Top Ten

June 6, 2014

Seneca officially opens School of Aviation at Peterborough Airport

Seneca College officially opened its new School of Aviation at the Peterborough Airport on June 3. Seneca’s School of Aviation has for the last 45 years been housed at Buttonville Airport in Markham; however, the college began searching for a new location in 2010 when it was announced that Buttonville Airport would be closing. The new Peterborough location was designed specifically to meet Seneca’s needs and will allow the school to offer all of its aviation classes in one building. “Now, we have a facility that matches the professionalism of the programs we are delivering. Now, we can proudly invite our colleagues from around the world to a state-of-the-art facility,” said School of Aviation Chairwoman Lynne McMullen. The new location includes a main hangar for 13 aircraft, a maintenance hangar, a student lounge, and a simulator room. Peterborough Examiner | | Skies

OISE Dean defends decision to end BEd programs

Julia Sullivan, Dean of the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), has responded to criticism of the school’s decision to cease offering its bachelor’s of education and diploma programs. O’Sullivan said that “we wanted to be sure that whatever we did allowed us to make our unique contribution to the teaching profession ... and it is our graduate programs, and our research intensity there, that will allow us to do that.” O’Sullivan suggested that OISE’s situation was different from other faculties of education in that OISE has long offered research-intensive master’s programs that also led to a teaching license. She moreover emphasized that the move responds to calls for institutional differentiation from the Ontario government and uToronto. OISE says that the decision was part of a long process of deliberation but was ultimately spurred forward by Ontario’s announcement of cuts to BEd funding and admissions. University Affairs

McGill turns to crowdfunding for donations

McGill University is taking a new approach to online fundraising. The university’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations (DAR) has launched Seeds of Change, an online crowdsourcing platform. Prospective donors will be able to see details on specific initiatives and choose which projects they would like to support. Derek Cassoff, Director of Communications at DAR, said, “rather than donating to a large general fund, people today want to know exactly where their money is going and that their gifts are having a direct impact on causes and issues that are important to them.” So far, donors have given $12,000 through the site, which is currently active on a limited basis. A larger roll-out is planned for later this summer and will reach a broader audience of alumni, faculty, and staff donors. McGill News

Western offers career development tools for alumni

Western University has launched a new career resource for alumni as part of a larger, multi-year effort to support career development. “For many, career advancement is a lifelong process and our alumni have expressed an avid interest in being able to access career tools and network with one another to navigate their way through their professional lives,” said Trista Walker, Executive Director of Alumni Relations at Western. Sarah Dawson, Western’s Alumni Career Coach, added, “this program is designed to help all of our alumni, whether they are new graduates or experienced professionals." The new resource includes an online library featuring a curated collection of career resources, including tutorials on how to effectively use LinkedIn or prepare for an interview. There is also a LinkedIn-based alumni group and a job/internship board. Western News Release

CNA prof develops drone journalism code of conduct

An instructor at the College of the North Atlantic in Newfoundland has drafted a code that he hopes will guide the ethical use of drones in journalism. Jeff Ducharme said, “there is concern in the public about drone journalism and the potential invasion of privacy. I think it’s incumbent on us to put something in place to address those concerns.” Currently, Transport Canada regulates the use of drones for commercial use, a category that includes journalism. However, Ducharme believes the practice will become commonplace before long. “Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, in journalism and other professions are becoming common. In journalism, we have to show that we can operate these craft in a responsible, safe and unobtrusive way,” Ducharme said. Currently, CNA and BC’s Langara College are the only Canadian institutions offering instruction in drone journalism. CNA News | Drone Journalism Code

Researchers reluctant to take advantage of social media

Scholars at the 82nd Conference of the Association francophone pour le savoir (ACFAS) have suggested that many researchers remain uncomfortable engaging with the public via social media. Moreover, this reluctance may be particularly acute among the French-speaking scientific community. Some participants argued that scholars must be willing to present, defend, and clarify their research to the public, given the proliferation of “false information and half-truths” on the Internet around some issues. Others emphasized that social media offers valuable teaching tools with which professors and instructors can engage students. Alireza Jalali, a professor at the University of Ottawa, said that every department should have a “champion” who can lead colleagues by example, though he acknowledged that social media may not be for everyone. University Affairs

Statistics on US distance, online course enrolments released

The US National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has released new numbers on students enrolled in distance education courses. The 2012 data mark the first time the NCES has released figures on online enrolment. According to the research, approximately 5.5 million distance ed students—about a quarter of all distance enrolments—took at least one online course. Of those, 2.6 million were enrolled in fully online programs. Graduate students were nearly twice as likely as undergrads to enroll in a fully online program, at 22% compared to 11%, while undergraduates were more likely to enroll in hybrid programs. The data suggest regional variations as well, with students in New England being more likely to enroll only in traditional courses. Students were more likely to attend fully online programs based in their home state than those offered out-of-state, but these numbers depended heavily on whether the student was enrolled at a for-profit or nonprofit institution. Inside Higher Ed

Manufacturing offers opportunities for US MBAs

New data from the US-based Graduate Management Admissions Council suggest that business grads may want to consider a career in manufacturing. 74% of MBA graduates seeking jobs in manufacturing secured early offers, compared to just 57% of those looking for work in finance and accounting. However, just 7% of MBAs responding to the survey identified themselves as looking for work in manufacturing. Manufacturing has been overlooked as a career path by many students, but companies in the industry are beginning to recruit MBAs more aggressively. Moreover, MBAs who take a manufacturing position can expect shorter work days and, in many cases, a better salary. Scott N Paul, President of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, said, “the trend in manufacturing from 1998 to 2009 has been almost exclusively downsizing. Manufacturing has got to be a lot more exciting than 10 years ago.” Businessweek

Turnitin developer iParadigms sold for $752 million

Turnitin developer iParadigms has been sold by Warburg Pincus to Insight Venture Partners and GIC for $752 million. Along with Turnitin, iParadigms makes a number of educational technology tools that are used at universities around the world to prevent plagiarism, verify content, and evaluate student learning. iParadigms says that its products are used by more than 10,000 institutions in 126 countries worldwide, receiving more than 100 million submissions each year. “This partnership will provide the resources and support to accelerate our product investment plans and expand our reach into international markets,” said Chris Caren, CEO of iParadigms. According to the Wall Street Journal, Insight Ventures Managing Director Deven Parekh believes they will be able to expand the iParadigm product line into the high-school market. Warburg Pincus News Release | The Street | Wall Street Journal

Researchers unlock formula to predict academic success in sciences

An article in Current Biology claims to provide a formula to calculate the odds of a scientist’s success on the academic job market. According to the article, the likelihood of obtaining a faculty position depends primarily on the number of publications, the impact factor of the journals in which the articles are published, and the number of papers receiving more citations than the expected number for that journal. The formula is based on publication data for more than 25,000 scientists. “Our model is able to predict with relatively high accuracy who becomes a [primary investigator] and is also able to predict how long this will take” said the authors. One of the researchers, David van Dijk, said, “it’s encouraging that we find that doing good-quality science on a consistent basis—as evidenced by multiple first-author papers of reasonable impact factor—does seem to be rewarded in the end.” Those wishing to calculate their own odds can do so at the investigators’ website. Science Daily | The Chronicle of Higher Education | Inside Higher Ed |