Top Ten

January 8, 2013

Internal investigation finds uWaterloo prof guilty of research misconduct

University of Waterloo announced yesterday an investigation was recently completed into allegations of plagiarism involving an engineering professor, who was found "guilty of misconduct in research owing to negligence in professorial duties." The professor has accepted the investigation's findings and apologized for his role. He will be suspended without pay for 4 months, starting April 1. While free to visit the uWaterloo campus, the professor will be relieved of all university duties and privileges, and will be unable to use university resources during his suspension. uWaterloo News Release | CTV

Ontario college sector outlines funding needs for 2013-14

In its pre-budget submission to the Ontario government, Colleges Ontario estimates the province's college system faces a net cost pressure of $57 million in 2013-14. The organization states the province must address this shortfall in operating funding, and ensure it honours a commitment of $32 million in funding for enhancements related to enrolment in 2013-14. The 2012 Ontario budget provided $20 million for instructional equipment for 2012-13, and Colleges Ontario recommends the province maintain the same level of funding for instructional equipment in 2013-14. New requests outlined in the submission include $3 million for technology-enabled learning and $61 million for infrastructure renewal. Pre-Budget Submission

Windsor agrees on $10-million payment schedule for uWindsor downtown campus

At its meeting Monday, the City of Windsor agreed to a timetable for a $10-million grant to support the University of Windsor's conversion of the Armouries, bus depot, and Chatham Street parkette to house art programs. The municipality will donate $500,000 on the formal closing of the transfer of the 3 city-owned properties; $3 million on May 31; $3 million on September 30; and $3.5 million on January 31, 2014. uWindsor president Alan Wildeman hopes the transformation of the properties will be completed by the fall 2014 semester. Up to 2,000 university students are eventually expected in downtown Windsor. uWindsor Daily News | Windsor Star

Student high-rises proposed for construction near Fanshawe, Western U

A London, Ont.-based developer is proposing the construction of a 15-storey, 126-unit student apartment building opposite the front entrance to Fanshawe College. An off-campus housing mediator for both Fanshawe and Western University predicts the venture will help Fanshawe with student recruitment, and the college is hoping for similar apartments on the former London Psychiatric Hospital lands. Meanwhile, an Ancaster-based firm is proposing a fully-furnished, 19-storey student apartment building for construction just steps from the entrance to Western U. The project is being welcomed by the university, the mediator says. Proposals for both projects were discussed at a city council planning committee meeting yesterday. London Free Press (Jan. 7) | London Free Press (Jan. 4)

University entrance awards have limited use in promoting success, study finds

Using data from 2 Ontario universities to analyze the relationship between entrance scholarships and bursaries and success in university, new research from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario observes that such awards have very modest effects on grades and generally no association with degree completion. The study found that even with awards that guaranteed additional funds in future years for students who maintained strong marks, there was no apparent impact on academic performance beyond a minor effect on first-year marks. The research notes that was as true for students from low-income areas as those from more advantaged neighbourhoods. Research Summary | Full Report

Dal's Starting Lean course helps students transform business ideas into opportunities

Last semester, Dalhousie University's Faculty of Management launched a new course called Starting Lean, open to students who had a business idea they wanted to develop. The course uses the Lean LaunchPad model developed by a University of California Berkeley professor, who says the goal is to teach students "the art, science and strategy of entrepreneurship that will forever change how they view early stage ventures." In the Dal course, students were divided into teams of 4 and attended their lectures online (hosted on the Udacity platform) prior to class, conducted market validation, and then applied what they learned through weekly in-class presentations based on developing their business models canvas. Starting Lean is already paying off for many of the students. As of last month, 2 of the teams have been accepted into the 5-month Propel ICT Launch 36 accelerator program, and 3 have received offers of development money and/or angel investment. Dal News | Starting Lean | Udacity Blog

The Mount Allison Theory

Throughout December, Mount Allison ran an awareness campaign in 7 markets across Canada that involved a poster display in movie theatres. The poster featured a group of Mount Allison students depicted as characters from the TV series "The Big Bang Theory." The campaign was designed to appeal to students who fit Mount Allison's profile -- smart, irreverent, and independent. "Discover a university where equal parts smart, lively, and curious have the potential to unlock secrets and ideas through your inner artist, scientist, economist, musician, playwright, and business titan," read the poster. The poster featured a QR code and URL that led to a custom landing page that showcases the Mount Allison experience. The university launched a social media campaign to promote the poster. Individuals who came across the poster were encouraged to tweet a photo using the hashtag #MtATheory. This campaign built on one that ran last year that drew on Mount Allison's likeness to Hogwarts, the boarding school of magic in the Harry Potter series. | Mount Allison Facebook page

Lower tuition for high-demand programs incomplete way to address labour market needs

Pointing to a proposal in Florida to charge more for majors without an immediate job payoff, Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance research director Chris Martin wonders in the Globe and Mail: "is making tuition in high-demand programs more affordable the correct medicine for an ailing economy?" He believes it is, although it might be too simple a solution. Martin argues that if specific types of PSE are key to success in the job market, it would be regressive to make these the most expensive options. He says the higher costs of graduate and professional programs in Canada, along with a lack of financial aid, make these programs less accessible than others, which can affect student choice; however, affordability is only one aspect impacting student choice, along with geographic and social factors and a perceived chance of success in a program based on skills gained in grade school. "With such an array of possible reasons why students are not pursuing labour-market compatible degrees, more action than simply making tuition lower for these programs is required," Martin writes. "Creative solutions like expanding experiential opportunities, making degree programs more interdisciplinary, improving pedagogy in mathematics and science at the elementary and secondary school levels are also necessary." Globe and Mail

New website offers international students guide to learning, living in BC

The BC government has launched a refreshed LearnLiveBC website that provides international students with a comprehensive, easy-to-navigate interactive guide to learning and living in the province. Through the site, foreign students can access information about BC's PSE and K-12 system; use toolkits to find a BC school or institution, apply to a school or institution, and make travel arrangements; and find information about living and working in BC while attending an educational institution and options for transitioning to permanent residency following graduation. By early this year, LearnLiveBC will be available in multiple languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Portuguese. BC News Release | LearnLiveBC

Many US institutions undecided on MOOCs, online enrolment survey finds

According to a new US survey of more than 2,500 PSE institutions, more than 6.7 million students took at least one online course during the fall 2011 term, an increase of 9.3% from the previous fall. The proportion of students taking at least one course online reached an all-time high of 32%. The survey asked respondents about massive open online courses (MOOCs). More than 55% said they were undecided about their plans for offering MOOCs. Nearly one-third of institutions reported that they had no plans to offer such courses. Just 2.6% of respondents currently have a MOOC, and another 9.4% said they were in the planning stages of offering one. Sloan Consortium News Release | The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access) | Download Report