Top Ten

May 6, 2014

OISE to cut BEd programs to focus on masters’ degrees

The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto will cease offering its BEd and diploma programs. The move comes less than a year after Ontario announced plans to slow the supply of new teacher’s college graduates in the province. Instead, OISE will admit more students into its Master of Teaching and Master of Arts in Child Study and Education programs. The new program will graduate approximately 450 students each year, less than half the current rate of 1,100. The move corresponds with Ontario’s emphasis on institutional differentiation; faculty Dean Julia O’Sullivan said that OISE believes its master’s programs provide a “unique contribution to the profession.” The shift will be “revenue neutral all around,” said O’Sullivan. She expects BEd faculty members will be able to transition to master’s teaching. However, she added that OISE must still “figure out some of the implications” of the move on overall staffing. uToronto News | Globe and Mail | Toronto Star

Postscript: May 8 2014

The news that the University of Toronto will discontinue BEd degree offerings at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education to focus on master’s degrees has not been met warmly by some other Ontario institutions. Ron Owston, Dean of Education at York University, has said that the Ontario government “is not playing fair … If we had known a year ago [that offering a master’s degree] was an option we would have started to offer one too.” He added that he is worried “that the higher tuition of a master’s program will make teacher education more exclusive in Ontario, and less accessible to lower-income students.” University of Ottawa’s Dean of Education Michel Laurier expressed his concern that the move will leave other teacher’s colleges with students “who aren’t the best—the ones who were denied access to the master’s.” As a master’s program, OISE will receive more government funding per student than programs that offer BEds. Toronto Star

UBC, RCMP investigating Faculty of Dentistry over fraud allegations

The University of British Columbia and the RCMP are investigating UBC’s Faculty of Dentistry for fraud, according to the Globe & Mail. The focal point of the investigation is the program’s general practice residency program. While details have not yet been released, UBC said that senior administrators were alerted to “suspected financial irregularities” last summer, at which point UBC immediately initiated a probe. The RCMP was notified in February and is in the early stages of its own investigation. UBC’s Dean of Dentistry Charles Shuler emphasized that patient care and education would not be affected. In an email sent to community clinics Wednesday, Shuler wrote, “please be assured that the Faculty will investigate this thoroughly and any affected programs will be restored financially. I also want to assure you that we have taken all necessary steps to ensure that the present issue has not affected the faculty’s delivery of patient care and education.” Globe and Mail (1) | Globe and Mail (2) | Globe and Mail(3)

Reviewer finds that McGill’s med school acted defensibly in admissions choices

An external review of McGill University’s medical school admissions process has concluded that the faculty has taken a “defensible” approach to admissions. Last summer, the Montreal Gazette reported that many in Montreal’s “urban anglophone community” felt a “palpable frustration” at the school’s policies, which some alleged had replaced traditional selection criteria with qualifications based on parental income, skin colour, and language. The review noted that such feelings may have contributed to a decline in donations to the program, and suggested that McGill take steps to address the sense of resentment among some stakeholders. The report further recommended ways for the faculty to more effectively communicate its admissions policies, and that, for appearances’ sake, the Assistant Dean of Admissions, Equality and Diversity should not also sit as chair of the admissions committee or interview review committees. The increasing diversity of McGill’s med school is reflective of enrolment trends at med schools across North America. Montreal Gazette (1) | Montreal Gazette (2)

MUN’s Harris Centre recommends innovation training, commercialization of research for NL

The Harris Centre at Memorial University of Newfoundland has released a new report on innovation in the province, with recommendations for PSE. The report identifies several barriers to innovation in the province, including a reluctance to share knowledge and collaborate; access to capital; aging population and youth out-migration; infrastructure constraints; access to broadband in some regions; and low levels of education and exposure to ideas from other regions. The report makes a number of recommendations for positioning NL “as a leader in innovation education.” This section of the report suggests mandating innovation programs as part of the K-12 curriculum as well as creating specialized, innovation-focused courses at MUN for business, management, and leadership training. The authors moreover suggest dedicating additional faculty resources to academic-industry-community collaboration, promoting more “matchmaking” between businesses and researchers, and encouraging commercialization of research in NL. Full Report

Olds College to open Apparel Innovation Centre

Olds College will open a new Apparel Innovation Centre that will help protect workers on the job. The facility, scheduled to open in Calgary in 2015, will test, design, and manufacture protective clothing for the energy and construction industries as well as the Canadian military. Canadian-based companies and entrepreneurs will be able to access a variety of testing and development equipment, and will be able to use the facility’s research services to develop advanced fire- and chemical-resistant safety gear. The centre will develop its own product lines as well as test products created by other companies. It will operate in conjunction with Olds’ Fashion Marketing and Apparel Technology programs. Close to $3 million in federal funding will be used to establish the facility. “This project showcases the leadership role Olds College takes in Research, Teaching and Entrepreneurship. The Apparel Innovation Centre celebrates our relationship with industry, government and stakeholders to deliver that trademark, hands-on approach,” said Olds President HJ Thompson. Globe and Mail | Olds News Release | Canada News Release

ECUAD receives $7-million gift to kick off Big Idea funding drive

A Vancouver developer has donated $7 million to Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Reliance Properties’ gift, the largest ever given to an arts-only university in Canada, will help build the Libby Leshgold Gallery and Reliance Lecture Theatre at ECUAD’s new Great Northern Way campus. The theatre and the gallery will host university events as well as provide space for public social interaction. ECUAD President Ron Burnett described the gift as “transformative” and “unparalleled.” ECUAD Chancellor John C Kerr added, “This is the largest [donation] of its kind and is an absolutely auspicious way to commemorate the public launch of this campaign ... This is an exceptional level of philanthropy and sets a new standard for Canada and the arts.” With the new donation, Emily Carr has raised $15 million of its $25 million campaign goal. The Great Northern Way campus is scheduled to open in 2016. ECUAD News Release | Globe and Mail | Vancouver Sun | Georgia Straight

uWindsor launches new cloud-based library management system

The University of Windsor yesterday launched a new, cloud-based library management system. The system will replace existing technology at the university’s Leddy and law libraries, and will offer a new resource management system as well as a new search interface. The new system will allow users to conduct a single search across an array of local, subscribed, and open access materials. “We’re again breaking new ground by implementing a system that will be a one-stop-search for our users to access not only materials we purchase, but also the scholarly materials that are available open access and through other avenues,” said Gwendolyn Ebbett, Dean of the library. The new system is designed to integrate with external campus systems and will provide a simplified “Google-type” interface for scholarly searches. uWindsor News

2014 Leiden Rankings of scientific performance released

Leiden University’s Centre for Science and Technology Studies has released its latest annual rankings. The Leiden rankings measure the scientific performance of 750 universities worldwide, including each institution’s scientific impact and involvement in scientific collaboration. This year, 28 Canadian universities appear on the list. Only the University of Toronto cracked the top 100, appearing in 87th place. The University of British Columbia (109) and McGill University (119) also made strong showings, while the University of Victoria was Canada’s top-ranked university without a medical school, at 183rd. The University of Ottawa (185) rounds out Canada’s top 5. New York’s Rockefeller University ranked first overall. The rankings are based on a bibliometric methodology that considers citation impact and scientific collaboration, corrected for scientific fields. Rockefeller’s first-place finish reflects that it had the highest percentage of frequently cited publications. Leiden Ranking 2014Leiden News Release

Erasmus funding increases, but questions remain on value of study abroad programs

The European Union’s Erasmus+ mobility scheme will offer 4 million people the chance to study, train, and work in a new country by 2020, including 250,000 UK students. At last week’s London launch of the program, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth Androulla Vassiliou said that the program will help balance inbound and outbound Erasmus students; for some time, twice as many students had been going to the UK than were coming out. The program has a revised budget of close to $21 billion over the next 7 years; the UK will receive close to $169 million of that between now and 2020. Included in the funding are provisions for education and training at all levels, including foreign language training.  Meanwhile, a new report released at the British Council’s Going Global conference suggests that while cross-border student mobility continues to increase, few institutions are effectively measuring the results of international scholarship schemes. The report also found that governments are not adequately providing support to students when they return home from study abroad programs. University World News (Erasmus) | University World News (Scholarship)

Report finds that MOOCs miss opportunities for knowledge integration

A new joint study between researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University and Harvard University concludes that MOOC designers and instructors frequently miss the opportunity to take advantage of the expertise of their students. The study, the first close examination of the learning behaviours of professionals enrolled in MOOCs, found that MOOCs can encourage passive learning. Students frequently do not integrate the scientific knowledge they acquire in a MOOC with the practical training they bring to the course. “We’ve observed that the highly structured MOOC design focuses on content provisioning, which the participants are very positive about. The structure, however, does not encourage learners to actively self-regulate their learning,” said principal investigator Allison Littlejohn. Co-investigator Colin Milligan added that MOOC designers need to capitalize on the diversity of their participants and encourage students to link course content to their lived experiences: “We need a cultural shift around conceptions of learning and teaching and of learning and teacher roles to capitalise on the experience and expertise that professionals bring to their learning.” The Chronicle of Higher Education | GCU News Release