Top Ten

July 30, 2012

uWindsor stabber receives jail sentence

Emad Adel Ben-Abdellah has been sentenced to spend another 8 and a half months in jail after being held in custody since a multiple stabbing at the University of Windsor in March. The 21-year-old pleaded guilty last week to 3 counts of aggravated assault and one count of breaching probation. He turned himself in to police on March 11 after 3 people who had just left the former Thirsty Scholar pub were stabbed in the early morning hours of March 9. Windsor Star

International students contribute over $8 billion to Canadian economy

According to a new report from Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, international students contributed more than $8 billion to the Canadian economy in 2010, up from $6.5 billion in 2008. There were 218,000 full-time international students in 2010, up from 178,000 in 2008 and more than double the number of international students in 1999. The report estimates that international students supported 86,000 jobs and contributed $445 million in tax revenue. Foreign Affairs News Release | Report

CAQ proposes solution to Quebec tuition crisis

Coalition Avenir Québec is suggesting a compromise to put an end to the impasse over the planned tuition fee increases in the province. The party says it would reduce fee increases by about one-quarter and cap them at $200 annually over 5 years. CAQ would delay implementing the increases for another semester, introducing them next January. Party leader François Legault is also urging the Quebec government to suspend Bill 78. CAQ News Release (in French) | Canadian Press | CBC

Security breach delays Ontario massage therapist certification exam

Due to a recent security breach in the testing process, some recent massage therapy graduates in Ontario now have to wait months before writing a portion of the certification test, putting their careers in limbo until at least mid-November. In May, the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario realized that questions from the computer-based, multiple-choice portion of its certification test may have been harvested and circulated. In June, the college suspended the multiple-choice exam while launching an investigation into the breach. Graduates will only have one chance this year to take the multiple-choice test, in a paper-based version on November 17 in Toronto. Toronto Star

RADF contributes $2.8 million to trades/pre-employment program in northern Alberta

The Rural Alberta Development Fund board of directors has approved $2.8 million in funding to support a trades and pre-employment training program in northern Alberta. Led by Northern Lakes College, the High Prairie Regional Training and Development Centre focuses on providing trainees with hands-on experience in an industrial and practical working environment to produce a skilled labour pool for the growing resource-based industry in northern Alberta. The project will engage Career and Technology Studies students in Grades 10 to 12 enrolled in dual-credit high school/college programming for electrician, welder, millwright, process operator, and power engineering. There will also be opportunities for pre-employment training for people no longer in secondary school. RADF News Release

Royal Roads, Canadian Forces College sign credit transfer agreement

Royal Roads University and the Canadian Forces College announced last week an agreement that will further PSE opportunities at the university for Canadian Forces officers. The agreement recognizes the Joint Command and Staff Programme (JCSP) curriculum. All post-2009 JCSP graduates are eligible for 12 credits -- one-third of the requirements -- toward an MA in Interdisciplinary Studies at Royal Roads. Royal Roads News Release

TRU partnership to advance community-based research

Thompson Rivers University's Small Cities Community-University Research Alliance (CURA) has entered into a formal partnership with the Thompson Nicola Cariboo United Way and the Kamloops Homeless Action Plan to collaborate on community-based research. The 3 organizations signed an MOU last week and will develop projects over the next 2 years encompassing the following goals reflecting the CURA mandate to: promote sharing of knowledge, resources, and expertise between CURA and the community; enrich research, teaching methods, and curricula at TRU; reinforce community decision-making and problem-solving capacity; and enhance students' education and employability by means of diverse opportunities to build their knowledge, expertise, and work skills through hands-on research and related experience. TRU News

US Senate committee releases critical report on for-profit institutions

According to a report based on a US Senate committee investigation into for-profit colleges, large numbers of students at these institutions fail to earn credentials, citing a 64% dropout rate in associate degree programs. It also connects those high dropout rates to the relatively small amount of money for-profit colleges spend on instruction. The report observes that for-profit institutions "devote tremendous amounts of resources to non-education related spending." In 2009, the examined companies spent $4.1 billion on marketing, advertising, recruiting and admissions staffing, and spent $3.2 billion on instruction. In response, the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities argues that the report "twists the facts to fit a narrative, proving that this is nothing more than continued political attacks." The association says the sector's overall graduation rate at 2-year colleges is a much higher 62%. Inside Higher Ed | Report

Coursera holds cookout to meet its students

Coursera, a company that is working with more than a dozen PSE institutions to help them run massive open online courses, held its first official "meetup" in Menlo Park, California on Saturday for students and professors to connect in person over burgers, chips, and soft drinks. It was a chance for Coursera to learn more about what motivates students to take its courses, which bear no formal academic credit. People's reasons for attending the cookout varied widely -- some wanted to meet instructors they had previously only seen in recorded online videos; some were looking for a job at Coursera, which is hiring; and other wanted to find out how to hire the company's best students. Coursera is still working on the details of a matchmaking service it plans to offer between students looking for work and companies seeking qualified employees. That's one idea Coursera hopes will bring in revenue, along with a plan to charge students who pass the courses a small fee for a certificate. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

Oxford revises gender dress code to help transgender students

Students at the University of Oxford will no longer have to wear gender-specific academic clothing after concerns the rules were unfair to transgender students. Under the changes, which come into effect on August 4, men can attend formal occasions in skirts and stockings and women in suits and bow ties. The new rules come after a motion by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer society was passed by the student union earlier this year. "The regulations have been amended to remove any reference to gender, in response to concerns raised by Oxford University Student Union that the existing regulations did not serve the interests of transgender students," says an Oxford spokesman. BBC