Top Ten

November 4, 2011

Flooding damages uManitoba's Delta Marsh Field Station

The future of the University of Manitoba's Delta Marsh Field Station is in doubt due to this year's widespread flooding. Just 3 of the research and teaching station's 15 facilities are intact, and securing insurance for what is left of the site is an open question. A uManitoba spokesman says the institution is committed to field research and teaching, but whether it is at Delta has yet to be decided. The cost of cleaning up and demolishing the damaged outbuildings, as well as dealing with downed trees and debris left by the flood, is approximately $300,000. The 3 undamaged facilities -- the residence, the library/classroom, and Mallard Lodge -- will be winterized to protect against the elements. Winnipeg Free Press

Racist graffiti found near uWindsor multi-faith space

University of Windsor students and staff were shocked to find vandals targeted the men's washroom adjacent the university's new multi-faith space late last month with graffiti containing slurs against people of Arabic and South Asian descent. The bathroom had been recently renovated to include sinks and seating for individuals to wash their hands and feet, something many Muslims do before prayer. The graffiti does not change the fact the uWindsor campus is generally an accepting place, says the student alliance president. In addition to measures such as a student-organized cultural week to celebrate campus diversity, the chairman of the campus Palestinian Solidarity Group says he would like to hear a stronger message from uWindsor administration. Windsor Star

CCPA report recommends Saskatchewan develop program of managed tuition reductions

Successive Saskatchewan governments in the past decade have introduced a number of policy responses to make university more affordable; however, the results of these efforts have not been impressive, concludes a new Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives report -- tuition fees are still very high when compared to other provinces, student debt continues to rise, the administrative bureaucracy managing the student loan system keeps growing, and government debt obligations required to fund the Graduate Retention program will inflate as pledges to provide additional rebates are made. The report recommends the Saskatchewan government develop a program of managed tuition reductions, phasing this in over several years. One example is to roll back tuition fees gradually until they reach 15% of total university revenue. Another option could be reducing tuition fees until they approximate those of the 3 provinces that have adopted a low-tuition model -- Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Quebec. Regina Leader-Post | Read the report

RRC celebrates new Portage campus

Last Wednesday, Manitoba's Red River College officially opened its new Portage campus. Located in the former Victoria School site in Portage La Prairie, the campus offers far more physical space than the previous Southport site, and allows for an expanded "campus concept" that includes study areas, student and staff lounges, instructor office space, and a new special purposes room. RRC opened the campus in the traditional way of First Nations people. Currently, Aboriginal students comprise more than 50% of the Portage campus' student population. RRC News | Daily Graphic

uWaterloo opens Hong Kong office

On Saturday, the University of Waterloo opened an office in Hong Kong to strengthen ties with the Hong Kong community. Located at The Malahon Center in the business district in downtown Hong Kong, the office will have full-time staff supported by uWaterloo co-op student placements. uWaterloo has 1,500 alumni living and working in Hong Kong, and over 2,800 Asian students are enrolled at the institution, representing 41% of its international student population. uWaterloo News Release

Fleming College enrolment grows 20% in last 5 years

Fleming College reports that over the past 5 years, its total full-time enrolment has grown by about 1,000 students, an increase of 20%. Total enrolment in 2010 rose by 5% over the previous year. For the fall 2011 term, enrolment tops 6,000 students, just shy of last year's record enrolment. Through new initiatives in India, the Peterborough-based institution has seen strong growth in international-student enrolment. With more than 50 new international students enrolled this semester, Fleming College anticipates another strong cohort to arrive for the January 2012 term. Fleming College News Release

Occupy protests wake-up call for business schools

Writing for the Montreal Gazette, Paul Shrivastava, director of the David O'Brien Centre for Sustainable Enterprise at Concordia University's John Molson School of Business, observes that the Occupy Wall Street movement questions core principles governing modern corporations -- principles ostensibly taught by PSE institutions. Typical MBA programs skim over business ethics, despite being the training ground of corporate leaders, Shrivastava writes; most business schools presently teach the art of making money, and fail to explore fair corporate governance. In addition to examining why the public mistrusts corporations and their leaders, business schools should also question their own complicity in training flawed corporate leaders, states Shrivastava. For tomorrow's corporate leaders to be taught that they must earn public trust, ethics and sustainability must become core subjects in business education. Montreal Gazette

BC now offering integrated loans

With the BC and federal government now having integrated their respective student loan programs, BC students only have to sign one loan agreement and make one monthly payment, rather than 2 of each. Students also now have a single service centre to contact. While the new system has been in effect since August for new loan applicants, legislation is needed to update the rules for individuals who received all their BC student aid funding between August 2000 and August 2011. The BC government is amending the Financial Administration Act to allow it to eliminate non-sufficient fund fees for student borrowers to be consistent with federal rules. The province is also amending the Infants Act to allow a student who is a minor to enter into a student loan agreement without needing a guarantor. BC News Release

Chinese student boom in US challenging for both colleges and students

In just 3 years, the number of Chinese undergraduate students in the US has tripled to 40,000, making them the largest group of international students at US colleges. Mostly from China's fast-growing middle class, the students can afford to pay full tuition, a godsend for institutions that have faced steep budget cuts in recent years. However, what appears at first blush a boon for institutions and students alike is, on further inspection, a challenge for both. College officials and consultants are observing widespread fabrication in applications. Once in the classroom, Chinese students with limited English struggle to keep up with discussions. Despite those students getting nearly identical grades to those of their US peers, some professors have had to alter how they teach. Though slow to adjust to the challenges they face, US institutions are trying new strategies, both to help ease students' transition to American academic life and to improve the admissions process. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

Pearson offers "adaptive learning" in revised courseware

Pearson Education announced last week a partnership with Knewton, an education technology company, to develop a new suite of personalized education products. Powering Pearson's digital content, Knewton's technology identifies each student's strengths, weaknesses, and learning style. The platform takes into account each user's personal proficiencies and course requirements to continuously tailor learning materials to an individual's exact needs. Pearson and Knewton plan to start beta testing this fall and to have programs ready for the fall 2012 semester. Pearson Education News Release | The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)