Top Ten

October 16, 2013

Carleton and Chinese firm to create Clean Energy Research Institute

Carleton University has signed an agreement with China’s ENN Group to establish a new Clean Energy Research Institute at Carleton. The institute, which will be located in Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design, will conduct clean energy-related research and development programs, evaluate natural gas liquefaction and storage technology, research the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in large trucks, establish industrial and technical standards, and carry out LNG training. The institute will be directed by Junjie Gu in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, who began work with ENN Group in 2008 as a visiting scholar from Carleton. According to Environment Canada, natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel and can be 30% to 40% less expensive than traditional fuels like gasoline or diesel. Carleton News Release

uAlberta science faculty raises admission requirements to reduce enrolment

The University of Alberta’s science faculty will raise its entrance requirements next fall to 82% from 80% in an attempt to reduce enrolment by about 250 students; last year, enrolment dropped by 260 students after the entrance requirement was raised to an average of 80% from 72%. “Given the 7% cut in provincial funding to universities, the faculty can no longer carry unfunded students,” says Dean of science Jonathan Schaeffer. Earlier this fall, the Edmonton Journal reported that the Faculty of Arts was also considering raising its admission requirement, in that case to 75% from the current 73% cutoff. Edmonton Journal

NSERC, SSHRC propose open-access publications

Canada’s federal research funding agencies -- the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) – are seeking feedback on a draft policy that would require federally-funded, peer-reviewed journal publications to be made freely available within one year of publication. The Tri-agency Open Access Policy is modeled after the Canadian Institutes of Health Research open access policy, which has been in effect since 2008, and is aligned with the direction of other international research funding agencies such as those in Australia, the US, the European Union and the UK. The draft will be available for viewing and comment online until December 13. “Making research results as widely available and accessible as possible is an essential part of advancing knowledge and maximizing the benefits of publicly-funded research for Canadians,” says an NSERC statement on the policy. SSHRC News Release| CBC

uWindsor announces contractor for former Windsor Star site

The University of Windsor has awarded Buttcon Ltd. with the contract to construct the university’s first downtown facility on the site of the historic former Windsor Star building. With completion expected in spring 2015, the $32-million building will house the School of Social Work and the Centre for Executive and Professional Education. Buttcon constructed uWindsor’s Toldo Health Education Centre in 2003, Ryerson University’s Mattamy Athletic Centre, York University’s Sherman Health Sciences Research Centre, the University of Waterloo’s Lyle Hallman Building, and Carleton University’s Technology and Training Centre. uWindsor News Release

Cégep international launches research partnership with Mexican colleges

Cégep international, a partner of the Fédération des cégeps, will be working with technical universities in Mexico to promote the development of scientific cooperation between Quebec and Mexico, and to expand and diversify student and teacher mobility. The project is funded by the Ministry of International Relations, La Francophonie and Foreign Trade for 2 years. Cégeps News Release (in French)

New partnership to give PEI businesses free online courses

Holland College, the PEI government, and Bluedrop Performance Learning have established a new partnership that will allow local businesses to benefit from 2,000 free, online professional development course bundles. “eForcePEI” will use Bluedrop’s online learning platform to provide access to courses from leading publishers and subject experts. “We are committed to supporting the sustainability of our province by providing training opportunities in a variety of ways to give all Islanders the ability to participate in life-long learning. eForcePEI helps us to accomplish that goal,” says Holland President Brian McMillan. PEI is supporting this project with $275,000 in support for Bluedrop and a further $242,000 to help Holland with delivery and promotion of the eForcePEI initiative. PEI News Release

RBC launches new paid internship program

The Royal Bank of Canada has launched a new program that will create 100 new paid internships for recent university and college graduates aged 24 and under. The Career Launch Program, with positions available in 13 cities across Canada, includes a rotation among a retail bank branch, an RBC non-profit community partner and a third area of bank operations. The first Career Launch participants will begin on January 27, and applications are being accepted until October 22. Toronto Star | RBC Website

Women making slow but steady progress in executive, academic roles in PSE

University Affairs Deputy Editor Léo Charbonneau blogs about the number of women in senior roles at Canada’s universities, reporting that out of the 97 Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada member institutions, only 22 (23%) are led by women. However, Charbonneau also points out that the number of female university heads has grown; as of August 2009, there were only 16 women leading what were then 94 member institutions (17%). According to a 2012 report by the Council of Canadian Academies, as of 2008-09 women held one-third of all faculty positions in Canada; of those, approximately 43% were assistant professors, 36% were associate professors and 22% were full professors. A panel at this year’s Worldviews Conference on Media and Higher Education also discussed the lack of women in senior PSE roles, and concluded that “a change…can be achieved if there is a better relationship between the media and universities, so that diverse and positive stories about women are shared with the public.” University Affairs

California community colleges propose legislation to allow 4-year degrees

California’s community college system is considering a proposal to change legislation to allow its colleges to grant 4-year degrees, a move that supporters say would help address shortages in workforce training and benefit students in rural areas without access to a 4-year university. Critics claim the change would represent a dramatic shift from the traditional mission of the 2-year system; California’s 1960 Master Plan for Higher Education designated community colleges as open-for-all campuses for career and transfer students, and 4-year universities as focused on research and higher degrees. The proposal will be considered by a 16-member panel appointed by community colleges Chancellor Brice Harris. California’s consideration follows a growing trend both in the US and Canada. LA Times

German MOOC provider launches first 6 courses

Yet another MOOC provider has entered the market as Germany’s iversity began offering its first 6 courses on Monday with over 115,000 students enrolled. The courses are the first of 24 that iversity hopes to offer, seeking to enrol one million students in more than 100 MOOCs by the end of next year. iversity CEO Marcus Riecke told TechCrunch that it is still considering various business models for monetizing the platform, including payments by students for the final certificate of a MOOC, and matching graduates of its MOOCs with job opportunities that fit the course subject matter. “Before extracting revenues, real demonstrable value for the end user is key: therefore, we want to get to greater scale economies first and genuinely improve the lives of our users by the kinds of education opportunities we have provided,” says Riecke. Chronicle of Higher Education | TechCrunch | iversity News Release