Top Ten

April 17, 2012

NSCC to cut 24 positions to help address shortfall

Nova Scotia Community College is addressing the balance of a $5.37-million shortfall with the elimination of 24 positions through a mix of attrition, layoffs, and contracts that will not be renewed. The move affects 11 non-unionized and 13 unionized positions. These changes include the NSCC-wide elimination of the CollegePrep Coordinator position, moving to a shared principal model for the Annapolis Valley and Kingstec campuses as well as for the IT and Akerley campuses, and a shared dean model for the Schools of Business and Applied Arts and New Media. NSCC News Release | Canadian Press

AUCC, Access Copyright reach agreement

On Monday, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and Access Copyright announced that they have negotiated a model licence that will enable universities to reproduce copyright-protected materials in both print and digital formats. The model licence will see universities pay Access Copyright a royalty of $26 per full-time-equivalent student per year. The royalty includes what used to be a separate 10ยข per page royalty for coursepack copying, so there will no longer be a separate royalty for this type of copying. The agreement will be in effect until December 31, 2015 and will renew automatically for one-year terms during which any party can terminate or request to renegotiate the agreement. AUCC News Release

uWaterloo among grant recipients of GMAC's Ideas to Innovation Challenge

The Graduate Management Admission Council announced yesterday the presentation of more than US$7.1 million in grants to a dozen organizations worldwide as part of its Ideas to Innovation Challenge, which solicited ideas to improve graduate management education. The University of Waterloo has earned a US$1.6-million grant for its proposed Virtual Incubation Program -- a global online network of students, community groups, local entrepreneurs, and international university partners that is designed to support the development and launch of new businesses. uWaterloo's Conrad Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology Centre will administer the program. GMAC News Release | uWaterloo News Release | Grant Winners

Niagara College completes fundraising campaign with more than $17 million raised

The Niagara College Foundation announced yesterday that it has successfully completed its "Building Futures" campaign, surpassing the initial $16.5-million goal by more than $1 million. Launched in 2008, the campaign has raised $17.7 million for new facilities, equipment and learning resources, and scholarships and bursaries. With matching funds from the Ontario government's former Ontario Trust for Student Support program, the campaign's total impact on student learning and success is $21 million. Niagara College News Release

Prospect of fast-tracked career, hefty entry wages drawing students to mining schools

The prospect of a fast-tracked career and a sky-high starting salary has students flocking to mining schools. Admissions to the top mining schools in Canada have nearly tripled in 3 years, helped by wages that can be even higher for graduates who move overseas. "Ten years ago we were lucky to have one or two students applying," says a mining engineering professor at McGill University. "In some years it was that bad. But this year alone 250 people have applied to mining." The growing number of students does bring its own problems, as larger classes result in more competition for the limited supply of summer jobs in the field. Experts say that students with industry experience prior to graduation get more job offers and command a higher entry salary than their peers, and also have a head start on completing their professional designation. For their part, firms that offer summer internships can attain a loyal workforce years ahead of competitors who only look to recruit graduates. Reuters

COU unveils report on innovative teaching practices

The Council of Ontario Universities released Monday a report on innovative and effective teaching and learning at the province's universities. The report features examples of different teaching and learning strategies under the categories of applied and practical learning, assessment of learning, first-year program, professional development for faculty members and teaching assistants, and student learning support. The report also invites Ontario's university faculty and teaching staff to submit their own stories of the innovative ways they engage students in learning. These stories will become an ongoing resource for the university sector and will be posted on COU's website. COU News Release | Report

Study finds Ontario students with learning disabilities benefit from Summer Transition Program

Commissioned by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, a new study explores the effect of the Summer Transition Program (STP) -- a provincial government program for students with learning disabilities -- and enhanced services for such students that promote engagement and academic performance. Researchers found that STP improved the quality of students' transition to higher education through an early introduction to institutional disability services and staff members, and smoothed pathways to required pre-PSE assessments. The study also observes that STP improves students' orientation and awareness of student services, disability awareness, and willingness to self-advocate. At the completion of data collection, over 87% of students in the sample were still attending PSE or had graduated. STP participants were more likely to access other student services and were more likely to be successful in their studies. Of those, the majority stated that they would not have been as successful had they not used disability services and other on-campus supports. Research Summary | Full Report

UoGuelph launches Food Institute

Already recognized as Canada's "food university," the University of Guelph has created a new institute to address the world's most important food issues through action, commercialization, innovation, and research. The new institute is believed to be the first such organization covering global issues in all aspects of food -- production, safety, security, and the impact of food on culture, economies, and the environment. Guelph experts will collaborate with other research institutes worldwide, and include faculty and researchers from all 7 UoGuelph colleges as well as graduate and undergraduate students. UoGuelph News Release

Saskatchewan signs MOU to strengthen academic ties with India

Saskatchewan's advanced education ministry has signed an MOU with the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute that formalizes an academic relationship between the province and India. The ministry will work with PSE partners in Saskatchewan to deliver on the objectives of the MOU that include: promoting Saskatchewan-India education co-operation and collaboration; raising the province's education profile in India; facilitating academic partnerships between PSE institutions in Canada and India; and sharing information on international education best practices in India. Saskatchewan News Release

The value of digital badges in PSE

Writing for The Chronicle of Higher Education, Kevin Carey of the Washington-based think-tank Education Sector contemplates the effect the open-credentials movement will have on PSE. The digital badge system, through which students can certify their abilities and skills, is a way to structure the education process itself, Carey writes. "Students will be able to customize learning goals within the larger curricular framework, integrate continuing peer and faculty feedback about their progress toward achieving those goals, and tailor the way badges and the metadata within them are displayed to the outside world." The time when employers embrace the use of badges and gain confidence in those who bear them "will create hardship for traditional institutions that now use the revenue generated from their undergraduate-credential franchise to subsidize the cost of graduate education, administration, scholarship, and other activities," Carey states. Society as a whole will benefit from digital badges, he says. "The store of human capital will be more broadly and accurately represented by credentials that are useful in a mobile, interconnected world." The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)