Top Ten

January 25, 2012

Job cuts pending at Canadore

Canadore College is looking at cutting about 4 positions, reports the North Bay Nugget. No other information could be released until the institution's "internal process of communication has been completed," says a Canadore official. In March 2011, the college suspended a dozen programs and laid off 15 staff members following a review of operations. The move was expected to save Canadore nearly $3 million in the 2011-12 budget. North Bay Nugget

Dawson College shooting brought marked increase in students' alcohol, drug use

New research from the Université de Montréal observes that the September 2006 shooting at Dawson College brought a marked increase in students' dependence on alcohol and drugs. Based on a survey of 948 students to measure the impact of the shooting on their mental health, the study found that in the 18 months following the incident, 5% of women and 7% of men at the CÉGEP found themselves with a dependence on drugs or alcohol for the first time. If students who already had a problem with dependence are included, the proportions rise to 13.4% of men and 10% of women at the college. uMontréal News (in French) | Montreal Gazette

Saskatoon committee approves uSask College Quarter redevelopment plan

A City of Saskatoon council committee has approved the concept plan for the University of Saskatchewan's large-scale College Quarter redevelopment. The 145-acre plan, which will be completed during the next 10 to 20 years, is one of the largest infill projects in the province's history. The development could have 3,000-plus beds for student housing with the 800-bed undergraduate residence behind the R.J.D. Williams building, the 260-bed graduate student dormitory under construction, 144 family townhouses, and more residences planned as demand dictates. The plan also entails a hockey rink, a hotel, a fine arts centre, restaurants, cafés, lounges, a grocery store, bookstores, barber shops, and museums. The concept plan goes to city council for approval on February 6. Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

CFI distributes $33 million to support Canadian researchers

The federal government announced Tuesday support for 132 research projects in 31 communities across Canada to be delivered through the Canada Foundation for Innovation. The CFI is providing $33 million to support Canadian researchers in their work. $25 million of the funding comes through the CFI's Leaders Opportunity Fund, and the remainder through the Infrastructure Operating Fund. CFI News Release

BC university grads pay much more than full cost of education, study finds

Challenging conventional wisdom that students are heavily subsidized by taxpayers, a new report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives calculates the full financial contribution university students make toward their degrees in BC, taking into account 2 ways in which student pay: tuition fees upfront, and higher income taxes after graduation. The report compares students' total payments for their degrees to the cost of providing undergraduate education in BC. The analysis observes that, as a group, university graduates pay much more than the full costs of their education under the existing system of taxes and fees. The report notes that over their working lives, university-educated men and women contribute, on average, $159,000 and $106,000 more, respectively, to the public treasury than do men and women with only a secondary school diploma. By contrast, a 4-year undergraduate degree costs $50,630, of which tuition fees make up 40%. The report recommends that public investment in university education be expanded, and that tuition be reduced and education funding instead be recouped through the additional taxes paid by university graduates. CCPA News Release | Read the report

Faculty orientations at Ontario universities vary widely by content, report finds

According to the first of a 2-part study on PSE teaching development, commissioned by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, new faculty orientations, conducted by all but 2 of the 20 Ontario universities participating in the study, vary widely in their content. Some offer a general introduction to the university and/or a list of local resources, while others focus on specific teaching skills and explore a range of teaching and learning issues and strategies. Less than half of the institutions focus on student assessment or course design, and just 13% include a panel discussion with students. All of the universities offer workshops and/or other programs, such as teaching certificate programs or mentorship programs, for their new faculty members throughout the year. None has sessions on designing and teaching fully online courses. While Ontario's teaching and learning centres have done a reasonably good job of offering orientation sessions to new faculty, there is room for improvement on the attendance rate and duration of some orientations, the study's authors say. Research Summary | Full Report

Students with disabilities call for more room at UVic

Students with disabilities are being discouraged from attending the University of Victoria as it is increasingly difficult to get a room on campus, according to the organizer of a rally last Friday in protest of UVic's housing policies. Even though some provisions are made for students with disabilities, the rules are convoluted and new paperwork has to be collected each semester, the organizer says. "I have been talking to other people and it is way too difficult for disabled students to have to reapply every semester and submit more documents showing you are disabled." UVic's AVP of student affairs says special provisions are made for students with disabilities and, if they have documented needs showing they cannot access the campus unless they live on it, they are given priority placements. Like all other students, they now have to reapply each semester and re-submit paperwork, he says. Assessing applicants with disabilities is becoming increasingly difficult, the official says. "The number of students who registered with disabilities has grown so much in the last five to eight years." One change now under consideration is establishing an assessment team, instead of leaving it to one person. Victoria Times-Colonist

Brescia students give institution strong marks in NSSE

Results from the 2011 National Survey of Student Engagement show 85% of senior students at Brescia University College attested to discussing ideas from readings or classes with others outside of class -- 11% higher than at comparator women's colleges and 18% higher than at Ontario comparator universities. 84% of senior students surveyed said they have talked to academic advisors and faculty about career plans, and 95% would choose Brescia again if they could start their university career over. 84% of first-year students felt that the institution placed a substantial emphasis on academics, and 84% said they would choose Brescia again if they were to start their university career over. Brescia News Release

uManitoba actuarial program earns national accreditation

The University of Manitoba's actuarial program is among the first programs to earn accreditation from the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA). The accreditation applies to courses starting on or after September 1, 2012, and will provide students with the option to apply to the CIA for exceptions from some of the early actuarial exams. This will make progress toward CIA Fellowship more predictable and will reduce the duplication of students' efforts between the professional exams and their university studies. uManitoba News

Students who struggled in college find life more difficult following graduation, US study finds

The authors of Academically Adrift follow up on their book with a new study observing that college graduates who showed paltry gains and little academic engagement while in PSE have a more difficult time than their more accomplished counterparts as they begin their careers. Surveying more than 900 of the students whom they studied in their book, the researchers found that graduates who scored in the bottom 20% on the Collegiate Learning Assessment were 3 times more likely than those in the top quintile to be unemployed, twice as likely to be living at home with their parents, and significantly more likely to have amassed credit-card debt. The study found that over 71% of business majors were employed, followed by communication majors at nearly 68%. Only about a third of science and math majors were employed, but nearly half of the graduates in these disciplines were enrolled full time in graduate school, the highest such percentage of any major. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access) | Inside Higher Ed