Top Ten

September 13, 2013

King’s in Edmonton to increase tuition by 6.3% next year

Tuition at King’s University College in Edmonton will increase by 6.3% next year, approaching $12,000, according to the Edmonton Journal. A King’s comprehensive institutional plan says that due to the institution’s high ratings with students, tuition increases should not hurt enrolment. The Christian liberal arts university with about 670 students continues to score high marks in national ratings for student satisfaction, engagement and academic outcomes. King’s and the 4 other independent academic institutions in Alberta are exempt from both the tuition freeze and the $147-million operating-budget cut that have been imposed by Advanced Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk. King’s student association President Sieger Siderius said that “while students are not happy with the increase, they realize it is necessary to maintain quality.” Edmonton Journal

Virginia College student poisons pregnant professor

A student at Virginia College’s Augusta, Georgia campus has been arrested for allegedly poisoning her pregnant professor. Diane Ambrose was charged with reckless conduct; the claim states that she offered her professor a sealed cake she had injected with a foreign substance through the wrapper. After finding out the 12-week pregnant professor was ill with lower intestinal issues, a student witness told the professor what she knew Ambrose had done. Inside Higher Ed | WRDW TV

Students respond to offensive frosh-week chant with rally

Students at Saint Mary’s University last week rallied against sexual violence following the frosh-week chant that sparked outrage and led 2 student organizers to step down from their association positions. Some 200 students and professors filled a courtyard in SMU’s central campus to listen to speeches and sing a positive version of the infamous chant. "We really want to start the conversation about consent education, and how to move forward from the events of [early September] in a constructive way," said Lewis Rendell, one of the organizers of the rally. The Record

UBC drops course pack prices by 33%

The University of British Columbia has announced that it will be lowering the cost of course packs -- excerpts from journals and books that are required reading for courses -- through its bookstores by an average of 33%. “We have been able to realize these savings for our students in large part because of efforts to maximize the value of library resources, and the choices we have made on copyright,” says Louise Cowin, UBC VP Students. UBC is also making use of digital subscription licences, making “millions of journal articles and other scholarly materials available for use in course packs.” Cowin adds that the price discount is in addition to a textbook rental service that saves students 50% on textbooks -- a measure that is increasing in popularity throughout Canada. UBC News Release

uCalgary to teach business skills to law students

The University of Calgary is aiming to introduce business skills to law students through its new Torys LLP Excellence in Business Skills for Lawyers course, which is the first of its kind in Canada, according to uCalgary. “When I talk to clients and companies that employ lawyers, one of the things they often complain about is that young lawyers don’t actually understand their [business] needs,” says uCalgary law Dean Ian Holloway. Associate professor Bryce Tingle, who will be teaching the course this fall, says that lawyers often play many additional roles such as sitting on boards, serving as in-house lawyers or become entrepreneurs, which all require business skills. Canadian Lawyer Magazine

Student wage expectations may be too high

University and college students expect to earn an annual salary of more than $50,000, on average, when they start a job after graduation, according to a study by the Bank of Montreal. In contrast, Statistics Canada reports that graduates are earning $45,000 after 2 years of work experience. The study also reveals that males expect to earn slightly more upon graduation than females do, at $52,938 expected versus $48,096. The results come from online interviews with a sample of 602 students enrolled in PSE this fall, conducted between July 19 and 26, 2013. BMO News Release

Coursera raises $1 million through Verified Certificates

Coursera last week announced that it has raised $1 million from its Signature Trackprogram, an initiative that offers students the opportunity to earn Verified Certificates for their successful completion of some Coursera courses for a fee. The initiative has had 25,000 signups since it was launched in January. The announcement comes at a time when many people are wondering how MOOC platforms can generate revenue.Coursera Blog

How behavioural science can improve PSE access efforts

A new report by Harvard scholar Ben Castleman suggests ways in which behavioural science can help improve PSE participation. Some accessibility initiatives based on behavioural science insights include peer-mentorship programs (which shift perceptions of peer behaviour), and recruitment communication via text message (since students are more responsive to quick and simple tasks than lengthy application forms). Castleman also urges institutions to create website interfaces that provide career guidance, and to use live-chat sessions to provide more one-on-one counselling to students. Chronicle of Higher Education | Full Paper

UK mature students put off by rising costs

The number of mature students in England applying to full-time university programs has decreased by more than 13% since 2010, according to data from the Independent Commission on Fees (ICF). The number of applicants aged 20 or older fell from around 134,000 to about 116,000 in 2013, a drop of about 18,000 students. Losses are higher among those aged 25 and over, with applications falling by 15.4%. The figures also cover only a fraction of the mature-student applications because the ICF only records data for full-time mature students. ICF Chair Will Hutton is calling for more information on whether or not the drop in mature-student interest in PSE is due to a tuition fee hike to as much as £9,000 per year. Times Higher Education

PSE leaders concerned about maintaining enrolment

PSE leaders in the US are becoming increasingly concerned about their ability to maintain current enrolment levels, according to a survey conducted by audit firm KPMG. 37% of executives asked said they are “very concerned” about their ability to maintain current enrolment levels, up from 23% in the same survey done last year. The survey also revealed that 59% of those surveyed said the number one way they are dealing with issues such as cost, quality and accessibility is by focusing on innovative modes of delivery such as online education. The data show that the top changes institutions are making in response to recent trends in the PSE marketplace are spending more to keep up with changes in technology (61%), and making more course offerings available online (50%). 62% of universities are leveraging social media to better communicate with current and prospective students. KPMG News Release