Top Ten

October 3, 2013

uToronto returns to top 20 in THE world university rankings

The University of Toronto has made its way back into the top 20 of the 2013 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, rising one spot from last year, 21st to 20th. Of the 7 Canadian universities that made this year’s top 200, only uToronto and uAlberta saw an increase, with uAlberta rising 12 spots from 121st last year to 109th. UBC, McGill, McMaster, and uOttawa all slipped slightly, and uMontréal fell 22 spots back to 106th, after jumping in last year’s rankings from 104th to 84th. The slip “doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve gotten worse,” said Phil Baty, editor of the rankings, “it just means that others have improved more rapidly.” uVictoria fell out of the top 200 this year, after entering the rankings last year at 196th. Baty also stated that Canadian universities defied the predictions made last year of a rapid downward trend. After 3 years of using a new methodology, the THE rankings appear to be stabilizing, with the same top 10 universities as last year, although the order has “shuffled slightly.” Universities in the US continue to dominate the rankings, with 77 in the top 200, followed by the UK with 31. Globe and Mail | THE Rankings

Carleton launches strategic plan for next 5 years

Carleton University has launched a new strategic plan for the next 5 years that focuses on the concept of “Sustainable Communities - Global Prosperity;” the link between global and local is at the heart of the university’s endeavors, says the plan. Carleton’s plan also identifies 4 strategic themes for which to be “known for, nationally and internationally:” research and teaching in programs that respond to society’s needs; research that focuses on both tangible results and development of knowledge for long-term impact; being student-centred, "linking its academic endeavors and student supports to empower students as productive and engaged citizens in an increasingly diverse world;” and encouraging leadership, innovation, achievement, and sustainability. Through the strategic planning consultation process, Carleton heard from its community that the university is achieving excellence in many areas through innovation, but that it “needs to do more to tell its own story.” The strategic plan also includes raising Carleton’s profile as a world-class comprehensive university “dedicated to outstanding research, teaching and service to society.”  Full Strategic Plan | Carleton News Release

CNA enrolment up 8.2% this year

College of the North Atlantic has seen its enrolment jump by 8.2% this year (434 students), an increase that the college says is due to successfully aligning programs in trades and health sciences to market needs in Newfoundland and Labrador. CNA also reduced the number of students on its waitlists by 20.1% over 2012-13. Enrolment in trades is up 12%, and health sciences program enrolment is up 9%. CNA News Release

Okanagan launches fundraising campaign for trades training

Okanagan College has launched a fundraising campaign to raise $7 million towards a new $33-million trades training complex at its Kelowna campus, and 3 local prominent professionals have enlisted to be ambassadors. Ben Stewart, a former BC MLA, Dennis Gabelhouse, a successful media and marketing business person, and Mike Roberts, a retired broadcaster, will head up the campaign team. The BC government has already pledged $28-million to the project. "This innovative and environmentally-sustainable facility will help elevate the perception of the trades and reinforce the important role Okanagan College graduates play in establishing a robust economy that will secure BC's future," says Gabelhouse. Kelowna Daily Courier

NB establishes graduate and doctoral scholarship initiative

New Brunswick has committed $7 million to a new graduate and doctoral scholarship initiative, which will provide grants to students ranging from $4,000 to $21,000. The funds will be distributed through the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF) to students studying in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields or social innovation. NBIF Chair Robert Hatheway stated that the new initiative will “help recruit and retain the best students and inspire them to seriously consider innovation as a career path here.” NBIF is an independent, not-for-profit corporation that invests in new growth-oriented companies and applied research activities. NBIF News

Northern College to create new productivity and innovation centre

Northern College has announced the creation of a new Centre of Excellence for Productivity and Innovation at its Timmins Campus, which will aim to help regional small and medium sized enterprises build productivity and innovation capacity. The centre will be managed by NEOnet, a not-for-profit information and communication technology (ICT) champion for northeastern Ontario; NEOnet will also move its offices to Northern’s Timmins campus. Plans are in place to have the centre operational by 2014. “Increasing productivity and the adoption and development of innovative technologies will create new job opportunities, strengthen the regional economy, and impact the quality of life within the communities we serve,” says Northern President Fred Gibbons. Northern News Release

Niagara Falls deemed “excellent location” for PSE campus

The City of Niagara Falls, Ontario, has commissioned a report that reveals downtown Niagara Falls would be an “excellent location” for a PSE campus because it “would address the educational, economical and quality-of-life needs” of the region. According to the Welland Tribune, Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati has been keen on having a campus in his city since he was elected in 2010. More than 1.5 million people live within a 45-minute drive of downtown, with more within reach of bus and rail, and the city owns more than 14 acres of land that could be made available to a PSE institution at no cost, according to the study. “Our transportation links, residential spaces, shops and restaurants would provide a wonderful environment for students,” says Phil Ritchie, whose development company owns several properties downtown. Welland Tribune

Cuts to public funding may lead to increase in corruption, fraud

A new report on the prevalence of fraud and corruption in PSE has found that decreases in public funding have created a rise in unethical behaviour, particularly concerning private donations and investments by organizations or individuals with questionable human rights violations or other criminal behaviour. According to Global Corruption Report: Education, “higher education institutions should not assist abusive officials or their families in attempts to launder their images or legitimize their regimes in exchange for funds.” Recruitment and admission are also areas where corruption and fraud are common, with some university administrators altering admissions requirements for specific “protégés,” and paid impersonators taking entrance exams for potential students. The report also highlights areas of financial fraud within the universities. Earlier this year, Maclean’s reported claims that several Canadian universities that had accepted funds from sources that were allegedly connected to regimes with “appalling human rights record[s].” Inside Higher Ed  

uDelaware adds a “middle teacher” to prof/TA team

The University of Delaware is experimenting with an addition to the traditional university teaching team: a “preceptor” who acts as an intermediary between the professors and the teaching assistants. The university has placed these full-time, experienced teachers with master's degrees or higher in its introductory biology and chemistry courses, hoping to help students connect what they’ve learned in lecture to the concepts they cover in labs. uDelaware President Patrick T. Harker says that the preceptors will also help the university recruit and retain students in science fields. uDelaware hopes to expand preceptors to any course that incorporates hands-on learning, and will run annual evaluations of the preceptors’ effectiveness. Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

Student serenades random students in class for YouTube video

Ryerson University film student Kyle Forgeard and his production team have created a lighthearted YouTube video in which Foregeard bursts into unsuspecting lecture halls at the University of Toronto Mississauga, picks out a random student, and serenades her with various love songs. UTM has shared the video on its Facebook page, saying “Random singing dude, you ROCK.”