Top Ten

February 23, 2011

Foreign students feared dead in collapsed New Zealand building

Students from across Asia are believed to be among the dead in an office building that collapsed in the earthquake that hit Christchurch, New Zealand, with police saying Wednesday they were "100 per cent certain" no one trapped in the ruins was alive. The people trapped were thought to include as many as a dozen Japanese students enrolled in a language school in the building and 15 employees of a television station. Also missing were students from China, South Korea, and Thailand. New Zealand's University of Canterbury and Lincoln University closed following the earthquake. Associated Press | CBC | The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

More Canadians studying medicine abroad

According to the latest Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) survey, there are now about 3,500 Canadians studying medicine overseas -- a figure that has more than doubled in the last 5 years -- compared to about 10,500 in Canada. The survey identifies approximately 80 schools in nearly 30 countries as having Canadian students enrolled in medicine. The study observes that every year, new schools are emerging, offering foreign students the opportunity to study medicine, and the majority of these programs target North American students. While 90% of Canadians studying medicine abroad want to return to Canada for postgraduate training, they report frustration with the perceived barriers to pursuing postgraduate education back home, such choice of discipline, return of service, and the high competition for residency positions. CBC | Read the report

Undergraduate applications to uCalgary up 16%

Latest reports show that applications to the University of Calgary from high school students have risen by 16% compared to application numbers at this time last year. Overall applications, including those from transfer students, are up by 13%. Notable increases this year include arts (6%), science (15%), kinesiology (9%), health sciences (8%), business (20%), engineering (26%), nursing (20%), and social work (73%). In 2010, uCalgary received more than 14,000 applications to undergraduate degree programs. UToday

Enrolment continues to rise at Douglas College

Led by strong increases in university-level credit courses, enrolment at Douglas College is up by 5.7% for the winter 2011 term. The enrolment growth is in line with the BC-based college's 5-year strategic plan, which seeks to boost course offerings and grow the institution. The strategic plan calls for new university-level credit programs to be developed at Douglas College, as well as improved transfer opportunities to the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University. Douglas College News

Polytechnics Canada makes recommendations to Expert Review Panel on R&D

In Polytechnics Canada's submission to the federal government's review of federal support to research and development, one of the main recommendations is to foster more effective collaboration between all PSE institutions in federally funded industry-facing research projects and conduct coordinated marketing and outreach to education industry about academic-business collaboration. The other main recommendation is to open up tri-council industrial internships and summer employment programs to college students and graduates, thereby levelling the playing field and increasing the talent pool from which industry can select. Read the submission

BC NDP leadership candidate pledges restoring minimum bank taxes to support PSE access

BC NDP leadership hopeful Adrian Dix is proposing to restore student grants and eliminate interest on student loans by reapplying a minimum tax on banks and financial institutions, a tax that was fully phased out by 2010. During the first phase of his plan, Dix would apply $18 million from the resuming minimum bank tax revenues toward restoring grants for students needing financial assistance. He would also allocate $30 million toward eliminating interest payments on student loans, modeled on a plan implemented by former Newfoundland and Labrador premier Danny Williams. Adrian Dix News Release

New book explores "rise of corporate universities"

In correspondence with Inside Higher Ed about their new book, Lowering Higher Education: The Rise of Corporate Universities and the Fall of Liberal Education, UWO sociology professors James Coté and Anton Allahar discuss the transformation of the university into a "pseudo-vocational institution," where university education is now seen narrowly as a ticket to a job rather than as "a means to cultivating a well-rounded and informed citizenry." The authors say we now have many institutions where a "culture of disengagement" prevails and students in the culture have a sense of "entitled disengagement" never before seen in post-secondary schools. In their view, restoring liberal education is about a return to standards, stemming the tide of grade and credential inflation, and removing the idea that university is where one goes to get "job training." Inside Higher Ed

Aung San Suu Kyi receives honorary degree from Carleton

Carleton University held a special ceremony Tuesday to award an honorary doctorate in absentia to Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who has become an international symbol of peaceful resistance in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. Having spent most of the last 20 years in some form of detention because of her efforts to bring democracy to Burma, Suu Kyi was finally released in November 2010. In a videotaped address accepting the honorary doctorate, Suu Kyi mentioned that she is an honorary citizen of Canada and is aware of the "great work" of Carleton students to help Burma's democracy movement. Carleton News Release

Oshawa asks local institutions to track off-campus student housing

On Tuesday, Oshawa city council voted 9-1 to ask Durham College, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, and Trent University to "establish a mechanism" to identify where students are living, while at the same time protecting their privacy. The councillor who opposed the idea worries the date will create "hysteria" in neighbourhoods that are seeing an influx of students, and says there is no way to guarantee students' privacy. Oshawa's mayor is in favour of tracking where students live, as it will help the city plan for future development, he says. The mayor says the city is just looking for aggregated numbers, not specifics like names and addresses. Durham Region News

Reports criticize UK government's proposed student visa changes

A new analysis from the Institute for Public Policy Research says there is a real risk that proposed changes to the UK's student visa system "will impose substantial (and very real) costs on the education sector and wider economy simply to deliver reductions in migration statistics." The statement refers to plans to restrict Tier 4 student visas, which institutions worry will result in a drastic decline in the number of students coming to the UK. The report is the second in a week to criticize the proposed changes. A study from the Higher Education Policy Institute accuses elements of the UK government's visa controls of having "an ugly taste of apartheid" about them. Times Higher Education