Top Ten

November 9, 2011

Barrie to ask Ontario for downtown university campus

On Monday, Barrie city councillors gave initial approval to a motion asking the Ontario Liberal government to designate the city for the province's next university campus. It includes a commitment from the municipality for as much as $14 million toward the $60-million Laurentian University campus. The university has already pledged $14 million and the government would need to finance the remaining costs, although private partners will be pursued. Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman's plan is for the municipality to invest $1.4 million a year for 10 years. Councillors are also telling the provincial government that Barrie will be university-ready with regard to site selection and project planning. In the recent provincial election campaign, the Liberals promised 3 new university campuses. Barrie Examiner

BC legislation relating to institutional boards draws criticism

"It is more than just an affront to our democratic rights; it's a full-on attack of our freedom of association rights that are spelled out in the Charter," says the president of the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC of proposed legislation stipulating that anyone who stands for election as the faculty representative on the board of governors of a PSE institution cannot be a member of the local faculty association executive. Bill 18 would also ensure that only government-appointed board members, rather than those elected to the board, are able to serve as chair, as well as grant boards power to remove elected members for reason of conduct or conflict of interest with a 2/3 majority vote. "This legislation is Orwellian, in that it creates two classes of board members,” says the president of the BC Government and Service Employees' Union. "If you are elected from your community, you become a second class board member, and the government can easily use their appointed majority to remove you if you disagree with their decisions." BC News Release | FPSE News | BCGEU News Release | Kamloops Daily News

Bridging Aboriginal education gap in Saskatchewan would reap $90 billion in benefits, study finds

According to a report prepared for the Gabriel Dumont Institute, closing Saskatchewan's Aboriginal education gap would yield $90 billion in benefits. The report notes that without an education, Aboriginal people earn dramatically less than do their non-Aboriginal peers, but with an education, Aboriginal earnings increase more as they largely catch up with non-Aboriginal earnings. The report's author uses peer-reviewed economic formulas to determine a dollar amount for both monetary and non-monetary individual benefits of bridging the Aboriginal education gap. The author demonstrates social benefits by calculating, in economic terms, the benefits of increased tax revenues, lower dependence on social programming, and indirect economic benefits. The author puts the findings in context by noting that the economic benefit of closing the Aboriginal education gap in Saskatchewan amounts to 20% more than all the potash sales in the province's history. Gabriel Dumont Institute News Release | Saskatchewan Star-Phoenix | CBC

Algoma U task force releases final report on Block Plan

In its final report, Algoma University's Block Plan Task Force outlines advantages and disadvantages to adopting the Block Plan, a one-course-at-a-time delivery format. As for advantages, the report states that adopting the Block Plan presents the opportunity to clearly establish the university as a place that offers a different educational experience that will be attractive to certain types of students, brings a renewed focus to student engagement, and affords new flexibility in terms of faculty and staff work schedules. The report notes that in the absence of market research and analysis, it cannot be known for sure how adopting the Block Plan will affect the retention of current students or the recruitment of future students. Other disadvantages include a large number of part-time faculty not being available to teach and therefore needing to be replaced, and the delivery model being more of a barrier to certain student groups, such as Aboriginal and part-time learners. If Algoma U approves the Block Plan, the task force recommends undertaking a full financial analysis to determine the true costs of implementing the delivery model, as well as phasing the model year by year. Sault This Week | Read the report

SFU Surrey campus completes expansion into Podium 2

First- and second-year science students at Simon Fraser University's Surrey campus have access to new lab space following the completion of the campus' expansion into Podium 2. The project saw a refit of existing space that accommodates new classrooms, as well as teaching and wet laboratories for first- and second-year science programs. With access to this dedicated space, students no longer have to travel to SFU's Burnaby campus to conduct experiments. The university received $9.8 million from the federal and BC governments for this renovation project. BC News Release

COU releases statistics on 2008 graduates

According to results from a survey of 2008 graduates of Ontario undergraduate degree programs, 91% of respondents said they were employed within 6 months of graduating, and nearly 94% reported having a job 2 years following graduation. More than 77% with jobs 6 months following graduation were in positions related to their education. 2 years after graduation, more than 83% had jobs related to their degree. The Council of Ontario Universities reports that between 2004 and 2010, jobs increased by 28% for those with a university degree, 17% for those with a college diploma, and just 4% for individuals with a high school education. COU states that, on average, Ontario university graduates earn about 32% more annually than those with a college certificate or diploma, and 53% more than those with no higher education. COU News Release | 2008 Grad Survey Highlights

Canada third most popular MBA destination in world

According to a new report by the US-based Graduate Management Admission Council, Canada is the third most popular destination in the world for graduate business education, following the US and the UK. The number of Graduate Management Admission Test scores sent to Canadian business schools reached a record high of 28,494 as of June 2011, up slightly from 28,166 the year before. International students are showing more interest in Canada. This year, of those taking the GMAT to study in Canada, 57% were from abroad. Women accounted for 40% of those who took the GMAT in Canada this year, up from 38% last year. Globe and Mail | Read the report

OCAD U unveils new marketing campaign

Launched this week, OCAD University's "IMAGINE" creative marketing campaign spotlights some of the groundbreaking work produced by the institution, its faculty, students, and alumni in the course of OCAD U's 135-year history. 6 distinct billboard posters will be featured in 8 stations on the University subway line in Toronto, comprising a total of 25 frames. Additional posters will be introduced during the course of the campaign and rotated at select locations. Featuring the work of 8 individuals, the campaign will roll out in several waves over the coming year. In addition to the transit posters, the campaign's first wave includes online advertising. The campaign will also build on OCAD U's new visual identity. OCAD U News | Marketing Magazine

Postscript: May 9, 2012

OCAD University is wrapping its 135th anniversary celebrations by rolling its "IMAGINE" campaign across Toronto this month. Originally launched last November, the campaign spotlights some of the groundbreaking work produced by OCAD U's faculty, alumni, and students over the course of the university's history. 8 distinct transit shelter ads are featured at locations around Toronto's downtown core for approximately 5 weeks leading to the institution's spring graduation ceremony. The campaign also features ads on several news media websites. OCAD U News

Proposed MCAT revisions add focus on bedside manner

An Association of American Medical Colleges panel has released its final recommendations for revamping the Medical College Admission Test. The modifications are part of a broader revision of the application process that aims to attract would-be doctors who will not only be technically proficient, but also have a good bedside manner. The MCAT will include new sections on the psychological, social, and biological foundations of behaviour, and on critical analysis and reasoning skills. The new exam eliminates a writing section and updates the components on natural sciences. The new sections feature topics such as ethics, psychology, and population health. "We hope this will encourage applicants to read broadly in the humanities and social sciences," says one panel member. The revised MCAT will be introduced in 2015. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) | Preview Guide for MCAT 2015

Online enrolment in US exceeds 6 million students

According to a new US survey, more than 6.1 million students were enrolled in at least one online course during the fall 2010 semester, an increase of 10%, far exceeding the 2% growth in the overall PSE student population. Meanwhile, views on the quality of online education compared to face-to-face courses have shifted by just 10 percentage points over the last 8 years. In 2003, 57% of surveyed academic leaders estimated that learning outcomes in online courses were equal or superior to those of traditional courses; this year, the figure reached 67%. Though the survey did not sample faculty opinion directly, responses from academic leaders suggest faculty have also been slow to accept online education. This year, 32% of respondents agreed that their faculty "fully accept" the "value and legitimacy of online education," up slightly from 30.4% in 2003. A new feature in this year's survey was the inclusion of data on academic leaders' regard for open educational resources (OER). 56.6% agreed that "open education resources will be of value for my campus." Among for-profit institutions, respondents' estimate of OER rose considerably, from 47.5% saying OER would prove valuable to their schools in 2009, to 72.4% in 2011. Babson College News Release | Inside Higher Ed | 2011 Survey of Online Learning