Top Ten

March 17, 2014

uRegina president warns of tough fiscal year

University of Regina President Vianne Timmons is warning the university community that 2014-15 will be a tough fiscal year for both the province and the university. "We are looking at a variety of scenarios based on the projections [Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall] put out there to the community. I'm hoping we will get some investment in the university, but I recognize it might not be what we requested," says Timmons, referring to the 4% funding increase uRegina has requested. Timmons adds that the funding increase is necessary because of the university's recent growth, which includes a more than 18% enrolment increase in the past 5 years. uRegina is also seeking increased funds for a new student residence, which is slated to open in fall 2015. Regina Leader-Post

uWindsor using “empowered bystander” approach to combat sexual violence

As Canadian universities and their students and faculty grapple with a high rate of sexual violence on campus, and what some call “rape culture,” some are embracing the idea of “the bystander approach.” Faculty and students at the University of Windsor are working on such an initiative, which encourages people to be “empowered bystanders, who are willing to (safely) intervene when they see situations that put fellow students at risk of sexual assault, and who will also interrupt actions that support a hostile campus environment.” The uWindsor initiative includes a workshop that teaches participants how to be empowered bystanders. The university will also use a Faculty of Arts and Social Science course to train peer facilitators, who will provide the workshop to first-year students. Toronto Star

ACCC partners with UK to compare British, Irish, Canadian trade qualifications

The Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) has signed an agreement with UK’s National Recognition Information Centre (UK NARIC) to provide benchmark data that will identify how British and Irish trade qualifications match up to Canadian requirements across 9 skill areas. “Ensuring a good match between British, Irish and Canadian qualifications will provide greater flexibility to employers and help address skills gaps through greater access to talent,” says ACCC President Denise Amyot. UK NARIC will liaise with the Red Seal Secretariat and provincial authorities to conduct the exercise, between March and May of this year. Citizenship and Immigration Canada is funding the project. ACCC News Release

Ryerson’s Transmedia Zone looking for industry partners

Ryerson University’s “Transmedia Zone,” an incubator for projects that “advance the art of storytelling,” is looking for industry partners to participate in the initiative. The Transmedia Zone’s recent book “hackathon” invited Ryerson students to create prototype ideas for the book industry; partners included Kobo, Penguin, The Walrus, and several established authors, who guided students through the event. Transmedia Zone Director Richard Lachman says the incubator is looking to bring industry professionals from gaming, advertising and content-creation, and other sectors, into future conferences and hackathons that help incubator participants develop their transmedia ideas. The incubator, which is still in its pilot phase, offers a 4-month residency; people are invited to submit project proposals and transmedia experiments to be developed during the residency. Although the zone doesn’t provide funding for projects, it does offer participants a physical space in which to experiment, and access to mentors from a variety of disciplines. Strategy Magazine

WesternU’s Ivey Business School offering Chinese-language-only programs

Ivey Business School’s Ivey Asia, which last week celebrated the 15th anniversary of the school’s presence in Hong Kong, is for the first time offering programs entirely in Chinese languages. The Western University business school is offering its Hong Kong and Beijing branch campus students fully-Chinese-language courses in international finance, global strategy, marketing and leadership. “The mainland opportunity we see as tremendous,” says Ivey Asia Dean Janet De Silva. “Yes there are a lot of strong Chinese universities in the mainland, and there are a lot of international business schools trying to access activities there, but we have the ability to create international exchange and learning opportunities at our Canada and London campuses, and we benefit from having Ivey alumni in very senior roles in a number of Canadian, US and Hong Kong companies.” Globe and Mail

Durham College to replace Simcoe building to address space shortage

Durham College announced last week that replacing the Simcoe building on its Oshawa campus will be first priority on its capital growth plan, which is evolving from the joint campus master plan currently in progress in partnership with the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Replacing the Simcoe building with a larger 4-storey facility will help address Durham’s current space shortage of approximately 124,000 square feet. The building will offer third-party incubation and entrepreneurial space, and house new classroom and study space and services such as a Credit Transfer office. Durham News Release

AlgomaU’s ESL programs receive accreditation from Languages Canada

Algoma University has received full accreditation from Languages Canada for its English as a Second Language (ESL) program. “Languages Canada holds its members to the highest standards, and only those who continuously offer quality education receive accreditation. Being a member of Languages Canada increases the accountability of the university’s program, and ensures that course objectives and learning outcomes are always met,” says AlgomaU President Richard Myers. Languages Canada examined 6 areas of the ESL programming, including student services, curriculum, program administration, teaching staff qualifications, marketing and promotion of the program, and student admissions. AlgomaU News Release

Datawind to make “world’s lowest cost tablet” even cheaper

Datawind, the Montreal-based makers of the “world’s lowest cost tablet,” is aiming to sell a tablet for $20--50% less than its $37.99 tablet. Aiming to make tablet ownership possible for anyone and everyone, Datawind says it’s able to sell the tablets so inexpensively “because of the scale of its production runs and the fact that it makes its own screens, which helps boost profit margins.” Datawind also keeps its prices down by selling directly to consumers through its website, and not seeking retail partners. In 2011, the company partnered with the Indian government to offer the affordable tablets to the country’s students. Marketing Magazine

US high schools begin to push back start times to accommodate teen sleep clocks

A long-developing movement to get high schools to start later to accommodate a teenager’s need to sleep in has begun to gain momentum in some US school districts. In the past 2 years, schools in Long Beach, California; Stillwater, Oklahoma; Decatur, Georgia; and Glens Falls, New York have scheduled their “first bell” for later in the morning. The Seattle school board will vote this month on whether to pursue the idea of a later start time. New research from the University of Minnesota reveals that the later a school’s start time, the better off students are on several measures, including mental health, car crash rates, attendance and, in some cases, grades and standardized test scores. New York Times

UK universities to see further teaching grant reductions in 2014-15

UK’s funding council says it will be cutting teaching grants to universities by more than the £45 million announced in February. A letter from Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce) CEO Madeleine Atkins revealed that most teaching budgets will drop by 5.85% in 2014-15. The 5.85% cut will also apply to funds received by universities for students in high-cost subjects, where the cost of providing the courses are not met by £9,000 tuition fees, reports Times Higher Education. Hefce predicts that despite the cuts, overall funding for universities is still set to increase through tuition and other funding. Times Higher Education