Top Ten

August 5, 2011

McGill professor reprimanded over ghostwriting scandal

McGill University has formally reprimanded professor and researcher Barbara Sherwin for failing to acknowledge a ghostwriter hired by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals in a paper she wrote in 2000. In August 2009 Sherwin was implicated in a ghostwriting scandal in which articles paid for by Wyeth were published in reputable journals. Sherwin was listed as the sole author of the paper, even though an employee of DesignWrite, a professional-writing firm, was involved in the process. An 8-month investigation found that Sherwin should have credited the DesignWrite employee. Montreal Gazette

Secondary school course selection, tracking significant factors in PSE gender gap, report finds

According to a new study commissioned by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, secondary school course selection and the practice of tracking, which divides students into academic or applied classes based on aptitude and interest, may help explain why more women than men are pursuing higher education. Between 1994 and 2006 university application rates of women rose from 41% of the potential application pool to 52%, while for men the rate grew from 32% to 39%. Researchers found a link between university application rates of men and women and the percentage of each who take the academic versus applied EQAO math test in Grade 9. Young women are somewhat more likely than young men to take the academic test. The study's authors says this limited evidence suggests secondary school course selection and student tracking may play an impor tant role in explaining the gender gap in university applications. Research Summary | Complete Report

McMaster medical campus project could be downsized

A new City of Hamilton staff report suggests the proposed downtown McMaster University medical campus is set to be downsized from a $105-million, 217,000-square-foot building to an estimated $80-million, 152,000-square-foot facility. The Hamilton Spectator reports that the fact staff are suggesting leasing less space to accommodate the city's public health department may have something to do with the downsizing. Instead of 84,000 square feet, staff are now recommending leasing just 19,000 square feet for the city's sole use, and sharing another 11,000 square feet with McMaster. Hamilton Spectator

uWaterloo seeking to designate Stratford campus as a school

University of Waterloo officials are making the institution's Stratford campus a short-term priority and therefore "will modify/expand the scope of the 'Stratford Initiative' to deliver not only a world class centre for digital media education but also ensure we create a long-term academic/research presence." Officials will seek to designate the campus as a "'school' in order to facilitate cross campus collaboration and to allow multiple academic units to engage with and participate with Stratford while maintaining a leadership role for the Faculty of Arts." uWaterloo Daily Bulletin

Ryerson business school earns global accreditation

Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Management has received accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the longest serving global accreditation body for business schools. Ryerson says the accreditation strengthens the institution's position "as a national and global leader in delivering high-quality, relevant management education and enables the business school to expand opportunities for its students and partnerships with other leading international institutions." Ryerson News

Summer student employment little changed over last year

Employment for students between the ages of 15 and 24 was little changed in July compared to one year earlier, reports Statistics Canada. Last month the unemployment rate for students was 17.4%, similar to that recorded in July 2010. This was lower than the rate of 20.8% recorded in July 2009, when the student labour market was particularly affected by the job market downturn. Younger students had more trouble than their older peers in finding work last month. The unemployment rate among students aged 15 and 16 was 32.7%, compared to a rate of 17.6% among 17- to 19-year-olds, and 7.1% for 20- to 24-year-olds. Statistics Canada

US report examines "borrowing-to-credential ratio" to get a college value

In a new report Education Sector, a US-based think-tank, looks at what it calls the "borrowing-to-credential ratio," calculated by considering the amount of money borrowed in federal student-aid programs by undergraduate students and their parents at a college, and dividing that by the number of credentials the college granted in a particular year. The report uses this measure as a means of comparing the value of different sectors of PSE and of individual institutions. Not surprisingly, the report observed significant variation in borrowing-to-credential ratios across higher-education sectors. The average ratio for public 4-year colleges was $16,247, $21,827 at private 4-year institutions, and $43,383 at for-profit colleges. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

US study explores correlations between education levels, lifetime earnings

In a new report researchers at Georgetown University's Centre on Education and the Workforce calculated a lifetime-earnings figure for full-time, full-year workers with different education levels, from less than high school to PhDs and professional degrees. Not surprisingly, researchers found that median lifetime earnings rise with education level. What intrigued the study's authors was the diversity of experiences underlying that general pattern. For example, while the median lifetime earnings of those with a bachelor's degree (about $2.3 million) are higher than those with an associate degree (about $1.7 million), more than 28% of those whose highest credential is an associate degree earn as much or more than does the typical bachelor's holder. The centre's director says a program of study should let potential students know what fields its graduates work in and how much they make. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

US government releases new data on gender gap in STEM fields

According to a new study released by the US Department of Commerce, women hold nearly half of all jobs in the US, but less than a quarter of those in science and technology fields. This trend continues despite women in STEM jobs earning a third more, on average, than do women in other fields. The report shows that of those who study STEM fields in college, women are less likely to pursue STEM jobs. 40% of men with a STEM degree work in science and technology fields, while just 26% of comparable women do so. Inside Higher Ed

British university sector expecting enrolment decline in first year of higher fees

According to a report from the Higher Education Funding Council for England, 56% of British universities are expecting a drop in undergraduate numbers in the first year of higher fees, with the entire sector planning for a drop of nearly 2%. Meanwhile, postgraduate student numbers are expected to increase marginally over the period to 2013-14, rising between 0.6% and 1.5% annually, whereas international student numbers are anticipated to rise between 3% and 6% a year. Times Higher Education