Top Ten

January 7, 2011

McMaster food services staff go on strike

In a vote late Thursday, McMaster University's food service workers rejected the institution's last contract offer and set up pickets by 6 am Friday. The union representing the employees says the offer would undermine job security, reduce sick pay and vacation entitlements, and decrease take-home pay by imposing "expensive" employee benefit contributions. McMaster warned students and staff to leave early for classes or work and to be patient in getting into the campus during the day. The university says its top priority is to ensure students living in residence and those with meal plans have access to food services. McMaster Daily News | Hamilton Spectator

MUN researchers examine factors driving Maritimers to institution

Last fall, a group of researchers at Memorial University carried out a survey of the institution's current Maritime students to provide a better understanding of the underlying reasons why individuals from the Maritime provinces are pursuing studies at MUN. The researchers surveyed 2 groups of students -- those who moved to NL to study on campus full-time and those studying via distance education from their home provinces. When asked to identify the most important influence on their decision to study at MUN, 45.8% of respondents cited total cost as their primary influence. Most students in the migrant group indicated total cost as the most influential, while the most common influence among the distance ed group was program availability. Adventures in Canadian Post-Secondary Education (Dale Kirby's blog)

Algonquin College launches Mobile Learning Centre

Thursday marked the official opening of Algonquin College's new Mobile Learning Centre, a computer lab that delivers a collaborative learning environment using mobile and cloud computing technology. The centre intends to help students make a seamless transition between working on or off campus by providing a dedicated space to use mobile computing devices. Algonquin College president Robert Gillett says the Mobile Learning Centre "is about meeting the needs of today's and tomorrow's learner, as the college continues to deliver on its commitment to become fully mobile by 2013." Algonquin College News Release

UVic student paper article on gender gap in university wins Globe and Mail challenge

The Martlet, the University of Victoria's student paper, has won The Globe Student Newspaper Challenge for its submission exploring the gender gap in university. The article reports on one theory suggesting the gap begins at primary school due to the fact the vast majority of elementary teachers are women, and the mentoring position teachers have at such a young age. While some experts suggest the solution to the gap is to bring in more male teachers, one UVic women's studies professor does not believe such action will change the gap, noting that men in elementary education will be pressured to conform to the dominant image of that field. "If we don't address the context in encouraging guys to teach in lower grades, putting guys in that situation won't change anything." Globe and Mail News Release | Globe and Mail

uWindsor seeks success stories to support strategic plan

The University of Windsor is collecting success stories from students, faculty, and staff in an effort to boost the institution's brand across Canada. uWindsor's public relations department will begin a campaign this term to solicit stories and suggestions that best illustrate the university's new 5-point strategic plan. Public relations staff have been distributing brochures that outline the strategic plan's principal goals and give examples of the kinds of stories that may illustrate them. The public relations department has set up a microsite through which people can submit stories. uWindsor Daily News | Windsor Star

uWaterloo Stratford to set up liaison office at Japanese university

The University of Waterloo's Stratford campus and Japan's Chiba University have signed an agreement for academic exchange and co-operation. Both institutions have agreed to establish liaison offices at each campus next year. uWaterloo's digital media campus is the first university in North America to set up an overseas office for Chiba University. The agreement allows both institutions to co-operate in promoting both academic research and enhancing education opportunities for doctoral students and postdocs. uWaterloo Stratford News Release

Economist recommends provinces consider dedicated PSE spending account

In an article published in Friday's Globe and Mail, economist Todd Hirsh states a good role model for a better way to fund higher education may be the Alberta government's dedicated capital account. Because the money is dedicated, the province cannot pull money from the account (or at least not easily) to cover increasing program spending elsewhere. The issue is not simply more funding for PSE, Hirsh writes, it is certainty of funding. When deficits hit, governments can renege on promises to maintain funding, leaving institutions in a lurch. If provinces truly believe that higher education is key to competing in the global economy, "then properly financing it is a no-brainer," writes Hirsh, adding that a "separate, long-term postsecondary spending account would help." Globe and Mail

Half of Calgarians considering additional education in 2011, survey finds

According to a recent survey by the DeVry Institute of Technology, 46% of Calgarians polled believe additional education or career training will lead to increased job security for 2011. The survey showed the majority of respondents are looking for flexible education options. According to the survey, 42% of Calgarians polled would take online courses for additional career training, while 25% would attend evening classes. DeVry Calgary News Release

Canadian youth make employment gains in December

According to Statistics Canada's latest Labour Force Survey, following a large decline in the number of Canadians ages 15 to 24 participating in the labour market in November, youth employment grew by 26,000 in December. Compared to December 2009, youth employment increased by 1.8%, below the overall employment growth of 2.2%. 15- to 24-year-olds in Ontario made the most gains last month with a 1.5 percentage point increase in the employment rate in this age group, and Alberta recorded the highest youth employment rate, which sits at 61.6%. Statistics Canada | Labour Force Survey

US study finds legacy advantage at elite schools may count more than previously thought

A Harvard University researcher who examined the impact of legacy status at 30 highly selective colleges concludes that legacy applicants got a 23.3 percentage point increase in their probability of admission. If the applicants' connection was a parent who attended the institution as an undergraduate, the increase was 45.1 percentage points. The study sheds light on advantages that schools themselves may not have been fully aware of. The researcher controlled for a wider range of variables, including student character and high school activities, than had traditional analyses. In doing so, the researcher found that the other, more common method underestimates the advantage for legacies. The study's author cautions that because of the size of the applicant pools at the sample institutions, legacy admits do not greatly decrease other applicants' already-long odds of acceptance. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)