Top Ten

December 19, 2011

uOttawa, uToronto drawn into Ontario government's credit-rating troubles

7 prominent education and health providers in Ontario, including the Universities of Toronto and Ottawa, have been drawn into the provincial government's fiscal woes, putting their credit ratings at risk. The universities could see higher costs for their own financing if rating agencies such as Moody's, which has revised Ontario's outlook to negative from stable on the province's Aa1 rating, downgrade their debt. A uOttawa spokesperson says the negative outlook reflects the financial challenges the Ontario government is facing. The spokesperson says the university "is preoccupied by the Government of Ontario's future capacity to finance postsecondary institutions adequately and by the impact that future cuts in funding could have." Moody's News | Globe and Mail

OACC responds to auditor general report on illegal training providers

Following the release of the Ontario auditor general's annual report, which noted that some unregistered training providers have continued to operate illegally, the Ontario Association of Career Colleges says ensuring the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities uses the full scope of the Private Career Colleges Act to stop illegal trainers from offering vocational programs is important to the association and its members, which are registered with the ministry. The OACC supports the auditor general's recommendations in terms of more regulation and enforcing the act with illegal training providers. OACC News Release

Mount Allison's Memorial Library "victim of academic indifference," says HCF

The Heritage Canada Foundation (HCF) is decrying the loss of Mount Allison University's historic Memorial Library, which is on the foundation's 2011 Top Ten Endangered Places list. Mount Allison is tearing down the library to make way for a new $30-million fine and performing arts centre. Calling the library a "victim of academic indifference," the HCF says the university "has turned a landmark into landfill, despite efforts by students and alumni, and recommendations by the province’s Commemorations Committee." HCF News | Times & Transcript

uMontréal to open public health campus downtown

Montreal's defunct Voyageur bus station will become the city's new public health axis, which will house the Université de Montréal's new school of public health. The new facility will bring all of uMontréal's medical facilities into one place. The university's public health department is currently a "virtual" school with students spread over 6 locations. When the Norman-Bethune Public Health Campus is completed, 225 professors and researchers and more than 600 students will work and study there. uMontréal News (in French) | Montreal Gazette | CBC

New arts and communications facility part of MacEwan's downtown centralization plans

Grant MacEwan University administration has been given the go-ahead to proceed with the design stage of a new building that will house the institution's Centre for the Arts and Communications. The new facility is part of MacEwan's move to bring all of its programs to the city centre campus. While the building's main use will be as a teaching facility, it will also include performance and gallery space, as well as multi-purpose space "in anticipation of growth," says MacEwan president David Atkinson. He estimates the facility will cost about $90 million, with the majority of funding coming from the sale of the institution's current outlying campuses. Edmonton Journal

Canada's international education strategy should capitalize on differentiated PSE system

In its statement to the advisory panel on Canada's international education system, Polytechnics Canada says the third pillar of the country's PSE system -- polytechnics -- is often not well understood, and as a result, an older out-of-date picture of PSE in Canada is being promoted in our missions abroad, showing the system as a binary one between universities and community colleges. The association says all Canadian representatives abroad should receive relevant and up-to-date briefings on the country's PSE system and its constant evolution. As a result, federal officials will be better able to speak to the quality and value of Canadian PSE, says Polytechnics Canada. "Canada’s differentiated post secondary education system is a strength -- not a weakness -- and should be capitalized on in the promotion of our international marketing strategy." Read the statement

GMAC survey finds improved job market for MBA grads in 2012

Results from the Graduate Management Admission Council's 2011 Year-End Poll of Employers suggest an improved job market for MBA graduates next year. 74% of employers polled plan to hire MBA graduates in 2012, up from 58% in 2011. 22% of companies are planning to increase the number of MBA graduates they hire in 2012, compared to 6% in 2011. Nearly one-third of companies polled plan to increase salaries for MBA hires. GMAC News Release | Survey Report

Immigrant employment and income gaps persisting in Canada, report finds

Despite higher education levels, Canadian immigrants face higher unemployment rates and lower incomes than domestic-born workers, according to a new report from RBC Economics. The report estimates that the potential increased incomes for immigrants if observable skills were rewarded similarly to domestic-born workers is $30.7 billion, or 2.1% of GDP in 2006. The findings suggest that gaps may result from both genuine skill differences between immigrants and Canadian-born workers and labour market inefficiencies that hinder immigrants from making full use of their skills. The report says there could be room to improve immigrant outcomes through more extensive language training and faster credential recognition. RBC News Release | Read the report

Oxbridge admissions figures show 4/5 of students are white

Statistics from the 2010-11 academic year show that more than four-fifths of students admitted to the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge were white. The incoming head of the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills says the figures "clearly show that (state) schools aren't doing enough to encourage black and ethnic minority students to apply to the top universities." An Oxford spokeswoman says the institution wants "talented black students to know they are welcome at Oxford, and that although we are not as ethnically diverse as some universities, this is not such an overwhelmingly white community as has been painted." Meanwhile, Cambridge highlights a long-term trend at the institution. It says that 15% of students currently studying at the university are from an ethnic minority, up from just 5% in 1989. Times Higher Education

MIT announces new online learning initiative

For the first time, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will offer certificates to outside students who complete the institution's open online courses. The credentials are part of a new online learning initiative called MITx. The initiative will give anyone free access to an online-course platform. Users of MITx will include students on the MIT campus, as well as external learners like high school students and engineering majors at other institutions. The users will watch videos, answer questions, visit online labs, and take quizzes and tests. They will also connect with others working on the material. The initiative builds on MIT's OpenCourseWare, a free online publication of nearly all of the institution's undergraduate and graduate course materials. Now in its tenth year, OpenCourseWare includes nearly 2,100 courses and has been used by over 100 million people. MIT News Release | The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)