Top Ten

June 19, 2013

MHC makes cuts to balance budget

Medicine Hat College has managed to balance its budget for the 2013-14 school year, but not without some cuts. Reductions to the provincial budget led to the need to cut or reduce several programs, including the cancellation of the Canadian Acculturation program, reduced intake to the nursing program, and the cancellation of Fall Homecoming events. MHC had a 25% increase in trades enrolment, leading to increased grant funding and the hiring of new teachers in that area. Overall, the college is reducing 6.36 full-time positions, and will look for alternative ways to increase revenue in the next few years. MHC president Ralph Weeks said they will have to determine if these cuts are “sustainable” for the future, as the “challenges will intensify obviously for the institution in year 2 and year 3.” Medicine Hat News

More Canadian universities seeking US accreditation

Canadian universities are increasingly seeking US accreditation to bolster their reputations at home and abroad. Capilano University was accredited this year by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) in Washington State, one of 6 major regional agencies in the US that evaluates PSE educational quality. Thompson Rivers University recently announced that it too would seek accreditation from the NWCCU, and plans to submit its application in September. Simon Fraser University applied for accreditation from the NWCCU in 2009 as a condition for joining the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Athabasca University was approved by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education in 2006. University Affairs

uWindsor unveils new master plan

The University of Windsor’s board of governors has approved a master plan for the next 50 years to make the university more competitive. The plan, which marks uWindsor’s 50th anniversary, includes an $8-million welcome centre for students and a proposal for a landscaped pedestrian bridge across railway tracks that run through the campus. uWindsor hired +VG Architects, the Ventin Group Ltd., to conduct consultations with the administration, faculty members, students, and the board of governors to develop the new plan. Other proposals that came out of these consultations include new pedestrian pathways, enhanced lighting, cultural displays and gathering places with more seating. CBC

Canada launches Open Data Portal

The Canadian government this week launched its Open Data Portal,, which provides easier access to government data and information. A key feature of the site is the new Open Government Licence, which offers unrestricted re-use of government data and information, and will be adopted by Ontario, Alberta and BC so that information on those provinces can be combined with national data. "Data is a key strategic tool companies are now using to get ahead and succeed. The launch of this site opens the doors for innovative and creative thinkers to come up with all kinds of user-friendly applications," says entrepreneur Robert Herjavec. Canada News Release

Canada needs national education and training policy, Financial Post

There are many benefits to a national strategy that would deal with education and training to fill labour gaps and direct youth and students towards education pathways, and lead to meaningful, economically-relevant employment for more people, according to the Financial Post’s Dan Ovsey. The topic of a national education and training strategy has been prevalent in the news, especially since the announcement of the Canada Job Grant program, which has many provinces threatening to refuse participation. Ovsey recognizes that currently, the “focus is on how the province benefits, not the nation. Yet, with economic competitiveness becoming increasingly international in nature, Canada must compete at a national level, not a regional one.” Financial Post

University enrolment growth and the future of PSE

The University of Guelph’s dean of the College of Management and Economics, Julia Christensen Hughes, discusses the state of our universities today, focusing on student enrolment growth and the ways in which institutions can prepare for the years to come, in the Globe and Mail. Hughes notes that the ratio of students to professors on campuses has dramatically increased, “from an average of 12 to one in the late 1970s ... to over 22 to one today (25 to one in Ontario).” This, combined with the challenges graduates face to secure employment, and current declines in funding, will continue to confront PSE institutions, unless they find innovative ways of teaching and assessing student learning, and form partnerships with community and business organizations. Hughes also notes that there is a need for “skilled administrators and leaders,” developed from faculty ranks, who can lead institutions through troubled times. Globe and Mail

Journalism schools must adapt for future media needs

Journalism schools should shape curricula based on what journalism will be in the future, rather than only equipping students for journalism jobs of today, says Jeffrey Dvorkin, journalist and director of the University of Toronto Scarborough’s journalism program, in the Globe and Mail. Dvorkin argues that journalism programs should involve a mix of traditional skills, such as writing, editing, newspaper layout, and photojournalism, and also innovation in media to reflect the 21st century media landscape. For the later, Dvorkin gives an example of a course he taught at Ryerson University, in which students invented new ways to report on breaking foreign news. Globe and Mail

Carleton, Fleming sign new transfer agreement

Carleton University and Fleming College signed an agreement this week that will make it easier for college students to transfer into Carleton BA programs with advanced standing. Under the terms of the agreement, Fleming students who complete a one-year general arts and science university transfer program (Sutherland Campus), and who obtain an overall average of at least 70%, may apply for admission to a BA degree at Carleton with advanced standing. 5 full credits will be granted for certain courses that have been pre-approved by Carleton. Fleming News Release

IMF to offer EdX MOOCs

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has announced that it will offer economics courses to government, and eventually the public, via EdX, the massive open online course (MOOC) platform. The IMF will begin offering pilot MOOCs to small groups of “government officials” in financial programming and policies, and debt sustainability analysis, and plans to open courses to the public in 2014. The IMF already has eight training centres around the world and in 2012 delivered courses to around 7,800 officials. Times Higher Education

New report highlights values of humanities, social sciences

The Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences has released a new report, "The Heart of the Matter," to much acclaim in the US, which seeks to establish the importance of a well-rounded education and knowledge of the humanities and social sciences. The report argues that studies in the humanities and social sciences play a “vital role” in producing educated, critical-thinking, well-rounded members of society. The report points to the gap between K-12 and PSE when it comes to the humanities, and offers recommendations to address the issue. The impetus behind the report is not to downplay the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields, but to emphasize the benefits of combining STEM studies with humanities courses. According to one reader, the report makes the point that “the humanities aren’t at odds with career-oriented education, but rather underpin them.” Inside Higher Ed | The Chronicle of Higher Education