Top Ten

October 31, 2012

Financial realities drive some universities to review all programs

In light of ongoing fiscal constraints and demands for public accountability, some Canadian universities are conducting a broad review of their programs and services to determine whether any should be cut or revised. The University of Guelph's Program Prioritization Process is designed to help the university address a projected $34-million funding gap over the next 4 years. UoGuelph's provost says the institution intends to make program review a part of its regular planning cycle as it aims to adopt a more evidence-based process for decision making. Earlier this year, Wilfrid Laurier University launched an Integrated Planning and Resource Management Initiative and will use the results to help identify which programs should be enhanced, maintained, transformed, or phased out. After completing a similar review, the University of Regina decided to retire its separate BFA degrees in acting, theatre, theatre studies, and design and stage management, and to roll them into a new BA program. Following a review of Vancouver Island University's 130 academic programs, 4 were recommended for elimination, 3 were suspended, 20 are to be enhanced, and 2 expanded. "The budget was one factor for sure" in conducting the review, says VIU's provost, but the main driver was program quality. University Affairs

uToronto nursing faculty launches $25-million fundraising initiative

The University of Toronto's Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing is the latest faculty to unveil its part in the institution's $2-billion Boundless Campaign. Bloomberg Nursing's $25-million fundraising initiative aims to provide even more support for its students, attract the next generation of "rising star" professors and researchers, and continue to offer programs committed to the student experience. The campaign will also boost development opportunities for students through global initiatives and advance the faculty's international leadership in nursing education and research. The first phase of the campaign garnered $15 million in donor support. As Bloomberg Nursing enters the second phase, the faculty aims to raise an additional $10 million, half of which will be used to enhance the quality of the student experience. uToronto News

Canadian education brand lacking in details, report finds

Canada's education brand -- "Imagine Education au/in Canada" -- is failing to attract international students, according a report prepared for the federal government. Prospective students, parents, and university educational advisors in Brazil, China, and India were surveyed to gather feedback about the brand, which launched in 2008. The report found that, aside from Brazilian participants interested in language studies and one Brazilian education advisor, "Canada is not a top-of-mind destination for foreign study for participants of any of the three countries." Participants were unaware of Canada's "world-class educational establishments," aside from a few mentions of uToronto. The report says "Imagine" still lacks a specific national brand. Participants said the brand lacked details about university rankings, top programs, famous or successful individuals with Canadian credentials, and Canadian institutions in scientific journals or the media. The report suggests several improvements to promoting Canada as a study destination: increased advertising for Canada's advanced scientific research; adding English and French support for foreign students who wish to learn either language; using successful Canadian personalities in marketing; and pursuing a more aggressive approach to recruitment through social media. iPolitics

MUN Engineering aims to double its size by 2020

To meet demand for more engineers in Newfoundland and Labrador, Memorial University's Faculty of Engineering and Applied Sciences plans to double its size by 2020. The faculty plans to add about 50 new faculty positions, more than 300 graduate students, and up to 500 undergraduate students. The faculty also plans to significantly boost its research capacity, particularly in its strategic areas of strength, such as energy and ocean technology. The $1.7-million investment in the 2012 provincial budget will allow for the development of the expansion plan, as well as increasing international recruitment and co-op placement services. Right now the faculty is at full capacity in its current building, so this expansion will require more space, says the faculty's dean. MUN News

Expanding Canadian Food and Wine Institute a priority for Niagara College

The priority objectives outlined in Niagara College's draft strategic mandate agreement build on the institution's areas of expertise and unique regional economy. One of these objectives is to expand the program and applied research base of Niagara College's Canadian Food and Wine Institute (CFWI) to position the institution as the premier college in Canada for the culinary, food, and fermentation sciences. Niagara College aims to expand the CFWI through new programs and increased enrolment. New programs planned for the next 3 years include Baking and Pastry Arts, Sommelier (grad certificate), and Distilling and Fermentation Sciences Diploma. In the planning stages are a degree in Food Technology to extend the college's existing diploma stream and a Distilling and Fermentation Sciences degree in partnership with other academic institutions. To build on cross-Canada partnerships, a Canadian Culinary diploma program is in the works. Niagara College says the program cluster will increase its student base in this key program area by 50% from about 1,000 to 1,500 students. Inside NC | Niagara College SMA

Academica survey gauges employers' perspective on work-integrated learning

The latest in a multi-phase study conducted by Academica Group and commissioned by HEQCO finds that participation in post-secondary work-integrated learning (WIL) programs such as co-ops and work placements not only helps students transition into the workforce, but also earns them more money when they start work. 40% of Ontario employers surveyed reported hiring PSE graduates who were entering the workforce directly from college or university since 2010. Of those, more than 60% hired at least one graduate who was a WIL participant – overwhelmingly a graduate who had obtained WIL experience at the employer's own workplace. More than a third of employers offered WIL programs for PSE students and cited "developing the workforce skills needed for their industry or profession" and "pre-screening potential new hires" as their top reasons. To meet the growing demand for WIL, the findings suggest that PSE institutions could boost employer involvement by providing more information about the full range of WIL options available and facilitating processes for employers to recruit and select WIL students. Research Summary | Full Report

BC needs to re-commit to SFU Surrey expansion MOU, official says

In a presentation to BC's all-party finance committee last month, the executive director of Simon Fraser University's Surrey campus reiterated a request that would eventually see the campus double its capacity from the current 2,500 full-time students to 5,000. For now, however, the institution would like the provincial government to approve the first phase of the project so the 800-student expansion can start in 2013. The request stems from an MOU the province and SFU signed in 2006 stating that the Surrey campus's physical space and enrolment would have to double by 2015 to meet regional demand for PSE seats. Those expansions have yet to be realized. "We need government to re-commit to the MOU," the SFU Surrey official said. She said there hasn't been any new funding for the institution for 3 years, despite rapid population growth in the area, more secondary school graduates seeking PSE, and a forecasted skills shortage that have fuelled demand even more. Cloverdale Reporter

uCalgary veterinary school awarded accreditation

The American Veterinary Medical Association and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association have granted the University of Calgary's Faculty of Veterinary Medicine full accreditation for the next 7 years. New veterinary schools are first granted provisional accreditation, which allows them to launch their programs. Under these rules, uCalgary's veterinary medicine program received provisional accreditation in September 2008. When a veterinary school graduates its first class, as uCalgary did this past May, it becomes eligible for full accreditation. Not all veterinary programs eligible for full accreditation get it on their first application; in uCalgary's case, its veterinary medicine program earned the highest level of approval during its first opportunity to apply for full accreditation. UToday

New Ontario law school curriculum modules to address violence against women

On Monday, the Law Commission of Ontario launched at Queen's University Faculty of Law a series of Ontario-wide law school curriculum modules on violence against women. The modules will serve as a roadmap to help professors set the context for violence against women within every law course and examine key issues in courses such as criminal law, ethics, family law, and property law. The modules may be incorporated into existing courses, or applied as stand-alone seminars or intensive programs at a law school's discretion. The modules will be available to every Ontario law school and will include recommendations on everything from recognizing at-risk clients to learning to inspire trust. LCO News | Queen's News Centre

Report calls on US colleges to help prepare students for PSE

If US colleges want more of their students to be prepared for the academic challenges of PSE, then those institutions have to play a more direct role in elementary and high school education, recommends a new report from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). The report calls on AASCU member institutions to start preparing students as early as preschool, helping children to acquire the building blocks of a successful academic career. And to have the greatest impact, the report states, institutions should focus on areas with high concentrations of poverty, where children are at the greatest disadvantage in academic preparation. The report recommends 4 specific approaches that every AASCU member campus should be involved in: improving teaching-preparing programs, increasing the availability of dual-credit classes; aligning elementary and high school curricula with college expectations; and providing secondary schools with reports on how their graduates are performing in college. AASCU News Release | The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access) | Executive Summary