Top Ten

December 16, 2013

Canada launches scholarships in honour of Mandela

Prime Minister Stephen Harper last week announced a new scholarship in honour of the late Nelson Mandela, which will allow up-and-coming African public servants to pursue graduate studies at a Canadian university for one to 2 years. The African Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarships Fund will help these students “learn best practices in governance, public policy and administration," reads a government news release. As part of the program, the government has also made funding available for 10 master’s and 10 doctoral students from Canada to study the following areas: national unity; democracy, freedom and human rights; leadership; or children’s participation in society. These 20 scholarships will be handed out in 2015. CBC | Canada News Release

UTM receives $10 million from Mississauga for innovation complex

The University of Toronto Mississauga will receive $10 million over 10 years towards the construction of the university’s Innovation Complex, which will house “undergraduate and professional graduate programs that will be integrated with external business and community stakeholders, and aligned with key sectors of industry and commerce.” The 4-storey building, scheduled to open in September 2014, will be home to the Institute for Management & Innovation, and will include space for the Office of the Registrar, the Li Koon Chun Finance Learning Centre and the Departments of Economics and Management.  According to UTM, the construction is expected to create about 28 person-years of employment, $2.6 million in labour income, and nearly $1 million in business income in Mississauga. uToronto News Release

Taskforce report recommends MUN law school

A Memorial University taskforce has completed a report that recommends the university consider establishing a law school. This past February, the taskforce was asked to do a feasibility study for a faculty of law that would strictly be a professional school rather than a degree program or department of law. The report estimates that the capital costs of such a school would be $26.1 million, and that it would cost more than $5 million each year to run the school. MUN is welcoming feedback on the report until January, and then the university will decide next steps. MUN News Release | CBC

uMoncton planning educational, commercial expansion

The University of Moncton is planning a 3-phase expansion plan that will see new educational, residential and commercial buildings on 80 hectares of land owned by the university. The first phase of the project will involve 18 hectares of the land developed for “better on-campus services for 5,000 students and staff.” “We're going with a medical complex with a pharmacy, things like that,” says Georges Bouchard of uMoncton Development Inc, who will lease the land from the university. The money will be put into a trust fund to support university research. The plan also includes building a 100-room hotel and conference centre across the street from Moncton Stadium. uMoncton hopes to begin construction in the summer, with phase one opening in 2015. CTV Atlantic

uAlberta makes cuts to northern studies institute

The University of Alberta’s Canadian Circumpolar Institute for northern studies is going through a “revisioning process” following cuts to its budget, reports the Edmonton Journal. The cuts are part of a larger budget reduction, following the Alberta government’s nearly 7% cut to its PSE budget. “This is not as catastrophic as some people are making it out to be,” says uAlberta VP Research Lorne Babiuk. “We are still very committed to northern research.” Babiuk adds that the centre hopes to continue its work in some capacity, but that it may have to sustain itself by generating more revenue from research grants, donations and other sources. uAlberta’s AVP Research Ingrid Johnston says the institute’s acting director will deliver a plan for its future in March. Edmonton Journal

Canada’s finance committee recommends loans break for co-op students

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance has recommended that the federal government explore the feasibility of exempting additional in-study income from the Canada Student Loans Program’s assessment. The recommendation is part of the finance committee’s report following consultations on the 2014 Budget. Under the current policy, those who work while studying have their financial assistance lessened for any amount earned over $100 per week. The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) has welcomed the recommendation, saying the policy change “would help in the generation and transition of experienced graduates to Canada’s economy.” CASA News Release | Budget Recommendations

Social media courses increasingly popular with MBA students

Courses in social media at Canadian business schools are becoming increasingly popular with students, reports the Globe and Mail. Western University's Ivey Business School launched a social media marketing course in 2011 that saw enrolment nearly triple in 2012 and double in 2013, forcing Ivey to create a limit on class size. The social media course at Concordia University’s John Molson business school is more popular than most other electives. “Lots of students recognized that if they wanted to get into the field of marketing, social media was vital for success,” says John Molson marketing Chair Christopher Ross. If you’re going to be out there making decisions, it’s almost as important as having some accounting knowledge.” The Globe points out that students interested in entrepreneurship, and not just management, are flocking to the social media courses as well. “The Internet is the number one way for a startup right now,” says Raymond Pirouz, the lecturer in Ivey’s course on new media marketing. Globe and Mail

US enrolment drops for 2nd year, by 9.7% for private universities

Overall enrolment at American PSE institutions dropped for the second year in a row, by 1.5%, with enrolments at 4-year private for-profit institutions taking the sharpest decline at 9.7%, reveals National Student Clearinghouse Research Center (NSCRC) data. For-profit universities have experienced enrolment drops for the past 3 years, with declines of 7.2% and 3.8% in 2012 and 2011. Enrolment at 2-year public colleges slipped 3.1%, increased by 1.3% at 4-year private nonprofit colleges, and inched up by 0.3% at 4-year public institutions. Fall enrolments by age group dropped 3.4% for students older than 24, compared to a 0.4% decrease for students 24 and under. "This suggests that much of the enrolment decline may be driven by older students' returning to the job market," says NSCRC Research Manager Jason DeWitt. Inside Higher Ed | Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) | Study Overview

National digital public library in US making progress

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), which opened this past spring, has been successful in becoming a central link for PSE institutions in the US that want to make their materials more accessible to the public. The digital library has gained financial support from several organizations, including the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. By October, the DPLA saw “hundreds of thousands” of page views per month. "I think one of the reasons people are liking DPLA is you can find material from a small rural archive alongside things from the Smithsonian," says Executive Director Dan Cohen. The Chronicle of Higher Education points out that the DPLA also creates awareness for some of the regional institutions’ collections. The system was also designed to be a platform on which people can create new applications, explains the Chronicle. Its application-programming interface (API) has had some 1.7 million hits so far. Chronicle of Higher Education

US study correlates good looks with PSE success

Attractive high school students are more likely to go on to earn a 4-year university degree than those with “just average or below average looks,” according to a new US study. The researchers studied 8,918 students across the country from high school through the post-PSE years, and used various socioeconomic factors to control the results. Using a 5-point scale, they rated students around “characteristics generally found by surveys to correlate with societal expectations about attractiveness (such as a symmetrical face).” About one-third of all students studied finished a 4-year degree, but those rated attractive were 3% more likely to have completed the degree. Co-author Rachel A Gordon says she hopes the results will prompt high school teachers to examine whether they have a bias based on appearance, but admitted that “the research doesn't show definitively that bias is the key issue.” Inside Higher Ed