Top Ten

September 17, 2013

WesternU research parks expansion could create 750 jobs

Western University is looking to expand its already extensive research parks, which provide the resources and space to encourage commercialization of research and innovation, and has informed London city council that the project could create 750 jobs. The $90-million expansion plan would include a “Gateway to Discovery Park,” to work with University Hospital on medical-research growth, the expansion of the Stiller Centre technology incubator, and the creation of a biomedical-device, a biomedical imaging/simulation centre, and an international investment “village.” Paul Paolatto, Executive Director of Western Research Parks, says the expansion could bring in an additional $75 million in regional economic activity – on top of the $130 million that the existing parks are already worth. London Mayor Joe Fontana has applauded the project. Metro NewsLondon Free Press

uRegina adds special sinks for Muslim students

The University of Regina has installed 2 special washing stations on campus for its nearly 800 Muslim students so they can wash up before prayers. "We have to wash our hands, our face, our heads and our feet," said Mamar Al Sayari, a Muslim student from the UAE. "It's hard to put your feet on the sink, and it's disgusting for other people who come in. So it's easier to sit on the sink and put your leg in it, and it's specially made for that." CBC

Carleton to shortlist 3 companies to run new residence

Carleton University is forging ahead with the possibility of having a private organization build and manage a new upper-year student residence, reports the Ottawa Citizen. Carleton AVP Facilities Management and Planning Darryl Boyce says that a formal request for expressions of interest has generated 10 responses, which is enough interest to prompt the university to continue looking into the idea. “That doesn’t mean we’re going to do it this way, but it does mean that it’s interesting enough for us to spend more time on it,” says Boyce. Carleton hopes to narrow down the list of organizations to 3, and then ask the trio for more detailed proposals. Ottawa Citizen

UBC takes annual report online

The University of British Columbia has this year moved its annual report to an interactive, online platform. Released on Tuesday, the visually-appealing 2012 UBC Annual Report was created through crowd-sourced stories, photos and videos submitted by the university community using StoryBox, an online repository built on the WordPress platform. The report features an interactive timeline of major milestones, a financial summary infographic, a metrics scorecard, and customizable, printable targeted reports to create and share with specific audiences. UBC News ReleaseAnnual Report

Huron, uLethbridge launch new websites

Huron University College at Western University has launched a new website to coincide with its 150th anniversary. The final change in a recent branding refresh, the updated website is designed to give users a highly visual, streamlined experience that allows them to connect easily with Huron’s social media platforms. The site incorporates Huron’s colours (Huron red and Western purple), updated fonts, the institution’s new logo, a prominent video feed and a Quick Links tool. It is also mobile friendly. The University of Lethbridge has also updated its online presence with a redesigned news website. uLethbridge has used video, photo galleries, audio interviews and expert-search capabilities to create a more interactive experience for web visitors. The site also allows users to filter their content into streams such as student success, research, campus life, community and athletics. Huron News ReleaseuLethbridge News Release

AUCC launches new university-work transition website

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) has launched a website dedicated to accounts from Canadian university graduates about how they transitioned from study to work. UniversityWorks, available in both English and French, features one-minute video testimonials of grads telling their stories about how university helped them launch their career, and invites others to upload their own videos on YouTube. The site also features quick facts on careers and employment, and news about the value of a degree. AUCC News Release

FutureLearn to offer escape from “The Man”

Open University Vice-Chancellor Martin Bean, who launches the UK’s first MOOC platform today, says FutureLearn will allow participants to benchmark themselves against their peers rather than having to meet the standards set by “The Man.” Bean, speaking at a conference in Glasgow, dismissed the common critique of MOOCs that points to their drop-out rates. “Isn’t it just so incredibly sad, that when you’ve [got] all this disruptive innovation that’s going to unbundle higher education and make it accessible in ways never before dreamt of, that we perpetuate terms like failures [and] drop outs.” Bean went on to say that “one thing that FutureLearn will never do is to confer university credit. That will always be the domain of the university.” Times Higher Education

Minerva Project announces $10,000 annual tuition

The Minerva Project, an online education venture that will attempt to create a new “ivy league” university model, announced yesterday that it will charge an undergraduate tuition of $10,000 per year. According to Minerva, the price tag is about a quarter of the cost of other highly-selective, private American universities. Minerva has also announced that it will provide 4 years of free tuition to its first class. The company is currently working with guidance counselors and high school principals around the world to recruit these first 15-19 students, who will take Minerva’s seminar-oriented courses that focus on higher-level skills such as logic, reasoning, rhetoric and empirical analysis. Minerva suggests that incoming students seeking intro lecture “101” courses should look to free online courses. "Anything that can be delivered in a lecture, we don't think it's particularly moral of us to charge money for," said Minerva founder Ben Nelson. According to Reuters, students will also have to pay about $19,000 annually for room and board, as students take Minerva’s online courses together in a different city each year. Minerva News ReleaseReuters

Eastern Washington U to give pay raises based on market rates

Eastern Washington University starting this month will move to a compensation model that pays faculty based on a market rate, which is determined by discipline and rank at peer institutions based on data collected by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources. The move is an attempt to bring greater equity to faculty compensation. “Across-the-board pay increases by mathematical definition reward those who already have more and it doesn’t help those at lower income levels,” says Tony Flinn, professor of English and President of an EWU faculty union. After the market rate is factored in, most faculty will get at least a 2% pay raise annually, and the few who are already paid well above the market rate won’t get an increase at all, according to Inside Higher Ed. Inside Higher Ed

California’s community colleges adopt creative commons license

The board that governs California’s 112 community colleges has announced that all courses, research, and other work paid for by the system chancellor’s office will be made available free to the public under Creative Commons “attribution” licenses. Board members adopted the policy because, since the work is publicly-funded in the first place, they believed that it would save taxpayers from paying twice for the material. “All the work that they [faculty] accomplish through the grants to help our students will be available to all other faculty and colleagues trying to improve student success,” says Beth Smith, President of the California Community Colleges’ Academic Senate. In August, the University of California adopted an open-access policy to make research articles from the system’s 10 campuses freely available to the public through eScholarship, California's open digital database. Chronicle of Higher Education