Top Ten

May 30, 2011

Ontario releases new 5-year plan for PSE sector

Speaking at the Canadian Club in Toronto yesterday, Ontario Training, Colleges and Universities Minister John Milloy unveiled "Putting Students First," a new 5-year-plan for the province's PSE system that builds on the 2005 "Reaching Higher" plan. Part of the new strategy is a joint commitment with the education ministry to develop programming that encourages children at an early age to consider college, university, and apprenticeships, as well as making them aware of the financial supports available to help them make a smart decision. For the first time in the province's history, PSE institutions will be part of the government's long-term capital funding commitments. Beginning this fall, the province will work with each college and university to negotiate individual mandate and enrolment agreements as a first step to designing a framework of how the government wants the higher education system to evolve based on the principles of quality, sustainability, and the best interests of students. Read the speaking notes | Backgrounder

uWindsor receives $25 million to relocate some programs downtown

The University of Windsor will relocate its music and visual arts programs to the Armouries building in downtown Windsor with the help of the City of Windsor's capital donation in addition to $10 million in funding, and a $15-million contribution from the Ontario government. uWindsor will also investigate the feasibility of moving its School of Social Work to the Windsor Star building downtown. uWindsor Daily News

Ontario Tories outline PSE pledges in election platform

Over the weekend the Ontario Progressive Conservatives released their election platform, which states that a Tory government would create up to 60,000 PSE spaces in the province. According to the platform, individual institutions would be asked to compete for these new spaces and find new ways to ensure access, affordability, and excellence. The party pledges to raise the threshold on financial support to make it more accessible for middle-class families to send their children to university or college. The Tories would end the governing Liberals' foreign scholarship program, reinvesting those funds in Ontario students instead. Ontario PC platform

SIAST, Briercrest to participate in quality assurance case studies

The Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology and Briercrest College and Seminary have been selected to participate in case studies for the advanced education ministry's quality assurance review process. The case studies will be used in the development of a quality assurance review process to assess whether a PSE institution has the governance, management, organizational and financial capacity to operate as a degree-granting institution, and whether a school's potential degree programs would meet established nationally recognized quality standards. Earlier this year, the Saskatchewan government announced it was launching a public consultation process to consider expanding degree-granting status in the province. Saskatchewan News Release

Great Plains College completes expansion

On Friday Saskatchewan-based Great Plains College celebrated the official unveiling of its $13.5-million renovation and expansion project at its Swift Current campus. The most striking change was the construction of 2 new multipurpose shops -- currently earmarked for the welding, electrician, and wind turbine maintenance technician programs. Space is also available for energy sector and safety training, including the province's only indoor fall arrest training facility. Great Plains College News

Applications, enrolment rise as NBCC celebrates first year of independence

In marking its one-year anniversary as a Crown corporation and a self-governed institution on Sunday, New Brunswick Community College reported a number of achievements at the institution. Applications rose by 12% in 2010, resulting in a 7.6% increase in enrolments. There has already been a 9.7% increase in applications compared to May of last year, and enrolment is up 4.3% compared to this time last year. Since September 2010, NBCC has seen a 65% increase of declared Aboriginal students on applications. NBCC News

Professional programs growing in Northern Ontario

"There's a new northern exposure for higher education in Ontario," reports the Toronto Star. First there was the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, a joint initiative of Lakehead and Laurentian Universities. Then the Law Society of Upper Canada approved Lakehead's proposed law school. Last week the Ontario government approved a new architecture school at Laurentian. One payoff for launching university programs in the north is that it makes PSE suddenly handy to 3 groups the province has been trying to attract to PSE in greater numbers: Aboriginal, francophone, and rural students. NOSM made a promise to reflect the kind of people who live in the north, both in its students and the way it taught them. When Laurentian's architecture school opens, it will be the first bilingual architecture school in the world. Toronto Star

WLU arts faculty to run first-year seminars

For the first time, first-year students in Wilfrid Laurier University's arts faculty will have the opportunity to enrol in a first-year seminar. Enrolment in the seminars is capped at 20 students and each is organized around a topic selected by the professor. Each seminar will place emphasis on the acquisition of core skills that should stand students in good stead throughout their university careers and beyond. If the seminars prove popular, the arts dean has indicated that he will work with departments to see if the program can be expanded in future years. WLU News

Humanities studies necessary in digital age

At this week's Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Fredericton, Kwame Anthony Appiah, a professor of philosophy at Princeton University, argues that we need the humanities now more than ever. In our digital age, we are producing more information in a single day than could have been conceived of even a century ago, and we need the humanities to help understand what is worth paying attention to in the mountainous pile of information, says Appiah. Liberal arts will always be relevant, as it is a study to specific human purposes, Appiah says. Telegraph-Journal

Study finds Wikipedia improves students' work

New research being presented at the Congress shows that if you ask a student to write something to be posted on Wikipedia, the student becomes determined to make the work as accurate as possible, and may actually do better research. The study's author, an instructor at Douglas College, gave students an assignment to write short biographies on Canadian writers that would be posted on Wikipedia. The instructor found that the moment student realized their work was going public in a forum over which they had no control, they took the assignment more seriously, becoming concerned with the accuracy of facts. The instructor says despite Wikipedia's faults, it does promote solid values for its writers, including precise citations, accurate research, editing, and revision. CFHSS News Release