Top Ten

July 9, 2013

3 Canadian colleges launch Career Start program

College of the North Atlantic, Douglas College, and Fanshawe College have partnered to launch Career Start, a national wage subsidy program designed to help PSE graduates move into high-demand careers. Employers in the communities of the 3 partnered colleges will receive a subsidy of up to 50% of the participant’s hourly wage, and the program will be open to graduates aged 15 to 30. Career Start is partly funded by Canada’s Youth Employment Strategy. CNA News Release

OISE professor charged with child exploitation

Authorities have charged University of Toronto Ontario Institute for Studies in Education professor and former deputy minister Benjamin Levin with crimes relating to child pornography, following a multi-jurisdictional exploitation investigation that spanned from New Zealand to Canada. Toronto police have charged Levin with making and distributing child pornography, counselling to commit an indictable offence and an arrangement to commit a sexual offence against a child under the age of 16. According to reports, the investigation is still ongoing, and Levin’s bail hearing will take place today. Globe and Mail | Toronto Star | National Post

Manitoba to refund tuition for nurses who work in rural areas

The Manitoba government this week announced that nurse practitioner students who agree to work in rural communities after graduating will be eligible for return-of-service grants to fully cover their tuition costs. Students will be eligible for up to $10,000 to cover the cost of tuition in exchange for one year of service working as a nurse practitioner in a designated rural community after graduation. The new grant is part of Manitoba’s nursing recruitment and retention plan introduced in 1999. Last year, the province’s nursing workforce grew by 387 nurses and nurse practitioners, bringing the total to 17,652. Manitoba News Release

UoGuelph receives $3 million for dairy research

The University of Guelph has received $3 million from the Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) to support a permanent faculty position in dairy microbiology at the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC), as well as a research chair in dairy cattle health at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC). The timing of the new positions coincides with the construction of a $25-million dairy research facility at the UoGuelph-run Elora Research Station. DFO is also committing up to $5 million on behalf of industry stakeholders.UoGuelph News Release

Saskatchewan artists use closed campus

A group of artists is occupying the recently closed Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus, a satellite University of Saskatchewan campus north of Prince Albert. In November, uSask suspended all activities at Kenderdine through 2016 while university officials review the campus and related costs. The artists state they are not protesting; they are simply showing uSask that they “love the place.” No buildings are being used by the visiting artists, who plan to paint and work outside on art pieces throughout the week. Some artists expressed concern that the campus could be sold by the university at the end of the review process, but according to one uSask official, that “has never been a part of our communication at all. It hasn't been considered at all.” Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Canada, uAlberta launch Civil Military Leadership program

The Canadian government has launched a joint pilot program with the University of Alberta to allow students to obtain a university degree while also gaining leadership experience in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Reserves. The 4-year Civil Military Leadership Pilot Initiative at uAlberta will serve as a test-model for similar program development at other Canadian universities. Students will need to complete uAlberta’s formal academic objectives, as well as meet specific military training requirements to be eligible to receive a certificate marking their participation. The program will be open to both officers and non-commissioned members of the reserves. “This keeps very much with the tradition of the Canadian Officer Training Corps which was set up on campuses around Canada until 1968,” says national defence minister Peter MacKay.Canada News Release

CMU unveils $13.9-million campus expansion

The Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg unveiled plans for its new $13.9-million campus expansion this week. The new facilities planned include a library and learning commons as well as a new pedestrian bridge that will connect 2 parts of CMU’s Shaftesbury Campus, which are currently separated by a street. To date, roughly $10-million has been raised in the project’s CONNECT Campaign. CMU Media Release | Winnipeg Free Press

PSE research and development increased in 2011-12

Spending on research and development (R&D) in Canada's higher education sector increased by 3.4% on a fiscal-year basis between 2010-11 and 2011-12 to $11.6 billion, according to new data from Statistics Canada. The data also shows that provincially, R&D spending by PSE institutions increased in every province except PEI and Saskatchewan, and that Ontario and Quebec combined continue to report about two-thirds of R&D spending. These 2 provinces have the highest concentration of universities, research hospitals, experimental stations and clinics in Canada. StatsCan Website

NIC and JIBC agree to greater cooperation

North Island College and the Justice Institute of British Columbia have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore collaboration and joint initiatives. The MOU focuses on three key areas: opportunities to contribute to each other’s planning efforts and implement proposals that support student needs and regional needs; articulation of courses and programs to encourage student transfers, and the development and implementation of collaborative courses; and opportunities to collaborate on scholarly activity such as professional development, research partnerships, and joint proposal submissions. NIC News Release

AUCC signs research accord with Israel

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) today signed a memorandum of understanding with the Association of University Heads, Israel to strengthen research collaboration and improve student and faculty mobility between the two countries. Canada and Israel already collaborate in a variety of sectors including energy, solar power, waste management, and medicine, and their universities share research interests in a number of key areas, such as brain research, water technology, renewable energy, and biotechnology. AUCC News Release

Are MOOCs losing their momentum?

The momentum in the hype of massive open online courses appears to be slowing down, as Inside Higher Ed reports that “even top proponents of MOOCs are acknowledging critical questions remain unanswered, and are urging further study.”  Dan Greenstein from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, who has decided to spend $3 million for wide-reaching MOOC-related grants, has wondered whether MOOCs are just a passing fad. American Council on Education president Molly Corbett Broad said MOOCs have “perhaps been greeted with more hype than is appropriate.” Students seem to share the hesitation, at least in the case of Colorado State University-Global Campus, which last year became the first university in the US to grant credit to students who passed a MOOC. Almost a year later, not one student has taken the university up on its offer. Inside Higher Ed | Chronicle of Higher Education

Should vocational training be introduced at high school?

A recent Globe and Mail article discusses the idea that more opportunities for vocational training should be offered to students much earlier than it is in Canada -- while students are still in high school – as a solution to the low youth employment numbers and skills gap issue. The author cites Germany, Austria, Poland, and Slovenia as examples of jurisdictions where vocational partnerships between businesses and schools begin in high school, and training continues throughout one’s career. Germany’s labour minister has even talked about university being an option only after some form of vocational training is completed. The article also suggests that a national education minister would allow for more national policies and programs in vocational training. Globe and Mail

Seneca’s Learning Centre receives international certification

Seneca College’s Learning Centre has been given certification by the College Reading & Learning Association (CRLA), an international association of tutoring and mentoring professionals. The CRLA certification means that Seneca can award its peer tutors with an International Tutor Training Program certification, which requires a minimum of 10 hours of training, as well as 25 hours of student tutoring. Seneca News Release

Pay attention to the “non-traditional” students too

University Affairs editor Leo Charbonneau discusses the rise of the “non-traditional” PSE student, in a summary of an address by Boston's Northeastern University president Joseph Aoun. Aoun says that non-traditional students – older, part-time and often returning to their education mid-career – are “actually the majority of students and their expectations can be very different [from those of the traditional students].” According to Aoun, non-traditional students are “particularly eager for experiential learning opportunities – the integration of the classroom experience and real-world learning.” They also want programs to have a strong outcome – often job-related – and to be flexible and adaptable to fit into their family lives and occupations. He suggests that universities should look for ways to better serve these “non-traditional” students.University Affairs

Canadian youth involved in politics, just not at the polls, study

A new study exploring Canadian involvement with the political system has found that young Canadians (18-34) are the most involved in civic activities, except when it comes to formal engagement, like voting or attending party events. The study looked at participation in politics between elections, such as posting on social media sites, in-person conversations, activism, community involvement, and formal engagement. Youth participate in most of these activities at the same or higher rates than non-youth, with the exception of those activities that involve interacting with a party, candidate or elected official. The report concludes with the observation that, “if a healthy democracy requires active participation, then Canada is on pretty shaky ground,” especially when it comes to the lack of formal participation by youth. Maclean’s | Report

The increased popularity of professional practice doctorates

A recent article in University World News explores the growing phenomenon of Professional Practice Doctorates (PPDs), which have seen tremendous recent growth in the US and globally. PPDs differ from traditional PhDs in several ways, most notably length-of-study (PPDs are much shorter than a PhD) and lack of original research requirements. Many of the new PPD programs are in health-related fields, and some see the PPD as the new required norm for entering practice in many fields. Supporters of the new programs suggest that they are needed to address “the growing complexity of professionals' work environments, rapid expansion of knowledge underlying practice, and increases in technological interventions;” however, the author cautions that there are still unresolved questions about PPDs that need to be answered before the benefits of such programs can be fully touted. University World News

France makes it easier for Indian students to study

France has taken steps to attract PSE students from India by easing its visa rules, according to University World News. France wants to increase the number of Indian students by 50% in the next 5 years, building on the 50% jump in numbers that has occurred over the last 5 years. Now, Indian students who live farthest from a French consulate or Campus France office will be given special attention, and students who attend and complete PSE in France will now have easier conditions to obtain a 2-year working visa to remain in France and gain work experience. The move is in sharp contrast to the UK’s situation, where recent changes to visa policies have resulted in steep drops in Indian student enrolment at PSE institutions. The UK is attempting to curb immigration from certain areas, but the new measures are having an impact on student presence. University World News

US MOOC providers face international competition

Schoo, a Japanese massive open online course (MOOC) provider, announced this week that it has raised $1.5-million from venture-capital firms. Schoo offers more than 130 courses, and is aimed at a Japanese audience of mainly office workers in their late 20s and early 30s. Other MOOC providers who will begin to compete with US companies include Australia’s Open2Study, Brazil’s Veduca, Britain’s FutureLearn, and Germany’s iversity. Chronicle of Higher Education

Students, parents need more information on student aid, UK study

A recent UK study reveals a lack of recognition for good teaching at the PSE level, with two-thirds of university staff having never been rewarded or recognized for their teaching. The report comes amid concerns from many countries that promotion -- and to some pundits, funding -- in the sector is too heavily based on research excellence. The study, commissioned by a publicly-funded PSE interest group in the UK, is meant to test the organization’s efforts to encourage universities to link rewards and recognition to outstanding teaching. The research reveals a need to do more to improve the quality of teaching. Times Higher Education

More recognition of good teaching needed, UK study

A recent UK study reveals a lack of recognition for good teaching at the PSE level, with two-thirds of university staff having never been rewarded or recognized for their teaching. The report comes amid concerns from many countries that promotion -- and to some pundits, funding -- in the sector is too heavily based on research excellence. The study, commissioned by a publicly-funded PSE interest group in the UK, is meant to test the organization’s efforts to encourage universities to link rewards and recognition to outstanding teaching. The research reveals a need to do more to improve the quality of teaching. Times Higher Education