Top Ten

February 21, 2012

Quebec tuition fee increases to go ahead, says government

Despite a fast-growing student strike in Quebec that threatens to paralyze many PSE institutions in the coming weeks, "there is no plan to change the tuition increases. It's being done to assure the quality of teaching here," says an aide to Education Minister Line Beauchamp. However, protesting students hope that thousands more striking students expected with the next wave of student votes will convince the minister that the plan to raise tuition fees cannot proceed. The striking students have some support from university instructors, with the Fédération québécoise des professeures et professeurs d'université adopting a resolution protesting police action against peaceful students. Montreal Gazette

Dal faculty approve strike mandate

Members of the Dalhousie Faculty Association (DFA) have voted 83% in favour of strike action. The DFA declared conciliation a failure after Dal's administration gave it a 34-page "legal document" outlining details of what it would like on pensions. One demand the institution made was the removal of all mention of pensions in the collective agreement. The DFA's president says the demand is unacceptable because "if we were to do that, we would lose any protection our members have for their pension plans." DFA News Release | Chronicle Herald

Postscript: Mar 13, 2012

Following a weekend of conciliation, Dalhousie University announced Sunday afternoon that it reached a tentative agreement with its faculty association, meaning that classes would continue as scheduled Monday. The next step is for the board of governors and the faculty association to ratify the tentative agreement. Dal News

New brand for Georgian College's automotive business school

Georgian College's Automotive Business School of Canada, formerly known as the Canadian Automotive Institute, unveiled its new brand at the Toronto Auto Show on Friday. "The rebrand is about better representing students," says a second-year automotive marketing student. "This new brand illustrates our passion, dedication and drive. We are represented as professional individuals working toward taking over the industry, and that is what we intend to do." It was suggested during the rebranding process to change the name to Automotive Business School of Canada and establishing it as a business school to avoid the confusion some prospective students may have about it being a technical school rather than a business school. Georgian College News Release | Automotive Business School of Canada website

Cambridge should invest in new campus, says Conestoga president

The City of Cambridge has not contributed one cent toward the construction of a new campus there, says Conestoga College, whose president is calling on the municipality to contribute $6 million, just as it did when it contributed millions to Cambridge Memorial Hospital's expansion and to build the University of Waterloo's architecture school. Cambridge Mayor Doug Craig says the municipality's goodwill has already benefited Conestoga to the tune of more than $5 million, referencing the city's 2003 purchase of 54 hectares of land that the college bought in 2008. The mayor says Cambridge had the land appraised at $5 million in 2003, and another appraisal in 2008 set the value at over $10 million -- so that's a $5-million donation to the college, the mayor says. "It's not true. It's never been true," says Conestoga president John Tibbits, who adds that the municipality and the college were bound by a contract, so the price of the land cannot change. The mayor says the city remains ready to work with Conestoga as the campus grows. Waterloo Region Record

SFU unveils new strategic vision

Following a year-long, widespread community consultation process, Simon Fraser University launched Monday its new strategic vision, which seeks to establish the institution as Canada's most community-engaged research university. The new vision states that SFU will aim "to be the leading engaged university defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research, and far-reaching community engagement." The university commits to engaging students by equipping them with the knowledge, research skills, and experiences to prepare them for life in an ever-changing and challenging world; engaging research to become a world leader in knowledge mobilization; and engaging communities to every way possible to contribute to their social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being. SFU News Release | Backgrounder

SMU launches new academic plan

After more than a year of broad consultation and discussion, Saint Mary's University has adopted a new 5-year academic plan, which renews the previous 3-year academic plan and is intended as a statement of institutional priorities and a reflection of SMU's academic vision and role in meeting the evolving needs of society. The plan focuses on 6 areas of emphasis for SMU: enhancing student learning through excellence in teaching; student success; linking theory to practice; continued emphasis on research, creative activities, and graduate studies; the development of thematic clusters of teaching and research; and enhancing the institution's international diversity. SMU News Release

Researchers propose curriculum changes to retain engineering students

At the recent annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Vancouver, education researchers proposed ways to improve the retention of engineering students. Led by incoming University of Saskatchewan president Ilene Busch-Vishniac, the Deconstructing Engineering Education Programs project aims to revise the mechanical engineering undergraduate curriculum to make the field more able to attract and retain a diverse community of students. The initiative seeks to reduce and reorder the prerequisite structure linking courses to offer a greater flexibility for students. A less-radical approach would be to enhance teaching techniques in existing courses, said another symposium delegate, who noted that research points to 3 practices that improve retention of engineering students: using everyday examples to which students can relate; working to improve students' spatial-visualization skills; and improving faculty-student interactions. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

Conference Board report examines educational outcomes in the North

A new Conference Board of Canada report observes that communities in northern Canada often lag behind the south with respect to educational outcomes, but they are leaders in developing innovative ways to improve educational programming and delivery. The report shows that initiatives such as a learner-centred approach incorporating technology to deliver curriculum, schools acting as community hubs, on the land programs, and partnerships between northern and southern institutions are having a positive impact on educational outcomes. The report recommends additional support for career preparation programs, adult learning centres, and educational bridging programs that would encourage northern youth to pursue higher education. Conference Board News Release

Student numbers worldwide projected to reach 262 million by 2025

The number of students around the world enrolled in PSE is forecast to more than double to 262 million by 2025, reports University World News. Nearly all of this growth will be in the developing world, with more than half in India and China alone. The number of students seeking study abroad could increase to 8 million -- almost 3 times more than today. In an essay published in the new book Making a Difference: Australian international education, a higher education consultant writes that the global increase is being driven by greater numbers of young people entering the peak education ages along with sharply rising participation rates, particularly in the non-compulsory education years. University World News

Few men studying abroad

In the 2009-10 academic year, women accounted for close to two-thirds of 270,600 US students studying abroad, while the proportion of men going overseas has remained the same for over 2 decades. Some people attribute the trend to the predominance of women majoring in the fine arts, foreign languages, and other humanities heavily represented in study-abroad programs, while others note that more women than men are enrolled in PSE in the first place. Whatever the cause, the trend is a concern for many in the field, who believe that having an international experience is key to understanding and working with individuals from other cultures, a crucial skill set in an increasingly global and interconnected workplace. To ensure men are getting the message, a number of US institutions are expanding their study-abroad marketing with male students in mind. For example, the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities advertises study-abroad programs in publications with a heavy male readership, such as the sports section of the college newspaper and the satirical tabloid The Onion. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)