Top Ten

September 18, 2012

uToronto Engineering launches $200-million fundraising initiative

The University of Toronto's Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering is the latest faculty to unveil its part in the institution's $2-billion "Boundless" fundraising campaign. The faculty's $200-million fundraising initiative -- the largest ever for a Canadian engineering school -- has 5 areas of focus: advancing information communications technology; developing global engineering leaders; nurturing engineering innovation and entrepreneurship; reshaping the future of energy, the environment, and sustainability; and revolutionizing biomedical engineering and human health. The faculty has already secured more than $80 million toward its goal. uToronto has raised more than $1.1 billion to date in the "Boundless" campaign. uToronto Engineering News

Environmental studies profs raise concerns over ECO Canada activities

In a letter published in CAUT's Bulletin, a group of environmental studies and environment science professors from UNBC, York U, SMU, McGill, Queen's, uWaterloo, Dal, and Athabasca U outlines its concerns over activities of the Environmental Careers Organization (ECO) Canada. The signatories note that ECO Canada is now pushing to accredit environment studies -- and in the near future environmental education -- degrees, a process for which environmental studies programs have not asked. The professors say accreditation provides no real benefit to students, ECO duplicates processes already undertaken regarding degree reviews, and the organization "is charging very high fees for this unnecessary service at a time of fiscal challenge." The professors ask those who share their concerns to join them in requiring ECO to stop its forced accreditation process and support academic freedom and integrity. CAUT Bulletin

CFS urges Ontario to make tuition fees part of proposed PSE reforms

The Canadian Federation of Students' Ontario chapter says the provincial government is leaving key issues such as rising tuition fees and student debt out of a province-wide conversation on higher education. The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities held consultations over the summer on a proposal before the province to shorten undergraduate degrees, offer year-round classes and more online classes, and make all general first- and second-year credits transferable to any Ontario university. The CFS-O states that the proposal specifically excludes a discussion on PSE affordability and statements from TCU Minister Glen Murray at consultations indicate the government is looking to cut funding. A TCU spokesman says focus is on improving the student learning experience, teaching quality, student affordability, and learning outcomes. "In order to achieve these objectives; post-secondary education has to change if it is going to be financially sustainable in the long term, given the new economic realities," the spokesman says. CFS-O News Release | Canadian Press

Artless art history textbook fuels petition at OCAD U

When OCAD University's liberal studies dean meets with first-year students tomorrow, her main priority will be to explain why a mandatory $180 art history textbook does not contain any art. The open discussion was arranged following a petition launched by students wanting a refund on the textbook. In a letter to students, the dean says the joint use of the textbook and an online component, which contains the artwork, was needed to keep costs down. A printed version with art included would cost $800, she says. The dean says that a textbook unique to OCAD U is needed for this particular course; the textbook for the class contains portions of 2 different publications. "I really dislike the fact that we need to go online, and move back and forth from two different eBooks, in order to get images for one physical copy of a book that has no images in it," says one student in a post on the petition, which has garnered nearly 300 signatures. "It is definitely a waste of my time and money as a first-year student." National Post

Postscript: Sep 24, 2012

Following up on Thursday's meeting with art history students concerned about a custom course package, OCAD University's dean of liberal arts and sciences says her first objective is to have the material (text and images) of the course in students' hands in a format they feel they can use. The dean has met with publisher representatives, who have proposed offering a guaranteed end-of-term buy-back of the custom text, as well as provision of print copies of one of the textbooks used to create the package that contains the vast majority of missing images. The dean, along with a publisher official, will hold a second meeting with students on Tuesday. Update

New guide helps practitioners assess PSE teaching and learning

"Research Teaching and Student Outcomes in Postsecondary Education: A Guide" is a new resource produced by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario in collaboration with McMaster University's Centre for Leadership in Learning and the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, and is endorsed by the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services. The free, 40-page online guide serves as an introduction to research methods and techniques that foster innovation and evaluation of practices to improve student success. Created to provide an entry point for people interested in engaging as researchers and evaluators of PSE outcomes, the guide will be of particular interest to college and university professors and educational developers seeking innovative approaches to enhanced learning, program administrators, student service providers, and others interested in effective teaching and learning and student success. HEQCO | Guide

PSE leaders issue statement on preparing grad students for global workforce

PSE leaders from 15 nations, including Canada, have agreed on a set of principles to guide the preparation of graduate students for the demands of the global workforce and economy. As per the consensus statement, it is important for universities and graduate schools to: communicate the value and relevance of the broader concept of "brain circulation"; integrate international experiences and training into graduate degree programs; provide robust support systems, programs, and services for international students and early-stage researchers; identify specific global competencies within and across degree programs; prepare students and faculty to use emerging technologies to advance and share knowledge globally; prepare graduate students for ethical issues that emerge in a globalizing workforce; and assess and share the outcomes of global experiences and partnerships. Council of Graduate Schools News Release

Applications to graduate business programs rise

According to the Graduate Management Admission Council's 2012 Application Trends Survey, demand for graduate business and management education worldwide shows signs of renewed growth, with 51% of programs surveyed reporting more applications than last year. Overall demand is spread among a greater variety of program types, including part-time self-paced, flexible, and online MBAs, as well as specialized master's degrees in business. The annual survey shows that specialized master's programs in management, finance, and accounting continue to experience robust growth, and applications to full-time 2-year MBA programs appear to be stabilizing worldwide, with about half of all full-time MBA programs showing increases or holding steady from last year. The quality of applicant pools remains strong -- about 90% of all MBA programs and 94% of specialized master's programs reported that their 2012 applicant pool was more than or as qualified as last year's applicant pool. GMAC News Release

ACC launches "Learn by Doing" marketing campaign

Displays are popping up all over Brandon and Dauphin to kick off Manitoba-based Assiniboine Community College's new "Learning by Doing" marketing campaign. One aspect of the multi-faceted campaign is the out-of-the-classroom desks with tools of the trade from various ACC programs that are dispersed throughout the city. Materials ranging from robots to garden hoses to electronic devices to hard drives will be featured in the displays. They include just a small sampling of tools used in ACC programs to demonstrate how the institution takes learning to a different level. The displays will be at 11 different locations throughout Brandon and Dauphin and will be on exhibit for 2 to 6 weeks, depending on the location. ACC has formed strategic partnerships with different businesses and organizations where students enrolled in programs featured in the campaign might find employment after graduation. ACC News | Learn by Doing

Queen's unveils new website

Last week Queen's University went live with its redesigned website. The homepage features a rotating graphic banner superimposed on undulating lines depicted in the official Queen's colours of red, gold, and blue. Visitors to the site can manipulate the banner's photos, which highlight the university's bottled-water sale ban, the tradition of first-year Arts and Science students receiving their tams, and the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre. The banner also directs to the "Queen's Snapshot" video, which shows a series of shots of students engaging in academic activities, using campus services, and participating in sports. The homepage includes direct links to donation initiatives, news, event listings, student government sites, the Gaels site, the university's mobile site, the new SeQure app, and social media platforms. Queen's website

Toronto Star publishes Insider's Guide to Colleges & Universities

The Toronto Star has released the 2012 edition of its Insider's Guide to Colleges & Universities. Articles published on the Star's website include profiles of select Ontario colleges and universities. There are also survival guides relating to mental health and finance. The Insider's Guide includes articles on the benefits of a gap year, the shifting perceptions of a college education, and excellence at Ontario PSE institutions. Insider's Guide to Colleges & Universities