Top Ten

November 6, 2013

Alberta commits $85.8 million to new MRU library

The Alberta government has committed $85.8 million to Mount Royal University’s new Riddell Library and Learning Centre, which will aim to provide “intellectual exchange, academic excellence and student success.” With the provincial funding and additional funding from the Riddell family, MRU has secured the necessary funding for the project, which is expected to begin in the spring of 2014. The building will provide 4 times more space than the existing library, and will be brought up to LEED standards. MRU News Release | Alberta News Release

Ryerson suspends men’s hockey team for 7 days, 2 games for drinking

Ryerson University has suspended its men’s hockey team for the “consumption of alcohol” during its pre-season road trip to New Jersey, a violation of the student-athlete code of conduct. The team will miss their next 2 games against the University of Ontario Institute of Technology on Thursday, and Queen’s University on Saturday. “The university takes incidents of misbehaviour seriously and student-athletes and coaches are well aware of the behaviour expected of them,” Ryerson said in a release. The university also announced that head coach Graham Wise has been suspended for 4 games. National Post

UBC business school to cover cost of extra sexual assault counselling

The University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business has committed $200,000 to expand sexual-assault counselling and education for students after an undergraduate society at the centre of a pro-rape frosh chant voted not to provide the funds, reports the Canadian Press. UBC President Stephen Toope in September recommended that the Commerce Undergraduate Society (CUS) make a $250,000 contribution to fund a new 3-year councillor position. CUS President Sean Fleming says the society wants to address the issue of sexual violence, but it prefers a broader response to the problem. “This vote doesn’t reflect an indifference or insensitivity to this issue on campus, but rather, a disagreement about the best way to tackle it within our community,” says Fleming. Globe and Mail (Canadian Press)

Yukon College given 97 hectares of land

The Yukon government has set aside 97 hectares of land for Yukon College, pledging not to develop the land for the next 5 years. Paul Flaherty, Chair of Yukon’s board of governors, says the college will use the time to develop a land-use plan in consultation with government, students and staff. He adds that new developments could include new research and faculty facilities, and student residences. CBC

SSHRC launches student contest to promote liberal arts research

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) has launched a contest that challenges PSE students to show Canadians how liberal arts research is “affecting our lives, our world and our future prosperity.” SSHRC is accepting submissions from November 1 to January 15 in the form of a 3-minute pitch via podcast, op-ed, video, or infographic. The top 25 finalists will receive registration and accommodation at the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences' Congress 2014 conference in May, at which they will promote their project and participate in a research communications workshop. 5 jury-chosen presenters will then be covered by national media, promoted by SSHRC, and showcased as part of the 2014 SSHRC Impact Awards ceremony. SSHRC Website

TRU reaches agreement with faculty association

Thompson Rivers University has reached a 2-year tentative agreement with its faculty association, which would cover the period of 2012 to 2014. The 819 members of the Thompson Rivers University Faculty Association will have an opportunity to ratify the agreement next week, after which the agreement will be presented to the university’s board of governors for approval. University officials say the deal is consistent with the provincial cooperative gains mandate and settlements within the BC PSE and public sectors. TRU News Release

SMA supports uSask college of medicine reforms

The Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA) has voted to support the extensive reforms underway at the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Medicine, which was put on probation earlier this fall. The college has been developing the plan, which includes many recruitment, hiring and compensation strategies, since 2011. "The college is essential for us. It produces most of the doctors who stay in the province," says SMA President Clare Kozroski. The vote followed a presentation by uSask College of Medicine Vice-Provost Martin Phillipson, who explained why the college was put on probation and what was being proposed as solutions. Leader Post

Canada, Ontario lack data on graduate employment outcomes

A newHigher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) report reveals a notable lack of data on important aspects of graduate education, such as employment outcomes, despite considerable federal and provincial investments in graduate education. The study links changes to graduate enrolments and completions to federal and provincial government policy and investments in graduate education. “Despite our efforts at data collection, with the cooperation of various agencies and governments, and our detailed analysis, we can identify with certainty only a very limited set of outcomes that these significant investments achieved,” say the authors. The report recommends improving data on such important measurables as employment outcomes and changes in the nature of graduate education, such as the introduction of transferable skills, and the impact of such changes on employment outcomes. “We would recommend that policy statements be clear and that government investment be linked with a commitment to collect the data necessary to measure results,” says the paper. HEQCO Summary

Frostburg State offers students option to take first semester online

Maryland’s Frostburg State University will next spring be introducing a “Freshman Choice Program,” which gives first-year students the option of taking their first semester online in an effort to persuade students to study for 4 years. While many institutions use online education to bolster their numbers, Frostburg officials say their intention is, rather, to provide greater access to the university. “We think there are freshman students or prospective freshman students who for one reason or the other cannot begin their college career out at Frostburg by actually attending the campus,” says Vice-Provost John Bowman. The program is an extension of Frostburg’s Summer Online Freshman Initiative, which allows students to take an online course during the 6 weeks leading up to their first semester. Inside Higher Ed

Australia MOOC platform reaches 100,000 enrolments in 7 months

Open Universities Australia’s (OUA) MOOC platform, Open2Study, has reached 100,000 enrolments -- with 53,000 students from more than 180 countries – since its launch in April. 32 courses are available on the platform, with 60% of enrolments now from overseas nations (the top 5 are from the US, India, the UK, Spain and Canada). “The major challenge for…free online education is that despite attracting mass volumes of students, most people fail to complete the course and therefore do not achieve the learning objectives,” says OUA Chief Executive Paul Wappett. “With 1 in 4 Open2Study students completing their subjects, we are proud to see that we are really engaging our students.” Open2Study officials expect to have up to 50 free subjects available by the end of 2013. University World News