Top Ten

August 9, 2011

Bow Valley College purchases former Catholic School Board office

Calgary's Bow Valley College is expanding after buying the former Catholic School Board office, which sits on half a city block, for $13.7-million. The college already owns the rest of that block, which is home to its north campus. Bow Valley will open its south campus on the new site in 2013. The institution will have a year to develop the plan. Bow Valley recent purchased the former Workers' Compensation Board building as part of its ongoing plan to accommodate the needs of a fast-growing student population. Global Calgary

New STMU president considers incorporating water tower in branding

Gerry Turcotte, the new president of Calgary-based St. Mary's University College, has already made changes to the institution's development and communications departments as he feels the story of STMU needs to be told to a wider audience. Turcotte says some of the individuals he has spoken to are maybe not familiar with the private, Catholic-based liberal arts institution but know of its water tower, and he plans to use it in his branding of STMU. The wooden heritage structure is a gathering place for both students and staff and Turcotte views the water tower as a contradiction to the stuffy idea of universities being ivory towers. Calgary Herald

New website for York U

York University has unveiled a redesigned website, whose homepage is dominated by large, rotating graphic banner highlighting research, athletics, and hands-on learning at the institution. The homepage features recent news, an events listing, links to York U's social media platforms, and videos, including some from the university's latest social media campaign. York U website

uSask campus newspaper launches online news centre

The University of Saskatchewan's official newspaper, On Campus News, recently launched the OCN online news centre, a one-stop shop where the institution's stories can be told in a more immediate way than in a bi-weekly publication. OCN online features daily news and information, as well as photos, videos, music, user commentary, and social media. While the print version of OCN will publish every 2 weeks during the school year, OCN online will be updated regularly. uSask News Release

Dal student union produces welcome video with original music

Instead of producing another lib dub to get new students excited about coming to Dalhousie University, organizers with the student union decided to create something unique with an original song, written and produced by members of the university community. The video for "See You in September," posted on YouTube Monday, shows a pair of new students making their way to Halifax, exploring the city and heading to campus. "Dal can be your Hogwarts if you'll be Harry Potter" and "whether you're British Columbian or whether you're a Newf, Dalhousie is 100% hater proof" are some of the song's lyrics. Several of the song's collaborators worked on the "Student Poverty Song" video, also produced by the Dalhousie Student Union. Dal News | See You in September

US government joins suit to recover student aid funds from EDMC

On Monday the US Justice Department joined a whistleblower and several state governments in filing a lawsuit against Education Management Corp. (EDMC), a for-profit education firm that has received over $11 billion US in federal student aid, in order to recover a portion of those funds. The government claims EDMC paid admissions recruiters bonuses linked to the number of students they recruited, a practice that violates federal law. The suit alleges the firm falsely certified compliance with federal laws that bar a university from paying incentives to recruiters. CNN

Trend in US institutions reassessing grading to pop grade-inflation bubble

Officials at Western Governors University, a US-based online institution, argue that the best way to eliminate grade inflation is to remove professors out of the grading process. The school has replaced instructors with professional evaluators who never meet students, and who do not worry that students will punish harsh marks with poor reviews. Other PSE institutions are reassessing grading. Schools such as the University of Central Florida now outsource the scoring of some essay tests to computers. As more observers seek evidence of college value in a time of ever-rising tuition fees, game-changing models such as these are receiving serious consideration. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

New research explores effects of education on religion

A new US study observes that some religious beliefs and practices increase with years of education. The study's author found the more education an individual has, the less likely the individual is to hold "exclusivist religious viewpoints" (a belief in a single faith that is better than all others) and to believe the Bible is the literal truth. However, despite those findings, "the effects of education on religion are more complex than previous research suggests," the researcher writes. The study observes that more education does not decrease the odds that an American will believe in God or the afterlife, more education "positively affects" religious participation and the role of religion in daily life, and more education seems to increase the odds that a person will change religious affiliations, but does not correlate with disaffiliation with religious faiths. Inside Higher Ed

Lessons learned from being a campus administrator

Writing for The Chronicle of Higher Education, Gary A. Olson, who recently stepped down from the position of provost at Idaho State University, expands on the advice he gave to a scholar who recently became a dean at her institution. Administrators don't always speak as one, Olson writes; what you'll find is administrators advocating tenaciously for their particular programs, often in direct competition with others. Olson recommends promoting a climate of openness and a culture of recognition, following protocol, and making friends with fundraisers. If faculty members were to make the effort to pay attention to other areas of their institution, they could possibly make their jobs and working conditions much more tolerable -- even more rewarding -- and become better prepared for administrative roles, Olson writes. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

US institutions' adoption of social media soars, study finds

According to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research's latest study on the usage of social media by PSE institutions, 100% of colleges and universities studied are using some form of social media, up from 61% of respondents in 2007-08, when the centre first conducted the study. 98% of institutions reporting having a Facebook page (up from 87% last year), 84% have a Twitter account (up from 59%), 66% have a blog (up from 51%), and 41% have podcasts (up from 22%). The study found that 47% of admissions professionals are using LinkedIn, up from 16% last year. Foursquare and YouTube were added to the study this year and are being used by 20% and 86% of respondents, respectively. UMass Dartmouth Centre for Marketing Research