Top Ten

September 10, 2013

WesternU investigates allegations of pharmaceutical influence

Western University’s medical school and a local London, ON hospital have hired an independent lawyer to investigate allegations concerning “a pharmaceutical company and potential undue influence within the department of ophthalmology.” WesternU and St Joseph’s Health Care, where an affiliated eye clinic is based, are taking the allegations “very seriously,” but have released no specific details. In July, a study was released that ranked Canadian medical schools on the strengths of their conflict-of-interest policies. Although WesternU’s Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry got the highest marks of all 17 Canadian medical schools, the report found that, overall, there are significant gaps in university policies designed to restrict the influence of pharmaceutical companies on educational resources and course content. National Post

Applications to Ontario colleges continue to climb

Applications to Ontario colleges this year are up 2% over 2012 and 18% over 5 years ago, at 180,000 applicants. Ontario Colleges says that increasing numbers of university graduates are also pursuing college programs to help prepare them for success in their careers. In the last 5 years, the number of university graduates applying to college has increased 40%. Colleges Ontario President and CEO Linda Franklin says, “encouraging more students to pursue college programs as part of their PSE will produce the highly-skilled workforce that is needed to strengthen Ontario's economy.” Colleges Ontario News Release

uToronto tops 5 Canadian universities to make top 100 in QS rankings

The University of Toronto has been named the top Canadian university in this year’s QS World University Rankings, bumping McGill University into second spot for the first time since the rankings launched in 2004. 3 new Canadian universities have been added to the list of the top 800 universities in the world, ranking the country the 7th-best performing country, tied with Italy, at 26 universities each. Canada also has 5 universities in the top 100: uToronto at number 17, McGill at 21, UBC at 49, UdeMontréal at 92, and uAlberta at 96. uToronto was also recently awarded the top Canadian university in the QS World University Rankings by subject, in 20 out of 30 subjects. Canada.com | QS Rankings

UVic Gustavson school plans enrolment expansion

The University of Victoria’s Gustavson School of Business is planning to expand its undergraduate ranks next year and its graduate program in the near future, following a 40% increase in applications in 2013. The school will increase its intake of undergraduate students to 300 from the current 240. “As for the master’s program, we are looking at where expansion will happen and when,” says Gustavson Dean Saul Klein. Klein says the business program’s popularity is due to its international scope – students do a year at UVic, then 2 semesters in both Europe and Asia, and finish with an internship. The business school has earned international accreditation through both the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the European Quality Improvement System accreditation. Victoria Times Colonist

Queen's one-of-a-kind medical program welcomes first 10 students

The first 10 students enrolled in Queen’s University’s unique new Accelerated Route to Medical School (QuARMS) program began their studies this week. The medical program will allow students to finish their medical doctorate just 6 years after graduating from high school, 2 years quicker than students do in the traditional educational pathway. This cohort’s 10 students were chosen from over 500 applicants from across the country based on their commitment to service, academic ability, leadership qualities, diverse interests, and high level of maturity. Queen’s News Release

Kickstarter launches in Canada to help fund new business ideas

Crowdfunding platform Kickstarter is coming to Canada to help entrepreneurs access investment funds for business ideas. Previously, Canadians who wanted to use Kickstarter had to be tied to a US bank account, making it difficult for Canadian companies to remain strictly Canadian from a financial perspective. One of Kickstarter’s most successful projects to date came from a graduate of the University of Waterloo, who created the Pebble smartwatch. The only criteria for projects are that they are creative and have a finite beginning and end, but innovative marketing is an unofficial requirement, suggests one successful campaigner. Financial Post | Kickstarter Website

Guide helps researchers recruit students for studies

Students make decisions to participate in research studies based on the perceived importance of the research, how it relates to their lives, and whether they believe their input will be acted upon, according to a paper by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO). Recruiting Students for Research in Postsecondary Education: A Guide provides researchers with an overview on how students make decisions about participating in research, standard recruitment strategies, and common requirements set by research ethics boards (REBs) at institutions. According to HEQCO, the authors don’t support any one strategy over another, but they encourage researchers to question how their methods affect their recruitment. The guide also suggests ways to attract student interest in research studies, including speaking about the research in class, sending targeted emails, signage and posters, and social media. It also states that researchers should always be sure to clearly state the intended goal of the research project and what they will ask of the student. HEQCO News Release | Guide

Who is the “typical” Canadian first-year?

42% of Canadian first-year undergraduate students cite preparing for a specific career as their number one reason for attending university, according to a recent Canadian survey that lists a number of majority responses by undergraduate students about a range of topics. Other revelations about the “typical” university undergrad include: 67% are female, 89% are Canadian citizens, 72% are 18 or younger, 54% receive financial aid for their first year, 91% register for classes online, and 85% sign up for a full course load in their first year. Maclean’s | Survey

Moravian College introduces plan to give Apple products to new students

Moravian College in Pennsylvania is introducing a new technology plan for fall 2014 that will see all incoming freshmen and transfer students receive an Apple MacBook Pro and a new iPad. Also, as faculty members need to upgrade their devices, Apple products will be introduced to replace them. Moravian’s president stated that the products were chosen due to their versatility and ability to be used into the future. The costs of the program will be offset by tuition increases, and Moravian is currently exploring ways that current students can buy into the program. Very few institutions have introduced mandatory technology programs, although Olds College in Alberta is giving all incoming students an iPad this year for a required course in entrepreneurship that is based on an app. Chronicle of Higher Education

Mixed responses to Spain’s adopt-a-student proposal

In Spain, funding cuts, tuition and fee increases, and increases in restrictions to scholarship access have resulted in an interesting proposal: an “adopt-a-student” plan. Dean Adelaida de la Calle is behind the proposal, which she says came about after she received a call from a concerned pensioner who said he wanted to fund a student’s education. The social action campaign is only in the planning stages, and legal viabilities have not yet been explored, but some groups have welcomed the idea as a temporary measure, or as a way to increase awareness of the plight of Spanish PSE students. Others are against the idea, stating that educational “grants and financial assistance should come from the public purse,” and that such an initiative risks making education a charity rather than a right. The Local | Inside Higher Ed