Top Ten

October 30, 2012

Saskatchewan degree-granting legislation now in effect

Legislation allowing the Saskatchewan government to extend degree-granting authority to PSE schools other than the Universities of Regina and Saskatchewan was proclaimed Monday. The Degree Authorization Act applies to all educational institutions involved in offering part or all of a degree program and deemed to have a physical presence in the province, and to any degree program that is specifically targeted to Saskatchewan students through advertising. The Act authorizes the new Saskatchewan Higher Education Quality Assurance Board (SHEQAB) to oversee a quality assurance review of institutions pursuing degree-granting status in the province. SHEQAB will evaluate new degree programs proposed by both in-province institutions (other than uRegina and uSask) and out-of-province institutions. Saskatchewan News Release | Degree-Granting in Saskatchewan | SHEQAB Website

UBC TAs, VCC support staff launch job action

UBC teaching assistants, tutors, markers, and language assistants began picketing on campus Monday afternoon after their 72-hour strike notice took effect. The president of CUPE 2278 says the picket line is only the start and that more labour action will follow until they have a deal. She says the local is still waiting to make progress on 2 key issues: a tuition waiver and job security for student employees in their final years as graduate students. Meanwhile, Vancouver Community College support staff represented by CUPE 4627 initiated strike action yesterday morning. There were no classes, information sessions, or campus services at VCC yesterday. College administration is working with VCC's faculty association to identify ways to help students make up any lost work or other activity affected by the strike. CUPE BC News | VCC News | Canadian Press

uAlberta, Udacity sign research partnership MOU

University of Alberta education and machine learning researchers are partnering with online-education provider Udacity to further develop and refine methods for delivering academic courses online. uAlberta and Udacity signed an MOU Monday that initiates a research partnership for the joint development of systems for delivery, measurement, and assessment of online learning courses and experiences. The partnership also calls for a pilot project to develop a few courses from uAlberta's science faculty to be offered through the Udacity platform, with the expectation that at least one course can be taken for uAlberta credit. The new partnership follows Udacity's announcement last week of a $15-million (US) venture-capital round led by the California-based firm Andreessen Horowitz. The new infusion brings Udacity's total raised to date to $21.5 million (US). uAlberta News | Wall Street Journal

BVC launches School of Business

On October 25, Bow Valley College celebrated the launch of its new School of Business. "The School of Business is an acknowledgement of our rapid growth and strong reputation in Calgary and beyond," says BVC president Sharon Carry. "It's also a commitment to our community stakeholders and industry representatives." At the launch, the institution also celebrated the accreditation of its Business Administration Diploma program by the Canadian Institute of Management (CIM). After gaining experience in the workplace, graduates of BVC's program will be able to apply for CIM and Professional Manager (P.Mgr) designations. BVC News Release

uOttawa considering satellite campus for southwestern Ontario

In its proposed strategic mandate agreement, the University of Ottawa states that "the capacity of our institution to educate students and conduct research in two languages is a competitive strength in an increasingly global marketplace not only for uOttawa, but also for the province of Ontario." With this in mind, the university is exploring the possibility of establishing a satellite campus in southwestern Ontario, where growth in the Francophone community is strongest and French-language PSE is unavailable. Under another objective -- "highly qualified people and new knowledge translation to secure Ontario's future" -- uOttawa aims to increase by 2020 the size of its graduate cohort from the present 14% to 18%. Within that number, uOttawa plans to grow its PhD student cohort by 50%; double the number of graduate students in its areas of differentiated strengths (health, science and engineering, and public policy); and launch Canada's first School of Government. uOttawa News Release | uOttawa SMA

Laurentian social sciences and humanities profs raise concerns over shrinking teaching resources

Some Laurentian University social sciences and humanities faculty members say their departments are not getting the resources they need. Most of the concern is over shrinking department sizes -- something professors say is making it more difficult for them to do their job. They partially blame Laurentian's newly implemented strategic plan, which indicates "signature programs" for the institution, including mining engineering, sports administration, and rural health. Laurentian's chief of staff says the institution cannot replace all faculty in programs, especially in those departments that face an enrolment decline. CBC

Youth unemployment in Canada not so dire, but underemployment a big issue, report finds

A new Certified General Accountants Association of Canada report argues that youth unemployment in Canada is not as dire as commonly perceived. The highest level of youth unemployment during the recent economic downturn was noticeably below levels experienced during previous recessions; youth are finding work quicker than any other age group; and long-term unemployment is not common among youth, the report notes. Despite these positive trends, the report says, the big issue is underemployment. The report notes that approximately 24.6% of all youth with a university degree who were continuously employed full-time in 2005 were effectively underutilized as they were working in occupations where job requirements did not call for PSE. CGA-Canada suggests that "greater use of school-employer partnerships may help to improve the match between employers' needs and workers' skills as well as to help youth make informed decisions about their field of study." CGA-Canada News Release | Report Highlights | Full Report

$6.5 million earmarked for NAC residence, daycare

Nunavut Arctic College's Kitikmeot campus in Cambridge Bay is slated for a new facility -- a $6.5 million residence and daycare centre. The minister responsible for the college says the new building will support the development of a future mine training centre. The minister says the building "also provides us with great opportunities to build relationships with the Canadian High Arctic Research Station," which is due to open in 2017. The station's development team has suggested the new residence could double as short-term housing for visiting researchers at the station, but MLAs have said they had been assured that residences would be allocated to students. MLAs have wondered why the residence and the centre were not considered as 2 separate projects. A NAC official says if or when the mine training centre is built, it would share the NAC campus. Nunatsiaq News

Full-time graduate, international enrolment figures rise at UPEI

Overall enrolment numbers for the University of Prince Edward Island show a slight drop by 0.9%, due to a decline in part-time student registrations, but show increases of 1.1% in full-time, 15.1% in full-time graduate, and 3.7% in full-time international student registrations. There are 4,555 full- and part-time students at UPEI this year, down from 4,596 last year. There are 299 graduate students and 556 international students from 62 nations registered at the university for 2012-13. Among full-time, first-year students, registrations from other provinces rose by 26%, and international registrations grew by 19%. Overall full-time, first-year student registrations were up by 1%. UPEI News Release

US survey explores students' perspective on campus response to mental health problems

According to a new student survey from the US-based National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), more than 62% of respondents who withdrew from college with mental health issues did so for that reason. That figure is "kind of a sign that we're not doing a very good job for some students," says a NAMI official. Most of the students who withdrew due to mental health problems suffered from depression, bipolar disorder, or PTSD. 45% of them did not receive academic accommodation, though it is not clear whether they asked, and half did not take advantage of mental health services and support -- in some instances, because they were unaware of such services. 38% of all respondents, regardless of whether they withdrew, said they did not know how to access accommodations. The biggest thing PSE institutions can to do raise awareness about mental health is to train professors and staff on the issues, students said. Respondents said the most critical services and supports for success are a walk-in health centre, individual counselling, crisis services, and a 24-hour hotline. Inside Higher Ed