Top Ten

October 22, 2012

Declining enrolment prompts Alberta Bible institutes to adapt

Bible institutes in Alberta, particularly those outside major urban centres, face declining enrolment. The rural constituency has shifted, and youth who automatically went to the schools their churches sponsored now encounter many career-oriented PSE choices. Some institutes, such as Gardner College, have shut down; others, such as Camrose Lutheran Bible Institute (CLBI), have shifted focus. Since Harold Rust took over as president in January 2001, CLBI has introduced discipleship groups, international mission trips, and outdoor components. The institute replaced semester-based programming with a modular format, under which a visiting instructor teaches a new topic every week. CLBI enrolment has hovered between 60 and 80 students in recent years, up from 16 in January 2001. In response to students' changing demands, some Alberta Bible institutes have decided to focus more intentionally on their roots in Bible study and mission training, others have placed more emphasis on credit transfers with colleges and universities, while a third group is pursuing degree-granting status. Christian Higher Education Canada (CHEC) is working to increase enrolment at member institutes by raising public awareness of Christian education options. "It's important for people to realize there is a credible third sector of higher education, and that's Christian higher education." Edmonton Journal

BC Colleges outlines priorities for next provincial budget

In its budget proposal submitted to BC's all-party finance committee, BC Colleges calls for sustained funding of up to $47 million annually to produce 2,000 additional graduates a year in the areas immediately required by the provincial economy. Key employment areas include business and management; health, engineering, applied sciences, and social services; and trades. BC Colleges recommends between $5.25 million and $19 million in targeted annual funding to boost accessibility and affordability in the province's college system. Other recommendations include up to $10.5 million in annual, ongoing funding to upgrade equipment, a $2-million investment in an Essential Skills Pilot, and building international connections and fostering innovative new partnerships to ensure college graduates are ready to complete globally. Budget Proposal (Summary) | Budget Proposal (Full Report)

CFS presents federal politicians with recommendations to improve PSE quality, accessibility

This week, students will meet with MPs and Senators to outline recommendations to improve PSE quality and accessibility, including cutting student loan debt in half by 2015 and implementing a federal PSE Act. In its lobby document, the Canadian Federation of Students suggests increasing the value and number of non-repayable grants available to students by redirecting funds allocated to education-related tax credits and savings programs to the Canada Student Grants Program, and making graduate students eligible for grants under the program. Other recommendations include increasing funding by $10 million to Statistics Canada's branch for the collection and analysis of PSE statistics, boosting the number of Canada Graduate Scholarships, and removing the funding cap on increases to the Post-Secondary Student Support Program. The CFS calls on Ottawa to safeguard and strengthen Canada's reputation as a destination of choice for international students by regulating fees charged to international students, barring private institutions from hosting international students, and combining the Off-Campus Work Permit and Post-Graduate Work Permit into the Study Permit. CFS News | Lobby Document

Creating 5 transdisciplinary research institutes among priorities in Brock's draft SMA

In its proposed strategic mandate agreement, Brock University reports that a competitive peer-review process resulted in 5 institutes being funded by the university. Brock states that all of the institutes -- whose areas of focus include health and well-being, advanced bio-manufacturing, lifespan development, social justice, and sustainability -- have the potential within 7 years to gain world-renowned stature. The SMA notes that with regard to student enrolment, several of the approved institutes have immediate plans for new graduate programs in specialized growth areas. Brock's objectives under the priority of "serving the 21st-century learner" include doubling spring/summer offerings and enrolments over the next 5 years, introducing 20 international service field courses, and mentorship support for an additional 850 incoming and graduating students. Brock News | Brock SMA

VCC reveals new logo

On Friday, Vancouver Community College unveiled its refreshed logo. The final logo selection represents the voices and insights from more than 700 individuals among internal and external stakeholders. Students, for example, told VCC that they consider the institution diverse, accessible, and inclusive. The logo development captured VCC's bold, urban location in the heart of Vancouver, as well as its strong ties to community and to local business and industry. VCC is currently developing a new website, and applications of the logo will roll out over the next several months. VCC News

Foreign students essential to Quebec's prosperity, says McGill principal

Quebec must create a clear strategy to make it a destination of choice for international students if it wants to boost its capacity for productivity and innovation, says McGill University principal Heather Munroe-Blum, who notes that Quebec is in serious competition with both emerging nations and other Canadian jurisdictions when it comes to recruiting talented, educated people. She says there is an unfortunate lack of recognition of the costs behind attracting and supporting students who come from outside of Quebec. Although these students pay higher tuition fees than their Quebec counterparts, the universities only retain the equivalent of in-province tuition; the difference is turned over to the province, which redistributes the money across the entire Quebec university system. Munroe-Blum is asking the province to include the quality of programs, research, and international recruitment to the agenda of the forthcoming PSE summit, stating that "Quebec is positioned to win the race for global talent if we move quickly, competitively and with confidence." McGill News

uOttawa celebrates new home for Faculty of Social Sciences

For the first time ever, the 10,000 students, 260 professors, and 100 staff at the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Social Sciences will be together under one roof at the downtown campus. On Friday, uOttawa officially opened its new 15-storey, 25,299-square-metre facility, which is connected to Vanier Hall by several walkways and brings together the faculty's 9 academic units and 6 research centres. The second floor is dedicated entirely to students with numerous study areas and meeting places, which will help to offer a rich and inspiring student experience -- one of the 4 over-arching goals in uOttawa's strategic plan. The construction of the facility and renovations to Vanier Hall required a $120-million investment. uOttawa News Release

Sauder adds video essay to application process

UBC's Sauder School of Business is piloting a video essay as part of the online application for the class of 2013. In contrast to uToronto's Rotman School of Management, whose new video component asks applicants getting-to-know-you type questions, Sauder has instituted an open-ended video essay. Applicants produce their own 60- to 90-second video and upload it to YouTube or Vimeo, with the response to the question "what motivates you, and why?" The video replaces one of 3 essays Sauder requires. The format is designed to "allow people to express themselves," says a Sauder official, noting that creativity is one component of the school's MBA curriculum revised this year. "To find and educate the leaders of tomorrow, we are looking for individuals who have a way of communicating professionally and clearly and are really trying to connect and engage with an audience." Globe and Mail

Record enrolment at Conestoga

Full-time PSE enrolments across Conestoga College's campuses now exceed 10,000 (10,389), up by 8% from 2011-12. First-year enrolments -- at 6,161 -- have risen by more than 9% over last year's totals. Conestoga's full-time enrolment growth from 2007 to 2012 is 61.1%, the highest in Ontario and more than twice the system average of 30.3%. The college's efforts to attract international students have resulted in a 74% increase in international enrolment and recruited students from 56 nations. Other major areas of growth this year include career-focused degree programs (up 15.8%) and graduate certificate programs (up 33.8%). Conestoga News

Queen's releases results of 2012 Undergraduate Exit Poll

In a survey of Queen's University's 2012 graduating class of undergraduate and professional students, 80% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that their experience at the university was excellent. 78% said their Queen's education was an excellent contributor to their learning and development. 84% of respondents said their instructors showed a positive attitude toward students, and 75% said they were satisfied that instructors took an active interest in their learning. More than 80% of students surveyed were satisfied with library facilities, athletic facilities, and athletic and recreation services. 45% of respondents reported no debt after graduation. 48% said they would be seeking work after graduation, and 39% would continue studying. Queen's News Centre | Exit Poll 2012 Results