Top Ten

December 20, 2011

Lethbridge College mourns victims of Alberta highway shooting

Lethbridge College is grieving the loss of 4 young individuals and the serious injury of a fifth person following last Thursday's shooting on a stretch of highway outside Claresholm, Alberta. 2 of the deceased, Tanner Craswell and Mitch Maclean, were students at the college. Shayna Conway, the lone survivor, is also a student at the institution. Lethbridge College has offered counselling services to students and staff. The institution is planning memorial services for the victims in January. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of them during this very difficult time; as we prepare to celebrate the holidays, we should truly, truly count our blessings and recognize how fortunate we are," writes Lethbridge College president Tracy Edwards on her blog. Lethbridge College News | Lethbridge College News (funeral services) | President's Blog | LCSABlog

Georgian College envisions "centre of excellence" at Barrie Central Collegiate site

Georgian College is leading a partnership to respond to the Simcoe Country District School Board's call for proposals to rebuild or redevelop the Barrie Central Collegiate site. Georgian's concept coincides with the Ontario government's plan to create 3 new university campuses through a competitive request-for-proposal process. The college's proposal will focus on an allocation of land for the satellite campus, incorporating a "Centre of Excellence" that hosts both college and university programs in a not yet specified field of study. Georgian College News | Simcoe.com

Sheridan opens Applied Research and Collaboration Centre at Oakville campus

Sheridan College recently celebrated the official opening of its new Applied Research and Collaboration Centre at its Oakville campus. The 1,800-square-foot centre is dedicated for use by faculty, students, and external partners specifically involved in research projects administered through the college's Office of Applied Research and Innovation. The centre is equipped with projection screens, flat-screen TVs, and moveable tables and seating, which could fit 60 to 75 individuals at maximum capacity. Oakville Beaver

Business deans not staying in position as long as they used to

That's one finding of a recent dean recruitment survey by Andrea Soberg, the dean of the School of Business at Trinity Western University. With 33 of 56 university business deans responding, Soberg found that 60% had been in the job for less than 3 years. 51% of current deans, including those in an acting or interim role, rose from the ranks of faculty at their institution, the survey found. Approximately one-third were recruited from another business school. The search for a dean is not a quick process, the survey found; 19% of respondents said it took more than a year to fill the position. Soberg is skeptical that business schools are doing enough to systematically groom candidates for the position of dean even when they hire internally. "We teach this stuff really well, but I don’t think we do it,” Soberg says, in part, she suspects, because academics, not business people, typically run university administrations. Globe and Mail

StatsCan report explores women's educational attainment

In a new edition of Women in Canada, Statistics Canada reports that in 1990, just 14% of women aged 25 to 54 had a university degree. By 2009, that proportion reached 28%. Since the early '90s, women have accounted for the majority of full-time students enrolled in undergraduate programs. Their percentage among graduates has risen above the 60% threshold since 2001. For example, in 2008, 62% of all university undergraduates were women. In 2006-07, women represented 56% of college enrolments and 59% of graduates. Of the 6 major trade groups, the only one in which women are a majority is food and service trades, accounting for 65% of enrolments in 2007, up from 50% in 1991. Statistics Canada

Saskatchewan to review math curriculum

Following concerns over how math is being taught, the Saskatchewan government has ordered a review of the province's math curriculum. Critics of the current curriculum say it abandons teaching math basics in favour of new discovery-based instructional techniques, resulting in graduates with poor math skills. As part of the province's review, a pair of Saskatchewan Party MLAs will consult with math teachers in the coming months. A member of WISE Math calls the government's review a good first step, but says parents should also be consulted, as well as academics in mathematics and other disciplines such as economics, engineering, management, medicine, and science. Saskatchewan News Release | CBC

Ontario Grade 3 students’ enjoyment of reading declining

A new study from the People for Education found that the percentage of Grade 3 students in Ontario who like to read has fallen from 76% in 1998-99 to 50% in 2010-11. Just 21% of Grade 3 students read at home with a parent almost every day, perhaps because standardized testing has led children to view reading as homework rather than as a pleasurable activity. The report concludes that “reading for the joy of it, for its capacity to broaden our horizons, use our imaginations, think creatively, understand ourselves and others better, and feel engaged as citizens in the world --  reading for all those reasons must be a vital component of what we encourage in our schools.” People for Education News Release | Read the report

York U fine arts delegation visiting India next month

York University's Faculty of Fine Arts is expanding its international relations and strengthening existing relationships with an 18-day trip to India, beginning January 1. A team of senior academic and administrative staff will visit Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, and New Delhi, with stops at notable universities, fine arts training centres, and cultural institutions. The team will visit the University of Madras and Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi to explore opportunities to build on York U's existing relationships with these institutions. The fine arts dean says the team's "main objective is to promote research collaboration and expand student learning opportunities, with a focus on exchange opportunities for international scholars and students to mutually enhance the academic and research culture in each organization." York U News Release

India poised to revise key provisions in bill on foreign campus operation

To attract more top-quality universities, India's education ministry is set to change provisions in its proposed legislation to allow foreign PSE institutions to set up campuses in India. A parliamentary committee reviewing the bill recommends the alterations, which include a provision that would establish a committee of academic experts that would invite elite institutions to India, allowing them to bypass some bureaucratic obstacles. The changes would also ensure new campuses are not only set up in cities and to smooth the entry of certificate providers. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

US study suggests RateMyProfessors evaluations can be useful to students and instructors

New US research argues that the website RateMyProfessors.com can be a useful tool for students and instructors. The researchers found a wide spread in the evaluations, suggesting that students evaluated all their professors, not only the ones they especially liked or disliked. Additionally, they found that the degree of consensus among the commentators is similar to traditional evaluations, and while RateMyProfessors includes evaluations of “hotness” and other trivial matters, on the aggregate, “students who use RateMyProfessors are likely providing each other with useful information about quality of instruction.” The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access) | Read the report