Top Ten

June 26, 2013

Sault College opens School of Business

Sault College has launched a new School of Business with the goal of enrolling 600 new students within the next 5 years. The dean of business, Colin Kirkwood, says the School will build on a very high level of student satisfaction with the business programs already offered at Sault. In the past year, 100 Sault students have taken business studies at the diploma, post-graduate and continuing education levels. “A recent student survey shows 91% of Sault College business students were either satisfied or very satisfied with their programs or courses,” says Kirkwood. Sault College News Release | The Sault Star

New Brunswick makes $20-million investment in research and innovation

New Brunswick’s PSE, Training and Labour Minister Danny Soucy this week announced a $20-million investment over 5 years to support research and innovation in the province. $14 million will be allocated to the Research Innovation Fund, which supports projects that expand the innovation capacity of the province and that demonstrate potential for commercialization. The remaining $6 million will go to the Research Technicians Initiative and the Research Assistantships Initiative, which could represent up to 450 student research assistantships and 20 new research technicians over the next 5 years. New Brunswick News Release

Number of educated Canadians, especially women, on the rise: StatsCan

64.1% of Canadian adults aged 25 to 64 had PSE qualifications in 2011, up from 60.7% in 2006, according to new data from the National Household Survey released yesterday by Statistics Canada. The data also shows that women accounted for 59.1% of young adults aged 25 to 34 with a university degree, and 47.3% among older university degree holders aged 55 to 64. StatsCan reports that although men still held the majority of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) degrees overall, women held a higher share of university STEM degrees among younger graduates than among older ones. More women are moving into engineering, medicine and science now than in the previous generation. StatsCan Website | Globe and Mail | Toronto Star

Web development boot camp program gets investigated by MTCU

Toronto company Bitmaker Labs Inc., which offers a 9-week web development course, has voluntarily suspended its operations after being told it was being investigated for running an unregistered career college. Officials from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities told the firm that it was being investigated because it offered a vocational program that cost more than $1,000 and provided more than 40 hours of training, which is the cut-off for registering as a career college. The ministry issued a statement saying that “no determination has been made regarding the program, no enforcement action has been taken against Bitmaker Labs, and the ministry has not requested that Bitmaker Labs cease offering its program." Globe and Mail | Toronto Star

Ontario Crown wards to get free PSE tuition for 4 years

Ontario’s Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, Brad Duguid, this week announced a partnership between the province and its universities and some colleges to give former Crown wards aged 21 to 24 who are enrolled in OSAP-eligible PSE programs free tuition for up to 4 years. Ontario will provide 50% of the tuition costs for 850 eligible students, and all participating institutions will cover the remaining cost of tuition. Both the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) and the Canadian Federation of Students – Ontario (CFS-O) applauded the move, saying it will help ensure greater accessibility to PSE. Ontario News Release | COU News Release | OUSA News Release | CFS-O News Release

Quebec CSE recommends changes to PSE policy

The Conseil supérieur de l'éducation (CSE) has released a report to the Quebec Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology on the indexation of tuition and compulsory fees, and the increased cost for Canadian and international students. The report states that the way students obtain their education has changed, and makes recommendations to accommodate these changes. CSE recommends reassessing the nature of the Quebec student and creating policies that reflect it, creating greater cohesiveness among various stakeholders in the development of goals and activities to advance PSE, ensuring equity amongst students and removing any barriers to accessing PSE, and engaging stakeholders in a fair division of responsibilities in carrying out the above recommendations. CSE News Release (in French) | Report Summary

Canada’s polytechnic PSE institutions leading the pack, op-ed

As Canada’s PSE institutions vie for provincial funding and research dollars, it is the polytechnics that should be at the forefront of the discussion about PSE education and employable skills, according to Ken Coates, Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation at the University of Saskatchewan. In a Globe and Mail article, Coates examines some of the distinctions between universities, colleges, and polytechnic institutes, suggesting the need for more collaboration and partnerships to fully address the existing and projected skills gaps. Implying a change is needed, Coates notes that many politicians, as well as average Canadians, tend to focus on universities over other PSE providers when it comes to planning and financial allocation. Coates discusses the unique nature of polytechnics, and their close ties to employment markets, stating that “it is vital that they maintain their distinct identity and mission, even as the number of institutions and students continues to grow. More bluntly, the country needs strong polytechnics more than it needs additional universities.” Globe and Mail

Heart and Stroke Foundation commits $300 million to research

The Heart and Stroke Foundation announced this week that it will make a $300 million, multi-year commitment to research at 19 of Canada’s research institutions. With the “Foundation Research Leadership Circle,” Heart and Stroke will work with universities and research hospitals in the country over the next 10 years to accelerate the progress towards its goal to reduce Canadians' rate of death from heart disease and stroke by 25% by 2020. Heart and Stroke has been funding research for some time, but under the new funding model, the dollars committed to research at the participating institutions will be guaranteed. Heart and Stroke Media Release | Globe and Mail

Laurier co-op programs receive national accreditation

Wilfrid Laurier University has received accreditation from the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education (CAFCE) for several of its co-operative education programs.  The organization, which has accredited 27 other Canadian PSE institutions, granted accreditation for co-op programs in WLU’s School of Business & Economics, including the BBA and Honours BA in Economics, Master's in Business Aadministration and MA in Business Economics, and Master of Finance co-op programs. WLU also received accreditation for the Faculty of Science’s Professional Experience Program, and a double-degree co-op program offered jointly through the Faculty of Science and the School of Business & Economics. WLU News Release

U15 launches new website

The U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities, an organization representing 15 of Canada’s most research-intensive universities, has launched a new website this week, The site is a platform for commentary by research thought leaders on contemporary issues facing the academic and scientific community. The site also includes information about the U15’s governance and members, links to current news on the research sector, statistics about the impact of Canadian research, and links to university research news stories. The U15 organization was formalized in 2012 with the development of a secretariat and addition of executive director Suzanne Corbeil. U15 Website

Perceived closure of McGill’s medical library sparks controversy

Although the official word from McGill University is that its medical library will remain open, staff members disagree, saying that with the removal of the majority of the library’s collection, the library will essentially be defunct. McGill insists that the process is a “reorganization” designed to better meet the needs of today’s students, who require more digital resource access and study space than print materials. Early controversy regarding the library resulted in a “consultation” with interested groups, and the results have led to the decision to “reorganize.” The library will continue to house “reserve materials — a small collection of textbooks and required reading for medical students,” and will provide consultation and circulation services. Critics worry about the fragmentation of the library’s collection and the availability of library staff in order to assist students. Montreal Gazette

What happens when a start-up leaves the incubator?

A recent Globe and Mail article takes a unique look at the start-up incubator development, and examines the “crucial period” in which companies must transition from the support-filled incubator to the “real world,” once they’ve decided to leave the incubator. Valerie Fox, executive director of Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ), says that the difference between companies that do well and companies that fail once they leave the DMZ is sales. Fox suggests paying close attention to sales seminars, and partnering with potential customers to get feedback at all stages of product development. Jesse Rodgers, manager of the Creative Destruction Lab at the University of Toronto, advises young companies to make sure they keep in contact with the network provided by business incubators. Globe and Mail

A lack of space at Ontario universities impacts research, COU report

Research at Ontario universities is being impacted by a lack of sufficient space, or space that is inadequate to meet the needs of students and faculty, according to a report released by the Council of Ontario Universities (COU). Between 1998-9 and 2010-11, there has been a 20% decline in classroom space per student and an 18% decline in research space per FTE (full-time equivalent) researcher. Furthermore, the gap between space generated and space needed has widened since 1998-9. The report underlines the importance of ensuring there is sufficient space for students and faculty at a time when the Ontario government has announced an expansion of graduate students as well as retrofits under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, which aims to make the province more accessible to people with disabilities. Full Report

Canada remains on top for PSE attainment, lower on funding: OECD

Canada remains at the top of the list of the most educated countries in the world, but finds itself farther down the list when it comes to PSE funding, according to a new report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). “Education at a Glance 2013,” ranks Canadians as the most educated of 34 OECD countries, with 51% of the population having completed university-, college- or polytechnic-level education. However, the average OECD country contributes 68% of the cost for PSE. Canada’s provinces, on average, only take on 57% of the cost. The report also supports the oft-touted fact that those with a PSE degree are less likely to be unemployed (5% for those with a BA or higher and 6.6% for those with college diploma, compared to 12.9-15.5% for those with only high school or less). PostMedia News | Full Report | CMEC Highlights for Canada

Americans seek savings from Canadian PSE institutions

American students are seeking Canadian PSE degrees at an increasing rate, according to an article in USA Today. Since 2000, there has been a 50% increase in enrolments at Canadian colleges and universities, and that number is expected to grow, as US PSE institutions continue to increase tuition and with federal student loan interest rates scheduled to double on July 1. The cultural transition for US students is relatively easy, and the cost of international Canadian tuition fees is much cheaper than at many US institutions, sometimes up to one-half or one-third of the cost of some US private and public institutions. US graduates from Canadian colleges enjoy less debt and comparable employment opportunities, making Canadian PSE an attractive option for today’s US students. USA Today

Okanagan and BCIT expand partnership with MOU

Okanagan College and the British Columbia Institute of Technology this week signed a Memorandum of Understanding that formalizes each institution’s commitment to exploring and pursuing joint opportunities to provide students with programming, complementary disciplines and applied research. Areas in which the institutions think they could benefit from collaboration include building sciences, sustainability education, fuel alternatives, water management, energy management, entrepreneurship, intellectual property, and simulation for health programming. Okanagan News Release

8 US universities chosen as project sites for STEM teaching improvements

In 2011, the Association of American Universities (AAU) announced an initiative to improve undergraduate teaching in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields at its member institutions. The 5-year initiative is designed to “influence the culture of STEM departments at AAU universities so that they will use sustainable, student-centered, evidence-based, active learning pedagogy in their classes, particularly at the first-year and sophomore levels.” The framework for the initiative is focused on identifying key levels, agents, and mechanisms of change and determining models to sustain best teaching practices. 8 universities have been chosen to implement major undergraduate STEM education projects: Brown University, Michigan State University, Washington University in St. Louis, and the Universities of Arizona, California at Davis, Colorado at Boulder, North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Pennsylvania. Chronicle of Higher Education | AAU Initiative website

Spring/summer enrolment up at Tyndale

Spring/summer course registrations at Toronto’s Tyndale Seminary are up 12% over 2012, which the institution believes is due to enhanced online, intensive, and traditional course offerings. “Many of our students are part-time, and have asked for more flexible course delivery options. Students want to stay continuously enrolled -- even in the summer. For many, summer is now a third semester,” says Arnold Neufeldt-Fast, associate academic dean. Combined, total spring/summer course registrations in the seminary and university college have risen by 46% since 2008. Tyndale News Release

RRC advertising students dominate national competition

A group of 14 advertising majors from Red River College’s Creative Communications program took home all but one of the awards at the “Imagine Students (Verb) Charities” gala this week. The competition challenged students from across Canada to produce a public awareness campaign in any form that tells the story of how charities ensure, improve and reflect the quality of life in Canada. Third prize was awarded to Laura Stobbe from uVictoria, but the other five prizes went to RRC students. Emily Doer, Courtney Brecht and Corinne Rikkelmann of RRC won first prize and $50,000 for their ad campaign, I am a Charity CaseRRC News Release | Winning Entries

MOOCs could raise a university’s credit rating, says Moody’s

The rise of massive open online courses (MOOCs) boosts the credit of universities that offer them, but diminishes the credit of a majority of lesser-known universities that lack a prominent brand name, according to a report published this week by Moody’s Investors Services. The report, available only to Moody’s subscribers, says that MOOCs offer PSE institutions increased global brand recognition, new revenue opportunities, and a chance to improve instruction methods. However, Moody’s also warns that smaller liberal-arts institutions could be left behind, because they lack the resources to compete with better-known universities. Chronicle of Higher Education