Top Ten

December 13, 2011

Report recommends NSCAD explore collaborations with other PSE institutions

The Nova Scotia government announced yesterday that it and NSCAD University have agreed to implement special advisor Howard Windsor's recommendations aimed at making the institution sustainable and protecting fine arts education in the province. The recommendations require NSCAD to fully explore collaborations with other PSE schools as it establishes a plan to become sustainable. The university must submit its financial plan to Nova Scotia's advanced education minister by March 31. NSCAD must also work with a government facilitator to make sure it is making progress on collaboration options. In return, the province will provide the institution with a one-time $2.4-million investment to address its growing deficit. NS News Release | Globe and Mail | Read the report

Saskatchewan introduces legislation to expand degree-granting authority

On Monday, the Saskatchewan government introduced the Degree Authorization Act, which allows for the potential expansion of degree-granting authority to provincial PSE schools other than the Universities of Regina and Saskatchewan, provided the degree gets approval through a rigorous quality assurance process. The legislation will apply to all educational institutions involved in offering part or all of a degree program and deemed to have a physical presence in the province, and to any degree program that is specifically targeted to Saskatchewan students through advertising. Saskatchewan News Release

Funding model fair for both uSask and uRegina, says uSask president

Writing for the Regina Leader-Post, University of Saskatchewan president Peter MacKinnon states the authors of a University of Regina report showing a disparity in provincial funding between the 2 institutions fail to take into account that while both universities each have an important role to play, they have radically different activities, mandates, and responsibilities -- factors that significantly affect operating costs. MacKinnon says uSask generates most of Saskatchewan's professionals, including in high-cost programs such as law and medicine -- programs uRegina does not offer. He writes that reality of uSask receiving more funding per student than does uRegina is acknowledged by the province's university funding model, which is reviewed every year by all parties to ensure its ongoing fairness and soundness. MacKinnon points out that over the past year, joint review meetings resulted in some principle-based adjustments that favoured uRegina. "While funding for the two provincial universities is not equal, it is equitable, and that's in the best long-term interests of Saskatchewan people." Regina Leader-Post

uOttawa ad to recruit science students contains embarrassing errors, profs say

Some University of Ottawa chemistry professors say a new institutional recruitment ad targeting science students contains "embarrassing" errors a secondary school chemistry student could spot. The ad in question features an inaccurate depiction of molecules. One professor wrote online that colleagues at the Université de Montréal had seen the ad and were "making jokes about our chemistry." uOttawa says it knows the ad does not accurately depict chemical formulas and structures. Designers attempted to include accurate formulas at first, but modified them to make the ad more eye-catching and effective. The institution's advertising manager says people have responded well to the ads, despite the error. He says measures will be taken to make sure similar mistakes don't happen again. Ottawa Citizen

Indigenous youth share thoughts on university education in webinar

On Monday, Canadian universities welcomed the opportunity to hear directly from Indigenous secondary school students across the country about their views on university education and their goals for the future. Hosted from Mount Saint Vincent University, "Conversation with Indigenous Youth" was an online dialogue in which Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo and Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada president Paul Davidson provided insight as students shared their thoughts on what university means to them and what steps they will take to reach their educational goals. AUCC News Release | Webinar

Construction begins for private dorm complex at Trent

Construction crews have begun work on Trent University's new student residence complex, which is being built on university-owned property leased to a private developer that will own and operate the complex. The institution plans to have approximately 110 students move into the first residence by the start of the 2012-13 academic year. The complex will be constructed in phases based on demand following the completion of the first facility, with plans to eventually accommodate as many as 450 students. Trent president Steven Franklin says the completion of the residences should help the university retain students, particularly those transitioning from first year to second. Peterborough Examiner

BC invests over $3 million in new medical radiography program at Camosun

The BC government announced last week it is providing nearly $3.4 million to Camosun College for startup costs and equipment purchases for the new medical radiography technology diploma program offered at the institution. Camosun will offer 16 full-time first-year spaces in the new program beginning in 2012-13. By 2013-14, when the 2-year program is expected to be fully underway, the college will receive approximately $591,000 in ongoing operating funding for the program. BC News Release

Okanagan College names Centre of Excellence for $2.5-million gift

Okanagan College announced Monday a $2.5-million donation from entrepreneur Jim Pattison. In recognition of his gift -- the largest private gift ever given to a college in BC -- the college's newest $28-million facility will now carry Pattison's name. Opened Monday, the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation was built with $22.65 million from the BC and federal government. Shortly after the facility was announced, the Okanagan College Foundation kicked off a $5-million fundraising campaign to fund its portion of the project budget. Okanagan College News Release

US launches new program to recruit more women from Muslim countries to study STEM subjects

The US Department of State is collaborating with 36 American women's colleges to operate the NeXXt Scholars Program, which will recruit female students from Muslim-majority countries who are interested in the STEM fields to US women's colleges. The new program will pair each undergraduate scholar with a female scientist as a mentor. The students will also receive a 5-year membership to the New York Academy of Sciences, where they can take advantage of the academy's conferences, networking events, and online journals. The State Department hopes to recruit 75 students over the program's first 2 years, beginning with next fall's entering cohort. Women account for fewer than 20% of all students from Muslim nations earning bachelor's degrees in STEM fields from US institutions. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

Friendships have strong impact in student retention, report finds

A new US study observes that relationships are more important than a first-year student's academic ability, financial aid, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status in determining whether he or she will move on to second year. Analyzing the social networks of a cohort of first-year students at a small liberal arts institution, researchers found that students "on the outside of the social network" are more at risk of leaving. The retention and attrition behaviours of students' friends make a difference, the researchers found. Every friend who left made a student 5 times more likely to leave, while every friend who stayed made a student 2.25 times more likely to stay. Inside Higher Ed | Research Abstract