Top Ten

January 17, 2012

Ontario MTCU study finds job growth will favour college grads

According to a study conducted for the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, the provincial economy was expected to produce more jobs for college graduates and apprentices than for university graduates during and after the 2008 economic downturn. College graduates and apprentices were expected to get 35% of all new jobs, compared to 26% for university graduates. Secondary school graduates would qualify for 22% of all jobs, while high school dropouts would get just 8%. The results do not surprise Colleges Ontario president Linda Franklin, who says in the short term, the trend can be explained in part by the fact that the public sector, toward which university graduates tend to gravitate, normally takes longer than the private sector, where college graduates are more likely to end up, to begin hiring after a recession. Toronto Star | Ontario MTCU website

Preliminary figures show increase in Ontario undergrad applicants, applications

According to preliminary undergraduate application statistics released Monday by the Ontario Universities' Application Centre, the total number of first-year applicants rose by 2.2% to 90,373 at the January 11 deadline for high school applicants, while the number of applications they submitted grew by 2.4% to 392,742. In addition, the number of non-secondary school applicants has also increased by 3.2% to 19,373 over a comparable date last year with further increases expected through the spring and summer as these applicants are subject to a different processing schedule. COU News Release | OUAC preliminary data

Ottawa invests in robotics competitions to encourage STEM careers among Ontario youth

The federal government announced Saturday a $1.5-million investment in FIRST Robotics Canada to create opportunities for students in southern Ontario to take part in robotics competitions and real-world engineering challenges, encouraging them to consider STEM fields as potential study and career paths. FIRST Robotics Canada will use the funding to involve more secondary school students in robot-building competitions, with teams competing against each other in tournaments aired on the Discovery Channel. FedDev Ontario News Release

NL New Democrats urge province to help engineering students needing work-term placements

Newfoundland and Labrador's NDP is calling on the governing Tories to help engineering students needing work-term placements. The NDP's advanced education and skills critic says that due to changes in the engineering program, there are currently more than the usual number of students seeking a temporary work placement this semester, and it is this change that has resulted in the shortfall of placements. The critic says the government has to deal with this increase in demand for work-term placements. NL NDP News

Mental health initiatives at Queen's making impact

Since last May, over 3,000 Queen's University faculty, staff, and students have been trained on how to identify and help students in distress, and demand for this training continues to rise. At the same time, changes at the Student Counselling Service have reduced wait times for counselling and ensured students in crisis are seen as quickly as possible. Queen's is also participating in the pilot phase of The Jack Project, an organization founded by the family of a Queen's student who committed suicide in 2010. The university is among a dozen participating Ontario PSE institutions that are collaborating to facilitate workshops, presentations, evaluate programs, promote dialogue about mental health, and encourage collaborations among educators and students. This spring, the Principal's Commission on Mental Health will make recommendations on a strategy to help promote awareness and literacy, reduce stigma, support students in distress, and foster an inclusive and supportive environment that maximizes health and wellness and effectively responds to illness. Queen's News Centre

Bounce Back program at Carleton to help undergrads struggling academically

Starting this week, first-year Carleton University students who have received a 60% or below as of the mid-term will be invited to participate in the Bounce Back program, which offers learning strategies for struggling students and sustained support over the winter semester. The 9-week program will accept the first 100 students who apply. The 15 trained facilitators are all upper-year students who will meet with the participants to guide them through transitional difficulties that are common with the combination of academic rigour and newfound freedom of university life. There is a financial incentive for the 3 students who achieve the greatest academic improvement in their GPA -- a tuition credit worth $750. The program is the latest addition to Carleton Complete, a comprehensive support system to help students complete their degrees and prepare for real-world challenges. Carleton News Release

Lakehead opens new Student Success Centre

Lakehead University's Thunder Bay campus held a grand opening Monday for its Student Success Centre, which is part of the institution's strategy to give students the tools and resources they need to thrive at Lakehead and to launch them in their careers after graduation. The centre combines the services of the former Office of Academic Advising, Career and Co-operative Education, Tutoring Services, and Orientation and Commuter Services to provide enhanced student support in one central location. Lakehead News

Graduate management grads surveyed report 100% ROI after 4 years

According to the Graduate Management Admission Council's latest Alumni Perspectives Survey, responding graduates recouped a third of the financial investment in their degree within the first year after graduation, and 100% in the 4 years following graduation. The survey also found a narrower gender wage gap for business school graduates. For example, female graduates of full-time MBA programs who took the survey received starting salaries equivalent to 85% of the earnings their male peers drew, on average. By contrast, women earn just 77 cents for every dollar earned by men when the total US workforce is taken into account, according to the US Census Bureau. GMAC News Release

US students working fewer hours in wake of recession, report finds

According to a working paper published by the US National Bureau of Economic Research, traditional-age college students were putting in an average of 8 hours of work per week in 2009, down from the 11 hours of work per week that was the average in 2000. The paper's author concludes that "no single factor" explains all the patterns, and the importance of each factor has "shifted over time." But with rising tuition fees, the author writes, the availability of student aid will have a significant influence on student employment once an economic recovery takes hold. That could also reverse the unprecedented situation in which, "for the first time ever," college-age high school graduates in 2009 "were more likely" to attend college and not work than to work and not attend college. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

Pet peeves from PSE news

Writing for Inside Higher Ed, Melonie Fullick, a PhD student at York University, presents a list she compiled that addresses a set of pet peeves from the world of higher education news. On the list are the debate over the worth of PSE; higher education not guaranteeing a job; annual rankings, technology either saving or disrupting higher education; international students being the answer to intellectual and financial deficits; research suggesting students are not as smart now as they were in the past; universities failing society, the government, and their students; universities being inefficient; faculty being at fault for universities' financial struggle; and the real purpose of the university. On the subject of university rankings, Fullick writes that she'd love to see ranking reports as an opportunity to examine the institutional effects of competition in a worldwide PSE "market," and to consider what is actually signified by "rank," given that the same institutions consistently dominate. Inside Higher Ed