Top Ten

November 22, 2013

uCalgary business school receives $5 million for real estate education

University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business has received a $5-million gift from local builder and developer Jay Westman to educate students as business leaders for the real estate industry. The new Westman Centre for Real Estate Studies will offer academic and research programs, and will create a platform for community dialogue “embracing academic, practitioner and government views of importance to the industry.” Westman is the owner and co-founder of Jayman, one of the largest home builders in western Canada. The donation supports the school’s aim to offer a full, undergraduate concentration in real estate and an MBA specialization in the next 2 years, and also supports uCalgary’s Eyes High strategic plan, which was announced in September. uCalgary News Release | Calgary Herald

Ontario’s credit transfer program saves students, taxpayers money

According to new data released by the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT), students who transfer among Ontario’s 44 publicly-funded universities and colleges save an average of $11,000 in tuition and save taxpayers an additional $7,500. There are currently over 600 pathways involving multiple partner institutions, resulting in more than 35,000 transfer opportunities for students; ONCAT has recently funded the development of a further 65 pathways. Approximately 21,500 students transfer within Ontario every year, with the top 5 transfer programs being business, health, social science, engineering, and liberal arts/general arts. Glenn Craney, Executive Director of ONCAT, credits the full participation of all 44 institutions for Ontario’s successful transfer program. "This collaborative approach has led to the establishment of a solid foundation on which to expand the network of transfer options for students," says Craney. In 2012, ONCAT was granted $73.7 million for 5 years by the Ontario government to support the development of a new credit-transfer system. ONCAT News Release

Student Union asks Dal to pull fossil fuel investments

Dalhousie University’s Student Union has asked the institution to halt all investments in fossil fuels, after a unanimous vote by the union, reports the Chronicle Herald. A student group at Dal, called Divest Dal, has been campaigning since May to have the board of governors cut fossil fuel investments, on the grounds that “it is morally bankrupt for an institution that claims to be a leader in sustainability to profit off the extraction of fossil fuels, the warming of the climate, and the displacement of millions of people.” The group also noted the “volatile” nature of investments in the fossil fuel sector, suggesting community development and renewable energy are safer investments. Chronicle Herald  

BCcampus, OUAC launch new transcript exchange program

A partnership between BCcampus and the Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC) is behind the launch of an innovative transcript exchange program, set to begin in January. The BC2ON pilot project will allow PSE institutions in BC to send transcripts directly to OUAC without first being routed through a hub at the University of Texas, as is currently the case. The state-of-the-art technology is more secure and user-friendly, and consists of the formation of a “first-of-its-kind Canadian user group.” BCcampus’ Randy Bruce stated, “Our ultimate goal is for the University of Texas process to be phased out entirely, resulting in a more efficient and effective transcript exchange that keeps Canadian information in Canada.” BCcampus News Release

Carleton contract instructors launch website during negotiations

Contract instructors at Carleton University have launched a website,, to voice concerns about working conditions amid talks between their labour union and the university. The site aims to highlight the positive and negative experiences of contract instructors at Carleton, CUPE Local 4600 official Dan Sawyer told the Ottawa Citizen. It features photos of various contract instructors holding up hand-written notes containing their thoughts on teaching at the university. “We are making steady progress on a number of issues,” says Carleton spokesperson Steven Reid on the ongoing talks. “We highly value the important work done by our instructors and teaching assistants and we look forward to continued discussions in the coming weeks.” Ottawa Citizen | Website

Camosun College adds over $1 billion to Victoria economy

Camosun College contributes over $1 billion to the Victoria, BC economy each year, and boasts a student satisfaction rate of 92.9%, according to analysis prepared for the college by an outside consultant. The report states that the $1 billion impact comes from indirect college, student and employee spending, and the accumulated productivity of Camosun graduates, based on the 2011-12 academic year. Camosun reports an operating budget of $105 million, and employs approximately 919 full-time, on-campus staff. Camosun News Release | Full Report

Ryerson, uOttawa, Lakehead to offer new options in law

Ryerson University and the University of Ottawa have partnered with the Law Society of Upper Canada to offer a new Law Practice Program (LPP), which is an alternative to the traditional Ontario articling program and a first-of-its-kind in Canada, according to a Ryerson news release. Ryerson will deliver the English version of the LPP program, while uOttawa will offer the French version. As part of the Law Society’s new “Pathways Pilot Project,” which aims to fill the gaps created by a shortage of articling jobs, students can now choose between the articling program, the LPP program, or a third option: the “integrated practice curriculum” offered by Lakehead University’s law degree program. “[Lakehead’s] integrated practice curriculum is the first of its kind in Canada to integrate legal professional training into its JD degree,” says Lakehead’s Dean of the Faculty of Law Lee Stuesser. “Students will not only learn law, but also the necessary practice skills to apply that law effectively.” Ryerson News Release | uOttawa News Release | Lakehead News Release | Financial Post

Seneca partners with Manulife to offer travel insurance training

Seneca College has partnered with Manulife Financial to offer its tourism students hands-on training in travel insurance sales. Seneca will use Manulife’s SmarterU, an online, interactive-learning platform that teaches students about the features and benefits of travel insurance. Manulife’s Robert Lafrate says that “being able to offer future travelers accurate and useful information on travel insurance is a crucial skill for today’s travel industry professionals.” Seneca is the first Canadian institution to offer the Manulife training to students. Seneca News Release

NDP proposes national science watchdog following scientists’ concerns

The Federal New Democrats are proposing the creation of a science watchdog to monitor whether the government is gathering and using evidence to shape its policies, following allegations that scientists have been “muzzled.” NDP science critic Kennedy Stewart says he developed legislation to deliver the plan after being approached by a number of scientists in government and academia. The watchdog would review and report on government scientific issues “in the same way that the auditor general looks at finances to see whether taxpayers are getting value for money.” Liberal science critic Ted Hsu says he agrees with the proposal, but adds that it is also important to have the position of the national science adviser to provide confidential advice and guidance to the prime minister in developing policies.

SMU nurse stops writing sick notes, cites faked illness during exams

A nurse at Saint Mary’s University has refused to continue signing sick notes for students after she noticed a sharp rise in students faking illnesses around exam time. Jane Collins says she has signed hundreds of sick notes since she began working at the school 19 years ago, and that there is usually a “bee line” at her office for the notes after fall midterms. SMU students can still go to a doctor when they are sick and ask for a note, says Collins. "It shouldn't be on me to absolve these [students] from their exams." She adds that she'll make exceptions when it comes to mental health and chronic conditions. CBC