Top Ten

March 1, 2011

Canadian universities respond to students' career mindset

Universities have long been viewed as ivory towers, leaving job training in the hands of colleges and vocational programs, but the perception is changing. In Academica Group's most recent University/College Applicant Study, 99% of respondents cited either "career preparation" or "career advancement" as their motivation to go to university. The University of Regina and Université Sainte-Anne have job guarantee programs, but some institutions do not even monitor how many graduates go on to get jobs in their fields -- a move University of Alberta president Indira Samarasekera says is "absolutely critical." Mount Allison University is now starting to track its graduates, and also hired its first dedicated career counsellor this academic year. No matter how career-focused the education, some officials say, skills such as reading, writing, and critical thinking will always be essential in the workforce, and in life. Maclean's

Report calls for new strategy to make PSE more accessible in Ontario

A coalition of student groups representing more than 2.5 million Ontario students recommends the creation of a new PSE access strategy for the province. A report released yesterday explores why thousands of low-income students, Aboriginal students, rural and northern students, students with dependants, and students whose parents did not attend PSE continue to be under-represented in higher education, despite efforts by the Ontario government and post-secondary schools to promote access. To reverse this trend, the report outlines the framework for an access strategy through 42 recommendations covering 6 focus areas: early outreach programs; outreach in primary and secondary schools; pathway mobility; financial assistance; online access; and institutional supports and transformation. OUSA News Release | | Read the report

Ontario law schools say they'll continue to use LSAT

Despite moves in the US to loosen requirements to use the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), officials at Ontario law schools say the test is here to stay. The American Bar Association is reconsidering a rule requiring law schools to make the test mandatory in order to gain accreditation in the wake of studies suggesting that reliance on the LSAT is undermining diversity efforts. The assistant dean of students at Queen's University's law faculty says the problem is less pronounced in Ontario as most institutions have alternative processes to boost the proportion of historically disadvantaged groups in their classes. University of Western Ontario's law dean says law schools still need the LSAT to compare undergraduate grades across a wide range of fields from different universities, and as a result, it reduces the chances that law schools will overlook students from lesser-known institutions. Law Times

Demand high for spots at TRU law school

Set to open in September, Thompson Rivers University's law school has received 400 applications for 65 spots. The next step for TRU is the creation of an appointments committee, but the law school is still awaiting approval through the BC government's degree granting panel. Once that step has been reached, the law school can start hiring faculty, who, in turn, will help select students who will walk through the doors this fall. Kamloops Daily News

UNB computer science department seeks to boost female enrolment

"It's a big concern for us," says the University of New Brunswick's computer science dean on the declining enrolment among females in his department. Just 15% of students in computer science at UNB are female, down from 40% to 50% in the 1980s. The dean wants to get the message out to young women that studying computer science does not mean sitting in front of a computer for hours on end writing code. "It's not a geeks' profession." The dean believes the decline in female enrolment is due to a perception that the field is not socially active enough; computer science, he says, is probably one of the professions with the most social interaction with others. Times & Transcript

MUN receives nearly $7 million to build Offshore Research and Development Centre

Memorial University will expand its S.J. Carew Building, which currently houses the engineering and applied science faculty, following a $6.8-million investment from Suncor Energy and the Research & Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador. Named the Suncor Energy Offshore Research and Development Centre, the 1,090-square-metre extension will provide dedicated space for innovative research and industry collaboration related to the ocean technology and offshore petroleum sectors. MUN News Release

Durham College seeks municipal investment in Whitby campus expansion

As expansion plans for Durham College's Whitby campus reach the third phase, the institution's board of governors has asked the Town of Whitby to contribute $1 million toward a $12-million, 30,000-square-foot building, which will accommodate additional students enrolled in hospitality, tourism, and food programs. The facility will accommodate about 950 students, and will feature a full-service restaurant and lounge open to the public. The city has passed a motion to refer the request to Whitby's chief administrative officer, who will return with a recommendation on the matter at a later council meeting. Durham Region News

George Brown College launches new website

George Brown College has redesigned its website with the goal to make it much easier for visitors to find what they are looking for. "Your perfect job is out there. The education you need to get it is right here," states the homepage, which features video testimonials from graduates about their experience at the Toronto-based college. The site also features a virtual tour of its locations, showcasing athletic facilities and training labs. George Brown College News | George Brown College website

Cellphones should not be used as an education tool, say Ontario high school students

In a survey of more than 2,600 Ontario secondary school students, 72% of respondents said they do not believe cellphones have a place in the classroom as an education tool, a finding that shocked members of the Ontario Student Trustees' Association, one of 3 organizations that conducted the survey. One surveyed student said cellphones "are quite a distraction" and have "no educational purpose." The respondents' opinion counters that of Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, who has said the use of mobile phones in classrooms "is something that we should be looking at," provided they are used to help students learn. Student Vote News Release | | Ontario Student Survey

Apollo Group sells online high school business to Kaplan

Apollo Group Inc., owner of the University of Phoenix, has sold its online school business, Insight Schools Inc., to Kaplan Inc., one of its chief rivals. Purchased by Apollo Group in 2007, Insight operates as an online education provider for public school systems and charter schools, getting its revenues from those system and schools. The K-12 online education market is far smaller than the PSE market, but it is projected to grow. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)