Top Ten

August 20, 2013

UPEI arts enrolment drops 22%

CBC reports that enrolment in Arts programs at the University of Prince Edward Island has dropped by 22% this September over last year, and enrolment in the UPEI Education faculty has declined a whopping 39% (from 182 to 112 students). UPEI's international enrolment has increased by 13%, however, bringing the net decline in enrolment for the institution overall to 1.8%. Kathy Kielly, UPEI’s registrar, says the arts decline is part of a nationwide trend. “I believe there's the onus on the university to better articulate for the students what the advantages of doing a program in the arts are and how that relates to an opportunity for employment,” she says. Kielly also observes that the decline in B.Ed. registrations could stem from recent news about teacher education graduates struggling to find jobs.  CBC

uCalgary balances budget, prepares for future challenges

With a balanced budget for 2013-14 and staffing expansions in some faculties, the University of Calgary is in a good position for the upcoming school year, although administration is looking ahead to fiscal challenges likely to occur in 2014-15. uCalgary will hold town hall meetings sometime in October to hear from students, faculty, and staff about where cuts could or should occur. In May, uCalgary announced plans to decrease the number of students in several faculties, but have avoided the large-scale cuts that both uAlberta and uLethbridge have had to make. Calgary Herald

Harper announces $5.2 million for mining education at Yukon College

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced $5.2 million in funding for a new mining education and jobs program at Yukon College. The Centre for Northern Innovation in Mining at Yukon’s Ayamdigut Campus in Whitehorse will be a "one-stop state-of-the-art education, training and research facility for people looking to begin a career in the mining industry as well as for those who want to improve their skills," a government-issued press release reads. It adds that the program is expected to generate 40 construction jobs and up to 520 trades, mining and apprenticeship graduates over the next 5 years. During his announcement, Harper said Yukon's mining industry is expected to need up to 1,700 new workers to meet its needs by 2022. CBC

CAUBO to conduct Canada-wide campus deferred maintenance study

The Canadian Association of University Business Officers (CAUBO) has engaged facility-solutions firm Sightlines to conduct a study of deferred maintenance at more than 100 of its member universities. The study will provide CAUBO with a set of data that its members can use to help university and provincial leadership understand the “amount and potential future impact” of deferred maintenance on campuses, as business officers try to manage growing infrastructure needs in the midst of limited capital funding. The study will consist of a survey sent to CAUBO members in September, an analysis of the data, and a final report that is expected to come out in early 2014. University Business

York U students displaced by townhouse fire

A fire that broke out in a Toronto townhouse has displaced several York University students for the near future. The fire occurred in the afternoon on Friday August 16, in the top floor of a townhouse within the York U area. The units, rented to students, were evacuated in time and no one was hurt. York U is paying to house students at a hotel, with plans for short-term housing until September and possibly beyond, if students cannot return to the townhouse by then. Toronto Fire Services is investigating the cause of the fire. Toronto Sun

OECD numbers suggest PSE boosts employment

Recent OECD education data suggest that PSE could be an antidote for an increasing unemployment rate, the Globe and Mail reports. Stats found in OECD’s Education at a Glance 2013 indicate that across all OECD countries, people with PSE had an unemployment rate of 4.8% in 2011; for those with only secondary education, it was 7.1%; and for those with only some secondary education, it was 12.6%. The report also found that 51% of Canadian adults have some sort of PSE in 2011, up 11% since 2000. This high PSE-attainment rate seems to have spared Canada from the unemployment rates that some countries are experiencing. From 2008 to 2011, the unemployment rate for tertiary-educated Canadians rose only 0.9%, compared with 2.6% for those who hadn’t completed a secondary education; Canada’s unemployment rate in general was less (6.3%) in 2011 than the OECD average of 7.1%. Globe and Mail

LinkedIn enters PSE marketing with university pages

Business-networking platform LinkedIn has unveiled its “LinkedIn University Pages,” which the company says will help institutions build their brands and recruit new students. The company gave 200 colleges and universities advance notice so that they could establish pages ahead of the launch date. Any institutions that didn’t get the advance notice have pages that list alumni who are already LinkedIn users, and display a note that says the institution's page “isn’t quite ready yet.” Christina Allen, LinkedIn’s director of product management, says the idea for the new pages came from watching her daughter try to navigate her way through choosing a university. “Through my relationships at LinkedIn, I knew that hidden in millions of member profiles were powerful insights about the career outcomes of educations from universities around the world,” says Allen. Chronicle of Higher Education | LinkedIn Website

Facebook may make users unhappy

New research out of the University of Michigan suggests that the more time one spends on Facebook, the less happy they could feel. The study followed the Facebook use of 82 young adults over 14 days, focusing on feelings in the moment (“affective” well-being) and overall satisfaction with one’s life (“cognitive” well-being). Participants filled out “Satisfaction with Life” questionnaires at the beginning and end of the study, and answered brief text message surveys 5 times a day. The results showed that Facebook use makes someone feel worse both in the moment and long-term. The researchers ruled out the possibility that people use Facebook when they already feel low or unhappy. Facebook recently announced that more than 50% of Canadians are accessing the site at least once a month. National Post

US undergraduates getting more financial aid than previous years

According to new data released this week, 71% of US undergraduates received some form of financial aid during the 2011-12 school year, up from 66% in 2007-8, the last time the survey was done. The National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS), a nationally representative survey conducted approximately every 4 years, also found that the average amount of financial aid increased to $10,800 from $9,000. For graduate students, the average amount also increased, from $18,400 in 2007-8 to $21,400 in 2011-12, but the percentage of students receiving aid dropped, from 73% in 2007-8 to 70% in 2011-12. Although some of the changes can be attributed to the economic downturn and subsequent recovery periods, officials suggest too much has changed in the sector “to attribute shifts in aid to any one factor.” Chronicle of Higher Education

The mindset of the class of 2017

Beloit College in Wisconsin has released its annual “Mindset List,” which examines the “cultural touchstones” of incoming PSE students. For the class of 2017, who were born in 1995, compilers Ron Nief and Tom McBride list such facts as “Eminem and LL Cool J could show up at parents’ weekend,” “'Dude' has never had a negative tone,” and “Gaga has never been baby talk.” Not surprisingly, this year’s list features many technology-focused mindsets, such as “Having a chat has seldom involved talking,” “As they started to crawl, so did the news across the bottom of the television screen,” and “A tablet is no longer something you take in the morning.” The list was originally created as a reminder to Beloit faculty to be aware of dated references, but has since become a popular catalogue of the changing mindset of youth. Mindset List 2017