Top Ten

September 4, 2013

Quebec invests $173 million in UdeM campus

Quebec Premier Pauline Marois announced this week that the province will invest $173 million in a new science complex at the Université de Montréal’s satellite Outremont campus; part of a larger $350-million development project. Construction is set to begin in 2015 for the science complex, an auxiliary building with a library and cafeteria, and parking for about 2,000 students and more than 200 researchers. By 2018, UdeM hopes some of the world's most cutting-edge science will be performed and taught on the site of a disused rail yard straddling Outremont and the neighbouring boroughs of Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension and Rosemont–La-Petite-Patry. CBC

uOttawa professor acquitted of charges

University of Ottawa geography professor Abdou Bannari has been acquitted of 2012 charges of threatening to kill then-department head Marc Brosseau and to destroy university property with explosives. Bannari and Brosseau had a working relationship that became “embittered” due to professional disagreements, leading Bannari to make several comments to colleagues that invoked the 1992 shooting at Concordia University by Valery Fabrikant. Although the judge at Bannari’s trial agreed that his comments were “inappropriate," he concluded that "they do not display a present intent to intimidate.” Bannari has been on leave from uOttawa since the charges were laid almost a year ago, but it is not yet certain when or if he will be reinstated. Ottawa Citizen

uRegina faculty to decide on non-confidence vote

Faculty members at the University of Regina have reached the required number of petition signatures to force a vote at an upcoming university council meeting. The petition, which has more than 60 signatures, essentially calls for a vote on a vote. Faculty will vote on whether they should hold a secret-ballot, non-confidence vote to determine if president Vianne Timmons and VP Tom Chase are “safeguarding the academic mission of the university.” Some faculty members feel there is not enough financial transparency at the upper levels of university management and they simply want to know “where is the money going?” Timmons says she wants to hear and respond to all faculty concerns, “whether it's 10 or 50 faculty members.” uRegina recently received results from a provincial audit, which made 26 recommendations to strengthen research programs. Regina Leader-Post

Maritime university tuition rises by up to 8.8%

Undergraduate arts and science tuition fees have increased by between 2.1% and 8.8% over the past year, according to data released yesterday by the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission (MPHEC). Maritime university tuition fees now range between $5,360 and $7,270. The additional mandatory fees paid by students range between $229 and $1,108. Students in Nova Scotia see the highest tuition fees, despite the fact that the government has capped increases at 3% -- they range from $6,000 to $7,270. MPHEC News Release

uWinnipeg updates brand messaging

The University of Winnipeg is adding a fresh new angle to its brand messaging and visuals. The campaign, launched this week, features a new tagline - Discover • Achieve • Belong - that will grace campus banners, uWinnipeg’s web and social media properties, and a local advertising effort. The campaign and new tagline seek to emphasize uWinnipeg’s strengths, as determined by feedback from key stakeholders. Survey responses “indicate that the majority of uWinnipeg stakeholders perceive a caring urban community that values diversity — a place that fosters student achievement and success through academic excellence, research, inclusion, and meaningful interpersonal connections,” or a place where students can discover, achieve, and belong. The campaign will also feature updated visuals, but will not replace the “You of W” moniker, which is used for targeted student-recruitment materials. uWinnipeg News

Study shows benefits of full-day kindergarten

A new study on the impact of full-day kindergarten (FDK) by researchers at Queen’s and McMaster universities shows that children who attend 2 full years of FDK are better prepared to enter Grade 1 and have accelerated development when compared to children who either attended only one year of FDK or who didn’t receive any FDK instruction. Kindergarten teachers using a UNESCO-reviewed Early Development Instrument determined that children with 2 years of FDK were stronger in social competence, language, and cognitive development, as well as communication skills and general-knowledge development. The study examined almost 700 students between 2010 and 2012, after the Ontario Liberals committed in 2010 to providing FDK to all students by fall 2014. Ontario News Release | Globe and Mail

Medical education moves to competency-based approach

Canadian medical education is switching from a primarily credit-based learning system to one in which students must demonstrate core-competency levels, called “milestones,” before they can move on to further levels of study. The new system will be phased in over the next 10 years, with several residency specialties testing the new measures as a pilot program beginning this fall. Geneviève Moineau, president and chief executive officer of the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada, says that the new education model will be used to train medical students, residents, and professionals in continuing medical education. “Medicine is just catching up to some university programs that have used competency-based standards for a while,” said Jason Frank, a director at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. University Affairs

US PSE enrolment fell by almost half a million students in 2012

University and college enrolment in the US declined by nearly half a million students in 2012 compared to the year before, according to new data from the US Census Bureau. A decrease of 419,000 students aged 25 and older is responsible for the majority of the overall decline, while enrolment among younger students dropped by about a tenth of that rate. The waning enrolment follows an overall enrolment increase of 3.2 million students from 2006 to 2011. The New York Times in July reported a 2% drop in spring enrolment in 2013. NBC

More students looking to social media when choosing university

The number of students in the US who use social media sites to learn about potential universities has more than doubled in the past 4 years, according to a student poll released this week. However, a slight majority of students surveyed said they did not use social media for their institution search. 44% of students said they used some kind of social media platform when looking at prospective choices, up from 18% in 2008. In addition, of the students who did use social media in their search process, only half said the sites had influenced their decisions of where to apply. 1,138 SAT takers who planned to attend 4-year universities participated in the poll. Chronicle of Higher Education

Startup creates iPad program that “watches” you learn

A Silicon Valley startup has introduced a new iPad education application that uses the device’s built in camera to “watch” the trainee, recording when the person turns his/her focus away for more than 5 seconds. The company, Mindflash Technologies, would eventually like to record information about how the user is reacting to the program – whether they are amused, confused, or deeply engaged – however, the information will be aggregated to protect privacy. The company has been working with companies like McDonald’s, Microsoft, Lufthansa and Four Seasons hotels to develop their training programs. Forbes