Top Ten

July 25, 2011

FPSE opposes Sector Council funding cuts

The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC is chastising the federal government for funding cuts affecting Sector Councils, which are labour management initiatives designed to bring together employers and labour representatives within key sectors of the Canadian economy to work on their sector's human resources issues. The funding cuts have serious and long-term consequences for post-secondary educators, says FPSE. The federation states it has been through Sector Councils support programs that several industries have been able to create and sustain re-training initiatives that helped thousands of adult learners re-engage with public PSE schools. FPSE News

$5 million for Lakeland oil and gas training facility

The Alberta government is committing $4.9 million toward the development of a power engineering/oil and gas training facility at Lakeland College's Lloydminster campus. With the facility, the college will be able to increase seats in its over-subscribed heavy oil operations technician program, transitioning it from a one-year certificate program to a 2-year program to allow students to graduate with a diploma and a third-class power engineering certificate. Lakeland News Release

International student enrolment soars at Conestoga

This fall Conestoga College will see a 50% increase in the number of foreign students it admits, to 324 full-time. International-focused projects, such as student and faculty exchange programs, are gaining ground at the institution. Foreign students interviewed by the Waterloo Region Record appreciate the added value of "project-based learning" to their studies. One student from the Czech Republic says "the biggest plus" is the co-op experience, something he would not likely get in Europe. Waterloo Region Record

Confederation College president's plans for Lake of the Woods campus

Continuing to tailor the institution's programs to correspond with local industries, strengthening and building new partnerships with other academic institutions, and using the college as a catalyst to bolster economic development are some of the plans Confederation College president Jim Madder has for the institution's Lake of the Woods campus. Currently touring Confederation's 8 regional campuses, Madder says he is considering the idea of new partnerships with other institutions, such as Red River College in Manitoba, to provide students with courses and programs that would not otherwise be offered at Lake of the Woods. Kenora Daily Miner & News

MacEwan to spend $5 million to update aquatics facility

Grant MacEwan University will allocate $5 million to retain and update its aquatics facility and fitness space. A portion of the funds will go toward updating the aquatics facility, extending the life of the swimming pool for some time. The remainder will be used to expand the fitness space into an existing courtyard. The decision is subject to approval by MacEwan's board of governors. MacEwan News | Edmonton Journal

UOIT discontinues credit card option for tuition payment

The University of Ontario Institute of Technology has joined a number of Canadian post-secondary schools that have stopped accepting credit card payments for tuition. The institution will continue to accept credit cards for smaller expenses. A UOIT registrar says costs to keep the system running were getting out of hand. Officials feel the money could be directed elsewhere, such as services and programs, to benefit students. Durham Region News

MCAT undergoing revision

The Medical College Admission Test is undergoing the fifth major revision in its history. A committee struck by the Association of American Medical Colleges, which administers the MCAT, has made preliminary recommendations on changes that would boost its basic science content and add questions on broader topics like population health, social sciences, and ethics. One recommendation is to eliminate the writing sample, a section that has not proven to be a good predictor of success in medical school, and most admissions department have not found it very useful, save for assessing the writing skills of individuals for whom English is a second language. CMAJ News

Many universities shifting away from Access Copyright

Starting this fall many Canadian universities will no longer use the Access Copyright license, signifying the culmination of years of technological change within Canadian education that has led to new methods for instructors to disseminate research and educational materials, as well as students' greater reliance on the Web, electronic materials, and portable computers, writes Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, in a Toronto Star column. The shift away from Access Copyright is not just about other forms of access, Geist writes. Access Copyright has increased its licensing demands, which threatened to add millions to already tight budgets at PSE institutions. The shift from Access Copyright to open and alternative access "will suffer from growing pains," writes Geist, "but represents a major step toward better leveraging technology within the education system." Toronto Star

VCC launches mobile library app

Vancouver Community College's mobile application for smartphones now includes a library service option for students to view personal accounts, renew material, and place requests for books and DVDs. Through the app, users can launch the AskAway function and chat with a librarian. The app allows students to search and read full-text articles, check library hours, and see who to contact for library-related queries. VCC News

The Great Courses coming to Canada

The Great Courses, a Virginia-based firm that has been selling audio and video lectures delivered by top professors for more than 20 years, is planning a big Canadian presence, with a national marketing push in print and electronic media set for this summer. Courses typically entail 12 to 36 half-hour lectures on CD, DVD, or audio file. Most courses cost $150 to $250, although they often go on sale. The company's vice-president says one advantage worth paying for is the rigorous screening process that promises the liveliest and most authoritative lecturers. Maclean's | The Great Courses