Top Ten

July 3, 2012

Carleton releases donor agreement on political management program

Carleton University released Friday information about a $15-million donation that created the Clayton H. Riddell Graduate Program in Political Management, with the authorization of donor Clayton Riddell. The Canadian Press filed a freedom-of-information request for the donor agreement last year, but received a heavily redacted copy of the document in March. Last month an adjudicator ordered Carleton to explain why it withheld information. Carleton News Release | Canadian Press | Donor Agreement

NSCAD trims operating deficit

With the passing of its 2012-13 budget, NSCAD University's operating deficit has been cut by more than $1.2 million. Some of the measures in the budget include a 3% tuition fee increase and a reduction of the Nova Scotia government's operating grant by 3%. The budget was developed based on "Model A" of NSCAD's sustainability framework. Other aspects of Model A include rental revenue from the institution's Granville campus, decreased labour costs through natural attrition of staff, a university-wide spending freeze, and the reduction of 50 to 55 classes due to the dropping of under-enrolled sections of the same courses and the development of a 4-year timetable. NSCAD News Release

Law schools preparing grads for fast-changing environment

Training lawyers for the 21st century entails preparing them for a fast-changing environment. Some of the latest offerings this fall at Canadian law schools include mandatory experiential learning at York University's Osgoode Hall Law School and a dual degree program in energy law offered between the Universities of Calgary and Houston. At the University of Alberta's Faculty of Law, emphasis is placed on a broad-based legal education, with a compulsory curriculum that goes far beyond what is required. "Law schools have to spend more time focusing on adding real value to the lives of students; they must place greater premium on skills education," says the dean of uCalgary's law school. "When we say skills, we’re not just talking about skills of immediate value -- preparing court papers or incorporating a company -- but rather skills of enduring value that carry across domains, like teamwork, project management, and leadership." Calgary Herald

York U opens Life Sciences Building

Last Thursday, York University celebrated the official opening of the Life Sciences Building at the Keele campus. The 4-storey, 160,000-square-foot facility features leading-edge technology for advanced biomedical and cellular imaging, electrophysiology and bioanalysis, and 120,000 square feet of laboratories, where undergraduate and graduate students are welcome to work and learn. The research facilities will support growing enrolment in high-demand science and health-related disciplines. Y-File

Western U's University Community Centre targeted for upgrades

Western University's University Students' Council (USC) announced last week that the institution's University Community Centre will undergo a 3-phase renewal. Following consultation with over 10,000 students this year, the USC passed a planning and vision document outlining students' expectations of usable space and a campus atmosphere that fosters culture, creativity, and student success. The USC's capital plan will allow for the proposed upgrades, expected to take place over the next 5 years. Western News

VIU, Ghanaian institution sign agreement

Vancouver Island University and Ghana's Sunyani Polytechnic have signed a 5-year agreement of co-operation between the 2 institutions. The schools intend to engage in the following areas of co-operation: visits and exchange of faculty members and students for the purpose of study, teaching, and discussion; joint curriculum development and implementation; collaborative research activities; and exchange of information. VIU News

More university governance controversies likely in US, warns Moody's

The recent events at the University of Virginia indicate that more controversies over university governance in the US are likely to manifest in the future, according to a new report from Moody's Investors Service. "We expect governance and leadership clashes to increase in coming years as the sector’s ability to grow revenues dwindles, and its emphasis shifts to new operating efficiencies and cost containment," the report states. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access) | Report

Report explores state of competency-based PSE in US

In a new report the US-based Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) describes a number of "showcase" models for competency-based degree programs. The report observes that there are a variety of sound approaches to competency-based education, which ensure the quality of a degree by concentrating on outcomes rather than on the amount of time students dedicate to coursework. CAEL also encourages the use of student assessments, which can be used to gauge students' prior learning. Inside Higher Ed | Report

Report outlines challenges facing US research universities

The Research Universities Futures Consortium, a group of 25 US research universities, has released a report highlighting the challenges facing the institutions. The report cites 6 key issues: increased competition over scarce resources, the increased cost of regulatory compliance and the lack of indirect cost recovery, the lack of standardized performance metrics, the lack of proper infrastructure to analyze data, poor communication about the value of research universities, and the lack of proper understanding of the complexities of research administration and leadership. The report echoes many of the concerns raised in a recent report from the National Research Council. Inside Higher Ed | Report

International applications to Hong Kong universities surge

Hong Kong universities have seen substantial growth in the number of international applications for the 2012-13 academic year. For example, the University of Hong Kong experienced a 42% jump in foreign applications compared to the previous year, the Chinese University of Hong Kong saw a nearly 50% increase, and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology has seen international applications rise by 55%. Long a destination for foreign students, Hong Kong has sought to polish its education reputation by revamping its universities' curricula, expanding university facilities, and attracting American and other foreign PSE institutions. New York Times | The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)