Top Ten

October 11, 2013

Alice Munro wins Nobel Prize for Literature

Western University alumna and former writer-in-residence Alice Munro has won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature, becoming the first Canadian woman to do so. Munro is also only the 13th woman to win the prize. Deemed the “master of the contemporary short story" during the Nobel announcement, Munro has also won the Man Booker International Prize for lifetime body of work, 3 Giller Prizes, 3 Governor General's Literary Awards, the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, the Marian Engel Award and the American national Book Critics Circle Award. “Alice Munro is Canada’s finest writer,” says Western professor David Bentley, a Distinguished University Professor and Carl F. Klinck Professor in Canadian Literature. “We can take special pleasure in the fact that her extraordinary career began here.” WesternU News | CTV News

uManitoba faculty votes in favour of strike

Faculty at the University of Manitoba have voted 68% in favour of a strike over 3 nights of voting last week, with 820 professors out of 1,230 voting. "At this point, the university's activities continue as scheduled. The university has not been made aware of any strike date, and there are plans to meet with a conciliator next week," says uManitoba's Director of Marketing and Communications. Conciliation is set to begin next Wednesday, according to the Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg Free Press

York, HEC Montréal, UBC make Forbes top global business schools list

York University’s Schulich School of Business, HEC Montréal, and the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business have made Forbes magazine’s list of top international business schools. Schools are ranked based on their “5-year MBA gain,” which is calculated by comparing the earnings for the class of 2008 in its first 5 years out of business school to its opportunity costs (forgone compensation, tuition and required fees). Forbes separates US business schools from all other countries’ schools. Schulich, HEC and Sauder came in at numbers 21, 22 and 23, respectively. Schulich and Sauder also made Forbes’ list of best 2-year MBA programs for return on investment, ranking numbers 10 and 11, respectively. Forbes (best overall) Forbes (best 2-year, ROI)

Queen’s principal condemns attack on students

Queen’s University Principal Daniel Woolf has issued a statement of condemnation following a recent attack on a group of 6 Queen’s students in Kingston’s north end. The students, who are all Muslim, were walking home from a movie when they were allegedly chased down and attacked by 4 men on bicycles. The attackers made derogatory comments before one pulled out a weapon and began hitting one of the students. The students were able to break free from the men and hide in a nearby backyard; only minor injuries are reported. Kingston’s Major Crime unit is investigating the incident as a hate crime. Woolf says that he is “shocked and dismayed” to learn that 6 of his students were attacked in this way, and assures the students that “Queen’s is committed to protecting [its] faculty, staff and students from hate and discrimination of all kinds.” Queen’s News Release

OCAD partners with Indiegogo to raise money for startups

OCAD University has become the first Canadian PSE institution to partner with Indiegogo, one of the world’s largest crowdfunding platforms, to create an independent Indiegogo page for OCADU startups. There are currently 3 campaigns listed on the university’s page, which have so far raised a total of $82,531. Campaign contributors can earn perks for their donations, such as one of startup Sprout Guerrilla’s “DIY graffiti kits” that promote city pride. “We are thrilled to work with OCAD U as the first Canadian university Indiegogo partner to bring these innovative and world-changing ideas to the next level via crowd-funding.  We look forward to working with many more,” says Bre DiGiammarino, Education and Social Innovation Director for Indiegogo. OCADU News Release

uRegina acts on improper blood test procedure despite low risk

The University of Regina is contacting 670 current and former students, and research participants who may have taken a blood test using an outdated practice during in-class testing between 2006 and 2012, informing them that there is a very low risk of blood-borne infection. The update to the procedure involved replacing 2 components of a finger-prick device after each use rather than just one; uRegina faculty members were not aware of this change. However, they did find out and update their procedure to meet the new standards in 2012. “Public Health Services has assured us that the risks from this situation are very low but we are not going to take any chances,” says Harold Riemer, Dean of Kinesiology and Health Studies. “I want to apologize to everyone involved and assure them that we will do whatever is needed to make the situation right.” uRegina News Release

COU launches student contest in mental health

The Council of Ontario Universities has launched a new competition that asks university students how they would use social media to promote social change in mental health on campus, in an effort to get students talking about mental health and to break down stigmas. The Mental Health 2.0 competition is open to individuals or teams, who will submit social media campaign plans for a chance to win prizes of $1,500 for first place, $1,000 for second place, and $500 for third place. The contest, which is funded by the Ontario government, is open until November 29 and winners will be announced in March. Mental Health 2.0 Website

Alberta cancels financial review of uAlberta

The Alberta government has cancelled a financial review of the University of Alberta one month after it was announced. “I’m satisfied that the university has committed to do what I and we felt needs to be done…So there’s no need to expend taxpayer’s dollars for third parties if we have achieved the goal that ultimately we wanted to achieve,” says Advanced Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk. The province cut uAlberta’s budget by $43 million this past spring, which prompted the university to make cuts to student spaces or programs in both science and arts, and offer faculty members collective-agreement buyouts. Global News

uSask Arts & Sciences unveils 2 new research websites

The University of Saskatchewan College of Arts & Science has announced 2 new research websites that showcase research to the public and provide resources for uSask researchers. A website for the public introduces arts and science research, and features an embedded video with interviews and testimonials from the college’s dean, graduate students and arts and science faculty. A second site provides faculty and researchers with an A – Z listing of all research services available at the college, including funding assistance, community engagement opportunities, writing and citations guides, and more. Public Site | Researchers Site

OCAS launches redesigned applicant website

The Ontario College Application Service (OCAS) has launched a redesigned website that aims to help applicants find the information they need faster. Along with a more contemporary design, the new site includes a “How to Apply” section with information for all types of applicants, a “Choose a College” area for information on Ontario’s public colleges, and a comprehensive FAQ built from data gathered through OCAS’ customer contact centre. Based on direct requests from site users, OCAS has added “Apply Now” and “Log In” buttons to every page of the site and a “News and Events” section for important updates and to showcase college events. OCAS News Release | OCAS Website

Canadore president responds to Aboriginal education gap article

Canadore College President George Burton has issued a response to a recent Globe and Mail article that discusses the widening education gap for Aboriginal students, pointing out that the article leaves the college level out of the equation. Burton shows that there is no education gap for Aboriginal students at the college level; data from the 2011 National Household Survey shows that the number of Aboriginal students with trade certificates and college diplomas was actually slightly larger than the comparable figures for the general population. Burton adds that the Aboriginal student population at Canadore is nearly 20% overall. “As with all students, it is important that Aboriginal learners are exposed to a variety of creative educational pathways,” says Burton. “As such, both colleges and universities have a role to play in helping Canada’s students to receive the education they need to find meaningful employment.” Canadore News

VIU generates $406 million for local economy

An economic impact study commissioned by Vancouver Island University shows that the institution generates $406 million in direct and indirect economic benefit to Nanaimo, Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast region. The report also estimates a $204-million GDP, value-added benefits to the economy, and $38.4 million in tax revenue generated through university-driven employment. It concluded that for each dollar the university spends, $1.75 is generated in the economy through indirect or induced spending. "I think it's important as the university grows to be able to demonstrate facts about this community to the region," says VIU president Ralph Nilson of the starting point for further planning that the report provides. The report also estimates that VIU's presence in the region is responsible for the equivalent of 3,095 full-time jobs. Nanaimo Daily News

New voucher allows colleges to help companies enhance e-commerce

Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) has launched a new voucher program that will give up to 100 companies working through 9 colleges $2,500 each to build or enhance their online business presence. The chosen companies will be selected by one of the participating colleges to take advantage of online tools – including e-commerce, website improvements and mobile apps – to drive business growth. The initiative is part of Ontario’s Collaboration Voucher Program, designed to help companies in the province become more modern, innovative, productive and competitive, and to create more jobs and economic growth. Participating colleges are: Algonquin, George Brown, Fanshawe, Cambrian, Niagara, Lambton, College Boreal, Conestoga and Georgian. OCE News Release

Selkirk sees 21% increase in international students

BC’s Selkirk College has seen a 21% increase in international students following a headcount for September 2013. Selkirk cites work being done overseas in recent months, particularly in India, for the jump. “Selkirk College offers international students a great place to learn and explore a special region of Canada,” says Selkirk College VP Neil Coburn. “Having these students on our campuses brings the added bonus of shrinking the world for our domestic students.” In total there are 2,155 students currently registered in Selkirk programs. Selkirk News Release

Employers say MBA graduate market will grow in 2014

The global market for MBA graduates next year appears more positive than in recent years, according to a new international survey of corporate recruiters. Asia leads the forecasted trend, with a 20% increase in hiring expected for 2014; North American employers expect a 16% rise in hiring in the same period. “As confidence in economic recovery arrives in North America, we are likely to see renewed demand for MBA graduates from globally oriented and local employers,” say the report authors. The Jobs and Salary Trends Report, by London-based QS Intelligence Unit and, is an annual survey of more than 4,000 employers in 39 countries. The report also states that employers are looking to international candidates in their search for MBA graduates due to their global work experience, and language and soft skills; recruiters say that graduates are meeting their expectations on leadership skills, but not on communication, interpersonal relations and strategic thinking. Globe and Mail

University presidents spending less time at the helm

University presidents are spending fewer years in their posts than presidents in the past, according to research by David Turpin, former President of the University of Victoria. The research also reveals that university heads are more likely to be forced out of office by “increasingly activist boards of governors.” Turpin compiled a database of 981 leaders who have held a university presidency over the past 224 years. The average length of service for presidents has declined to about 4 years today from 8 in the late 1950s, and anecdotal evidence suggests that many of the early departures in recent years were a result of board terminations. Turpin says other countries, including the US, Australia and the UK, have witnessed the same trends. He suggests several reasons for the decline: the roles of both university presidents and boards of governors have evolved, creating a more onerous job for a president and a more “interventionist” characteristic in boards of governors; and there has been an increase in the number of external candidates appointed to the top university spot. University Affairs

How to encourage more female entrepreneurs

In the face of mounting evidence that suggests males are more likely to pursue venture creation or development, entrepreneurship curriculum remains essentially gender-blind, University of Ottawa Telfer School of Management Vice-Dean Barbara Orser argues in a recent Globe and Mail op-ed. Research by the Telfer School reveals that, after controlling for a variety of potential drivers of growth, women-owned young Canadian firms grow less quickly than do male-owned counterparts. Orser suggests that PSE institutions could introduce more female role models and case studies about women-owned businesses to improve these statistics. She also suggests that entrepreneurship initiatives at institutions should target more “female-dominated faculties,” such as communications, natural sciences, nursing, early childhood studies, and education. Orser recommends that funding guidelines be used to stimulate entrepreneurship in these female-dominated disciplines. Globe and Mail

More physicians having trouble finding jobs

A new report by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada reveals that a growing number of medical specialists are having difficulty finding work. 16% of respondents who were certified in Canada during 2011 and 2012 said they were unable to secure employment. Another 31.2% indicated they chose not to enter the job market, opting to pursue further training because they believed it would make them more employable. The study also showed that employment challenges appeared to increase in 2012 over 2011. Respondents who reported having employment issues increased to 17% in 2012 from 13% in 2011 for specialists, and to 21% from 15% for subspecialists. The study identified 3 factors that may contribute to the decline: the weakened economy, which has forced many doctors to delay retirement; the emergence of interprofessional models of care that rely less on physicians; and a lack of adequate career and job search counseling. Royal College News Release

BrownU “edit-a-thon” to add Wikipedia article on women in science

Maia Weinstock, a news director at an educational website for children called BrainPOP, has worked with her alma mater Brown University to organize a Wikipedia “Edit-a-Thon,” in which volunteers will create and edit Wikipedia pages for women significant in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. Volunteers can either propose names of women they want to write about or pick from a list that Weinstock and other organizers have compiled. The goal of the project is to increase the representation of women on Wikipedia pages and to bring people together to be enlightened. The event will be held on Ada Lovelace Day (October 15), an unofficial holiday created in Britain in 2009 to recognize women in technology. Chronicle of Higher Education

California law allows for 2-tiered tuition

California Governor Jerry Brown last week signed a law that will allow up to 6 colleges to experiment with 2-tiered tuition for high-demand extension courses in summer and winter terms. The 2-tiered tuition idea is controversial in the state because of its commitment to open access and low tuition rates at community colleges. The Faculty Association of California Community Colleges called the practice a “toll road for the economically privileged.” However, supporters of the legislation said it will help colleges expand access after years of deep budget cuts; community colleges have had to turn away some 600,000 students due to financial constraint. “This seems like a reasonable experiment,” Brown says. “Why deny these campuses the opportunity to offer students access and financial assistance to courses not otherwise available?” Inside Higher Ed