Top Ten

September 25, 2013

uWindsor professors support striking colleagues, cancel classes

Some classes at the University of Windsor have been cancelled this week after members of the university faculty association elected to respect the picket lines of striking CUPE 1393 workers. According to association President Brian E. Brown, many professors submitted a work plan to their deans explaining how they will make up their cancelled classes. Brown says he is unsure of how many faculty members refused to cross the picket lines or of how many classes were cancelled. CUPE 1393, which represents skilled trades, professional staff, information technology and lab support workers, have been on strike since September 8. uWindsor is keeping students informed of class cancellations via the university’s website and individual emails. CBC | Windsor Star

uMoncton warns campus about student with TB

The Université de Moncton is warning students and staff about a business student who has been diagnosed with a highly-contagious form of tuberculosis. uMoncton has also created a list of students, teachers and other staff who may have come in contact with the student, and says health professionals will go to the classes in which the student is enrolled to answer questions. “Our first line is to make sure that people are informed,” says Thérèse Thériault, uMoncton Director of Communications. Medical officials are confident that only those who have come into close contact with the ill student are at risk of infection. Professionals at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont hospital said the student is responding well to treatment.  uMoncton News Release (in French) | Global News

OCAD switches to new grading policy

OCAD University has adopted a new grading policy that is based on an external set of criteria, replacing the former policy in which grades were assigned based on students’ performance relative to one another. The new grading scale comes after OCAD established program-level learning objectives and adopted undergraduate degree-level expectations, an assessment model that has become widely popular in higher education. Following the change, the university has invited any students who feel they have been graded either too high or too low to contact their instructor or student union. OCAD Statement

uLethbridge sees 16.4% spike in graduate enrolment

The University of Lethbridge has seen a 16.4% jump in graduate student enrolment over last year, from 458 students to 533. The university also reports an 11.3% increase in the number of new undergraduate students from high school, to 1,142 students. “While [uLethbridge] remains very committed to attracting undergraduate students from across Alberta, Canada and the world, this year’s increase in graduate students is reflective of [uLethbridge’s] continued maturation as a comprehensive university,” says Provost and VP Academic Dr. Andrew Hakin. The university’s total enrolment has remained steady since last year at 8,311 students. uLethbridge News Release

Athabasca unveils "the new AU"

Athabasca University has unveiled a new brand identity designed to visually represent its position as “Canada's leading source for open and online PSE.” The new design for Athabasca U’s online and printed materials was launched this week with a video that explains both the history and future of the online university, through a voiceover and dynamic graphics that include the new logo: an outlined orange shield that represents “open accessible learning balanced with academic excellence and history," and the new tagline "everywhere." Athabasca U News Release

BC gives $1.8 million to short-term health programs

The BC government has this week announced one-time funding of almost $1.8 million for additional spaces in short-term training programs in health, to addresses the immediate needs of specific communities that do not have sufficient student and employer demand to support a program on a long-term basis. The funding will support 12 programs that are one year or less -- including mental health and addictions, and health care assistant programs -- at 8 PSE institutions across BC. The government says the move will create 221 additional student spaces in 2013-14. BC News Release

Niagara College’s teaching winery launches online sales

Niagara College’s teaching winery, the first of its kind in Canada, has launched an online sales function. Niagara partnered with e-commerce and software developer eWinery Solutions to offer online sales of the teaching winery’s products through the site. The wines are now available to consumers in Ontario, BC and Manitoba, and plans are in place to extend the offerings to the US. The Niagara College Teaching Winery was launched in 2002, and supports students in Niagara’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute. Niagara News Release

US admissions struggling to meet enrolment targets

American PSE admissions directors are feeling increasing pressure to produce cohorts that meet the academic and financial goals of their institutions, reveals Inside Higher Ed’s 2013 Survey of College and University Admissions Directors. Just under 60% of admissions directors surveyed reported that that they had not met their enrolment goals for this fall by May 1, the end of the traditional acceptance period. Although it is common for community colleges to continue accepting students past this point, 59% of private bachelor's institutions did not meet their requirements, and 77% of public master's or bachelor's institutions reported the same. Not surprisingly, most respondents said they were pushing ahead with strategies to attract more students, including those who pay more tuition. 381 admissions directors were polled, and the results are accurate within 5 percentage points. Inside Higher Ed

JSTOR unveils subscriptions for individuals

JSTOR, a not-for-profit digital database of academic journals and articles, has launched a subscription option for individuals (JSTOR’s contents were previously limited to those with access to an institutional subscription). JPASS is a monthly or annual subscription that allows users to read an unlimited number of online articles from about 1,500 journals, and the ability to download 10 articles a month or 120 annually. JPASS fees range from $19.50 for a monthly subscription to $199 for a year’s subscription, and discounts are available to members of scholarly societies whose journals are included in the JPASS collection. JSTOR News Release | Chronicle of Higher Education

Texas community colleges create “stackable credentials”

Several Texas community colleges have partnered with the oil and gas industry to create transferable, “stackable credentials” that allow graduates working in the industry to re-enter college seamlessly when they need more training, or when they relocate and want to study part-time at a different college. The initiative began 3 years ago, when the petrochemical companies began to demand more workers, and colleges saw the need to keep up. The model links a series of certificates that each build on the previous, and that count towards degrees. Some community colleges have even teamed up with 4-year institutions to create bachelor’s options for students in energy programs. Other states have caught wind of the “stackable credentials” idea and have also adopted the model. North Carolina’s community colleges have created a green-jobs pathway across 58 institutions. The federal government has also funded the creation of stackable career pathways as part of $2 billion in workforce development grants. Inside Higher Ed