Top Ten

October 18, 2012

Quebec Liberals say PQ must explain how it will make up for scrapped tuition increase

At a news conference Wednesday, the Quebec Liberal Party's higher education critic said it's time for the governing Parti Québécois to explain how it is going to help the province's universities manage the losses from the cancelled tuition fee hike. The critic said by Liberal estimates, annulling the planned hike is depriving the cash-strapped universities of $40 million for 2012-13. Over the next 5 years, the amount will reach $650 million. The critic said the PQ promised to compensate, yet university rectors he has spoken to said they have not seen a dime and the new term has begun. The critic said some universities did start charging the higher tuition fees and others did not, adding another level of confusion. "The (universities) have no idea what's going on," the critic said. "The universities did their planning based on that money." The office of Quebec's higher education minister declined to comment Wednesday. Montreal Gazette

Retired McGill prof cleared of misconduct in industry-sponsored asbestos research

McGill University has cleared a retired professor of misconduct in connection to industry-sponsored research on the health effects of asbestos. The internal review found that the former professor "properly acknowledged financial support from the asbestos industry in his publications -- the earliest of which date from the 1960s -- and that there is no evidence to suggest that the sponsors influenced the data analyses or the conclusions." McGill's research integrity officer concludes in his report that his review of relevant information "lends no credence" to claims that the university colluded with the asbestos industry in promoting the use of the substance. McGill News | Montreal Gazette | CBC

NorQuest "steps forward" with refreshed brand

Yesterday Edmonton's NorQuest College unveiled its new brand identity. The refreshed brand's "Step Forward" call to action inspires students and the community to take advantage of everything NorQuest offers. Reflecting Alberta's growing cultural inclusiveness, the new brand identity recognizes the institution's diverse student population as one of its core strengths: 55% of students are born outside of Canada, representing 87 nations; 9% of students have self-identified First Nations, Métis, or Inuit ancestry; and 80% of students are female. NorQuest says its refreshed brand celebrates its ongoing focus on workforce development, workforce advancement, and customer value. In its brand video, NorQuest describes what it needs to be in order for its students to succeed: inclusive, student-centred, professional, exciting, catalyzing, confident, progressive, relevant, and necessary. NorQuest has also launched a new website to reflect its new brand. NorQuest News Release | Brand Video (scroll down page) | NorQuest Website

Expanding undergraduate, graduate credentials among priorities in Queen's draft SMA

In its proposed strategic mandate agreement, Queen's University says that in response to an expected greater number of excellent applicants for admissions to its programs, it plans to increase undergraduate enrolment. Its plan is for a steady-state increase of 2,000 additional undergraduate students by 2018, much of it in Arts and Science, accompanied by increases in Business and Engineering and Applied Science. Queen's aims to increase the number of students in professional graduate programs to the point where they represent 50% of all graduate students at the institution. The document notes that Queen's is compiling a Co-curricular Opportunities Directory, which will identify co-curricular activities and the learning outcomes associated with them. Queen's says the directory "will improve the transparency and accessibility of important experiential learning opportunities to all students and promote the conscious pursuit of deeper learning through the broader learning environment." The university expects upwards of 600 entries in the directory once it is established. Queen's News Centre | Queen's SMA

STM breaks ground for expansion, announces $2 million in gifts

With separate announcements totalling $2 million in donations just days apart and a sod-turning ceremony for its building expansion, St. Thomas More College -- federated with the University of Saskatchewan -- has made strides in its $6-million "Creating More" fundraising initiative. On October 15, STM announced $500,000 each from 2 benefactors just prior to officially starting the major 3-storey expansion of STM. The college announced October 9 that it received a $1-million gift for the endowed chair in Catholic Studies, the first in Saskatchewan and only the second in western Canada. uSask On Campus News

Durham College Whitby campus celebrates new learning labs

On October 12, Durham College officially opened 2 new on-site learning labs, part of the $44-million, 3-phase expansion of the Whitby campus. Learning Lab 1 -- a high-efficiency green home -- is equipped with the latest in environmentally friendly technologies. The lab is being used by students enrolled in programs such as Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Techniques; Plumbing Apprenticeship; Electrical Technician -- Instrumentation and Control; and Electrical Techniques. Learning Lab 2 -- a 1940s-era house that was moved to the campus in January 2011 -- is allowing students to gain real-world experience in retrofitting older homes, including an understanding of how to boost energy efficiency. Durham College News

uToronto, uWaterloo, and uLethbridge named Research Universities of the Year

The University of Toronto has placed first in Research Infosource's annual list of the top 50 research universities in Canada. uToronto also took the top spot in the medical/doctoral category. The University of Waterloo and the University of Lethbridge placed first in the comprehensive and undergraduate categories, respectively. Research Infosource reports that research income from the top 50 universities totalled $6.63 billion in Fiscal 2011, an increase of 2.2% over Fiscal 2010, the smallest gain in the past decade. 34 universities posted gains in research income, while 16 reported declines. The top gainers in Fiscal 2011 were Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (111.1%), uQuébec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (43.9%), uLethbridge (38.7%), Ryerson University (31.1%), and Université de Sherbrooke (30%). Research Infosource News Release | Canada's Top 50 Research Universities 2012

International graduate student enrolment rises at TWU

Enrolment among international graduate students at Trinity Western University has doubled since this time last year (not including the US). Overall graduate enrolment at the BC-based institution is up by 17% this year. TWU has been strengthening its global connections with the focus of attracting international students. This fall, 16 students enrolled in TWU's inaugural University Transition First Year program for international students. The program is designed to walk international students through their first -- and often challenging -- year of university courses. TWU News

Emily Carr showcasing its programming through community TV programs

Emily Carr University of Art + Design has announced the creation of 2 community programs on TELUS Optik Local that focuses on the next generation of Emily Carr artists, designers, innovators, and researchers. "Selected Works from the 2012 Degree Exhibition" will bring viewers a virtual gallery of select pieces from Emily Carr's most recent graduating class. "Emily Carr -- A Community of Design" features stories that take views inside the university's Design program, and includes interviews with industry specialists. The initiative, supported by Telus, "has not only allowed us to feature our talented students and alumni work but to further tell Emily Carr's design story, one that is rich with more than 20 years of engagement with our community," says a university official. The programs are available on Optik TV by selecting Video on Demand this fall under Optik Local in the Vancouver Featured category. Emily Carr News Release

uPhoenix shutting down 115 locations

The Apollo Group announced Tuesday that it was shutting down 90 of the University of Phoenix's satellite learning centres and 25 of its campuses, leaving 112 remaining locations. The closures are part of a "re-engineering initiative" that Apollo says will help the bottom line by 2014. The closures will affect approximately 13,000 students, or 4% of those pursuing degrees at the for-profit institution. The company says the affected students will continue to be served online and at alternative locations. The announcement accompanied the release of Apollo's disappointing fourth-quarter earnings, with a 10% decrease in annual revenue and a 15% drop in uPhoenix enrolments. The company announced 800 non-faculty job cuts. uPhoenix introduced last week a tuition fee freeze for current and incoming students. Inside Higher Ed