Top Ten

September 7, 2012

Maclean's explores mental health on campus

Cornell University's bridge nets are the latest and most visible sign that the best and brightest students are struggling, reports Maclean's. Last year, Ryerson University's centre for student development and counselling saw a 200% increase in demand from students in crisis situations; "I've met with different key people. They're saying last year was the worst year they've ever seen," says the director of Western University's student development centre. Following the sudden deaths of 6 students -- 3 by suicide -- Queen's University principal Daniel Woolf established last fall a mental-health commission, which has released a discussion paper, to be followed by a final report next month. The discussion paper offers a range of reasons students are struggling with mental-health issues: everything from the stress of moving away from home, to academic demands, social pressures, parental expectations, and a looming recognition of the tough labour market awaiting them. The increasing number of students entering PSE with a pre-existing diagnosis of mental illness and a diminishing stigma attached to getting help partly explains the flood counsellors are encountering, but there is something else going on, too. Some wonder if students today are having trouble coping with the rapidly changing world around them, a world where they can't unplug or relax, and believe they must stay at the top of their class, no matter what. The Queen's commission is one of several initiatives exploring mental-health strategies for PSE institutions. The Canadian Association of College and University Student Services has a mental-health working group to study best practices in Canada and abroad. The University of Alberta's provost's fellow for student mental health is producing a report on campus mental-health services and best practices elsewhere, due next year. Maclean's

McMaster receives $10-million donation for aging research

McMaster University has netted a $10-million gift that will fund interdisciplinary research into the subject of "optimal aging" -- a field McMaster believes is worthy of deep investigation at a time of shifting demographics. The donation comes courtesy of Suzanne Labarge, a businesswoman, McMaster alumna, and former member of the institution's board of governors, who retired as the vice-chairman and chief risk manager of RBC in 2004. The Labarge Optimal Aging Opportunities Fund will provide seed money to research aimed at maximizing mobility, slowing chronic disease, and tackling deadly infections. It is hoped the results will win McMaster more grants to continue studying aging. In addition to the research, the gift will fund the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal, which will provide the public with the best and newest research available as well as help families navigate health and social services. McMaster News Release | Hamilton Spectator | Globe and Mail

uSask general academic assembly vote forces review of medical school restructuring plan

Doctors and professors upset by proposed changes to the University of Saskatchewan's College of Medicine won a small reprieve Thursday at a rarely used university meeting. Members of uSask's general academic assembly voted to force the institution's university council to revisit its decision approving changes to the medical college. The college requires the council's approval to divide itself into 3 new divisions: biomedical and population sciences, clinical research, and teaching. uSask administrators who developed the proposal say it is a long-overdue shift needed to make faculty more accountable for teaching duties and stimulate more research in the medical school -- an area where it falls behind Canadian counterparts. Opponents have complained the plan was not ideal and was being implemented without taking their views into account. "The college of medicine does want to change," says the chair of the college's faculty council. "We just don't want this particular structure that was handed to us." Saskatoon Star-Phoenix | CBC | uSask College of Medicine Concept

Report offers recommendations to improve BC's investment climate for international education

The British Columbia Jobs and Investment Board (BCJIB) has released an interim report outlining recommendations in support of the 8 economic sectors of advantage for BC, including international education. The report recommends investing in establishing a centralized PSE application process across all PSE institutions in BC to increase ease of application, and capture all applicants to BC's PSE system. The BCJIB suggests reducing the barriers and constraints to attracting international students to skills and technology training in areas of recognized labour shortage, for BC's short and mid-term future job demands. The report recommends that the province coordinate the collaboration of the International BC Trade and Investment offices, British Columbia Council for International Education, and all public and private BC PSE institutions in their international recruitment; facilitate provincial targets in students, immigrant investors, and coordination with regional Economic Development Offices and regional PSE institutions; and include a young entrepreneur attraction and retention strategy through PSE and immigrant investor recruitment. Interim Report

CBU opens new business school building, receives funding for Aboriginal Business Studies chair

On Thursday Cape Breton University celebrated the opening of the new Shannon School of Business building. The $8-million facility is a major component of the school's $12-million Cornerstone Campaign, which is nearing completion of its $4-million target for the Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies. Federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt was on hand to announce a joint $1.5-million contribution from Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada to the chair. The Nova Scotia government has also announced a $500,000 investment in the chair, which will promote interest among Canada's Aboriginal people in the study of business at the PSE level, while conducting pure and applied research specific to Aboriginal business. CBU News | ECBC News Release | NS News Release | Cape Breton Post

uWinnipeg breaks ground for Health & RecPlex

On Thursday the University of Winnipeg held a sod-turning ceremony for its $40-million UNITED Health & RecPlex, which will serve students, faculty, staff, and Winnipeg residents, including those in the inner-city community, for many years to come. The 3-storey RecPlex will feature state-of-the-art indoor green space that will accommodate soccer pitches and a multitude of other sports. It will also accommodate an expanded intramural sports program for uWinnipeg students, offer multi-purpose rooms for cultural and community events, and provide a new indoor parkade accommodating about 200 vehicles. The RecPlex will allow for an expansion of teaching and research offerings within uWinnipeg's new Faculty of Kinesiology, which came into effect on July 1. uWinnipeg News Release | Winnipeg Free Press

Dal engineering students take classes in movie theatre

Second-year engineering classes at Dalhousie University are taking place in an Empire Theatres cinema this year as the institution faces a space crunch. Trays that attach to the cupholders transform the theatre seats into makeshift desks, while the built-in projector beams slides onto the big screen. The engineering school's associate dean of undergraduate studies doesn't know who came up with the theatre idea, but he is blunt about why it is necessary: "We ran out of space." The engineering school plans to construct a new facility with larger class sizes, but it has not raised the estimated $20-million to $30-million needed to build it, so movie theatres will have to do for the next few years. Ryerson University and SIAST have used movie theatres to hold classes. Chronicle-Herald

Carleton to offer Canada's first graduate program in philanthropy and nonprofit leadership

Carleton University's School of Public Policy and Administration will offer a first-in-Canada Master of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership degree and graduate diploma starting in summer 2013. The program is designed to help current non-profit professionals enhance their skills and to produce the next generation of innovators in charities, development offices, philanthropic foundations, and social enterprises, as well as the businesses, financial institutions, and governments that interact with them. Through a combination of intensive summer sessions and interactive online learning, the program will be accessible to students across the country. Carleton News Release

uRegina reports record enrolment

The University of Regina has set a new enrolment record, with 13,119 students enrolled at the institution for the fall 2012 term, up from 12,797 last year. uRegina is also reporting a 10% increase in the number of first-year student admissions. As of August 30, the institution admitted 3,850 first-year students, up from 3,509 last year. Courses offered through Flexible Learning are on the rise; there are 2,634 off-campus enrolments this year, up from 2,022 last year. Demand is particularly strong in the Faculties of Nursing, Kinesiology and Health Studies, and Engineering and Applied Science. In only its second year as an academic unit, the Faculty of Nursing has seen the largest increase in first-year admissions (66%). Admissions to Kinesiology and Health Sciences and Engineering and Applied Sciences are up 30% and 29%, respectively. uRegina News Release

Georgian College launches First Year Experience initiative

Georgian College's new First Year Experience initiative aims to boost student awareness through resources for both students and parents. The Parent and Family Resource Calendar provides information on support services, important dates, events, and opportunities for campus involvement. The calendar also gives parents an idea of what the student experience at the college is like and how parents can support students. Georgian has also created a First Year Experience website, which will be expanded over the year. Georgian College News | First Year Experience