Top Ten

April 29, 2011

Canada needs better pathways to PSE credentials, says ACCC

In a new report, the Association of Canadian Community Colleges calls for clearer pathways to post-secondary credentials. The report states that while efforts across Canada and internationally have increased to improve student transferability and mobility, learners continue to face barriers as they move from one institution to another within the same jurisdiction, resulting in higher costs for students, institutions, and governments, and lost productivity for Canada as learners delay entry into the labour force. ACCC is working with key education stakeholders to develop a pan-Canadian framework that would define clear pathways for students as they progress through higher education. ACCC News Release | Read the report

Report observes "distressing" dropout rate among Quebec Aboriginal students

The large gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal education levels is the most important factor in explaining the poverty level among Quebec's Aboriginal population, concludes a new C.D. Howe Institute report. Comparing outcomes within Quebec's Aboriginal identity groups to results for other Quebecers, and for Canadians overall, the report finds the province's Aboriginal education outcomes rank below the national average, which itself is "disturbingly low." The report makes 6 recommendations to improve Aboriginal educational outcomes, in Quebec and the rest of Canada; among them is that the provinces should aggressively encourage Aboriginal PSE students to become teachers, and aspiring teachers in school districts with sizeable Aboriginal cohorts should have strong knowledge of Aboriginal culture and history. C.D. Howe Institute News Release | Read the report

International education contributes nearly $2 billion a year to BC economy

According to a new report, in 2010, BC welcomed an estimated 94,000 international students (attending K-12, PSE, and language institutions), creating 21,450 jobs and contributing $1.8 billion to the province's economy, ranking the international-education sector fifth in the generation of export income. Among BC's key trading partners -- China, India, and South Korea -- international education ranks as a top-3 contributor to the provincial economy. The top 10 source national for foreign students in 2010, in rank order, are Korea, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Mexico, Taiwan, the US, Germany, and Switzerland. BCCIE News Release | Read the report

UCN breaks ground for $82-million Thompson campus expansion

Manitoba-based University College of the North held a sod-turning ceremony Friday for the $82-million expansion of its Thompson campus. The 88,000-square-foot expansion will feature classrooms, labs, ceremonial and elder space, student services, campus commons, a library, student support spaces, and a child-care centre. The project includes a $68.4-million teaching facility, $7.3 million for site infrastructure, and $6.3 million for a 24-unit, on-campus housing development for students and their families. The campus redevelopment is projected to increase enrolment capacity from 324 to 510 students. Construction is slated for completion in late 2013. Manitoba News Release

Woodstock, Fanshawe negotiate transfer of art gallery building to college

Woodstock city council is contemplating transferring the new art gallery building to Fanshawe College, diverting its planned use from art galley to educational facility. Woodstock's mayor says a downtown college expansion, based on enrolment figures, would generate an extra 60,000 visits to the downtown core, surpassing the 26,000 visitors anticipated for the new gallery. Having identified "an urgent need for expansion," Fanshawe's Woodstock campus is "delighted to explore the opportunities open to us" with the city's announcement. One city councillor is "deeply opposed" to the use of the facility for other than its original intent as an art gallery, and says negotiations with the Thames Valley District School Board would be more appropriate. Woodstock Sentinel-Review

WLU discontinues varsity volleyball

Wilfrid Laurier University announced Friday it will discontinue its men's and women's varsity volleyball teams, freeing up approximately $112,000 a year to address the growing student demand for recreation and intramural sports activities, and to help keep other varsity sports competitive. WLU will maintain the affected students' sport-related scholarships in the coming fall term to help them continue their education at the institution. The university will also offer assistance to those student-athletes looking to transition to another sport or pursue their volleyball aspirations elsewhere. In recent years, WLU's Athletics & Recreation department has sought to boost revenue and reduce costs in a number of ways, including increases to the participation fee paid by student-athletes and the introduction of a self-funded "pay to play" model for 8 varsity sports. WLU News Release

Education, industry ties key to "smart" New Brunswick, says UNB president

Creating a "smart" New Brunswick requires building closer connections between education and industry, says University of New Brunswick president Eddy Campbell, who observes a shift in which the institution is now being viewed as a huge part of the economic engine and future of the province. Campbell says UNB has been looking at ways to "better-engage" with communities across New Brunswick in order to "build a better province." One of those ways is to brand UNB as the University for New Brunswick, as it's all about what the institution can do for the people who live in the province. A "smart" New Brunswick, Campbell says, would include the highest proportion of people with trades certificates, community or design diplomas in Canada; the highest proportion of people with university and post-graduate degrees; and the highest PSE participation rates. Telegraph-Journal

Queen's renews participation in university rankings

Queen's University will participate in this year's round of international and domestic university rankings, recognizing that rankings play a valued role in undergraduate and graduate student recruitment, and often provide the only institutional profile available to foreign students prior to applying. Last year, Queen's decided not to provide information to the Times Higher Education ranking due to concerns about its methodology. As a result, the institution was not included in the top 200 list. The Times has since revised its methodology. Queen's will submit data to the 3 primary global ranking exercises: Times, QS World University, and the Academic Review of World Universities, formerly known as the Shanghai rankings. The university will continue have a presence in Maclean's and Research Infosource projects, and will also participate in the Globe and Mail's Canadian University Report. Queen's News Centre

Booming enrolment forces some Ontario universities to schedule weekend exams

A growing number of Ontario students are forced to write final exams on weekends, even Saturday nights, as booming enrolment makes it difficult for universities to find enough room and time slots for April finals. UWO schedules exams 7 days a week; uWaterloo and Ryerson run finals on Saturdays, the former scheduling some in the evenings. A space crunch at the University of Toronto Scarborough has made weekend finals a must. With 30,000 undergraduates who are encouraged to mix and match classes, UWO needs every day of the week in order to keep timetable conflicts under 100, says the institution's vice-provost. The university doesn't run exams on Good Friday, Easter Sunday, or the first 2 nights of Passover, but there was a real crunch this year and UWO scheduled finals on Easter Saturday, which is rare, the vice-provost says.

Canadian mathematicians urge NSERC to revise Discovery Grants program

Dozens of members of Canada's mathematics community have signed an open letter to the federal minister of industry and NSERC's president decrying cuts and changes in the way the council is now distributing its Discovery Grants, which support junior scholars. The signatories argue NSERC's most recent awards were inconsistent with grants made in previous years. The mathematicians want a new peer-review to be revised. If not, the signatories warn that Canada could lose the reputation for excellence it has built over the last decade through programs such as the Canada Research Chairs. The Discovery Grants program is the one of the largest NSERC operates, accounting for a third of the agency's budget. Chronicle of Higher Education (free access) | Read the statement