Top Ten

October 4, 2012

Reports find uAlberta HUB Mall shooting response was appropriate

In a pair of reports investigating the actions of University of Alberta officials in responding to the June 15 HUB Mall shooting, the institution's Risk Management Services office has concluded that the situation was handled appropriately and in a timely manner. The first report examined what was done well and areas that can be improved upon, while the second report concentrated on how administrators communicated events to the uAlberta community, specifically focusing on questions asked by some university community members as to why the university notification system was not used. In this case, the report supported the decision not to implement the system, citing the information that was available immediately following the shooting and the nature of the incident itself. The reports identified 19 recommendations for administrators to review. One recommendation is for uAlberta's Protective Services to review its Active Shooter, Barricade Situation, and Hostage Situation Incident Response protocol to determine whether amendments could be made to further clarify in what circumstances an emergency message notification should be sent out, with a possible view of lowering the minimum threshold needed to issue a mass emergency communication. uAlberta News | Edmonton Journal | CBC | Recommendations

Postscript: Jan 14, 2013

The University of Alberta's board of governors has accepted a pair of reports by Risk Management Services following the HUB Mall shooting last June. The reports conclude the situation was handled appropriately by uAlberta, while offering a number of recommendations for improvement. The reports' authors suggest increased education for the university community about emergency response, updated Protective Services procedures during a major emergency, and improvements to the testing procedures for the emergency notification system. uAlberta News

Ontario urged to create 3-year degrees at colleges

The Ontario government must allow colleges to offer 3-year degrees, states Colleges Ontario in its response to the province's PSE discussion paper. The report says colleges should have the authority to offer 3-year degrees and convert some of the 3-year diploma programs to degree programs. The report notes that many of the colleges' 3-year programs already meet Ontario's standards for baccalaureate education. Another key proposal in the report calls for the province's college sector to use its own internationally recognized Ontario College Quality Assurance Service to assess and approve degrees in the sector. Other recommendations in the report include increasing the availability of online college courses offered through OntarioLearn by 50%; allowing colleges to offer stand-alone nursing degree programs; making Ontario's colleges responsible for most of the administration of the in-school portion of apprenticeship programs; and requiring colleges and universities to publicly report on their strategies to help students transfer among PSE schools. Colleges Ontario News Release | Response

UoGuelph files strategic mandate agreement

In in its strategic mandate agreement submitted to the Ontario government, the University of Guelph outlines a strategic focus on food, health, communities, and the environment; a mandate to pursue areas in which the institution already leads or excels, including support for student learning, community service, and outreach; and a vision that includes continued leadership in learner-centredness and research-intensiveness. The document also explores transformative program innovation, student success, and engagement. Program innovation includes restructuring large, first-year courses for enhanced learning and cost effectiveness, and developing new pathways programs with colleges to facilitate credit transfer and ensure strong applicant pools and appropriate programming. Student success measures include learning ePortfolios, designated courses that reflect acquired or developed skills, and appropriate use of analytics to further assess and document learning outcomes. Engagement initiatives at UoGuelph include the School of Civil Society, community-engaged scholarship efforts, and "global literacy," or considering global impact and context in student problem-solving and decision-making. UoGuelph News Release

Some Canadian universities lose ground in THE World University Rankings

6 of Canada's 8 top-200-ranked universities (uToronto, UBC, McGill, McMaster, uAlberta, and UVic) lost ground in this year's Times Higher Education World University Rankings. The drop may be due to Canada investing less aggressively in its PSE sector compared to other nations, says uToronto president David Naylor, whose institution fell out of the top 20, dropping from 19th place last year to 21st. Rankings editor Phil Baty contends Canada's rankings are struggling partly due to a tendency to spread universities' core funding relatively equitably, primarily based on enrolments, rather than select winners who demonstrate strengths in research and teaching quality, as many European and Asian nations do. Governments' general reluctance to distribute funds based on merit has spread resources too thinly, says McGill president Heather Munroe-Blum, whose institution fell from 28th to 34th in the rankings. "The universities that are moving dramatically into the top ranks...are in countries -- both developed and developing -- with a government saying, we are going to have a group of universities that have a sustained position at the top of the world league," Munroe-Blum says. "That isn't the Canadian culture, and we could use a lot more of that." The news is not all grim for Canada, as there are still only 4 nations with more top-200-ranked institutions. There were rare bright spots in the rankings: the Université de Montréal jumped from 104th to 84th, while the University of Ottawa rose from 185th to 171st. Times Higher Education | Globe and Mail | Toronto Star | Maclean's On Campus | THE World University Rankings 2012-13

MUN Grenfell campus launches new brand campaign

Memorial University's Grenfell campus has introduced a new brand, which bears the tagline "Find your corner." The refreshed brand comes to life through photographs capturing students, faculty, and staff in a unique, raw style. Through the range of portrait and action shots, and in a variety of styles, hundreds of personalities come together to express one voice. The primary piece of the new brand is Grenfell's viewbook, which features the photography as well as one-word descriptors -- such as "explorer," "expresser," "healer," "optimizer," and "questioner" -- that reinforce the action-oriented nature of those at Grenfell. The multi-media brand campaign will continue in the weeks ahead. The faces of Grenfell students will appear on buses and mall posters, and are part of an online and movie theatre campaign in various cities throughout Atlantic Canada. Western Star

New OCAD U centre part of proposed Mirvish-Gehry development in Toronto

A new 25,000-square-foot centre for Toronto's OCAD University is part of a transformative King Street development plan proposal by Mirvish Productions founder David Mirvish and renowned architect Frank Gehry. The proposed facility for OCAD U is part of the first phase of the long-term, multi-phase project. The OCAD University Public Learning Centre for Visual Art, Curatorial Studies and Art History will enhance collaboration between the institution's Faculty of Art and Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences and School of Interdisciplinary Studies. The centre will accommodate an Exhibition and Visual Research Centre; an Art History, Curatorial and Critical Studies Centre; a Publication and Printmaking Research and Production Centre; and continuing studies for the community. Included are a lecture hall suitable for public lectures and student use; proper storage and public access to OCAD U's archives; seminar rooms and studios related to fabrication, publications, and printmaking; and gallery space to showcase OCAD U's permanent collection and the work of the institution's faculty members. OCAD U News | Centre Proposal

RRC opens Centre for Non-Destructive Inspection

On September 29, Red River College celebrated the opening of its new Centre for Non-Destructive Inspection (CNDI), which is housed within a new RRC "industrial campus" located at Magellan Aerospace's production plant in Winnipeg. Featuring some of Canada's most advanced inspection equipment -- including one of only 2 laser ultrasonic testing systems in the nation -- the centre provides a competitive advantage for Manitoba's manufacturing sector while addressing industry demand for skilled inspection staff. In addition to the direct benefits for industry, RRC students are in the unique position of being trained to employ this leading-edge technology. "One of the key themes of Red River College's strategic plan is to fuel Manitoba's economic growth and community development," says president Stephanie Forsyth. "By partnering with the federal government and Magellan Aerospace on the creation of CNDI, we're helping spark innovation within the aerospace sector and giving researchers and students access to state-of-the-art inspection equipment." RRC News

uRegina revamping BFA program in theatre and performance

The University of Regina has retired its Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program in theatre and performance. Current students will have 6 years to finish their degree, and there will be no new intake for the program, which will be rolled into the Bachelor of Arts degree. Enrolment numbers have dropped off "a little" in recent years, and there has been a $40,000 cut in funding to the theatre department over the past 16 years. The department head stresses that core courses in acting, design, and stage management will continue, alongside "shiny new" subjects in community-based performance and digital performance. The BFA overhaul is part of uRegina's academic program review, which has been going on across all departments since 2009. It's partly about funding, but uRegina's provost says it's also about reviewing programs so that they remain relevant "not just now, but into the future." Regina Leader-Post

Endowment fund supports scholarships for uCalgary Métis students

Métis students at the University of Calgary can now access $60,000 in new scholarship opportunities annually through a $750,000 endowment established by the Métis Education Foundation, an affiliate of the Métis Nation of Alberta. The endowment will create new entrance awards, continuing student undergraduate awards and graduate awards. This adds to the numerous programs -- such as academic outreach, cultural enrichment services, and student advising -- that are already in place at uCalgary and currently run through The Native Centre to support the success of Aboriginal students. uCalgary News Release

Record enrolment at UOIT

The University of Ontario Institute of Technology has recorded an all-time enrolment high of 9,203 undergraduate and graduate students, representing a tenfold increase in the decade since the first 947 arrived on campus in September 2003. As of September 19, the Oshawa-based institution recorded an 8.9% jump in overall undergraduate enrolment from 7,977 to 8,685, with 2,808 being new students. 518 graduate students now attend UOIT, an increase of 16.1% over last year. UOIT News Release