Top Ten

December 13, 2010

Visa changes, violence in Australia driving more Indian students to Canada

Canadian diplomats say they expect to issue student visas to up to 14,000 Indian students this year and perhaps over 20,000 visas in 2011, up from 3,152 issued in 2008. The increase comes as Canadian institutions strengthen ties in India, which is among the most promising markets for foreign students and PSE in the world. An overhaul of Canada's student visa program has played a significant role in the turnabout. Under the Student Partners Program, participating Canadian colleges work more closely with the Canadian mission in New Delhi to understand which students will likely be approved for visas. Canada is also making inroads in India with the help of a public relations disaster for educators in Australia, where racial attacks on Indian students have made headlines in the past 2 years. Toronto Star

Couple donate home, land to uAlberta

Edmonton couple Sandy and C├ęcile Mactaggart announced yesterday they are giving their family home, "Soaring," its surrounding grounds along the North Saskatchewan River, and many of the home's contents to the University of Alberta. A local radio station reports the house and land is valued at around $23 million. The Mactaggarts' gifts to and support for the institution date back several decades. Their giving to uAlberta -- along with the resulting matching funds their donations have generated from the Alberta government -- totals $100 million. Last week, an Alberta couple announced the donation of their 12,300-acre ranch to uAlberta, the largest gift of land to a Canadian university. uAlberta ExpressNews | iNews 880

Budget difficulties easing at uCalgary

After fears of layoffs, officials at the University of Calgary say improved investment performance, lower utility bills, and higher student retention rates will likely put the institution's books in the black for this fiscal year. uCalgary is forecasting a 1% surplus for the current fiscal year, which ends in March. Previously, the school expected the shortfall for 2010-11 to reach $21 million due in part to an ongoing pension fund liability and the cost of a massive administrative review. Those pension funds are now being handled with the help of the Alberta government, while the review will start saving uCalgary $10 million annually. The university's vice-president of finances and services says the province is holding the institution to a 0% increase in its grants, which is contributing to projected shortfalls of up to $45 million in 2014. Calgary Herald

Mohawk College, Brantford plan to discuss options for local campus

Mohawk College president Rob MacIsaac and Brantford Mayor Chris Friel say they want to discuss keeping the college's campus in the city. While Mohawk is still committed to retaining the downtown Odeon campus, MacIsaac makes it clear that the institution's future is either downtown or outside Brantford. In September, Brantford's former mayor and last city council rejected a $10-million proposal from MacIsaac that would see the college move from Elgin Street to the former Expositor building downtown. MacIsaac says a major obstacle in trying to put together a deal is the lack of funding from senior levels of government. Friel says the city will look at the last proposal, but only to see why it did not work. Brantford Expositor

York U researchers propose new method for measuring student retention

A recent study conducted by a pair of York University researchers proposes a new method to measure student retention at post-secondary institutions. The study is based on a pilot project at York U where researchers undertook a prospective analysis of retention risks rather than a retrospective analysis of retention rates. The researchers say their approach could be applied to students at the start of their PSE career, and produce an accurate estimate of the actual dropout risk posed by each individual student. They propose using historical data at individual schools to develop a more specialized or tailored estimate of the probability of a student dropping out at some point in the future. The researchers suggest using interviews and focus groups to further inform institutional understanding of who drops out of PSE programs and why. Research summary | Read the report

StatsCan article explores age composition of PSE students

An analysis of age composition of college and university students and graduates, appearing in the December 2010 issue of Statistics Canada's Education Matters, notes that today there is no longer a marked distinction between colleges and universities in terms of age of students. In 1992, 57% of university students were between the ages of 17 and 24, a share that increased to 65% in 2007. Similarly, in colleges, 69% of students were aged 17 to 24 in 2006. No real differences were observed between male and female college and university students in terms of median age. However, the age distribution of college women showed a wider range than that of their male peers. In 2006, 21.6% of female college students were over the age of 30, compared to 16% of males. Statistics Canada

Ottawa supports improvement of foreign credential recognition in BC

The federal government is providing more than $4 million in funding to the BC government to enable the province to develop a fair and timely process for recognizing foreign credentials so that skilled newcomers can find work in their fields. Internationally trained professionals will benefit from bridge-to-work and mentorship programs in various occupations. The BC government will also launch its own version of the Working in Canada online tool, with which newcomers can access current labour market information before and after arriving in Canada. BC News Release

Ontario invests in medical training at UWO

The Ontario government is providing $3.37 million to the University of Western Ontario's medical school to provide more hands-on training for med students at simulation centres, through mock patient visits, and in community health centres. The school will invest in additional resources and training to improve faculty teaching skills and recruit more community-based instructors. UWO's med school is one of 5 in southern Ontario to receive provincial support. Ontario News Release

CNA graduates help develop new marketing initiative for college

In order to reach prospective students and employees, some College of the North Atlantic departments partnered to mobilize a multimedia team of 3 recent graduates, who were selected because they are familiar with the institution and know more about what their peers what to see and hear, and therefore are more capable of reaching that market. The graduates spent 12 months visiting all 17 CNA campuses, interviewing students, staff, and faculty about life at the campus, life in the community, and about the college in general. The team compiled 113 videos, which will be added to CNA's YouTube channel and video library. The graduates also produced six 30-second commercials, several of which will be shown on cable TV throughout Newfoundland and Labrador during the next year. CNA News Release

How Harrisburg U students, faculty fared during social-media blackout

3 months after Harrisburg University of Science and Technology blocked the use of social media on the campus network for 5 days, a post-mortem by the institution says that many students and professors who initially disapproved of the experiment seemed to moderate their opinions once their connections had been restored. According to surveys and focus groups, many students said that during the social-media blackout they found lectures more interesting, enjoyed greater health and concentration, and devoted more time to their homework. 44% of students and 76% of professors surveyed reported that the experiment had taught them something, such as the strengths and weaknesses of Facebook and the value of face-to-face communications. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)