Top Ten

September 20, 2013

Carleton students, alumna among those killed in train/bus crash

Carleton University has issued a statement of condolence for the friends and families of the 3 members of the Carleton community who died in last week’s collision between an Ottawa city bus and a VIA train. Students Connor Boyd and Kyle Nash and alumna Karen Krzyzewski, along with 3 other victims, were on their morning commute when the crash occurred at 8:50 a.m. The Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident, and is evaluating event recorders and GPS from the bus and train. Carleton is flying its flags at half-mast, and has offered grief counseling services to students, faculty and staff. Ottawa Citizen | National Post | Carleton News

ACCC submits recommendations to pre-budget consultations

The Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) has released a pre-budget submission document to the federal 2014 standing committee on finance. In the document, ACCC notes recommendations for investment in 3 areas: education and skills training, particularly increasing access for vulnerable Canadians and improving mobility opportunities both inter-jurisdictionally and internationally; infrastructure, through the development of an equipment and deferred maintenance fund; and innovation and commercialization through the funding of research initiatives and partnerships with community organizations. “Federal investments would improve access to PSE, ensure Canadians participate fully in our economy and increase productivity and innovation in industry.” ACCC News Release

uAlberta president unveils plan to navigate financial challenges

University of Alberta President Indira Samarasekera last week unveiled a 4-point plan that aims to guide the university through recent budgetary challenges. During her state-of-the-university address, Samarasekera explained that the plan will, over the next 3 years, focus on: academic transformation, cultivating a “vibrant” graduate research culture; sustainable financial models, and the need for changes to compensation, revenue generation/sharing, tuition, philanthropy and budgeting; and efficient administration and culture change, meaning “all future portfolios and faculties will need to simplify, consolidate and find new ways of doing business to eliminate duplication.” Samarasekera also announced a new administration blog entitled “Friday bulletins on Colloquy” to encourage transparency and collaboration in decision-making. uAlberta News Release

uOttawa admin and support staff approve strike mandate

The Support Staff University of Ottawa (PSUO-SSUO), made up of uOttawa’s administrative and support staff, have voted 79% in favour of a strike mandate, according to the Ottawa Citizen. uOttawa and the PSUO-SSUO, which is part of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation, failed to come to an agreement in August during negotiations. However, both sides have said they are looking forward to "getting back to the table.” uOttawa and its faculty association recently reached a 4-year collective agreement to avoid a strike. Ottawa Citizen

Humber releases new 5-year strategic plan

Humber College has released a new strategic plan for 2013-18 that focuses on strengthening its polytechnic identity, teaching and learning excellence, and maximizing the impact of partnerships. Each of these 3 strategic priorities is supported by 3 foundations for success: investing in employees who “are supported in delivering an exceptional student experience;” increasing investment in infrastructure and initiatives that lead to improved student learning and success; and strengthening Humber’s business planning to “adapt to a changing external fiscal framework” and aligning resource allocation to Humber’s strategic priorities. The plan states that this is the most comprehensive and collaborative strategic planning consultation process to be undertaken to date at Humber. Humber Strategic Plan

uToronto, York, McGill, Queen’s named top law schools in Canada

Law schools at the University of Toronto, York University, McGill University and Queen’s University have been named the top law schools in Canada in this year’s Maclean’s law school rankings. To come up with its rankings, Maclean’s uses a number of measures from publicly-available data, including elite firm hiring, supreme court clerkships and faculty hiring. Maclean’s also publishes a separate set of rankings for law schools under the civil law system (practiced in Quebec), with McGill, the Université de Montréal and the University of Ottawa taking the top 3 spots in those rankings. Maclean’s

US survey suggests students, employers remain skeptical of online learning

A recent telephone survey of 656 employers in 4 major US cities found that 56% would prefer a candidate with a traditional degree from an “average college” to one with an online degree from a “top institution.” About half of employers believe students in online programs learn about the same amount (49% same, 4% more), that online programs demand more discipline (45% more, 29% same), and that online programs are equally hard to pass (41% same, 13% harder). That leaves a substantial minority of employers, however, who believe students learn less online (42%), need less discipline (23%), and that online programs are easier to pass (39%). Fully 82% of employers believe that hybrid programs are better than online-only programs. On the other hand, a “nationally representative” sample of 215 US community college students said that online courses demand more discipline (61%) and are harder to pass, but 42% believe that students learn less. (Notably less than half of the students surveyed were taking any online courses, and in this small sample the margin of error is ±8%.)  Public Agenda report(PDF)

DeGroote makes changes in collaboration, brand reach

The DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University is “ramping up efforts” to collaborate with other faculties and the community, and to build its brand beyond Hamilton and Burlington. DeGroote Dean Len Waverman spoke about the recent changes made to DeGroote at a luncheon last week. Waverman says the school is reaching out to different faculties to offer students a more well-rounded education. “In turn, business programming is helpful to those studying social sciences or fine arts or anything else on campus,” says Waverman. DeGroote is also launching a new program called Finance at DeGroote, in which students travel to the National Club in Toronto to talk about their research; the hope is to raise DeGroote’s profile in Toronto.Hamilton Spectator

Olds College opens teaching brewery

Western Canada’s first teaching brewery opened last week at Olds College in Olds, Alberta, in partnership with Niagara College. Together, the 2 colleges offer common curriculum and courses to prepare graduates for a variety of careers in the brewing industry. “We have 4 flagship beers that we are brewing,” explains Peter Johnston-Berresford, Coordinator for the Olds College Brewmaster & Brewery Operations Management Program, “but we will also have a number of limited release specialty beers that will be brewed throughout the year, each of which will give our students an opportunity to experiment with ingredients and create their own unique beers”. Olds College News Release  

SMU opens new 960 Tower Road building

Halifax's Saint Mary’s University last week opened its new 960 Tower Road building, which was originally conceptualized as an international gateway at SMU. The 3-storey, 28,000 square-foot building is the new home of the SMU’s English as a Second Language program and the Sobey School Business Development Centre (BDC), which moves back to campus from a downtown location. The building offers more and larger classrooms, a modern-language lab, a spacious library, and collaborative spaces for “informal group learning.” The building is also equipped with charging stations for electric cars. SMU News Release