Top Ten

April 24, 2013

uLethbridge faces $11.8-million shortfall

The University of Lethbridge announced Tuesday it is reviewing services, raising student fees, and mulling over other belt-tightening measures as it aims to address an $11.8-million shortfall. A budget update from the university reports that many departments will be put under the microscope, including communications and marketing, information technology, recruitment, and finance. uLethbridge will also explore faculty work assignments, faculty program costs, collaborations with other institutions, and opportunities for new revenue generation. Other measures being explored include slashing the number of campus computer labs and the library acquisition budget. 34 faculty members have signed up for uLethbridge's voluntary retirement plan, which was proposed before the reduction in planned spending. Those employees will not be replaced, according to the budget update. Salaries for the president and the 4 VPs of the institution will be frozen at the 2012-13 levels. uLethbridge Budget Update | Calgary Herald | Global News

NS legislation aims to protect international students in language schools

The Nova Scotia government is taking steps to ensure international students enrolled in language schools in the province receive a high-quality education. Labour and Advanced Education Minister Frank Corbett introduced Tuesday the Language Schools Act, which will require language schools to offer a certain quality of education and protect the students' investment should a school close. The government works with its partners to ensure all PSE institutions are delivering quality programs. The legislation extends that quality assurance to include language schools. Nova Scotia is the first province to unveil legislation that will regulate language schools. NS News Release

Some provinces see drop in teacher ed program applications

The number of applicants to teacher education programs in Ontario has sunk to its lowest level in 15 years, as grim job prospects continue to discourage new entrants to the field. The trend has some education faculties reducing the number of contract faculty they employ, revising courses, and launching new niche programs to attract students. Some deans in Ontario have report receiving a directive from the government stating its intention to start discussions about ways to address the falling demand for teacher education. Brock University's education dean cautions against government attempts "to control market demand" for teacher education positions, arguing the effort could backfire and result in future shortages. Education faculties in other provinces are also feeling the pressure. A 2012 report by Nova Scotia's education department forecast that the number of teachers in the province would decline by nearly 13% by 2017-18 from 2008-09. Aside from few isolated shortages in some rural and subject areas, "there is recognition that efforts must be made to prevent a continued general oversupply" of teachers, said the report. In BC, the number of applicants has dropped in recent years, although UBC recently reported signs of a rebound, says the executive director of the Association of BC Deans of Education. The oversupply of teachers in many parts of Canada is largely the result of a decline in the proportion of school-aged children. At the same time, fewer teachers are retiring. The situation is most pronounced in Ontario, says a researcher with the Ontario College of Teachers. A report by this body says job opportunities began to decline in Ontario in 2003 and have continued to do so since then. University Affairs

Laurentian seeks more graduate student spaces

With a few tweaks in provincial policy, Laurentian University could take in hundreds more graduate students, says president Dominic Giroux. That would not only be good for the university, but also for Sudbury and northern Ontario companies eager to attract new, top-level talent. For that to happen, Giroux says the Ontario government would have to fix what he sees as a problem in how graduate student spaces are distributed to universities. Laurentian has filled all of its 378 spaces funded by the province for this academic year. It could -- and wants -- to take more, even as nearly 2,000 spaces for master's and PhD students in Ontario went unfilled this academic year. Laurentian has drafted an expansion plan that has been submitted to the province, outlining which programs it would like to expand; however, until the province funds more spaces, those programs cannot be launched. Sudbury Star

BC, Yukon institutions launch Applied Research and Innovation Network

11 BC colleges, the Justice Institute of British Columbia, and Yukon College announced Tuesday the formal creation of the BC Applied Research and Innovation Network (BCARIN). The network's mandate is to connect member institutions -- their students and faculty -- with business and community organizations who seek to solve "real world" problems that demand skill in research and innovation. "The BCARIN initiative will grow applied research capacity within the Colleges and fellow institutions. It will produce greater direct engagement of students and faculty with their communities, and promote an extensive sharing of knowledge and resources," say the science deans at Douglas and Langara Colleges, who co-chair the BCARIN executive board. "Importantly, the network aims to enhance business productivity and improve the outcomes sought by community organizations." Yukon College News Release | BCARIN

Canadore, ClevrU partner to deliver online learning in Brazil, China

Canadore College and Waterloo-based tech firm ClevrU announced Tuesday a new collaboration to deliver advanced online learning opportunities in Brazil and China. Brazilian and Chinese students will be able to access video-audio, presentation slides, and various other learning resources for Canadore's Mobile Application Development program as early as this September, with additional courses to follow. "By partnering with ClevrU, we can use a platform that can deal with different languages, mobile devices and operating systems that will maintain our program integrity and make it available globally," says Canadore president George Burton. Canadore News Release

Gender gap in Ontario university participation widening, study finds

University participation in Ontario has risen in the past decade, and the gender gap is also increasing, as women continue to enrol in university at much higher rates than men, observes a new study published by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. The study's authors say that's a profound change from earlier generations, and the consequences will only be played out in the years to come. The study uses Statistics Canada's tax-based Longitudinal Administrative Databank to explore Ontario's overall PSE participation rates from 1999 through 2008 and how access is related to individual and family characteristics. The participation gap between men and women continued to grow over the period studied. By 2008, nearly 60% of Ontario females had attended university by age 21, compared to just 38.4% of males. Previous HEQCO research notes that despite the overall advances women have made in PSE attainment, they have not translated into full equality in occupational choices and salaries, as males have higher full-time employment levels and higher earnings in some occupations. Research Summary | Full Report

CNA, MUN collaborate on inclusive campus initiative

Together with College of the North Atlantic, Memorial University is working on an initiative that will ensure an accessible and inclusive environment for students who have learning needs associated with disability(s) and/or mental health issues. The 2 institutions are participating in a shared, provincial conversation to examine existing programs and services on PSE campuses across Newfoundland and Labrador. Representatives from CNA and MUN will complete a report for MUN's AVP academic and CNA's president that will outline recommendations and a road map toward healthy PSE campuses across the province. The report is expected to be submitted by this fall. MUN News

19 Canadian universities make Leiden Ranking

Leiden University's Centre for Science and Technology Studies has released its latest ranking, which measures the scientific performance of 500 major universities worldwide. The 2013 ranking is based on Web of Science indexed publications from the period 2008-11. 19 Canadian universities made the ranking this year. They are uToronto (88), UBC (99), McGill (131), uOttawa (189), UVic (202), McMaster (210), uWaterloo (231), SFU (232), uMontréal (245), York U (255), uLaval (278), uAlberta (284), uCalgary (292), Queen's (293), UoGuelph (301), Dal (303), uManitoba (312), Western U (329), and uSask (425). CWTS Leiden Ranking 2013

Foreign students increasingly wonder if it is safe to study in US

Few experts believe that last week's Boston Marathon bombings, in which Chinese graduate student Lingzi Lu was killed, will cause Chinese and other international students now studying in the US to pack their bags, nor do they anticipate the attacks will lead future international enrolments to plummet. But Lu's death and the serious injuries to a fellow Chinese student are focusing new attention on what has become a growing concern. When the British Council polled students worldwide last year about the most important factors in choosing a country in which to study, safety ranked among the top 5, after barely registering in the same survey conducted 5 years earlier. Even prior to the Boston bombings, a series of high-profile mass shootings raised concerns abroad about safety in the US. Recently returned from a trip to China, the head of Oregon State University's academic and English-language centre says he was surprised by the regularity with which Chinese parents asked him about gun violence. An independent college counsellor in Beijing doubts few of her students would choose not to study in the US, not after preparing to do so for many months. But she wonders whether the Boston attacks could affect their behaviour in more subtle ways. For example, one student told the counsellor that her grandmother had warned her to avoid large crowds, such as at rallies or sporting events, when she goes to the US. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)