Top Ten

June 23, 2011

Attack on UBC student in Bangladesh fuels efforts to open Canadian PSE wider in South Asia

An attack in Bangladesh that left a University of British Columbia graduate student blind has bolstered support for efforts to open the doors to Canadian PSE wider in South Asia. Academics and students are leading a large Canadian contingent rallying behind Rumana Monzur, whose husband has reportedly confessed to assaulting her. Monzur's husband is said to have vehemently opposed his wife returning to Vancouver to defend her thesis. "This tragic occasion is a poignant marker of the need to work to protect the fundamental human right of all women to pursue education," says UBC president Stephen Toope. For months Canadian institutions have been pushing for deeper partnerships in South Asia, trying to attract more students to study in Canada. In January, Amit Chakma, the Bangladeshi-born president of the University of Western Ontario, visited Dhaka's Asian University for Women to underline the importance of boosting women's access to education. When you hear of this kind of brutality against women, Chakma says, "I think this should enhance our resolve to do more to try to be helpful to individual students who want to come here to study." Globe and Mail | Message to the Community from the UBC President

Financing for Libyan students in North America renewed

The Canadian Bureau for International Education announced Wednesday it has received confirmation that Libya's education ministry has transferred funding to it for the purposes of the continued operations of the Libyan-North American Scholarship Program. The new funding will cover monthly living allowances, health insurance, and tuition fees to the end of May 2012 for 2,500 Libyan students and their dependents studying at educational institutions in Canada and the US. Scholarship funding for Libyan students had been in jeopardy for months following sanctions against the African nation. CBIE News Release

uAlberta creates Land Reclamation International Graduate School

With funding from NSERC's Collaborative Research and Training Experience Program, the University of Alberta has established the Land Reclamation International Graduate School, which will begin accepting students within a year. The graduate school will eventually have about 3 dozen MSc and PhD students and post-doctoral fellows examining the science, as well as the socio-economic and regulatory issues, surrounding land reclamation. The school will create new courses, make minor adjustments to others, and use video conferencing extensively to fulfil the requirements of an international graduate school. uAlberta ExpressNews

Dal opens Life Sciences Research Institute

Tuesday marked the launch of Dalhousie University's $70-million Life Sciences Research Institute. The location of the institute on the corner of Summer Street and University Avenue in Halifax is important to the concept of bringing science and technology transfer together; the facility is in close proximity to hospitals, research labs, and the Tupper Building, home of Dal's Faculty of Medicine. Dal News

NWCC opens doors to renovated Smithers campus

An official celebration to unveil Northwest Community College's revitalized Smithers campus will take place later this summer, but the campus is already open for business. The renovated campus is wheelchair accessible, with expanded learning facilities and improved video conferencing and distance education capabilities. The campus has additional classroom space, wet and dry science laboratories, a multi-purpose shop for trades programs, an expanded library, and a computer lab. The $16.7-million project is one of 40 Knowledge Infrastructure Program projects at PSE institutions across BC. NWCC News Release

Postscript: Sep 30, 2011
Last Friday, Northwest Community College held a street party to mark the official opening of its newly-renovated Smithers campus. The renewal and expansion of the campus was completed in 2 phases; the first was completed in summer 2010, while the second was finished earlier this year. The campus opened to classes for this year's spring and summer sessions. BC News Release | NWCC News Release

Blended course delivery priority for Mohawk College

A big part of Mohawk College president Rob MacIsaac's vision for the institution is making higher education accessible to everyone by having resources available online 24/7. The college aims to have all its programs delivered in a blend of in-person and online instruction by 2013. 30% of Mohawk College students leave in their first year, sometimes due to the difficulty of balancing school and work, MacIsaac says. Blended learning would provide everyone access to classes and lectures at any time, any place. Hamilton Spectator

UBC launches Digital Signage Program

The University of British Columbia is undertaking a large digital signage project with a dedicated website, cross-department leadership, and a continual search for "great content." The program will allow campus units to coordinate messages; develop, share, and use high-quality media; and deliver emergency messages across the university's campuses. At least 5% of the content displayed must be "branded content," as defined by UBC's public affairs office. The institution expects to add mobile control to the digital signage network to allow users to push content to physical displays on campus via their mobile devices. Campus Technology | UBC Digital Signage

Nipissing redesigns website

Last week Nipissing University launched a new-look website, whose homepage is dominated by a large, rotating graphic banner, which highlights the North Bay-based institution's high marks in the Globe and Mail's University Report Card, its renowned Schulich School of Education, and its most recent strategic plan. The homepage includes news updates, event listings, and links to information about campus life and services. The homepage also features links to Nipissing's social media platforms. Nipissing website

Cameron U guarantees work-ready undergraduate degrees

Committed to ensuring only competent graduates enter the workforce, Oklahoma-based Cameron University states that upon employment, if any graduate has deficiencies in core employment areas in his or her field of study, the institution will provide additional education at no cost to the graduate or employer. To be eligible for "The Cameron University Guarantee," a student must have graduated from the school in spring 2012 or later, must have completed all of his or her course work at Cameron U and graduated with a baccalaureate degree within 5 years of his or her initial enrolment, and must be employed in Oklahoma. The employer must report the deficiency areas to the institution's Office of Careers Services within the first 6 months of the graduate's initial employment. Lawton Constitution | The Cameron University Guarantee

Report provides critique of university rankings process

A new report commissioned by the European University Association observes that global university rankings have "galvanized" the world of PSE, but, despite their increasing influence, they provide only an "oversimplified picture" of the mission of universities. Offering a comprehensive analysis of the various methodologies used by international rankings, the report states the rankings "reflect the university research performance far more accurately than teaching" and emphasizes that many of the indicators rankings use are susceptible to manipulation by schools seeking to boost their performance in the lists. The report notes that rankings are here to stay, and the proliferation of global rankings does offer some benefits, such as fostering accountability and encouraging the collection of more reliable data. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access) | Read the report