Top Ten

February 28, 2014

SMU offers condolences for death of student

Saint Mary’s University is offering condolences to the family and friends of Loretta Saunders, an Aboriginal student who was found dead on Wednesday. Saunders, who was studying criminology at SMU and planning to write her honours thesis on missing and murdered Indigenous women, went missing on February 13; 2 people are in custody in Halifax in connection with her disappearance. SMU has issued a statement of condolence regarding Saunders’ death; the statement includes contact information for the university’s counselling centre and Aboriginal student advisor. SMU Statement | Globe and Mail

New Keyano engineering lab to triple number of skilled-trades grads

Keyano College has opened a Power and Process Engineering Lab that will allow the college to more than triple its number of skilled graduates. The $22-million project welcomed its first cohort of students this month, less than 2 years after the project broke ground in June 2012. “This building pretty much gives you most of everything you need to become a process engineer,” says Keyano President Kevin Nagel.  According to Syncrude Canada VP Government and Public Affairs Kara Flynn, the facility will allow Keyano to train 475 students a year, up from the approximately 310 students currently studying, helping meet the current demand in the country’s oilsands for power and process engineers. The lab will also help existing tradespeople upgrade their skills and training without having to travel out of town. Fort McMurray Today | Keyano News Release

ACCC signs agreement to support skills development in India

The Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) has signed an agreement with India’s National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) to develop projects and programs to promote the development of needed skills in India. “Initiatives under this [agreement] will be based on the transfer of knowledge from Canada’s colleges, institutes and polytechnics, which are experts in providing career-focused education for employment,” says ACCC CEO Denise Amyot. “Colleges and institutes create economic opportunities for Canadians and ACCC is pleased to assist India in addressing the challenges of its own skills gap.” ACCC will support the objective of India’s National Skills Policy: to provide required workforce and skills development for 500 million people by 2022. ACCC News Release

McMaster seeks funding for international bioengineering facility

The Hamilton Spectator reports that McMaster University is asking the city of Hamilton for $4 million in funding for a 50,000-square-foot international bioengineering facility, which would involve a partnership between McMaster and a German research institute. "This is a unique and ideal opportunity for Hamilton to capture the true economic value of the research that is conducted in McMaster's facilities," wrote McMaster VP Research Mo Elbestawi in a letter to the city. The letter also says the facility would employ up to 100 scientists and industry researchers. According to the Spectator, McMaster is seeking another $8 million from the federal government, and $4 million from the province. Hamilton Spectator

Olds College launches new website

Olds College has launched a new website “designed to be easier to navigate, while implementing sophisticated, modern visual design and leading edge technology.” The new site is adaptable to all browsers and mobile devices—a change Olds made in response to the fact that 16% of its visits were made on mobile phones, and 10% on tablets. “The newly-designed Olds College website is not only responsive to today’s user, but because of its functionality, will help Olds College achieve [its] institutional goals, while providing a positive experience for all users,” explains an Olds news release. Last year, Olds launched its Connect Your Passion initiative, which includes increased bandwidth campus-wide, allowing the college to offer more bandwidth per student than any other college in Canada. Olds College News Release

“TalentEgg Challenges” to help students gain career experience, an online career resource geared towards students and recent grads, has launched a new platform to help Canadian youth gain the experience they need to find meaningful employment. The “TalentEgg Challenges” platform asks students to solve challenges set by businesses. Students then receive a review of the skills and experiences gained through each challenge, which can be added to their resume or LinkedIn profile. Top performers in each challenge are eligible to win a range of prizes, including employment opportunities, cash, and career-related experiences. "Historically, acquiring meaningful work experience has been very difficult, especially for the 96% of students not enrolled in co-op programs," says Founder Lauren Friese. "With TalentEgg Challenges, students and grads - no matter where they're located or what they're studying - can use the platform to prove their skills and aptitude to employers and stand out in a challenging, competitive job market." News Release

Long-term earnings study reveals gender gap

A Statistics Canada study that followed a group of men and women for 20 years reports that over the 2 decades, men who had obtained a bachelor's degree by 1991 had earned, on average, $732,000 more than those who only received a high school diploma. For women, the difference between the 2 groups was $448,000. The study also reveals that men with a college certificate earned $247,000 more than men with a high school diploma, while women with a college certificate earned $179,000 more than those with a high school diploma. In addition, says StatsCan, college and bachelor's degree graduates experienced fewer layoffs and accumulated more years of service in employer-sponsored pension plans than high school graduates. A September 2013 study by researchers at the University of Toronto revealed a similar gender gap in the earnings premium for those who complete an apprenticeship. StatsCan Daily

StudentsNS review recommends ways to prevent heavy drinking on campus

Students Nova Scotia (StudentsNS) has released an alcohol safety review that makes 31 recommendations for student union programming and advocacy to reduce dangerous alcohol consumption among PSE students. The suggestions include banning advertising that promotes excessive consumption or associates sex with alcohol, creating an awareness campaign on the dangers of heavy drinking, lobbying the government to ban the sale of drinking-game paraphernalia in stores, and developing surveys at universities to track students' drinking practices. According to StudentsNS, the province’s heavy drinking rate is higher at 22.3% than the Canadian average (17.4%), and rates among students are even higher. Approximately 26% of NS university students report problems related either to their own drinking or that of others, compared to 19.5% of other Canadian university students. A 2012 report by the NS Department of Health and Wellness reveals similar stats on “harmful drinking” among NS youth. StudentsNS News Release | CTV Atlantic | Full Report

Some US community college grads out-earn bachelor's degree holders

Nearly 30% of Americans with associate (community college) degrees now make more than those with bachelor's degrees, says Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce. And according to CNN, many other data have shown that, on average, community college graduates make more money right after college than graduates of 4-year universities. In Tennessee, for example, the average wage for community college graduates is $38,948—more than $1,300 higher than the average salaries for graduates of the state's 4-year institutions. “While by mid-career, many bachelor's degree recipients have caught up in earnings to community college grads, the other factor that has to be taken into account is that getting a 4-year degree can be much more expensive than getting a 2-year degree," says American Institutes for Research VP Mark Schneider. CNN

US research universities create national Digital Lab for Manufacturing

A group of US research universities, with several industry and government partners, have launched a $320-million Digital Lab for Manufacturing (Digital Lab), which will aim to advance digital manufacturing and design in the US. The Chicago-based lab will “apply cutting-edge technologies to reduce the time and cost of manufacturing, strengthen the capabilities of the US supply chain, and reduce acquisition costs for the Department of Defense, which is supplying the initial funding.” The federal government is providing $70 million, and the remaining $250 million will come from the other industry, academia, government and community partners. Iowa Now