Top Ten

December 10, 2013

Lethbridge institutions receive funding for science and trades

The Alberta government is investing in 2 new projects at the University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College to “ensure students get the skills they need to take part in Alberta’s growing workforce.” uLethbridge will receive $200 million towards its Destination Project for the construction of new science facilities, which will house a significant part of the science teaching and research activities on campus. The funding will also allow the university to revitalize its University Hall. Lethbridge College will receive $56 million for its Trades and Technology Project, which will include new learning spaces and equipment for an additional 880 students in 8 trades and 4 technology programs. Alberta News Release | uLethbridge News Release

CIS changes rules to deter US-bound athletes

Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) has announced a new pilot project to discourage Canadian athletes from leaving to study and play in the US, which will allow CIS women’s hockey programs to offer a more flexible scholarship package, money beyond tuition and compulsory fees, and paid room and board. University of Saskatchewan Huskie Athletics Director Basil Hughton says the move is part of a 5-year CIS strategic plan that was "ratified almost unanimously by vote.” The strategic plan also includes a new rule that allows Canadian athletes from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to transfer to CIS universities without penalty. Previously, these athletes would have to sit out for a year before becoming eligible to play at the CIS level. Star Phoenix

Algonquin considering bid on more campuses in Saudi Arabia

Algonquin College is considering a potential bid to manage additional campuses in Saudi Arabia, and hopes they include spots for female students, reports the Ottawa Citizen. During the applications that led to Algonquin’s male-only campus in the country, the college also made a bid for a female-only campus, which was unsuccessful. The Citizen reports that Algonquin has now been shortlisted in a second round of bids for 26 new vocational and technical campuses in the country. “We only considered [campus complexes] with at least one female campus to balance the existing male campus in Jazan,” says an Algonquin staff report. The new campuses are to begin accepting students in fall 2014. Ottawa Citizen

HootSuite founder launches grant, mentorship program for entrepreneurs

Ryan Holmes, Canadian founder of social media management company HootSuite, has announced a new foundation that will offer 10 promising entrepreneurs aged 18 to 22 a bursary of $10,000 and 6 months of mentoring at HootSuite. The Next Big Thing foundation has already received applications from 100 youth from across the globe. “Winners will get the kind of hands-on training that junior entrepreneurs need but can’t obtain through typical education, says Holmes. “We’re bringing in incredible mentors, doing one-on-one sessions with them.” Holmes is also advocating for universities to do more to encourage students to pursue careers in technology and engineering, to make up for a shortage of these types of workers. Toronto Star | Globe and Mail

BCIT receives $2.7 million for welding building upgrade

The British Columbia Institute of Technology has completed a $2.7-million welding facility upgrade with funding from the BC government. The funding allowed BCIT to install a new ventilation system, which will advance the learning environment for welding students while saving energy and improving air quality. The retrofit is part of BCIT's "factor four" program, which will reduce energy consumption by 75% in 7 buildings. "Upgrading trades and technical training facilities is both an important part and key factor in the success of our Skills and Training Plan," said Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training Shirley Bond. BC News Release

Agency ranks universities for social engagement

Social media agency #engagementlabs has published a ranking of Canadian universities based on how “social” they were between November 12 to 26, revealing the University of Toronto on top for Facebook engagement and Western University number one for Twitter engagement. The agency gives each university a percentage based on engagement, impact and responsiveness. In Facebook engagement, Western University and Université Laval came a close second and third to uToronto, and Laurentian University and Ryerson University were second and third to WesternU in Twitter engagement. #engagementlabs

Study reveals “Top 10” effect in rankings

A new study on how rankings are perceived reveals that people tend to mentally group things into fives and tens, and see exaggerated disparity between numbers ending in zeros or fives – meaning that one’s specific placement on a ranking matters less than where one places relative to 5 or 10. “This study tells us that if you’re at 15 and it’s going to take a lot of work to get into the Top 10, you may not want to make that investment. But if you’re at 11, it may really be worth it because that one spot could make a huge difference in the minds of consumers,” says co-author Mathew Isaac, an Assistant Professor at the Albers School of Business and Economics at Seattle University. The study is based on several experiments in various settings in which people react to rankings. Isaac and co-author Robert Schindler of Rutgers University, call this the “Top 10 Effect.” | Study Abstract

Higgs boson physicist says he wouldn’t produce enough to be employed today

British physicist Peter Higgs, for whom the Higgs boson is named, told The Guardian he wouldn’t be hired by any universities today because “he wouldn’t be considered productive enough.” An emeritus professor at Edinburgh University, Higgs says he wouldn’t be able to produce his breakthrough work now because of the “expectations on academics to collaborate and keep churning out papers.” "It's difficult to imagine how I would ever have enough peace and quiet in the present sort of climate to do what I did in 1964," says Higgs of his work, which identified the mechanism by which subatomic material acquires mass. "After I retired it was quite a long time before I went back to my department. I thought I was well out of it. It wasn't my way of doing things any more. Today I wouldn't get an academic job. It's as simple as that. I don't think I would be regarded as productive enough." The Guardian

Princeton considers MOOC platform

Professors at Princeton University are considering developing a MOOC platform of their own, discussing the possibility at a recent faculty meeting. Advocates argued that creating a platform would allow Princeton, which joined the Coursera platform in 2012, to avoid the issue of intellectual property rights. There were also critics of the idea; President Christopher Eisgruber said,​“I must say that developing our own proprietary platform gives me nightmares.” Eisgruber added that “the university is not pushing to be a leader in online courses but instead is experimenting with them,” and said that “in a landscape that is rapidly changing, the university wants to make sure to use technology in a way that is beneficial to the community.” Inside Higher Ed | The Princetonian

“Spectator” demographic represents 25% of Canadian consumers

Political strategist and branding and reputation consultant David Herle has come up with a new group of young Canadians, which he has pegged “Spectators,” while studying the values and aspirations of Canadians for use in marketing. Herle explains that “this group of people aren’t engaged — at least in traditional ways — with the society around them, and see little point in trying to influence the course of events unfolding in their country and the world.” The way they do engage, according to Herle, is via “Clictivism” - social involvement “confined to the click of a mouse or the tap of a track pad.” The average Spectator is under 35, male, and lives in the suburbs of a large city. Spectators represent 25% of the Canadian population, says Herle. “For the most part, it is not apathy, not ignorance, not the generational aberrations that accompany being young, that shape their beliefs and values but a concrete rejection of established social institutions coupled with fear that the Western idealized dream of progress forever is dead,” writes journalist Michael Valpy of Herle’s theory. “The problem is we don’t know what to say to them.” Toronto Star