Top Ten

July 9, 2012

10 Brandon U staff jobless after program switches to UCN

7 professors and 3 support staff at Brandon University are out of work after the northern teacher education program was moved to the University College of the North this past weekend. "Nobody had to be out of a job," says Brandon U's VP of finance. All 10 employees had the option of switching employers, he says, as did 4 education professors who chose to leave Brandon U for UCN as of July 1. The Winnipeg Free Press reports that Brandon U education professors have long complained that they did not want to change employers, citing allegations of a lack of academic freedom at UCN, where community college programs far outweigh university ones, and where there is an extra level of governance -- an elders council. Winnipeg Free Press

McGill, Concordia criticized over security spending in student strike

Student organizations are criticizing Concordia and McGill Universities for spending $500,000 extra on security during the weeks-long student strike against rising tuition fees. The institutions wanted to protect against vandals but FECQ's president argues that the extra spending shows poor management of public funds. The Journal de Montréal reported last month that the Université de Montréal spent $151,043 on security during the class boycott, and the Université du Québec à Montréal spent $841,414. Montreal Gazette

Applications to NSCC soar

Nova Scotia Community College has seen a significant increase in demand for shipbuilding-related programs since the federal government announced last fall that the Halifax Shipyard won a $25-billion contract to construct the next generation of Canada's naval vessels. Compared to this time last year, applications to NSCC's metal fabrication program are up by 368%. Applications to the welding program have increased by 97%, applications to the pipe trades program are up by 20%, and applications to the electrical construction and industrial certificate have risen by 14%. Chronicle Herald

StatsCan report provides profile of Ontario PhD graduates

In a new report Statistics Canada provides a profile of PhD holders who graduated from Ontario universities in 2005, as well as examines the graduates' labour market outcomes. The report notes that Ontario accounted for 40% of Canadian graduates in 2005, and compared to other provinces Ontario had more PhD graduates whose mother tongue was a non-official language. 65% of Ontario graduates pursued a doctorate to become university professors, compared to 58% of graduates in other provinces. In 2007, 90% of PhD graduates were working either as salaried employees or as self-employed workers. The report notes that the public sector remained the primary employer of new PhD graduates in Canada in 2007, as over three-quarters found employment in educational services (58% for Ontario and 55% for graduates in other provinces), health care and social assistance (13% for both groups), and public administration (7% for both groups). Report

Contact North identifies 5 phenomena disrupting PSE

Over the next few weeks Contact North -- Ontario's distance education and training network -- plans to regularly engage with Ontario Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Minister Glen Murray, the ministry, and its PSE partners in thinking about how educational and information technologies can be integrated with people and processes at PSE institutions to encourage the kinds of transformational changes outlined in a new discussion paper from the ministry. Contact North sets the stage for a forward discussion by putting forth the proposition that the following 5 concurrent phenomena are now disrupting PSE and will, in the network's opinion, lead to transformational change: online education; massive open online courses; ePortfolio; outcomes assessment; and course credit aggregation. Contact North

Sault College proposes energy and environment studies institute

Private-sector dollars will help fund an energy and environment studies institute at Sault College. The facility, expected on campus by 2022, will boost enrolment in the college's programs by about one-third, says the dean of natural environment, technology and skilled trades. The institute would be about 65,000 square feet and include wet and dry laboratories, commercial retail space, and smart grid and electrical labs. Sault Star

Seneca named CUDA Teaching Center

Seneca College is the first college in Canada to be named a CUDA Teaching Center by NVIDIA, the global leader in visual and high performance computing. As a CUDA Teaching Center, Seneca will provide students enrolled in the School of Information and Communications Technology the opportunity to expand their software development skills. Seneca News Release

UoGuelph opens Gryphon Field House

The University of Guelph's new Gryphon Field House is now open for business. The field house features an indoor track as well as facilities for track-and-field events. The infield is made of artificial turf suitable for baseball, football, lacrosse, rugby, soccer, and ultimate Frisbee. Built for $9 million and measuring 300 by 185 feet, the field house is part of UoGuelph's athletics master plan. UoGuelph News

Wisconsin to develop online competency-based degrees

Wisconsin plans to develop online competency-based degree programs for its students. Governor Scott Walker and administrators from the University of Wisconsin system announced plans earlier this month to develop flexible degree options for the system, which includes 13 universities and 13 two-year colleges. Administrators and faculty will collaborate to determine competency levels that match up with institutions' existing courses and how students can demonstrate those competencies. Administrators expect the first degree opportunities to become available in the fall of 2013. Inside Higher Ed

UK gives border staff new power of refusal for student visas

The UK government plans to give border staff new powers to refuse foreign students a visa as part of a program of targeted interviews for applicants. Border staff would be able to refuse a student visa if they doubted the applicant was genuine, and would also be able to refuse entry to students who fail to attend an interview "without providing a reasonable explanation." The changes, which come into effect on July 30, are to "ensure students seeking to abuse the immigration system are identified and refused a visa for the UK," says Immigration Minister Damian Green. Times Higher Education