Top Ten

August 20, 2012

uMontréal promises fall classes

Université de Montréal rector Guy Breton is sending a message of reassurance to students scheduled to begin their university education at uMontréal. "We're sending a message to CÉGEP students who might be worried if they’ll be able to start their classes in, say, pharmacology or physics," says Breton. "We want it to be clear we are waiting for you and we are taking care of our own makeup courses between now and Oct. 1." His statement comes as the last of the CÉGEP students boycotting classes voted to return to school, bringing an end to the CÉGEP boycotts that helped spur support for the student movement and massive protests during the "maple spring." Montreal Gazette

PQ would index university tuition, party leader says

If elected, the Parti Québécois would index university tuition, not freeze it, party leader Pauline Marois told radio listeners last week. Marois said she can foresee "a slight increase, going up with the cost of living." The PQ has pledged to cancel the Liberals' planned tuition fee hikes and repeal Bill 78. The party's election platform calls for a forum on PSE to be held after cancelling the tuition increase. Subjects would include university management and financing. "And we'll propose there (at the forum) an indexation of tuition fees," Marois said. "It's a freeze of sorts, because as soon as our salary improves (with a cost of living increase), we're asked to contribute a little more." The PQ adopted the position of indexation in April 2011. Montreal Gazette

Canada-China Academic Forum examines graduate education collaboration

Approximately 160 representatives from Canadian and Chinese universities gathered to discuss "innovative approaches to graduate studies" at the second Canada-China Academic Forum, held earlier this month in Chengdu in southwestern China. The 2-day forum revealed important insights into trends and developments in graduate education in both nations and showcased a range of innovative concepts and practices. In a concluding document, both sides agreed to collaborate in 4 areas: thematic based and interdisciplinary cooperation; 2-way student mobility and increased number of Canadian students going to China; joint/dual degree programs between Canadian and Chinese universities; and university-industry collaboration. uAlberta International News

UVic food bank use rising

University of Victoria students are increasing seeking help from an emergency food bank run by the students' society, officials say. The food bank serves up to 300 students per week, with many showing up early in the week to pick up perishables such as bread and milk. "It's quite established as a service and we find it grows more and more every year," says a students' society executive. "We've been finding that usage continues to grow between seven and 10 per cent every year." She attributes the growing demand for the food bank to increasing student debt loads. "I think if we had more support for interest-free loans and grants for students going into post-secondary, we wouldn't see so many people in here and in such substantial debt." Victoria Times-Colonist

BC invests in facility upgrades at NLC

Trades training facilities at Northern Lights College campuses are being upgraded and modernized with the help of $3.7 million in capital funding that is part of the BC government's investment in public PSE infrastructure this year. NLC and the province announced last week that $900,337 in one-time funding will be used to offer training. The institution expects to create seats in a variety of trades-related programs, such as power engineering, mining fundamentals, and oil and gas training, over the coming year. BC News Release

Ontario invests in new e-health centre at Mohawk College

The Ontario government is contributing $800,000 to a new health and technology centre at Mohawk College. The mobile and electronic health development and innovation centre (MEDIC) will be open to students, faculty, and industry partners as a place to develop and showcase the institution's work in the electronic health technology field. Each semester, 25 engineering technology students will work in the centre as part of co-op placements through the college. The 2,000-square-foot MEDIC will be located in Mohawk's School of Engineering Technology and is scheduled to open in June 2013. Hamilton Spectator

Emory U administrators intentionally misreported admissions information

Emory University officials say administrators had knowingly misreported data on the SAT and ACT scores, class rank, and GPAs of incoming students since at least 2000. Instead of reporting such data for enrolled students, administrators reported that of admitted students, leading to higher numbers because many students at the top of the Atlanta-based university's admission pool enrolled at other institutions. Administrators haven't said exactly how long Emory had been reporting the incorrect information or why the practice began. They do note that there were people within the responsible departments while the practice was taking place who questioned the practice but never reported it other than to their supervisors. Emory administrators say the discovery of the incorrect information is a blow to the institution, which prides itself on being ethical. Emory is now taking measures to prevent similar misreporting in the future. These include the creation of a Data Advisory Committee from across the institution to review reporting procedures, codify definitions, and periodically audit Emory's data reporting. Inside Higher Ed

US community colleges experimenting with real-time job data software

10 community colleges across 6 US states are experimenting with software that collects real-time labour-market data, part of a project led by Jobs for the Future, a non-profit organization that studies education and work-force issues. The tool scours job ads from thousands of online resources, then aggregates and analyzes the data to produce a database of current job opportunities, including which companies have the most openings and what exactly job ads say. Proponents of the software say it has the potential to help fix the apparent mismatch between colleges' training and employers' needs. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

German PSE leaders criticize Bologna impact

The heads of Germany's PSE schools say they see severe shortcomings in the new bachelor's degrees introduced as part of Bologna reforms and warn that they are failing to supply the graduates Germany needs. The president of the organization that represents the heads of the country's PSE institutions says the reforms had "failed to achieve the key goals." One key promise that has not been kept is greater student mobility, he says. He argues that the European Credit Transfer System merely measured time studied in certain areas, not actual achievement, and that in reality students still have problems getting performance recognized in other nations. University World News

Canadians devoting less time to smartphones, tablets

Canadians continue to use their smartphones frequently, but the amount of time they spend on such devices has dropped, according to a new study. In spring 2011, Canadians reported spending 3.3 hours a day on their smartphones, whereas the following spring the number dropped to 2.8 hours per day on average. Significant drops were also reported for time spent on tablets (2.4 hours down from 3.2 hours) and e-readers (1.8 hours down from 2.1 hours) over the same period. The study also observes declines in the frequency at which smartphone and tablet users download new applications and delete old apps previously loaded on their devices. CBC | Ipsos Reid News Release