Top Ten

November 7, 2012

uWaterloo's Dubai programs to return to main campus

The University of Waterloo's board of governors recently voted to support a recommendation to reconsolidate programs offered in Dubai on the main campus, starting next September. The move will see about 80 students currently completing their first year in Dubai come to Canada one year early to complete the balance of their undergraduate degree. Second-year students in Dubai will come to the main campus as scheduled next September to complete the final 2 years of their undergraduate studies. About 12 faculty members and 10 staff members are affected by the decision. The recommendation was based on an assessment of uWaterloo's Dubai initiative, which found that the program, in its current form and structure, does not meet the central goals and expectations of either uWaterloo or its partner institute in the UAE -- the Higher Colleges of Technology. The Dubai initiative, which started in 2009, "has been a valuable source of learning and will inform our future approach to international partnerships," says uWaterloo's AVP international. "We are in the process of exploring a more strategic approach, with a stronger focus on advanced studies, and research and innovation." Message from uWaterloo AVP international

ACAD spent thousands to access PC government, reports CBC

The CBC reports that the Alberta College of Art + Design spent tens of thousands of dollars to gain access to the provincial Progressive Conservative government in what seems to be an attempt to increase its funding. According to documents obtained by the CBC, ACAD paid PC insider and lawyer Joe Lougheed more than $5,000 per month for 2 years for unspecified "government relations." The institution also spent nearly $5,000 a month for 6 months of the services of PC lobbyist Hal Danchilla. In an interview with the CBC, ACAD president Daniel Doz denied the college hired Lougheed and Danchilla to buy access to the province in an attempt to boost its funding; however, he conceded the PC insiders provided expedited access. Former ACAD president Lance Carlson told the CBC that he hired Lougheed to help the institution raise money. Doz said ACAD ended its government relations contract with Lougheed and will not be renewing it, and Carlson said he did not renew the contract with Danchilla. Alberta's opposition parties are calling for investigations into whether unregistered lobbying and illegal political donations occurred. CBC | Calgary Herald

BC Supreme Court to review UBC prof's discrimination claim

The BC Supreme Court will hear arguments next week in a human-rights complaint by UBC education professor Jennifer Chan, who claims she was passed over for a research chair position due to her race. The court will decide whether a human rights tribunal hearing into Chan's claims should be allowed to proceed. The tribunal ordered a hearing in January, but UBC -- which has denied any wrongdoing -- requested a judicial review of the decision. A BC Human Rights Tribunal member said a full hearing into Chan's complaint is necessary to determine if discrimination took place, although he rejected her allegation of systemic discrimination and dismissed complaints against 4 individuals from UBC. Vancouver Sun

Student leaders at forefront of York U mental health campaign

York University's new mental health campaign positions student leaders as the first line of defence in getting people help. The initiative was sparked by a study administered by the institution, which found that 89% of Ontario university students surveyed felt overwhelmed at some point in the past year. The 2-week campaign kicked off last Wednesday with a conference attended by more than 200 students active in the York U community. The university's health educator says she hopes the conference taught the attendees how to raise awareness about mental health issues on campus and where to direct those in need. Throughout November, the conference attendees will use their new skill set to help other students talk about mental health issues. "Ultimately, the students fuel the campaign," says the health educator, who hopes to hold the conference again next year. Metro Toronto

Algonquin College proposes Ontario Institute for Digital Education

In its draft strategic mandate agreement, Algonquin College states that with support from the provincial government, it will create an Ontario Institute for Digital Education (OIDE). The non-profit institute would bring together all 45 public PSE institutions in Ontario, and be dedicated to helping institutions and individual educators improve the quality, scale, and breadth of online education in the province. "Leveraging Algonquin's experience and applied insights," the document states, "the OIDE will collaborate with learning organizations, government agencies and private-sector supporters to continually strengthen the foundation for digital education across the province -- while working to ensure online education becomes part of everyday life, accessible to and affordable by anyone, anywhere, at any time." Algonquin College SMA

HEC Montréal offering free online courses through EDUlib

On October 22, HEC Montréal launched EDUlib, a platform offering free online university courses, and a first in Quebec. On November 12, EDUlib will begin offering an introductory marketing course as its first course. 2 other courses in finance and economics will be added in winter and spring 2013, respectively. The selection of online courses will continue to grow to meet demand. To date, visitors to the EDUlib site have been from about 50 different nations, although the majority of them are Canadian. More than 1,000 individuals have already signed up for the marketing course. By November 5, more than 950 people had also enrolled in a course on understanding financial statements, and another 650 in a course on economic issues and politics. If participants pass an EDUlib course, they will receive a confirmation that they have successfully completed the course requirements; however, they will not receive any university credits or a diploma. HEC Montréal News | EDUlib (in French)

$1-million gift to uOttawa supports scholarships for Greek students

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) and the University of Ottawa announced yesterday the launch of the SNF Scholarships at the university with a $1-million endowment fund. The scholarships will be awarded to 2 Greek graduate students per year to support their studies at uOttawa. SNF's gift will provide funds for transportation to Canada, books, and living expenses for 2 master's level students who currently live in Greece and study at a Greek university. The donation will help uOttawa "take the next step in becoming a top destination for international students," says uOttawa president Allan Rock. The institution also announced that for the next 5 years, it will offer tuition waivers that will cover the differential fees of 4 international students with Greek citizenship. These waivers will allow them to pursue undergraduate or graduate studies at uOttawa at the cost of a Canadian citizen. 2 of the waivers will be offered for study in English, and the other 2 for study in French. uOttawa News Release

UTM, Sheridan partner with local school board on international student program

The University of Toronto Mississauga, Sheridan College, and the Peel District School Board will sign an agreement today to help international secondary school students studying in the school board integrate into the PSE system in the region. Under the agreement, the board has agreed to create the Peel Academy for International Students, to be housed at a Mississauga high school. The goal is to bring international students in local secondary schools under one roof to provide an optimal learning experience. In addition to participating in academic and extra-curricular life at the high school, the students will also enrol in an intensive English language program designed to help them obtain academic-level English proficiency at an accelerated pace. In addition to an advisory role during the academy's development, UTM and Sheridan will help students identify pathways to PSE, even before they reach Grade 12. UTM and Sheridan representatives will provide campus tours, meet individually with students to discuss their goals, and offer academic counselling and orientation support to transition from secondary school. UTM News

CNA-Qatar creates 10th anniversary logo

College of the North Atlantic's Qatar campus is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a series of events throughout the 2012-13 academic year, beginning with a launch event held in October where a new logo was revealed. "The CNA-Q 10th anniversary logo was inspired by the concept of a medal, a universal symbol of reward for the hard work and dedication of the visionaries, leaders, professors, staff, students, alumni, business partners and community members who make up the CNA-Q community," says CNA-Qatar president Ken MacLeod. "The Arabesque design motif and the use of the Qatari national colour speak of unity across cultures in pursuit of excellence." When it opened its doors in September 2002, CNA-Qatar had an initial enrolment of 300 students. Enrolment has now reached nearly 3,000, the staff complement has grown from the initial 50 to approximately 700, and programs have been expanded to include custom curriculum for the needs of the State of Qatar, such as banking and financing. CNA News Release

AUS reveals new strategic direction

The Atlantic University Sport (AUS) conference held a joint presentation with UPEI Tuesday morning to share its new vision for moving its student-athletes and the conference forward over the next 3 years: "Inspiring Leaders. Canada's ultimate student-athlete experience." Goals under the new strategic plan include delivering high-quality programs and events, boosting the profile of AUS student-athletes and university sport through new digital media initiatives, and building partnerships. "We feel that in order to lead the country as a conference, it’s no longer sufficient for us to simply facilitate athletics," says AUS's executive director. "We need to take steps to help our athletes transition from freshmen, to seniors, to community leaders." AUS unveiled Tuesday its BecAUS We Care campaign, a conference-wide initiative to recognize the community involvement and volunteer efforts of its student-athletes. Other components of the strategic plan involve efforts to enhance the fan experience, through live-streaming championship games online and the AUS Front Row mobile app. UPEI News