Top Ten

October 5, 2011

Vital Signs report highlights youth unemployment, high school non-completion

According to Canada's Vital Signs 2011, the Community Foundations of Canada's annual report card on quality of life, in 2010, the youth unemployment rate was 16% (down to 14.7% in the first half of 2011), compared to the OECD average of 20%. However, the riots in England this past summer demonstrate the impact of disengaged youth, the report notes. While Canadian youth are faring better than those in other industrialized nations, "we need to pay attention to the long-term implications of our unemployment gap and to what might happen if it were to grow if our economy continues to waver." The report states that in 2010, 20.2% of Canadians aged 15 and over had not completed secondary school, down from 37.8% in 1990, the first year from which comparable data are available. This represents a 46.6% decrease. Community Foundations of Canada News Release | Vital Signs 2011

The value of university research in Canada

University research matters to Canadians, now more than ever, according to a new brochure from the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. In the past decade, federal support for university research has risen by more than 80%. University research is making Canada an innovation leader, enhancing quality life, and building the country's talent pool, the brochure notes. In 2010, Canadian universities conducted more than $11.1 billion in research, up from $7.1 billion in 2000. Universities conduct nearly $1 billion in research per year with the business sector, as well as for the non-profit sector. The brochure notes that Canada now leads the world in the growth of PhDs awarded in the sciences, and is second only to Sweden in the growth of doctorates in engineering. AUCC News Release | The Value of University Research

Alumni seek injunction on Mount Allison's plan to demolish historic library

A group representing 1,600 Mount Allison University alumni went to court Tuesday to seek an injunction to stop the institution from tearing down the old Memorial Library in order to construct a $30-million fine and performing arts centre, a project the board of regents approved last month. The institution has said it will save elements of the facility to be used around the new centre. The lawyer for the alumni argued that Mount Allison has a duty to preserve the library as a war memorial. Alumni say that they have given money for that purpose and the institution cannot use it for anything else. Mount Allison's lawyer argues that while alumni are entitled to their opinions, the board has the power to decide which facilities are built or torn down. A Mount Allison VP says there have been no donations given to the arts centre project from people who do not understand what the university's plans are for the centre. A judge will decide tomorrow whether to grant the injunction. CBC

Postscript: Oct 12, 2011
Mount Allison University will go ahead with its $30-million fine and performing arts centre after a judge denied an injunction request made by 2 graduates. Representing 1,600 alumni, the graduates had sought the injunction in order to save the 84-year-old Memorial Library, which Mount Allison will tear down to make way for construction of the arts centre. The institution has said it will save elements of the historic library to be incorporated into the new centre. Construction of the centre is expected to begin next year, with the opening date tentatively set for 2014. Mount Allison News Release | CBC

uSask to construct new Aboriginal student centre

The University of Saskatchewan announced Tuesday plans for the construction of the Gordon Oakes-Red Bear Student Centre and revealed architectural renderings of the project. The facility will provide a central location for support services for Aboriginal students, and will also serve as a central space where uSask students, faculty, and staff can gather and learn from one another. The centre is named after Gordon Oakes, who throughout his life was a spiritual leader within his community and across Saskatchewan. Arrangements to name the centre after Oakes, who died in 2002, began early in the project's life. Construction on the facility may begin as early as next spring. uSask News Release | Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

Douglas College sets another enrolment record

For the second consecutive year, enrolment at BC-based Douglas College has reached an all-time high. This fall, the college has welcomed more than 10,700 students -- up 5% from last year and nearly 12% from 2009 -- at its New Westminster and Coquitlam campuses. Part-time enrolment has risen 8% over last year, and 17% over 2009. This fall's cohort includes almost 1,000 international students, a 17% increase over 2010. International-student enrolment at Douglas College has more than doubled since 2007. Douglas College News

York U fund supports program to enhance first-year student engagement

Supported by York University's Academic Innovation Fund, a project titled "York University Incoming Student Transition Initiatives" focuses on enhancing how the institution engages with first-year students. The project team made enhancements to the RED Zone, the welcome point for all new students; these include staffing the information kiosk in the Vari Hall Rotunda, recasting the RED Zone lounge in a classroom next to the Rotunda, and hiring a college orientation chair for each of York U's 9 colleges. A virtual component includes a series of videos and blogs, as well as an incoming student portal. As part of the project, The Text Race, a play written by a residence life coordinator, premiered to all incoming students during Welcome Week to reinforce their knowledge about all the services available to help them do well during their time at York U. Y-File

Brock initiative aims to connect Niagara youth with higher ed

Brock University's Youth University is working with community partners on the Neighbourhood Access Initiative, a research-based program designed to support community development and boost the number of youth from priority neighbourhoods in the Niagara region who go on to attend PSE. Led by Brock student volunteers, the initiative is designed to follow youth from Grade 6 to secondary school. It involves after-school programming, mentoring and tutoring, as well as hands-on activities to identify and connect student interests with civic engagement, educational pathways, and future careers. Participating students and their parents will have the chance to visit Brock and learn more about every aspect of planning for PSE. The program builds on a pilot project that took place in Fort Erie last year, and has expanded to Niagara Falls. Brock News | Priority Neighbourhood Access Initiative

Much of academia stagnant in incorporating principles of sustainability

In its eighth annual Knight Schools ranking, Toronto-based publisher Corporate Knights found that "while some schools are working diligently and proficiently towards the common good, it seems that much of academia is taking a long rest in the middle of the journey" of integrating environmental, social, and governance principles into the curriculum. York University's Schulich School of Business and the University of Waterloo's Environment and Business program placed first in the MBA and undergraduate business program categories, respectively. The University of Toronto ranked first in the law school category, and its Ontario Institute for Studies in Education took the top spot in the teaching program category. This year's ranking includes a spotlight on Canadian medical schools. Corporate Knights News Release | Knights Schools 2011

UFV develops interactive video tour

The University of the Fraser Valley has created an interactive video tour, titled "Get 2 Know UFV," that comprises 17 short video segments on what the institution is really like, what programs are available, what it costs, and how to get in. Hosted by a pair of fourth-year students, each of the video clips end with a number of buttons inviting users to decide what they want to learn about next. For example, if users choose the program section, they can select videos about credentials, academic programs, and trades programs, as well as about continuing studies, upgrading, and ESL. Through the video tour, users can link through to different areas of UFV's website for more information, and fill in a contact form. UFV Today | Get 2 Know UFV

US institutions seek greater diversity in international-student body

With students from China, South Korea, and India often dominating the pool of international undergraduate applicants, US colleges want to recruit more students from under-represented nations in Latin America, South Asia, and elsewhere. Admissions officials say international diversity enhances campus culture, helps undergraduate students in the US prepare for the globalized workplaces of the future, and offers protection against the risk of a sharp, sudden decline in international enrolment. Financial aid is just one step in recruiting students. Officials say institutions must ensure they can accommodate students from new nations and different cultures. Washington-based Green River Community College, which has attracted 45 countries to its campus, is trying to secure land to construct a soccer field, a seemingly small amenity but one that may attract Brazilian students. As institutions try to recruit students from more countries to their campus, they should also look for greater diversity among those who come from individual nations that send large numbers of students, by considering ethnicity and economic background as well as geography, says an official at California's Pomona College. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)