Top Ten

October 31, 2013

Centennial to receive up to $26 million from Ontario for aerospace training

Centennial College will receive up to $26 million from the Ontario government to relocate its aviation programs to the former de Havilland aircraft manufacturing centre at Downsview Park. The centre will be renovated to provide new classrooms, workshops and hangar space, and to house an innovation and research working group that brings together industry leaders and academic partners, including University of Toronto’s Institute for Aerospace Studies, Ryerson University, and York University. Centennial says “the investment is the first step towards creating an aerospace training and research hub for the development of new technologies in Ontario.” With the move to Downsview, which is expected to take place by September 2015, enrolment in the aviation programs is expected to grow to more than 900 students. Centennial News Release

uOttawa and support staff ratify deal with 97% support

The University of Ottawa and its support staff, represented by OSSTF-SSUO, have ratified a new 4-year collective agreement. Members of the bargaining unit voted 97% in favour of the deal, and the Board of Governors agreed in a vote several days later. “I am pleased that both parties have now accepted this deal, which recognizes the importance of our support staff. I want to thank everybody involved in the negotiations for their efforts and this successful outcome,” says uOttawa President Allan Rock. uOttawa News Release

3 more universities join eCampusAlberta consortium

eCampusAlberta has welcomed 3 new universities – uAlberta, uCalgary, and uLethbridge – to its membership list, which now totals 19 institutions with 900 online courses and 70 programs. The online consortium has seen double-digit increases in registrations over the past few years – a rise that eCampusAlberta Executive Director Tricia Donovan says “show[s] that Albertans are eager to advance their careers with online learning.” In 2012-13, eCampusAlberta served more than 11,000 unique learners, resulting in a record 20,851 course registrations. The consortium also announced this week that it has partnered with Open Educational Resource university to provide resources and online courses to the international online education network. eCampusAlberta News Release

Cégeps launch new website for adult learners

The Fédération des cégeps has launched a new website that provides adults with information about programs and courses at Quebec’s 48 public colleges. is part of the “My Return to College” campaign launched in 2010 to encourage more adults to attend college to improve their skills. The site lists the 350 programs available to adult learners, searchable by region, category/sector, and cégep, and provides information on financial support, professional development, and skills required in various sectors. Cégeps News Release (in French) | Website (English version)

Report recommends tuition tax credits changed to grants

Canada’s and Ontario’s tuition and education tax credits should be converted to grants, says a recent Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity (ICP) paper on changes that should be made to the Canada and Ontario tax systems. The report cites a Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation study, which finds the credits are ineffective at encouraging young people to pursue PSE, and says that they do a poor job of supporting those who are most in need of the income support, because their benefits are realized in the future. Converting the credits to grants would reduce the upfront cost of tuition by about $1,900 per student, says the report. ICP News Release | Full Report

Business schools must adapt to prepare students for emerging markets

US business professor Mike Bastin suggests that business schools in the west should rethink their educational methods to better prepare students for emerging markets like China and elsewhere in the east. Bastin argues that because these emerging markets are changing so rapidly, using only business specialists to teach the traditional case-study method means using outdated material and knowledge. He suggests that business schools adopt “a perfect blend and fusion of business subject specialists and area experts” from departments such as Asian studies centres. Bastin recognizes that many universities have already established such centres, but says that they usually “aim to further understanding and knowledge across all faculties, from the arts to science and social science, and as a result, do not present clear opportunities for collaboration with business schools and their emerging market educational efforts.” Bastin concludes that an emerging-market business centre would “provide the vehicle necessary to unite effectively area and business specialists.” Financial Times

New book explains why some presidencies “derail”

A new book by 2 former university presidents and a public policy professor from the US discusses why presidencies sometimes fail within the first couple of years. Presidencies Derailed, by Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, Gerald Kauvar and E. Grady Bogue, examines several “derailed presidencies” and suggests 6 factors that cover the various cases they studied: ethical lapses, such as affairs or expense scandals; poor interpersonal skills; failing in leading strong, cohesive groups of senior staff to support their administration; difficulty adapting to the culture or administrative style of an institution; failing to meet hefty goals; and board of governors' shortcomings that keep the president from being successful. The book also offers advice to newly-appointed university presidents “on how to avert a train wreck.” “The suggestions aren’t startling – just good management and recruitment procedures – but the tales the authors have accumulated show they are often what is missing,” says reviewer Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail review. Globe and Mail

US email scam targeting academics

A new cyber scam is behind emails to US academics that inform them that their research has been accepted for a scholarly journal, the American Historical Association warned this week. Scholars are receiving emails from a supposed scholarly journal containing "grammatical errors and unprofessional language," instructing them to submit their paper, and then asking for a “service charge” of several hundred dollars to review, edit and print the piece. Inside Higher Ed | AHA Blog

US universities looking for greater autonomy from states

Several public universities in the US have decided to go private to free themselves from direct state oversight, reports the Pacific Standard. For example, Oregon’s 3 largest public universities -- Oregon, Portland State, and Oregon State – are in the process of becoming private. Many other institutions across the country are “looking to cut deals with state lawmakers who scale back direct oversight, often in return for less funding or for meeting certain performance targets.” Supporters argue that more autonomy allows public universities to operate with fewer restrictions and with greater freedom to raise revenue at a time when government funding is decreasing. However, critics fear the changes could end up “sidelining broader state goals such as access and affordability in pursuit of their own agendas, such as moving up in college rankings.” Pacific Standard

UK PSE staff hold walkout over pay

Members of the UK’s 3 largest PSE trade unions are taking part in a national walkout today in protest of institutions’ “measly” 1% pay offer, which will be the first time that the 3 unions have taken strike action together, and the first countrywide walkout over pay in the sector since 2006. The walkout could include 59,000 higher education staff and 20,000 technicians, laboratory assistants and facilities-management workers, and could mean key campus services shutting down for the day. However, another trade union, the Universities and Colleges Employers Association, has downplayed the labour action, citing declining trade union membership and low turn-outs in the ballots that backed the walkout. Jo McNeill, University and College Union Branch President at the University of Liverpool, believes that “many services would shut down given the huge support among staff for action over pay.” Times Higher Education