Top Ten

January 29, 2013

Several McGill buildings closed, classes cancelled due to flooding

A water main break sent a torrent of water gushing through downtown Montreal Monday, leaving parts of McGill University submerged. At least one student was swept away as she tried to cross a flooded street. A video posted on YouTube shows her struggling against the current before she is knocked off her feet and carried down the street and out of view. Fortunately, the student was "able to get out of the water down the street and was not hurt," according to the video description. McGill asked people to avoid the upper part of its downtown campus because of the flooding. All evening classes at the university were cancelled Monday, as McGill staff warned that several of the institution's buildings were flooded. McGill's Wilson Hall and Birks Building were closed and classes in those facilities were cancelled Tuesday, while classes in the Wong Building have been relocated for the rest of the week. McGill Reporter | Canadian Press | CTV

Postscript: Feb 7, 2013

The damage from last week's flood at McGill University is now being assessed at several million dollars -- a figure that could increase. Initially, McGill officials said there were hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage from the flood, which is still prompting class relocations for the Wong and Birks buildings. Principal Heather Munroe-Blum says it is still unknown who is responsible for the cost, and whether the City of Montreal will help out. She says the Quebec government lacked sensitivity when McGill received 2 calls from senior government officials during the flood -- one asking whether any research or labs had been affected, and the other asking university administrators where they were with $19 million in budget cuts that were imposed in December. Montreal Gazette

Skills shortage to hit BC in 2016, warns RUCBC report

According to a new report from the Research Universities' Council of BC (RUCBC), a skills shortage will strike BC in 2016 and continue to grow, unless immediate action is taken to improve access to all types of higher education. The report observes that in 2016, the number of jobs requiring university, college, or trades credentials will exceed the supply of BC graduates -- a skills shortage that will expand through to 2020. The report states that in 2020, about 18,800 jobs could go unfilled because too few BC residents have the necessary training -- 8,400 requiring a university degree, 8,100 a college credential, and 2,300 trades training. RUCBC put forward in a previous report 3 specific measures to fill the growing skills gap. Among them is a space for every qualified BC student, with 11,000 new student spaces for university, college, and trades training over the next 4 years. SFU/UBC News Release | Vancouver Sun | Globe and Mail | BC Labour Market Profile

Quebec higher education minister dismisses call for free tuition

A month before Quebec's PSE summit gets underway, Pierre Duchesne, the province's higher education minister, is rejecting calls for free university tuition. He says several good ideas emerged during the dozen meetings with students and university officials organized by the Parti Québécois since its election in September. However, he says free tuition is not an option for the PQ government, which is considering instead indexing tuition fees to the cost of living. Duchesne pledged to come up with concrete solutions for tuition fee reform. Féderation étudiante universitaire du Québec president Martine Desjardins says several individuals who were invited to the summit disagree with the PQ's position. "The consensus is clearly not around indexation," she says. "Even at the summit table with all of the people involved in the university milieu, we don't hear the word 'indexation' except when it comes from the government." CBC

Western U to open English Language Centre for international students

Later this year Western University will open its English Language Centre, providing academically qualified international students with more opportunity to gain English proficiency and cultural competence for success. Facilitated by Western U's education faculty, the program will send more than 150 students to programs on the university's main campus and its affiliated colleges over the next 3 years. Western U says the centre is integral to its international strategy and will develop strong relationships, networks, and contacts within international markets. Western U News Release

A behind-the-scenes look at Rotman admissions

A Poets and Quants article provides insight into how the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management evaluates MBA applicants. The article focuses on a recent meeting of Rotman's admissions committee, where members rendered decisions on 7 applicants from around the world. During the meeting the committee discussed applicants' GMAT scores, their performance in in-person interviews and a video Q&A, and references before making admissions decisions. Poets and Quants

International applications to Queen's up 15%

According to preliminary data, applications from international students to Queen's University are up by 15% compared to this time last year. Undergraduate applications from Ontario students have increased by 3%, and the number of Ontario applicants who selected Queen's as their first choice rose by 7%. The number of applications from non-Ontario students has jumped by 8%. Queen's also reports a 4% increase in applications from self-identified Aboriginal students. Queen's News Centre

6 Canadian business schools listed in FT global MBA rankings

The University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management placed 46th in the latest rankings of global MBA programs by the Financial Times of London, taking the top spot among Canadian business schools. The other Canadian schools among the top 100 are York U's Schulich School of Business (52), UBC's Sauder School of Business (57), McGill's Desautels Faculty of Management (76), Western U's Richard Ivey School of Business (78), and the Alberta School of Business at uAlberta (100). Data for this year's rankings were collected using 2 online surveys, one for the schools and one for alumni who completed full-time MBAs in 2009. Global MBA Ranking 2013

GPRC develops mobile app for students, faculty

Grande Prairie Regional College has made available a free mobile application for students and faculty members for use on iPhones, Windows Phones, and Android-operated phones. Contact information, important dates, event listings, theatre events, and news releases are available to all app users. Quick links direct the user to GPRC's website, the Students' Association website, and the myGPRC portal for students and faculty. GPRC students who download the app will find a few more buttons, with courses, grades, and class schedule among their available links. Faculty have links to their teaching schedules, information such as number of students registered in any given class, and access to an employee directory. GPRC News | GPRC App

Florida College system accepts governor's $10,000 degree challenge

All 23 institutions in the Florida College system that offer bachelor's degrees have accepted the state governor's challenge to create degree programs whose cost is no more than $10,000 in tuition over 4 years. Issued in November, the challenge came after a number of Texas-based institutions embarked on a similar initiative to create low-cost degrees. Recently, a California legislator proposed a similar plan in that state. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

Many prospective students value college spending on amenities, US study finds

New research released by the US-based National Bureau of Economic Research suggests 4-year colleges that want to attract the vast majority of prospective students (those who cannot aspire to enrol in highly competitive schools) may be making wise investments by spending on "consumption" preferences, even if that essentially defines PSE as (in the study's title) "college as country club." The research is based on an analysis of college spending patterns and the choices of stated preferences of students who graduated from secondary school in the classes of 1992 and 2004. All students seem to value spending on "amenities" (student services and activities, athletics, and facilities) and to make enrolment decisions partly based on such spending. Spending on academics is calculated in the research to mean instruction and academic support, including all costs related to courses, libraries, museums, and other facilities associated with the educational mission. It turns out that only those students who are able to consider and attend highly competitive schools value academic spending enough that it would influence their decisions. The study's authors conclude that the vast majority of 4-year institutions will not see application growth by investing in academics. Inside Higher Ed | Paper