Top Ten

November 10, 2010

Maclean's releases 2010 University Rankings issue

Maclean's 20th annual University Rankings issue hits newsstands today. McGill University took the number-one spot for the sixth year in a row in the medical-doctoral category. For the third consecutive year, Simon Fraser University placed first in the comprehensive category. Mount Allison University took the top spot among primarily undergraduate universities for the fourth straight year. Maclean's ranks universities on performance measures in 6 broad areas: students/classes, faculty, resources, student support, library, and reputation. This year, the magazine reduced the reputation weighting from 22% to 20%. To correct possible bias, respondents were asked to only rate those institutions about which they have "an informed opinion." In celebration of the University Rankings' 20th anniversary, Maclean's is giving away a $20,000 scholarship. Maclean's News Release | Montreal Gazette

Indian man sought for falsely promising Canadian student visas

Police in Punjab are searching for an immigration consultant alleged to have tricked thousands of local families into believing that for a fee, he could guarantee their children a visa to study in Canada. Meanwhile, the Canadian Border Services Agency is investigating 3 Ontario colleges that continued to levy hundreds of thousands of dollars in admissions fees from "a high number" of prospective students from India, never questioning why the vast majority of applicants were denied permission to travel to Canada. The Toronto Star reports that Sandeep Ohri charged thousands of dollars to help students apply and gain admission to Toronto's InterCultural Academy Institute, Brampton's Academy of Learning, and North Bay's Canadore College. Few of Ohri's clients, if any, ever made it to Canada because their visa applications were typically supported by sham bank statements and financial documents, the Star reports. Toronto Star

SIAST bargaining units serve strike notices

The Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology received notice yesterday from its 2 bargaining units that they are prepared to take job action as early as next week. The school's unionized employees are represented by 2 bargaining units -- Academic and Professional Services -- of the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees Union. Earlier this week, the units submitted final offers, which SIAST rejected. When the institution turned down the offers, the bargaining units notified the conciliator that talks had ended. SIAST has begun implementing contingency plans. SIAST News Release

UVic's LE,NONET Project helps improve Aboriginal students' retention, graduation rates

Yesterday the University of Victoria released the results of its LE,NONET Project, a 4-year national research project aimed at helping Indigenous students succeed at university. Students who participated in the project, which operated at UVic from 2005 to 2009, experienced a 100% increase in term-to-term continuation, a 20% increase in graduation rates, a 67% reduction in withdrawal rates, and one additional year of retention in their academic program. Over 90% of LE,NONET students said the program contributed to their success at UVic. Over 70% either agreed or strongly agreed that the program helped them develop their sense of Aboriginal identity. Over 73% said the project helped them feel more a part of the Aboriginal community on campus. UVic News Release | LE,NONET Project Highlights

Fewer women pursuing engineering

Despite a decade of efforts to encourage more girls to think of technical careers, the number of women enrolled in engineering programs in Canada is on decline, dropping from a high of 21% in 2001 to 17% in 2009. The dean of UBC's faculty of applied science says the decline rests squarely on the shoulders of engineering themselves, who have been focusing too much on the technology side rather than on how engineering can improve people's lives. Engineering professors interviewed by the Globe and Mail say there is still a lack of awareness of what engineers do. Some engineering schools are increasing the number of female faculty to provide more role models that will in turn help draw more young women to the profession. Meanwhile, much of the emphasis of both institutions and industry associations is getting out the message that engineering is a helpful profession. Globe and Mail

Occupational therapists scarce in Saskatchewan

According to new data released Tuesday, Saskatchewan continues to have the lowest number of occupational therapists per capita in Canada. The province has 25 occupational therapists per 100,000 residents compared to the national average of 39. The best way to boost the number of occupation therapists would be to have a local education program, says the executive director for the Saskatchewan Society of Occupation Therapists. The University of Saskatchewan has developed a proposal for an occupational therapy program, now being considered by the provincial government. The potential program, aimed to start in 2012, would accommodate 40 occupational therapy seats and 25 speech pathology seats. Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

Saskatchewan amends Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies Act

The Saskatchewan government has introduced an amendment to The Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies Act that will provide the institution with exemption from school and municipal taxes on property it owns, used for education purposes. The amendment will bring SIIT's legislation in line with that of other public PSE institutions. The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and SIIT's board of governors initiated the request for tax exemption on SIIT-owned property. Saskatchewan News Release

Donations to education by the wealthy drop in US

According to a new study, the average size of gifts from wealthy individuals to education at all levels in the US was $12,759 in 2009, down from $28,329 in 2007, a drop of 55%. Education organizations still received the second-largest share of donations at 19.3%. The size of all gifts from those studied dropped by nearly 35% from 2007 to 2009. Inside Higher Ed | The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

Pearson to sell courses aimed at preparing profs to teach online

Pearson Learning Solutions announced yesterday a plan to sell courses designed to prepare professors to teach online. Pearson officials say the target audience for the new courses, slated to be offered starting in January, will be institutions and systems looking to outsource training of existing faculty as they grow their Web-based programs, as well as freelancers looking to bolster their resum├ęs as they apply for adjunct positions. The move is part of the company's strategy to expand beyond publishing into more segments of the e-learning industry. Inside Higher Ed

"Hyper-texting" teens more likely to drink, have sex, US study finds

Teenagers who text 120 times or more a day are more likely to have had sex or used alcohol and drugs than kids who do not send as many messages, according to new research from Ohio's Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. The study, conducted at 20 public high schools in the Cleveland area, found that about one in 5 students were hyper-texters and about one in 9 were hyper-networkers, those who spend 3 or more hours a day on social networking sites. Compared to heavy texters, the hyper-networkers were not as likely to have had sex, but more likely to have been involved in other risky behaviours, such as drinking and fighting. Associated Press | Postmedia News