Top Ten

September 10, 2012

Ottawa's closure of Iranian embassy affects international students

The first individuals affected by the federal government's decision to shut down the Iranian embassy in Ottawa were international students from Iran who had come to the capital to renew their visas. "It's just going to make everything harder -- just translating my documents, renewing my passport and this stuff," says a University of Ottawa student from Tehran. For international students, some of whom receive funding each term from the Iranian government, funding might be slow to flow as the embassy traditionally had to sign off on cheques, says a University of Toronto political science professor. According to federal data, in 2010 there were 3,247 international students from Iran studying at the university level in Canada. Postmedia News

Class disruptions force uMontréal to annul 8 courses

The Université de Montréal has cancelled 8 anthropology and sociology courses that had been scheduled to resume August 27. Approximately 400 students will have to restart those courses completely, uMontréal announced last Thursday. The planned resumption of those 8 courses had been scuttled by a fresh series of on-campus disruptions and votes to continue the class boycotts. Other resumed courses at uMontréal, about 900 in total, are going on and are expected to be completed by September 28. uMontréal News (in French) | Montreal Gazette

UBC to house $29.5-million National Soccer Development Centre

The University of British Columbia's Vancouver campus will house a new training facility that will form the centerpiece of the proposed National Soccer Development Centre (NSDC) -- a new athletic facility to be shared by the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, UBC, and community. The NSDC will include 2 new artificial fields, 3 new refurbished or improved grass fields, and a fieldhouse. The BC government has committed $14.5 million to the centre, the Whitecaps are investing $15 million, and UBC will provide the land. The partnership between UBC, the province, and the Whitecaps was developed as part of the university's $1.5-billion "start an evolution" fundraising campaign. The NSDC is slated to be completed in advance of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup and will be situated in Thunderbird Park. UBC News Release

$16.7 million for WLU Brantford YMCA Athletics and Recreation Complex

The federal government announced Friday it is setting aside up to one-third of total eligible costs, to a maximum contribution of $16.7 million, in a new multifunctional recreational and athletic complex in Brantford, Ontario to replace the temporary YMCA and the Wilfrid Laurier University Brantford campus athletic facilities. The new complex will feature a dual-tank aquatic centre for teaching, fitness, therapy, and leisure; a fitness centre consisting of multi-purpose spaces for group fitness; and a gym with retractable seating for up to 1,200 spectators. The Ontario government is contributing more than $16 million to the project, and the City of Brantford is investing $5.8 million. WLU and the YMCA of Hamilton/Burlington/Brantford will be responsible for all remaining costs for the $58.4-million complex. Infrastructure Canada News Release

Time for uWinnipeg to emphasize academic development and revenue, says president

University of Winnipeg president Lloyd Axworthy has told faculties and departments to concentrate on academics and come up with ways to make money. Next month the institution will launch a $15-million Future Fund campaign to raise money for academic departments, and Axworthy is meeting with every faculty and department to discuss how they can generate revenue. Every academic unit has to explore the potential for putting its courses online to attract more revenue-paying students, says Axworthy. Winnipeg Free Press

International enrolment boom at uManitoba

The University of Manitoba is reporting a 21.4% increase, to 3,203 students, in international enrolment for the fall 2012 term. International undergraduate and graduate students increased by 23.9% and 17%, respectively. International students now represent 11.1% of the uManitoba student population, up from 9.4% this time last year. The institution has also set a new enrolment record, with first-day numbers pegging enrolment at 28,795, up nearly 3% from the fall 2011 semester. Undergraduate and graduate enrolment have risen by 2.9% and 2.8%, respectively. uManitoba News

Nipissing distributes iPads to some students in iLearn project

First-year students in Nipissing University's School of Business have each received an iPad through the institution's iLearn project, which is a direct response to the growing use of mobile devices that can support and enhance classroom learning. While all first-year business students are getting an iPad, Nipissing is also piloting their use in Criminal Justice and Nursing programs. The business school is working with Nipissing's Centre for Flexible Teaching and Learning and University Technology Services to identify teaching strategies and applications that will yield measurable benefits for students and instructors. The iLearn project includes a study that will examine the experience as a whole in addition to outcomes from both a student and faculty perspective. Nipissing News

Yukon College fosters welcoming environment with "You Matter Here" campaign

Students heading back to class at Yukon College will learn that "You Matter Here." This statement, featured on posters and postcards around campus, is part of efforts to ensure a welcoming atmosphere for the institution's diverse student population. The campaign is spearheaded by the coordinator of the college's Yukon Cultures Connect project, who hopes it will spark discussion among students and staff and help them appreciate each other's differences. The red-, yellow-, and blue-coloured posters and postcards direct people to Yukon College's website where they can find information about the institution's commitment to inclusion and diversity. It also includes links to programs such as the Campfire to College for rural students, the Learning Assistance Centre, and personal counselling services. Yukon College News Release

Summer employment rates among lowest on record

According to Statistics Canada's latest Labour Force Survey, compared to last summer, employment rates were down for students of all age groups, and were among the lowest on record. Overall, the average employment rate from May to August for 15- to 24-year-old students was 47.9%, down from last summer (49.1%), and summer 2009 (48.6%), when student employment was hard hit by the labour market downturn. In contrast, the rates in the summers of 2006 and 2008 averaged 54.1%. StatsCan reports the average unemployment rate over the summer as 11.3% for students aged 20 to 24, 18.1% for those aged 17 to 19, and 30.2% for students aged 15 and 16. The average number of hours worked at all jobs during this summer by 15- to 24-year-old students was 24.2 hours per week, similar to last summer. Students worked slightly more hours this summer compared to summer 2009, when the average workweek was 23.4 hours. Statistics Canada

Report paints portrait of transnational education student

Students participating in transnational education (TNE) -- learning in a different nation from where the degree-awarding institution is located -- are less concerned about the awarding institution's reputation and more about a flexible learning environment and a close fit with regard to subjects available for study, according to the British Council's Education Intelligence Unit's just-released "Portrait of a Transnational Education Student." Based on more than 160,000 student responses from 2007 until September 2012, the survey found that enthusiasm for TNE has increased across all regions since 2007. One in 4 students was considering TNE in some form, whether wholly or partially administered in their native country. Some of the nations with the highest interest in TNE degrees included Argentina, Brazil, Croatia, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, the Philippines, Russia, and Zambia. University World News