Top Ten

November 4, 2013

David Weklund donates $25 million to uCalgary education faculty

The University of Calgary has received a $25 million donation from business leader David P. Werklund to name the Werklund School of Education. The gift is the largest ever received by a faculty of education in Canada, according to uCalgary. It will enhance learning opportunities for current and future teachers, and “ensure uCalgary continues to drive change in education across Alberta and beyond.” The Werklund gift also supports uCalgary’s Eyes High strategic plan to become one of Canada’s top 5 research universities by 2016. Werklund’s support has already led to the establishment of uCalgary's Werklund Foundation Centre for Youth Leadership Education, which focuses on research, teaching and community service for youth who may otherwise go unnoticed. uCalgary News Release

Aeroplan to give loyalty points for tuition with new startup

Aeroplan, the loyalty points program, has expanded its list of rewards to include tuition, making it the first partner of a startup called Higher Ed Points Inc. The program, which officially launches November 7, aims to ease some of the pressure of the cost of PSE by allowing consumers to use the points they have sitting in loyalty accounts to contribute to university or college tuition for themselves or for someone they know. Aeroplan began talks with Higher Ed Points in March. While so far only 3 institutions are in the system to transfer points to tuition dollars -- the University of New Brunswick, Centennial College, and Kwantlen Polytechnic University in BC -- but Higher Ed Points is currently in talks with a number of other institutions. Globe and Mail

Canadian Business releases new MBA rankings

Canadian Business magazine has added new Canadian MBA rankings to its annual MBA Guide, which hit newsstands last week. York University’s Schulich School of Business took the top spot, with HEC Montréal and Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business coming in at 2nd and 3rd. The rankings come from a “mix of self-reported quantitative data from MBA programs and independent qualitative data.” In Canadian Business’ Reputation Index, Western University’s Ivey Business School, the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and Queen’s School of Business were named the top 3 MBA programs. To come up with the reputation rankings, Canadian Business polled HR professionals. Canadian Business

BC announces $1.8 million for trades training

The British Columbia government has announced one-time funding of $1.8 million for 456 foundation seats in targeted trades training at 10 public PSE institutions, with $1.6 million allocated for priority foundation programs. These identified trades meet the labour market and economic development priorities of the BC Jobs Plan and Skills and Training Plan, says a BC news release. "In addition to targeting specific trades, the funding also supports the trades discovery program that gives young people an insight into what can be an exciting career and will put a pay cheque in their back pocket," says Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk. BC News Release

Rotman unveils new trading floor simulation lab

University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management has inaugurated its newly refurbished and expanded BMO Financial Group Finance Research and Trading Lab, which gives budding traders hands-on training and the use of the same resources they would find on the trading floor of the TSX, including up-to-date Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters financial information. The new lab, which was once office space and part of a library, is far bigger than Rotman’s previous lab, and can accommodate more people. “Grading doesn’t depend on profits or losses, but rather the strategy the students have used to handle particular cases, which professors design based on real-world events,” explains the lab’s Founder and Director Tom McCurdy. The refurbishment of the lab was supported by a $1.75-million gift from BMO Financial Group. Toronto Star

MacEwan hopes to preserve current enrolment, despite pressure to grow

MacEwan University would like to keep its small class sizes and avoid major increases in enrolment despite pressure to invite more students onto its campus, reports the Edmonton Journal. MacEwan President David Atkinson told the Journal that with 12,000 students, the university is “in some ways…almost the right size to offer its unique student experience, with the emphasis on teaching rather than research.” He added that there may be pressure to take in more students as the University of Alberta raises its high school entrance requirements to reduce its enrolment in arts and science faculties by several hundred students. MacEwan’s City Centre Campus is, however, looking to increase its foreign students to about 8% of the student body, up from the current level of 5.2%. Edmonton Journal

uMontréal rector looking to expand partnerships with Israel

Université de Montréal Rector Guy Breton says he would like to forge stronger connections with Israel, following a trip to the country with a delegation of 10 Quebecors. The university’s law faculty already has an agreement with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and uMontréal has now entered into 3 more agreements with Israeli universities. Breton says there may be a unique opportunity for uMontréal in Israel because a growing segment of the Israeli population speaks French -- as much as 20% -- and says he would like to see more students from Israel who wish study abroad choose uMontréal. Breton adds that the university has much to offer Israel, particularly in the area of medical training. Montreal Gazette

PhD students call for revised co-authorship practices

A group of PhD students have come up with ways to deal with what they are calling “inappropriate co-authorship practices for scientific articles,” reports University Affairs. The students, speaking at recent a workshop on promoting the work done by student researchers, cited personal examples that ranged from having articles poorly rewritten by supervising professors, to being relegated to third author despite large contributions. The PhD candidates proposed various solutions: documenting exemplary co-authoring practices; promoting discussions between professors and students regarding publications, funding and assistantship; gathering more information on the mechanisms of publishing scholarly papers; and seeking better guidance in drafting their first articles. Vincent Larivière, Assistant Professor at Université de Montréal’s school of library and information science, says professors "must demonstrate transparency with respect to their co-authoring practices. Students have the right to know what they must do to be listed as lead author.” University Affairs

US lawmakers push for PSE innovations, accreditation changes

A growing number of US senators are calling for more innovation in teaching and learning in PSE, such as competency-based learning, and some are even talking about changing federal financial aid policy and the accreditation system to do so. Utah Senator Mike Lee plans to soon introduce a bill that would give state regulators the option to either act as accreditors or create their own accreditation systems, and to sign agreements with the US Department of Education that would authorize the flow of federal financial aid to a wide range of course providers, “some of which look nothing like colleges.” “Accreditation could also be available to specialized programs, individual courses, apprenticeships, professional credentialing and even competency-based tests,” says Lee. “States could accredit online courses, or hybrid models with elements on- and off-campus.” Several senators are also calling for the expansion of the Department of Education’s “experimental sites” program, which allows colleges to try new approaches (like competency-based programs) within a “safe space” of looser regulation and financial aid policies. Inside Higher Ed

Coursera to create “learning hubs” around the world in partnership with US

Coursera has announced a new partnership with the US government to create “learning hubs” around the world, where students can go to get Internet access to free courses supplemented by weekly in-person class discussions with local teachers and facilitators. “Our mission is education for everyone, and we’ve seen that when we can bring a community of learners together with a facilitator or teacher who can engage the students, it enhances the learning experience and increases the completion rate,” says Coursera President Lila Ibrahim. Earlier this year, using courses from Coursera and other online providers, the State Department ran a pilot program, testing these spaces where people could take free online courses in priority fields, including science and technology subjects, “Americana” and entrepreneurship. New York Times