language training at private colleges loosely affiliated with the Canadian universities to which the students' family believed they were paying tuition. "The whole reason people pay money to these companies with extremely poor service is because Canadian universities lend them credibility,” says a former teacher with Aoji Education Group, a Beijing-based recruiting agency. The ex-Aoji teacher, now a Beijing-based consultant for Canadian universities, argues that these institutions must scrutinize what is done in their name. Globe and Mail

Paper calls for more education resources in South Fraser region

The Surrey Board of Trade recently released a position paper on the state of education and its ramifications on the South Fraser region's economy. The paper points out that by 2016, one-third of graduating high school students will be from a South Fraser secondary school, yet regional cities have fewer than 100 post-secondary seats per 1,000 population compared to the BC average of 244 seats. The paper calls on the provincial government to develop and implement plans to increase the capacity at Simon Fraser University's Surrey campus and Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Surrey Trade of Board News Release | Georgia Straight | Read the paper

Researchers who falsify results should be identified, Canadian panel urges

In a report released yesterday, an expert panel appointed by the Council of Canadian Academies says academics found to have falsified data, plagiarized, and engaged in serious misconduct should be named publicly. Currently, universities and government research granting councils refuse to identify individuals who have engaged in research misconduct, citing privacy laws. Although it recognizes the importance of maintaining individuals' privacy during an investigation, the panel says "investigative findings should be reported and made public if an individual or institution is found guilty of research misconduct." The panel also calls for the creation of a Canadian Council for Research Integrity, which would facilitate research integrity practices and support members of the research community. The council would not assume responsibility for policing of research misconduct, which would continue to lie with tri-council. Council of Canadian Academies News Release | Postmedia News | CBC | Read the report

Women at Dal being secretly filmed

Dalhousie University security staff are warning students that someone is secretly filming women on the Studley campus, the largest of Dal's campuses, and posting the videos online. The university is asking anyone who notices suspicious activity to report it to campus security and police. A constable with the Halifax Regional Police confirms that at least one student has filed a complaint through Dal and that an investigation in ongoing. CBC | QMI Agency

Trent opens new campus in Oshawa

Civic leaders joined members of the Trent University community in Oshawa Monday to celebrate the official opening of the university's new Thornton Road campus in the city. The $11.5-million facility will deliver full- and part-time programs to over 1,600 students during the next 7 years. Calling it a milestone moment in the history of Trent and the City of Oshawa, Trent president Steven E. Franklin says the institution looks forward to fostering even more partnerships throughout the community, including with its education partners at UOIT and Durham College. Trent News Release

uManitoba professor suspended over privacy violation

The University of Manitoba has suspended a mathematics professor accused of violating the institution's privacy regulations with respect to the identity of a doctoral student who had been asked to withdraw from the program after twice failing a comprehensive exam, later succeeding in appealing that decision to the graduate studies dean. In a court application to have the dean's decision reversed, the professor makes reference to the student's identity and personal health information, which was "unauthorized," says uManitoba president David Barnard. In outlining reasons for the professor's suspension, Barnard calls the professor "'insubordinate' and further accuses him of 'having engaged in a pattern of behaviour with regard to [the] student which the university considers to be harassment.'" The professor is grieving his suspension through the faculty union and his students have circulated a petition calling for his reinstatement. Maclean's OnCampus

UVic names business school after benefactor

The University of Victoria announced Friday it is renaming its business school to the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business after Custom House Currency Exchange founder Peter Gustavson. In March, Gustavson made a $10-million donation to UVic's business faculty to be used to establish an endowment for scholarships, professorships, and research. This marks the first time in the university's history that a faculty is being named after an individual. UVic News Release | Victoria Times-Colonist

Algoma U president proposes adoption of "Block Plan"

Last month, Algoma University president Richard Myers met with members of the university community to launch a proposal for the adoption of the "Block Plan," a course delivery format developed by Colorado College and used by BC's Quest University. Under this format, students take one course at a time, with 3 to 4 hours of instruction per day for about 3 weeks. At the end of the course, students write their exam and move on to the next block. The Block Plan system gives students and instructors the freedom to move the classroom offsite and allows faculty to develop a wealth of opportunities for foreign study, says Myers, who also notes that adopting the Block Plan would strengthen Algoma U's capacity to recruit students from abroad. The president has created a task force to study the idea, seek input from the campus community, and submit a report. Messages from Algoma U president

uCalgary must improve security of online information, says Alberta auditor general

In a report released Tuesday, Alberta's auditor general says the University of Calgary must do a better job of protecting against unauthorized access to confidential online information. For the fourth time, the auditor general's office repeats its recommendation that uCalgary improve controls over access security to programs and data. Numerous problems remain around the institution's research management, the auditor general says, noting that 4 out of 7 previous audit recommendations have not been met. The report also recommends that Athabasca University continue to improve its governance and oversight of information technology. Office of the Auditor General of Alberta News Release | Calgary Herald | Read the report

Enrolment rises at uSask

For the second year in a row, the University of Saskatchewan is reporting overall enrolment increases at the undergraduate and graduate level. There are 16,590 undergraduates enrolled at the institution, up by 1.87% over last year. Graduate enrolment rose by 9.24% to 2,835 students. A demographic breakdown of the study body shows an 8.69% increase in the number of both undergraduate and graduate international students (to 1,863) and a 5.77% increase in the number of self-declared Aboriginal students (to 1,722). uSask News Release

Canada seeking more Saudi medical students

The federal government plans to boost its efforts to attract Saudi health-sciences and medical students with an MOU in health care between Canada and Saudi Arabia. The MOU will offer opportunities for Saudi physicians and health-care personnel to receive further training in their fields in Canada. There are over 10,000 Saudi government-sponsored students studying in Canada, including 800 Saudi doctors and medical students pursuing graduate studies in Canadian hospitals and universities. Canada's ambassador to Saudi Arabia announced last month that medical examinations will no longer be required for most Saudi citizens, including students, who plan to stay in Canada for over 6 months. Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada News Release | Canada International News Release | Arab News | Gulf Times

The value of a degree in Canada's labour market

At every level and in every region of Canada, more young people are attending university, with 898,000 full-time students currently enrolled, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada reports in a new brochure. The demand for university graduates in the past 2 decades has been high: of the 1.5 million new professional and management positions created, 1.3 million were filled by university graduates. "The increased demand is a direct response to the shift in Canada's labour market from a resource-based economy to a knowledge-based economy," AUCC states. AUCC News Release | The Value of a Degree in Canada's Labour Market

Med schools "surreptitiously" applying different admissions practices to men

During the last decade, men's interest in medicine has hardly shifted, while women have been drawn to the field in even higher numbers. Medicine is considered a field where the gender imbalance could lead to labour shortfall, just as an aging population drives demand. Canadian Council on Learning president Paul Cappon says that in the last few years, some universities have been tinkering with admissions to increase the number of men in medical school, looking beyond grades to give male applicants, in particular, credit for things like community service. Med schools are doing that "surreptitiously, because it's politically incorrect to do it," Cappon says. Men still stand a better chance of being accepted into medical schools in all but 3 provinces, according to data from the entering class of 2007. Cappon says there is also an image issue at play: "If it looks like a woman's program, you'll have trouble attracting both more and women." Globe and Mail

UPEI keeps presidential candidate shortlist secret

The University of Prince Edward Island will not disclose its shortlist of presidential candidates, as some good candidates advised they would withdraw because they do not want to expose themselves or their current positions through a public process. Until this year, shortlisted candidates have given public presentations to students and staff. Now, the only people who will meet and question the candidates are the 12 members of the presidential search committee. Some UPEI faculty members say they deserve to know who is on the shortlist. "It does breed suspicion when you close a process like that down, particularly one for such an important decision," says one professor. CBC

Saskatchewan invests $11 million to expand nursing education

The Saskatchewan government announced last week an $11.25-million investment to fund an increase of 170 registered nursing training seats for Saskatchewan nursing students. This increase completes the province's platform commitment to create 300 new nursing training seats. Starting in 2011-12, the Universities of Saskatchewan and Regina, in collaboration with the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology, will both grant nursing degrees. Saskatchewan News Release | uSask News Release

uAlberta fraternity loses student group registration over hazing allegations

The University of Alberta announced Thursday it has revoked the student-group privileges of a fraternity accused of subjecting its pledges to severe hazing. uAlberta's campus protection services launched an investigation late last month after an article appearing in a student paper detailed the alleged hazing incidents. The fraternity's suspension means it will no longer be entitled to the rights accompanying student-group status, such as the use of campus facilities, use of institution liquor and gaming licenses, and access to and ability to rent university equipment. An investigation under the university's code of student behaviour is ongoing. uAlberta ExpressNews | Edmonton Journal | CBC

UWO faculty set strike deadline

The University of Western Ontario's faculty association has set a strike deadline of November 3, the first date on which unionized faculty members at UWO will be in a legal strike position. The announcement follows the filing of a no-board report on October 17 by a director with Ontario's labour ministry. There are 5 negotiation dates scheduled before the deadline. Over 1,400 full- and part-time unionized faculty members have been without a contract since June 30. Western News

Postscript: Nov 4, 2010
The University of Western Ontario has reached a tentative agreement with its faculty association, which was in a legal strike position as of yesterday at 12:01 am. Details of the agreement will not be released until after the agreement has been ratified by the union and UWO's board of governors. UWO News Release

uMontréal to open campus in Laval

Next September, the Université de Montréal will open a campus in Laval, offering programs in health and education. In 3 years, some 2,500 full-time equivalent students will be taking courses at the campus, which will feature 23 multimedia classrooms, 4 lecture halls, 22 classrooms for small group work, a library, a cafeteria, computer labs, teaching labs for science education, and simulation labs for science students. uMontréal News (in French)

Faculty, student groups reject HEQCO's vision for university differentiation

The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations expresses concern over a Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario paper promoting more university differentiation. OCUFA suggests the paper argues for a system of university funding that "will effectively make universities minions of government." Both the faculty group and the Ontario chapter of the Canadian Federation of Students argue that this system would undermine academic freedom. The CFS suggests that taken to the extreme, this model could lead to a tiered university system of research-intensive and teaching-only institutions. OCUFA News Release | CFS-O News Release

NB, Lansbridge U in dispute over security fund

Former Lansbridge University students are caught in a money dispute between the New Brunswick government and the private online institution, which had its accreditation revoked in August. In an October 4 letter to students awaiting refunds, Lansbridge U said it set up a $150,000 security fund with the province in July 2009. Given cash flow problems, the institution says the only way refunds could be viable would be with access to this fund. In an October 13 letter to students, NB's director of post-secondary affairs says the province will not provide refunds on behalf of Lansbridge U for the fall-winter season, expecting that the institution will respect its financial obligations as per its own policy. The director says the security fund is meant to support student transition only. Daily Gleaner

Graduate applications, enrolment up at uWaterloo

As of last week, total applications in 2010 to graduate studies at the University of Waterloo are up by 3.9% from last year's figures. New applications are still coming in for winter 2011. For this fall, applications have increased over last year by 3.8%, offers by 17.4%, and new students by 6.25%. There are 1,377 new graduate students this fall, a number subject to change when the official count is taken on November 1. uWaterloo Daily Bulletin

uWinnipeg students oppose honorary degree for Vic Toews

At the University of Winnipeg's fall convocation Sunday, the valedictorian used her address to criticize the university's decision to bestow an honorary degree on federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews. The valedictorian said she was "not proud to share the stage with everybody that is on it today," not naming Toews directly. Around 40 to 50 people gathered outside uWinnipeg Sunday afternoon to protest the honorary degree, holding signs condemning the minister for his public statements on crime, immigration, and same-sex issues. Some protesters said Toews' stances on these issues are at odds with uWinnipeg's reputation for being inclusive and progressive. Winnipeg Free Press | CBC

MPHEC releases enrolment, credential stats for 2009-10

Overall enrolment at Maritime universities was up 1.5% in the 2009-10 school year, with 70% of students coming from the region, according to figures released yesterday by the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission. A breakdown of provincial statistics shows PEI with a 2.4% increase, Nova Scotia with a 1.8% increase, and New Brunswick with a 0.8% increase. Women account for 59% of Maritime university students. They outnumber men in all fields with the exception of commerce and administration (45%), engineering and applied sciences (20%), and mathematics and physical sciences (30%). 15,541 certificates, diplomas, and degrees were granted by Maritime universities in 2009, down 2.7% from the previous year. MPHEC News Release | 2009-2010 Enrolment and Credentials Granted Statistics

uSask moves ahead with second phase of College Quarter project

The University of Saskatchewan will spend $36 million to construct the last half of its new 800-bed student residence, the centrepiece of its College Quarter project. Construction of the first phase began this spring and will not be finished until next fall. Since the provincial government decided not to fund the extension, uSask is taking on debt and using revenue from campus parking rate increases to fund the last 400 beds.  By approving the project now, the university will save money, says uSask's VP of finance and resources. All of the 800 beds should be open for the 2012-13 school year. Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

BC splits up advanced education ministry

As part of cabinet changes announced Monday, BC's Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development has been split into the Ministry of Regional Economic and Skills Development and the Ministry of Science and Universities. The former's responsibilities include colleges, post-secondary financing (excluding universities), and post-secondary policy and accountability (excluding universities). Among the latter's responsibilities are universities, university financing, university policy and accountability, and student financial assistance. BC News Release

PEI premier foresees tuition-free PSE

Speaking before members of the Summerside Chamber of Commerce Monday, Prince Edward Island Premier Robert Ghiz brought up the possibility of no more post-secondary tuition, although it is not likely to be a policy of his government. Ghiz said he could see tuition fees potentially eliminated, under a federal initiative, in 10 years' time. With UPEI reporting its highest enrolment ever this year, "making university more accessible to young people is going to be something I'm going to continue to work on," the premier said. Summerside Journal Pioneer

uToronto drops plan to close Centre for Comparative Literature

The University of Toronto's renowned Centre for Comparative Literature will stay open after its proposed closure drew an outcry from scholars worldwide and protests from students and faculty. The centre's closure was recommended in the arts and science faculty's 5-year academic plan, which called for several departments to be rolled into the new School of Languages and Literature. A number of departments and bodies threatened by the academic plan appear to be slated for survival, except for the Centre for International Studies, which will be absorbed by the expanding Munk School of Global Affairs. Globe and Mail

New board of governors at FNUC

The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) announced Thursday a new board of governors at the First Nations University of Canada. An interim board has been in place since February after FSIN dissolved the previous board. The 9 appointees come from across the country and have a range of professional credentials. None of the new board members is an elected chief or council member. Earlier this year, federal and provincial funding for FNUC were withdrawn due to concerns over how the university was being run. Currently, FNUC remains open through an agreement that sees government funding flowing through management at the University of Regina. CBC

Northern university supporters gather for workshop

Proponents of a university in Canada's North met in Yellowknife last week to discuss how to go about establishing such an institution. Participants at the 3-day workshop agreed that a northern university should not be centralized in one location, but instead have several campus spread out to serve the entire region. A pan-northern university would rely on digital technology to allow people to study closer to home, delegates said. A working group has released the following vision statement: "As northern peoples of Canada, we envision in our homelands a renowned institution centred on the teachings of the land, led by the wisdom for indigenous peoples, fostering innovation, dialogue and inspired communities." CBC | Nunatsiaq News

Students, educators question BC's new PSE ministries

Students and post-secondary educators in BC are puzzled by the provincial government's decision to split the advanced education ministry into two separate departments -- one for colleges, the other for universities. The president of the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC says her group's concern is that dividing PSE responsibilities between 2 ministers "may well detract from the kind of collaboration that we think is necessary and possible." The BC chapter of the CFS is calling on the province to explain the split of the advanced education ministry. Both organizations seek clarification from the 2 ministers about how they will work to ensure effective co-ordination of higher education programs, policies, and funding. FPSE News Release | CFS-BC News Release

uSask seeks 4% increase in operating grants

The University of Saskatchewan's board of governors has approved the institution's latest operations forecast, which outlines the operating and capital budget priorities for uSask in 2011-12 based on its planning process. The university is requesting an annual grant increase of 4.3% ($11.5 million); an annual capital grant of $35 million; one-time funding of $38 million for capital projects; and an additional 1% ($2.8 million) to maximize the potential of other opportunities for investment, such as emerging capital projects. uSask News Release | Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

Wage gap between PSE, non-PSE grads widening, studies find

2 new HEQCO-commissioned studies show that the earnings gap between PSE and non-PSE graduates is widening. Based on the 2006 census, one paper indicates that both male and female college graduates ages 21 to 30 benefited from an earnings advantage of nearly 25% over high school graduates, up from 12% in the 1986 census. For young men with a bachelor's degree, the earnings difference compared to high school graduates has grown from less than 30% in 1986 to over 40% in 2006. Among women, the earnings gap has widened from about 35% to over 50%. The other report observes that field of study strongly influences PSE graduate labour market success. For example, engineering and computer science graduates generally obtain the highest earnings within 2 years of graduation. Research Summary | HEQCO Report 1 | HEQCO Report 2 | Globe and Mail

Enrolment at CNA rises despite low projections

College of the North Atlantic officials are crediting innovative recruitment efforts for a 10.5% increase in enrolment for the 2010-11 academic year. President Bruce Hollett says the college had to do some alternative planning because many regular recruiting activities were cancelled or postponed in order to prevent the spread of the H1N1 virus last fall. As a result, enrolment projections this past January were down by over 11% compared to 2009 estimates. At a time when high school populations are declining across Newfoundland and Labrador, Hollett says it is encouraging to see that CNA is still an attractive option for students. CNA News Release

UWO president lays out priorities for year ahead

University of Western Ontario president Amit Chakma's priorities for the year ahead aim to advance the institution's academic mission under 5 broad areas of strategic importance: leadership; students; research intensiveness/graduate education; financial accountability; and community partnership. Among the important elements for enhancing the student experience is boosting the number of foreign students on campus. Chakma's goals include continuing to refine and execute graduate expansion plans and expand the professional master's degree programs. UWO needs to become more creative and entrepreneurial in developing new revenue streams, the president says. He seeks to continue realigning the fundraising campaign with academic priorities, developing the next long-range budget cycle in support of institutional goals while acknowledging the economic challenges facing universities and governments across Ontario and Canada. Western News

Graduate enrolment boom at MUN

Graduate student enrolment at Memorial University has increased by 10.3% over last year to a total of 2,954 students. Total enrolment at the university is 17,994 students, up by 2.2% from last year. Undergraduate enrolment at the St. John's campus increased by 0.6%, while enrolment at the Grenfell campus is up by 2.2%. MUN News

WLU identity to be less geographically based, says president

At a kickoff party Monday to highlight a coming year of centenary celebrations, Wilfrid Laurier University president Max Blouw said the institution's identity will be redefined in the coming years as less and less geographically based. "Waterloo has been its historical starting point, so it has naturally had a place of prevalence," Blouw told the Waterloo Region Record. "But as the university continues to grow, can it remain a Waterloo-centric institution? I'm not sure that it can." WLU will continue to grow past 17,000 students -- it must, Blouw said, to pay for its expanding ambitions. That includes a master plan that will rebuild the Waterloo campus to address overcrowding, a new business school across the street, and plans to keep expanding a Brantford campus that now has 2,600 students. Waterloo Region Record

Ontario colleges driving shift to green economy, says report

A new Colleges Ontario report says Ontario's colleges are helping drive the province's transition to a sustainable economy by training graduates for new "green-collar jobs." In the last 3 years, 35 new programs have been introduced across Ontario to help produce employees who are ready for innovations ranging from green business management to alternative energy engineering technology. The report highlights the contributions colleges are making in 4 areas: creating graduates with job-ready skills for green energy and the green economy; building partnerships with green innovators; providing green leadership in the community; and showcasing green facilities and equipment. Colleges Ontario News Release | Read the report

Ottawa invests $185 million in CFI's Major Science Initiatives program

The federal government announced Friday it will invest $185 million in the Canada Foundation for Innovation's newly created Major Science Initiatives (MSI) program. The funding will support a portion of the operating costs of select MSIs. Facilities eligible for the program must be owned by one or more eligible institutions, be unique in Canada, be accessible to researchers from across the country, and have received a minimum $25-million single capital investment from the CFI in the past. Industry Canada News Release

Atlantic universities a $2-billion industry, study finds

According to a study released yesterday by the Association of Atlantic Universities, Atlantic Canada's universities are a $2-billion industry. The study offers a current view of the economic impact of the region's universities, analyzing data from 2006 to 2008. The universities' direct contribution to GDP has increased 31% to $2.6 billion annually between 2004 and 2008. Direct and indirect employment generated by the institutions has increased 40% to 38,371 jobs over the same period. The study notes that personal income from the universities is $1.9 billion a year. In 2008, Atlantic universities invested $110 million in construction projects aimed at improving education services and facilitating additional research. AAU website

3 Canadian universities share "A-" in sustainability report card

In the latest College Sustainability Report Card, the majority of the 19 Canadian universities listed in the report have either improved their standing or remained steady compared to last year's grading. The highest grade among Canadian institutions this year is "A-," shared by UBC, uCalgary, and uToronto. McGill, UNB, UVic, and York U each earned a "B+." uAlberta, Dal, McMaster, and Queen's all received a "B." The "B-" grade was awarded to UoGuelph, uLaval, UWO, and WLU. Carleton, uSask, and uWaterloo each earned a "C+." uManitoba came in last with a "C." College Sustainability Report Card 2011

Canadian med schools modifying admissions process

The medical school admissions landscape in Canada has changed in recently years, largely due to efforts to undertake a more evidence-based approach to selecting students and measures designed to increase the socioeconomic diversity of incoming classes. The push for diversity has spurred UBC's med school to reach out to students from less affluent backgrounds and from small and rural communities. McGill has dropped the MCAT requirement for Canadian applications because a French-language version is not available. Other med schools have altered other aspects of the traditional admissions approach. McMaster has no requirement for prerequisite courses and looks only at undergraduate marks and scores on the verbal reasoning component of the MCAT. Those applying to uSask have the option to submit their MCAT or prerequisite scores only, or both sets of scores. CMAJ News

Canada boosts scholarship aid to Haitian students, faculty

The Canadian government is increasing its scholarship aid to Haitian students and faculty members to meet some of the immediate needs of Haiti's PSE system following the earthquake in January. Among the new scholarships are 85 that will fund study trips by Haitian students and professors to Canadian institutions for one or 2 semesters. Other scholarships will go to Haitian students who will remain at home and study in online certificate programs taught in French. There will also be 20 scholarships for joint academic projects between Canadian and Haitian post-secondary institutions. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

Record enrolment at UPEI

The University of Prince Edward Island reports that enrolment at the institution has hit an all-time high. The latest figures show there are 4,600 full- and part-time students registered at UPEI, up 3.7% over last year. There are more graduate students attending the institution, as well as additional transfer students choosing UPEI in their second and third years. International-student enrolment is up 17%, with particular increases among students from the Middle East and Asia. UPEI News Release

Child care worker shortage looming in Ontario, advocates warn

A province-wide shortage of trained child care workers is threatening the implementation of full-day kindergarten, warns the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care. Child care workers have been leaving the profession in droves because of low wages and poor working conditions, the coalition's co-ordinator says. The coalition says the provincial government needs to work with universities and colleges to train more early childhood educators and encourage them to stay in the field by improving wages and benefits. Ontario's education minister says she is working with the training, colleges, and universities minister on the training issue, but makes no promises on wages, as they vary widely across the province. Toronto Star

New RRC president outlines vision for institution

When she thinks of Red River College, of which she is the new president, Stephanie Forsyth thinks about how the institution and its students can relate to the planet, and how RRC can attract and keep students now too often unable to benefit from an education. Residences for students trying to adjust to Winnipeg are essential, says Forsyth, who may propose a working residence as hands-on training for hotel management.  On the subject of regional campuses, Forsyth suggests building a campus in small communities rather than leasing empty facilities may be preferable, and urges that government and the PSE system plan a strategy for pulling all the area facilities together. Winnipeg Free Press

York U EMBA top in Canada in FT rankings

York University's Kellogg-Schulich Executive MBA program placed first among Canadian business programs in new rankings by the Financial Times of London. The program placed 23rd overall. Other Canadian EMBAs listed in the rankings include those offered at UWO's Richard Ivey School of Business and uToronto's Rotman School of Management (tied at 29), uAlberta and uCalgary (48), Queen's School of Business (55 in partnership with Cornell University and 69 on its own). Y-File | Financial Times EMBA Rankings 2010

MPHEC report examines effectiveness of articulation programs

According to a new MPHEC report, bachelor programs offered jointly by universities and colleges in the Maritimes are effective so long as the proper mechanisms are in place to ensure program integration and a seamless transition between institutions. Such programs present unique challenges for students as they move between different types of institutions, MPHEC reports. Factors associated with high student persistence and satisfaction include field of study, program structure, geographic proximity between institutions, and inter-institutional co-ordination. MPHEC News Release | Read the report

New performing arts school at Holland College

Holland College announced Friday it is partnering with the Confederation Centre of the Arts to form the Holland College School of Performing Arts. In September 2011, the school will offer a 2-year diploma program in Contemporary Music Performance and a one-year Performing Arts Foundation certificate program, followed by the addition of a 2-year Dance Performance diploma in September 2012. A study released this summer observed the need for a post-secondary arts school in Prince Edward Island in order to renew an aging population of artists. Holland College News Release

Enrolment boom at Northern College

Northern College reports that enrolment at the institution increased another 13% with the start of classes last month. The growth follows an unprecedented 47% increase in enrolment last year. President Fred Gibbons says "this year is absolutely phenomenal and a testament to the work Northern College is doing to meet the needs of our communities and students." In the last 3 years, the strongest growth has been in the areas of trades, technology, and health sciences. Northern College News Release

OIIQ invests $4.5 million in continuing nursing education, scholarships

The Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec (OIIQ), the province's professional order of nurses, announced yesterday a $4.5-million investment to improve access to continuing education for its 71,000 members, mainly in the form of distance education. The OIIQ will also offer a scholarship program encouraging CÉGEP students to go on to university and supporting the development of new specialties. For the next 4 years, beginning in fall 2011, the program will be awarding 54 scholarships every year -- one $5,000 scholarship at each of the 44 targeted CÉGEPs, one $5,000 scholarship at each of the 6 targeted universities, and four $10,000 scholarships to support the development of new specialties. OIIQ News Release

MUN med school ends use of pigs

Memorial University's medical school will no longer use pigs in the instruction of students. The dean of medicine says the school has been looking at the issue for several years and indicates the entire curriculum is under review. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has been after MUN to discontinue the practice of using pigs and stated earlier this month it planned to write to the Canadian Council on Animal Care requesting it take away the med school's Certificate of Good Animal Practice. While that was a factor in the school's decision, the dean says, it was more about looking at the best ways to educate future doctors. The dean says pigs were only used in one course offered in the spring. VOCM

NBCC sets record enrolment

This year marks the largest enrolment intake in New Brunswick Community College's history. NBCC saw 2,805 students enrol in first -year programs, up 7.6% from last year. Applications to NBCC also rose over the past year with an increase of over 12%. The college also reports success in drawing Aboriginal students. A total of 336 had applied to first-year regular programs as of mid-September -- compared to 141 in July 2009 -- and over 200 of these applicants actually enrolled. The Aboriginal student population in regular NBCC programs is set to approach 10% for the first time. NBCC News Release | Telegraph-Journal

uLethbridge opens new home of health sciences, management faculties

The University of Lethbridge held a grand opening ceremony Thursday for Markin Hall, the new $65-million home to the faculties of health sciences and management. The building's teaching spaces include an expanded, state-of-the-art healthcare simulation lab; an addictions counselling lab area for individual, family, and group counselling; and a unique-to-Canada finance trading room featuring real-time data from the world's financial markets. Markin Hall was a main priority in uLethbridge's "Legacy of Leadership" campaign, which raised over $35 million by its conclusion in December 2007. uLethbridge News Release | Lethbridge Herald

International enrolment up 27% at CBU

Foreign-student enrolment at Cape Breton University continues to climb with a 27% increase this fall. Currently, the university is home to nearly 500 international students from over 40 countries. Overall, there is a 5.2% increase in first-year full-time enrolment numbers. The number of students attending CBU from Cape Breton is up 14%, the first local market increase noted in some years. There is a 27% increase in students from Newfoundland and Labrador, and the number of students originating from Ontario and western Canada has remained stable. CBU News

UoGuelph makes $750-million impact on local economy

According to new figures from the University of Guelph, the institution is returning over $750 million to the community each year in direct and indirect spending. Faculty, staff, students, and visitors spent an estimated $400 million in Guelph. UoGuelph generated an additional $350 million in the form of increased business volume, with student "business traffic" representing about $85 million of that amount. The university brings over 11,600 full- and part-time jobs to the Guelph community, making it the city's second-largest employer. Including operations, business spinoffs, and research and commercialization activities, the total economic impact of UoGuelph is estimated at over $1 billion. UoGuelph News Release

Enrolment rises at Algoma U

Algoma University reports that its fall 2010 student population has grown by 10% over last year. The increase brings the total student population to about 1,252, including students studying at Algoma U at Brampton and a small number of students taking social work in Timmins. The university has also seen a 14.3% increase in the number of first-year students from outside of Canada. More local students registered this year, and there are increasing numbers of students arriving from across Ontario. Algoma U now has 1,014 full-time equivalent students, pushing the institution over the 1,000 FTE benchmark. This represents an increase of 10.9% over last year in FTE students. Algoma U News Release

Dal board to vote on $600-million master plan

Dalhousie University's board of governors is expected to vote today on the institution's new master plan, which outlines about $600 million worth of work proposed over a timeframe of approximately 10 years. There are a dozen major capital projects listed in the plan, including new academic buildings, residences, sports facilities, and altered streetscapes. Dal's assistant VP of facilities management says the plan is both a way for the university to remain competitive and to survive. "We have to attract students from outside the province in order to meet the demographic challenges and you can't do that offering crumbling buildings and cramped classrooms." CBC

Criminal background checks now required for uSask med school applicants

New medical students at the University of Saskatchewan must now submit criminal record checks before they begin classes. Students will also have to undergo a vulnerable sector screening that details any complaints made against people working in settings with children, seniors, and people with disabilities. If a med school applicant has a criminal record, his or her application will go to a committee for review. While not a foolproof measure, the record checks should prevent some cases of patient abuse, says the admissions director at uSask's college of medicine. Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

Northern College open trades centre in Timmins

Yesterday marked the official opening of Northern College's $17.3-million Centre of Excellence for Trades and Technology at its Porcupine campus in Timmins. The facility comprises over 30,000 square feet of shop space, classrooms, and work labs, complete with new computers and high-tech equipment. Northern College president Fred Gibbons says the facility will help keep people in the north, adding that students on technology apprenticeships will no longer have to leave Timmins in order to complete their programs. Timmins Times

AUCC brochure provides overview of KIP projects

Yesterday the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada released a brochure offering a snapshot of transformations taking place at universities across the country, as 183 capital projects are nearing completion. In 2009, the federal government launched the $2-billion Knowledge Infrastructure Program, with matching funds from provincial and territorial governments and other partners allowing post-secondary institutions to tackle over $5 billion in deferred maintenance. AUCC president Paul Davidson says the updated and new facilities "will create a rich learning environment -- an environment that will attract the best and brightest professors and students from Canada and around the world." AUCC News Release | Foundations for Education

New donations to McGill, uRegina, McMaster, RDC

In the last 2 weeks, several Canadian institutions have received gifts ranging from $1 million to $2.4 million. McGill University's chancellor has donated $2.4 million to the university to launch an interdisciplinary research and teaching program designed to develop a new road map for the future of health care delivery. A $1.2-million bequest, the largest estate gift in the University of Regina's history, will endow the William Borden Ingram Award, providing scholarships to undergraduate arts students. A $1-million personal gift to McMaster University will establish The Cunningham Chair in Geology within the university's science faculty. Red Deer College has received a $1-million donation from the Red Deer Royals in support of new educational, wellness, and sport opportunities at the college. McGill News Release | uRegina News Release | McMaster Daily News | RDC News Release

Okanagan College completes expansion of trades training facility

Friday marked the official opening of Okanagan College's expanded trades training facility in Salmon Arm. The existing building has been expanded by 2,783 square feet, and a 6,456-square-foot covered work area has been added. The expansion means the college has capacity for an additional 144 students -- 96 in carpentry and 48 in other entry-level trades programs, such as the Gateway to the Trades, Women in Trades, and Aboriginal Careers in Trades programs. BC News Release

Ontario adds specialty residency positions to medical schools

The Ontario government announced yesterday it is creating 75 new specialty residency positions at provincial medical schools. The new post-graduate specialty spaces will be phased in over 5 years, with the first residences beginning training next summer. With yesterday's announcement, the number of post-graduate specialty training positions will have increased by over 80% since 2003. The province reports that by 2014, more than twice as many doctors will be graduating from Ontario's medical schools as in 2003. Ontario News Release

Contact North registrations up 50%

Contact North, a distance education and training network in northern Ontario, reports a record-breaking 50% increase in course registrations in 2009-10 by students in college, university, and literacy courses from small, rural, remote, and Aboriginal communities across the region. This increase was achieved as a result of the 23,219 course registrations by learners studying via Contact North's 94 local centres and its online learning technologies. This marks the first time that Contact North registrations have surpassed 20,000. Contact North News Release

Trent opens Life and Health Sciences Building

Members of the Trent University community gathered Monday to officially open the new $17.2-million Life and Health Sciences Building. The facility will house the university's anthropology, nursing, and psychology departments. Trent president Steven E. Franklin says the building will serve as a platform for the institution to "continue to build on its reputation for delivering high quality educational programs to students pursuing studies in the growing life and health sciences disciplines." Trent News Release

uToronto named top research university in Canada

The University of Toronto has placed first in Research Infosource's annual list of the top 50 research universities in Canada. uToronto also topped the medical/doctoral category. The University of Waterloo ranked first in the comprehensive category, and the University of Northern British Columbia took the top spot in the undergraduate category. Research Infosource reports that research income growth at the top 50 universities slowed in the 2009 fiscal year. Total sponsored research income grew by only 3% -- half the rate of last year -- to $6.24 billion in Fiscal 2009, up from $6.06 billion in Fiscal 2008. Research Infosource News Release | Top 50 Research Universities List 2010 | Research Universities of the Year 2010

SLC opens Wind Turbine and Trades Training Facility

Friday marked the official opening of St. Lawrence College's Wind Turbine and Trades Training Facility at its Kingston campus. The new facility provides space for about 80 apprentices in a number of trades, including wind turbine technician students. SLC also announced Friday that rooftop solar photovoltaic installations are underway at the Kingston and Brockville campus. Once completed, they will be the largest solar rooftop installations at any post-secondary school in Canada. SLC News Release (wind turbine) | SLC News Release (solar rooftop installations)

StFX opens new business school complex

St. Francis Xavier University held a grand opening ceremony Friday for the new home of the Gerald Schwartz School of Business. Topped by a gilt dome, the $27-million complex houses 4 floors of classrooms, an auditorium, lecture halls, faculty office space, seminar rooms, a student service centre, lounges, research labs, and meeting areas. The school is named after Onex Corp. founder and chairman Gerald Schwartz, who is StFX's largest single contributor. Halifax Chronicle-Herald | Globe and Mail

SIAST celebrates new education centre

Last Friday, the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology, the Saskatoon Public Schools, and the Saskatchewan Trades and Skills Centre celebrated the grand opening of the Avenue W Education Centre, which accommodates programming and services for the 3 organizations. The facility is home to several SIAST programs, relocated from the institution's Kelsey campus, along with a state-of-the-art early childhood education demonstration centre. SIAST News Release

NAIT appoints acting president

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology has named David Janzen, its vice-president administration and chief financial officer, as acting president of the institution. He will hold the position until a permanent candidate is hired. Janzen succeeds Sam Shaw, who announced his retirement in July. NAIT News Release

Durham College eligible for NSERC funding

Durham College announced Friday that it is now eligible to apply for funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, allowing the institution to further pursue applied research partnerships with local small and medium-sized businesses. Durham College plans to apply for funding from the College and Community Innovation Program, which is managed by NSERC in collaboration with SSHRC and CIHR. Durham College News Release

4 PSE institutions among Canada's top 100 employers

George Brown College, McGill University, Simon Fraser University, and the University of Toronto were named among Canada's top 100 employers in the annual competition organized by Mediacorp Canada Inc. The institutions were noted for their parental leave benefits, tuition subsidies, free fitness facilities, onsite daycare facilities, and flexible work options. Canada's Top 100 Employers 2011

Holland College among Canada's 50 best small and medium employers

Holland College has been chosen as one of Aon Hewitt/Queen's University's 2011 50 Best Small & Medium Employers in Canada, the only post-secondary institution to make the list. The award is based on the results of employee surveys conducted this past spring. Holland College president Brian McMillan says "the survey result is a direct reflection of our staff commitment to students and to one another, and adds to our growing reputation for excellence in training and education." Holland College News Release | 2011 50 Best Small & Medium Employers in Canada

uRegina student union holds CFS membership referendum

The University of Regina Students' Union (URSU) has taken a stance against continued membership in the Canadian Federation of Students and is holding a referendum this week to exit the national organization. URSU's president says a growing number of students are feeling as though the CFS is not offering an appropriate amount of services for the membership fees charged annually. One key issue is that Saskatchewan has not had a CFS staff organizer for several years. The CFS's national chairman described the URSU's stance as "a very irregular situation to say the least," stating that it is vital for students to continue to work together across Canada to fight for a more high-quality and affordable PSE system. Regina Leader-Post

uCalgary signs Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity

The University of Calgary joins 11 other post-secondary schools in making scholarly works more accessible by offering free online content as a signatory to the Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity (COPE). uCalgary is the second Canadian member of COPE, following the University of Ottawa. Under the compact, each signatory commits to developing ways of underwriting reasonable publication charges for faculty-written articles published in fee-based open-access journals and for which other institutions would not be expected to provide funds. UToday

SFU launches new recruitment campaign

Simon Fraser University has introduced a new social media and print campaign called "Think. You're Ready." The positioning line "Thinking of the World" is reinforced by visuals of street signs, maps, arrows, and traffic lights that point to what the future could look like if a student follows a particular academic path, as well as including non-academic aspects of university life. The campaign includes short YouTube videos with current students sharing their stories. Marketing Magazine | SFU Viewbook 2011

Lambton College breaks ground for Fire and Emergency Response Training Centre

On Friday, Lambton College held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new Fire and Emergency Response Training Centre, which received a joint $9.8-million investment from the federal and Ontario governments. The centre will double the college's capacity to train new industrial and municipal firefighters and provide new state-of-the-art facilities to improve training exercises for professional firefighters and students. Lambton College News Release

Carleton forms partnership with University of Central Asia:

Carleton University and the University of Central Asia (UCA) have launched a partnership to pursue academic development and research. Earlier this year, Carleton approved funding for a pair of doctoral students to study toward a PhD at its School of Public Policy and Administration. Upon graduation, the students will be offered teaching positions at UCA, contributing to capacity-building in the region and a long-term relationship between the two institutions. Carleton News Release

Carleton launches Canada's first International Development Management program

Carleton University's Sprott School of Business is offering Canada's first program focusing on the management side of international development. The Sprott MBA International Development Management concentration was developed in order to address a critical shortage of management and leadership skills in the planning, organization, and delivery of international development and aid projects and programs. The program can be completed in 16 months, and has an internship component that is mandatory for students with less than 2 years of relevant management experience. Carleton News Release

UVic releases student lip dub

The University of Victoria's lip dub made its debut Friday at a screening at the university's Student Union Building. The video, set to Michael Bublé's "Haven't Met You Yet," was filmed in late September with nearly 1,000 participants. The UVic student who spearheaded the project was inspired by a lip dub produced by students at the other UVic -- Spain's Universitat de Vic. Since its launch on Friday, the video has garnered over 56,000 views on YouTube. Victoria Times-Colonist | Watch the lip dub on YouTube

Acadia students develop campus-oriented iPhone app

A pair of computer science students at Acadia University have created a mobile application for use on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. With iAcadia, users can download and play university videos, receive news stories and updates, look up phone numbers and e-mail addresses, connect to the university's searchable campus map, look up daily updated course information, call campus security, and connect to news feeds from Acadia, the student union, and student newspaper. Since its launch earlier this month, the app has been downloaded over 500 times. Acadia News

uAlberta Augustana campus signs agreement with Chinese liberal arts college

The University of Alberta's Augustana campus has reached a partnership with United International College, a fledgling liberal arts institution in China. The agreement establishes a framework for co-operation in teaching, research, student, and faculty mobility between the 2 institutions. Founded in 2005 as a joint venture of Beijing Normal University and Hong Kong Baptist University, United International College describes its particular purpose as advancing internationalization and "taking the lead in implementing liberal arts education in China." uAlberta ExpressNews

Okanagan College contest invites prospective students to promote new program

Okanagan College's communications department has launched a contest for potential students to help promote the new 2-year Media and Cultural Studies diploma program. Participants are asked to make either a poster or 30-second video to promote the program. The first-place winner will receive a $1,000 tuition voucher, which can be applied toward full-time studies in an Arts program at the college for the 2011-12 academic year. The contest runs until November 30. Okanagan College News Release

Saskatchewan amends Skills Training Benefit Regulations

The Saskatchewan government has amended the Skills Training Benefit Regulations to increase the living allowances under the program to match the new 2010-11 student loan rates. The amendments will increase living allowance rates for single persons by $101 per month, $181 per month for single parents, and $199 per month for married couples. The changes will benefit up to 500 Saskatchewan learners. Saskatchewan News Release

New US college marketing campaigns draw mixed reactions

For every student or alumnus who welcomes a new university marketing campaign, there are those who express confusion, apathy, or even disgust when an institution dares to define itself. Some variation on these reactions has been seen recently at several US institutions that have launched new campaigns. American University's new "American Wonks" campaign has drawn supporters and naysayers alike. Similar mixed reactions emerged this month at Purdue University, whose "Makers, All" campaign had some worried the popular "Boilermakers" rallying cry was being replaced. A wave of negative reactions to Drake University's "Drake Advantage" campaign led school officials to alter the controversial "D+" logo. College marketers are not surprised by these myriad responses -- it's all part of the process that plays out with any new campaign, and it takes time to help people understand the objectives of a new strategy. Inside Higher Ed

Sri Lanka wooing top foreign institutions with offers of free land, tax concessions

The Sri Lankan government is offering free land and tax concessions to encourage top ranking foreign universities to establish branch campuses in the country. Sri Lanka's ministry of higher education is currently holding discussions with 23 institutions ranked among top 1,000 in the world, and 15 of them have shown a positive response, the government reports. Sri Lanka says it will provide tax holidays and free land as long as 20% of students are admitted free and the government gets a stake in the venture. Foreign institutions can either lease or buy land, and those that set up campuses outside the capital city of Colombo will get more generous tax concessions. ColomboPage

UOIT signs MOU with Nanjing University of Technology

Last Wednesday, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology signed a memorandum of understanding with China's Nanjing University of Technology that outlines a commitment to begin discussions to establish joint opportunities between the 2 institutions. The proposed areas of co-operation include projects related to research, teaching, faculty development, and service with the possibility for faculty and student exchange and the creation of a Joint Research and Development Centre. UOIT News Release

uOttawa launches microsite for French-language health programs

The University of Ottawa has developed an online portal showcasing its French-language health programs. The microsite features video interviews with students in uOttawa's audiology, speech pathology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, nursing, psychology, social work, and medical programs. The students discuss the benefits of an education at uOttawa. devienspluscompetent.ca (in French)

Dal unveils new website

Yesterday Dalhousie University launched its redesigned website, which one university official says reflects the enrolment goals of Dal and the Web as it wants and needs it to function in 2010: user-centric, easy to use, and more flexible to change. What many will notice upon the first visit to the site is the green, taken from Dal's colour palette and placed at the centre of the new design. The homepage provides links to video interviews with students and professors and the university's social media accounts. New features include a digital campus map built on the Google Maps interface and a tuition estimate calculator. Dal News | Dal website

International organization to conduct audit of university rankings

At a conference in Berlin earlier this month, the International Ranking Expert Group (IREG) Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence announced that a volunteer trial audit of 2 or 3 university rankings will soon take place. An audit would provide an assessment tools for users, says IREG's vice-president, who notes that the rankers themselves need to be held accountable to possible deficits in their tabulations or flaws in their methodology. The audit process could lead to an IREG quality label to identify trustworthy rankings, thereby boosting the credibility of rankings and improving their quality. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

uPhoenix working on learner-centred online platform

In an effort called the "Learning Genome Project," the University of Phoenix is developing a new learning interface that gets to know each of its 400,000 students personally, then adapts to accommodate the idiosyncrasies of the students' "learning DNA." The interface will be designed to infer details about students from how they behave in the online classroom. For example, if students grasp content more quickly when they learn it from a video instead of from a text, the system will feed them more videos. uPhoenix is not the only institution working on such a system. South Orange Community College District has launched software called Sherpa, which mines data about students to guide them to courses, information, and services. Inside Higher Ed | The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

Delaware college dean sends list of failing students to all students

This week, the dean of students at Delaware-based Wesley College mistakenly forwarded to the school's 2,400 students an e-mail containing the names of 18 students at risk of flunking out. Originally sent to academic advisers, the e-mail described one student as having dug a hole "deeper than the mine shaft in Chile." When college officials discovered the error, IT staffers recalled the e-mail, but not before "a dozen or so" students had opened it. The institution has apologized to the students named in the e-mail. The breach potentially violates the school's obligations under the US Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Dover News Journal | The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

US colleges, applicants change behaviour in recession, report finds

According to a new report from the US-based National Association of College Admission Counseling, despite the peak number of 3.33 million high school graduates during the 2009 admissions cycle, 29% of institutions cited a drop in the number of applications they received, the highest proportion reporting a decline since 1996. This finding may be the result of changed student behaviour due to the recession. Growth in early decision, early action, and waitlist activity also may be attributed to rising uncertainty among colleges because of the trend of declining yield rates -- now standing at an average of 43% -- and the concern about the economy's effect on students' choices. NACAC News Release | The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)