Top Ten

September 11, 2013

uManitoba researcher dies in helicopter crash

A University of Manitoba climatologist has died in a helicopter crash that also killed 2 Coast Guard officers on Monday. 55-year-old uManitoba researcher Klaus Hochheim, along with Marc Thibault and Daniel Dube, was flying over the western Arctic to scout out a route for the Amundsen, a research vessel carrying scientists taking measurements of the northern environment, when the crash occurred. The Transportation Safety Board is investigating the tragic accident. uManitoba Statement | Globe and Mail | CTV News

Football player sues university over head injury

Bishop’s University football player Kevin Kwasny is suing his university over a head injury he sustained during a game 2 years ago. Kwasny alleges in the $7.5-million suit that his coaches told him to keep playing after sustaining a hit to the head that left him feeling dizzy and complaining of a headache. He was taken to hospital during halftime; he had suffered bleeding on the brain and was in critical condition. 2 years later, Kwasny is living in a rehab centre north of his family’s home in Winnipeg and is continuing to work on regaining his mobility. “We don’t feel that we’re liable…for the injury in the sense that as soon as we found out that there was anything even remotely wrong with Kevin, we put sort of as rapid a response in place as we could and got him to care as quickly as we could,” says Jackie Bailey, Bishop’s Dean of Student Affairs, who adds that the university continues to feel “enormous empathy” for what Kwasny is going through. The allegations in the statement of claim have not been proven in court, and Bishop’s has not filed a statement of defence. No court date has yet been set to hear the lawsuit. Head injury risk in university football is becoming a frequently-discussed issue of concern. Maclean’s

67.1% of top Canadian earners have a university degree

The latest round of Statistics Canada’s National Household Survey (NHS) data shows that 67.1% of the highest earners in Canada, those who make at least $191,100, have a university degree. Of those in the top 10% earnings percentile, who make more than 80,400, 50.3% have a university degree. Nearly 1 in 4 (24.1%) of those who held a university degree were in the top 10% in 2010; 1 in 10 of those who had a PSE certificate or diploma below bachelor level made it into the top 10%; and just under 1 in 20 of those with a high school diploma and 1 in 50 of those who had no certificate, diploma or degree were in this group. Earlier NHS data revealed that 64.1% of Canadian adults aged 25 to 64 had PSE qualifications in 2011. StatsCan Daily

Report projects tuition fees rising by almost 13% in next 4 years

The average cost of tuition and compulsory fees for Canadian undergraduate students will rise by almost 13% over the next 4 years -- from $6,610 this fall to an estimated $7,437 in 2016-17 – according to a study released this week by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). The study looks at trends in tuition and compulsory fees since 1990, projects fees for each province for the next 4 years, and ranks the provinces on affordability for median- and low-income families using a Cost of Learning Index. According to CCPA calculations, Ontario has the highest fees of $8,403 this fall, rising to an estimated $9,517 in 2016-17. Newfoundland and Labrador has the lowest fees of $2,872, rising to an estimated $2,886 in 2016-17. The report goes into detail for each province about how the authors come to their conclusions, which are based on different tuition caps and other assistance measures put in place by each government. CCPA News Release | Full Report

Ivey opens new business school building

The Ivey Business School at Western University yesterday officially opened its Richard Ivey Building, which the school says reflects its vibrant future. The 274,000-square-foot facility will reunite Ivey’s HBA, MBA, MSc and PhD programs, promoting a culture of collaboration, enabling the development of cutting-edge academic research and furthering the development of Canada’s future business leaders. The $110-million facility received $25 million in funding provided by the Canadian government’s Knowledge Infrastructure Program and $25 million through the Ontario Government’s 2009 Budget. Western provided $22.5 million, and $37.5 million came through private-sector support. Ivey News Release

OCAD provides free access to e-portfolio platform

OCAD University this week announced that it will provide free student access to e-portfolio-making platform “4ormat.” 4ormat’s features include simple drag-and-drop portfolio customization, dynamic theme templates, and integrated tablet/mobile capabilities. OCAD plans to integrate 4ormat directly into its curriculum in the coming months. Students will have free access to the platform for 6 months following graduation. 4ormat’s CEO, Lukas Dryja, is a graduate of OCAD’s Graphic Design program. OCAD News Release

StudentsNS supports Liberal promise to eliminate provincial loan interest

Students Nova Scotia has supported an election promise by Liberal Party leader Stephen McNeil to eliminate the interest on provincial student loans. McNeil’s October 8 election platform policy would extend to university and college students currently studying and to any others with loans dating back as far as 2008. StudentsNS estimate that the measure would reduce the debt costs for over 32,000 Nova Scotians, including approximately 13,000 current students, and would cost $2.5 million in the first year. StudentsNS News Release | Chronicle Herald

OUSA calls for reforms for unpaid interns, youth unemployment

The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) is calling on the Ontario government to address several student issues, including unpaid internships and high youth unemployment, in a new submission that proposes a long-term employment strategy for the province. The report deals with 4 main issues in PSE that create barriers to stronger youth employability, and suggests ways to improve them: address poor accessibility to PSE by investing in early outreach programs (have high school and elementary students visit universities and colleges, expand community mentorship programs); confront structural challenges in the labour market by expanding work-integrated learning and empowering students and families to make more informed choices about PSE; promote youth entrepreneurship by introducing more university programs and government supports for those initiatives; and amend the Employment Standards Act to include protections for student interns. OUSA News Release

Udacity unveils Open Education Alliance to tackle skills gap

Udacity, the MOOC platform founded by ex-Stanford professor Sebastian Thrun, is forming an alliance to “bridge the gap between the skills employers need and what traditional universities teach,” commonly referred to as the skills gap. The Open Education Alliance (OEA) members so far include Google, AT&T, Intuit and several other online education organizations, which will explore standards for how to prepare and evaluate graduates for the workplace. The OEA will help online education providers develop courses, tests and certifications that people can use to demonstrate their skills and knowledge to prospective employers. OpenEd Webpage | TechCrunch

edX and Google create MOOC site for “ordinary folk”

edX and Google have teamed up to create yet another MOOC platform,, which will allow “ordinary folk” and professors at institutions that have not been invited to join other platforms to sign up and build MOOCs themselves. edX President Anant Agarwal referred to the site as a “YouTube for courses,” and said it has not yet been determined whether edX will keep courses free of misinformation and copyrighted material; the latter has been a problem for YouTube. Google previously tried to create an online education platform called Course Builder, and the company plans to fold that project into on the Google server. Chronicle of Higher Education