Top Ten

June 13, 2014

KPU expands into Surrey’s Civic Plaza

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has unveiled plans for KPU Civic Plaza, a 3-storey, 30,000-square-foot facility to be located in a new multi-use building in downtown Surrey, BC. The new facility will be dedicated to professional development, business, and innovation, and will foster collaboration between KPU researchers and Surrey’s health and technology sectors. KPU Civic Plaza will also enable Kwantlen to expand their academic calendar and offer flexible community-oriented and direct professional development instruction to more than 1,600 students on weekdays, evenings, and weekends. KPU proposes to offer graduate diplomas and certificates in strategic planning, policy, media and communications, and product development, among other programs. “Kwantlen was born from the need to provide relevant post-secondary education to the South Fraser region. For the past 32 years, we have grown to serve more than a quarter of a million students. But KPU’s vision is to be bigger, bolder and better. KPU Civic Plaza is just that,” said KPU President Alan Davis. KPU News Release

MUN approves Enrolment Plan and Strategic Research Intensity Plan

Memorial University has approved its Enrolment Plan 2020 and Strategic Research Intensity Plan (SRIP) 2014–2020. Together, the plans aim to double research and scholarly output and increase graduate enrolment by approximately 35%. In a press release, MUN said the SRIP will accelerate the production and dissemination of “scholarly outcomes”; improve the university’s ability to compete for Canadian and international grants; enhance MUN’s “capacity to address the research priorities of government, industry, and society”; and “intensify its ability to supervise and graduate master and doctoral candidates, and grow the pool of highly qualified human capital so important for building Newfoundland and Labrador, and Canada.” Richard Marceau, MUN’s VP Research, said, “the Strategic Research Intensity Plan reflects a synergistic and integrated approach for strengthening all aspects of research at Memorial University, including scholarship and creative activities, as well as the translation of knowledge into products, practices and policies, and other forms of community engagement.” MUN News Release | Enrolment Plan 2020 | SRIP 2014–2020

Holland College raises tuition, citing “fiscal challenges”

Prince Edward Island’s Holland College will raise tuition by $100 this September, an average increase of approximately 2.5% across its programs. “Holland College continues to encounter fiscal challenges, as do most post-secondary institutions across the country,” said Holland’s Chief Financial Officer Ken Heckbert. “Salary increases, utility costs etc go up every year,” he told the CBC, “and in order to offset those increased costs we try to adopt a balanced approach. We don’t want it all on the backs of students and we certainly haven’t done that this year.” Most of Holland’s program tuitions fall into 3 tuition bands, ranging from $3,600 to $5,800 per year. Holland follows several Canadian institutions in raising tuition. Holland News Release | CBC | The Guardian (PEI)

NB college grads enjoy high employment rates

New survey data released by New Brunswick indicate that its community college graduates experience a high level of success on the province's job market. In 2013, 88% of New Brunswick Community College grads were working in New Brunswick along with 95% of le Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick (CCNB) grads. 80% of employed NBCC grads and 82% of employed CCNB grads reported working in jobs related to their studies. “The graduate follow-up survey is an important indicator that, through quality, relevant programs and support for student success, we are preparing our graduates for job opportunities and bright futures here in the province,” said NBCC President Marilyn Luscombe. CCNB President Liane Roy said, “the results of the study show that CCNB graduates are developing the skills required to satisfy labour market needs and are earning a higher salary, which will continue to grow over their professional life.” NB News Release

UTM celebrates launch of Institute for Management & Innovation

The University of Toronto Mississauga officially launched its new Institute for Management & Innovation (IMI) on Wednesday. The Institute is described by inaugural Director Hugh Gunz as an “ecosystem for training future innovators, entrepreneurs and managers who are essential for sustainable prosperity in our region.” IMI will provide space for scholars and students in healthcare, biotechnology, accounting, and sustainability to generate and develop new research and ideas. “IMI graduates will apply their multidisciplinary knowledge to the sectors that are driving today’s growth,” said UTM Principal Deep Saini. Initially, IMI will enrol 2,300 students, though this number is expected to grow to 3,000 in time. It will be housed in UTM’s 4-storey innovation complex, slated to open in September. UTM News Release

RDC to offer International Business Graduate Certificate

Beginning in September, Red Deer College will offer a graduate certificate in international business, reportedly the first at a college in Alberta. Students at RDC’s Donald School of Business will be able to complete a 12-month, 10-course program that combines online learning and collaboration with classroom-based executive weekends. RDC says that the program will foster in students the skills required to take advantage of global business opportunities. It will require students complete as a final project an international expansion plan to pitch to a Canadian company; an optional practicum will also be offered. “The Donald School of Business is excited to offer learners this unique program that sets them up to be international entrepreneurs. With real-world business examples integrated into the International Business program, we will help ensure students can hit the ground running quickly to be successful in their careers,” said Donald School of Business Dean Darcy Mykytyshyn. RDC News Release

University incubators help foster tech startups

An article in the Globe and Mail highlights some of the ways in which universities are fostering the next generation of tech entrepreneurs. Incubator programs like those at the University of Waterloo and the University of Toronto are helping young companies get on their feet. The author of the piece, Karl Martin, says that he would have been unable to get his firm started without the help of uToronto, which provided credibility, access to advisers and investors, and a vibrant intellectual community. uToronto’s business incubator programs connected Martin and his partners with experienced entrepreneurs who helped them recognize the potential for the commercialization of their research and supplied vital seed funding. uToronto students benefited as well; Martin says that his firm has recruited primarily uToronto talent. Globe and Mail

Prospects for competency-based education in Canada

An article in University Affairs examines the potential for the growth of competency-based education (CBE) programs in Canada. CBE models offer credentials based on demonstrated proficiencies, not on time spent in the classroom. Such programs are typically very flexible, allowing students to move through course material and complete assessments as they wish. Several institutions in the US now offer CBE programs but the model hasn’t yet caught on in Canada to nearly the same extent. York University professor Brian Abner attributes that to a higher PSE credential attainment rate among working Canadian adults, as well as the lower cost of education in Canada. Dianne Conrad, former Director of the Centre for Learning Accreditation at Athabasca University, says Canadian institutions’ reluctance could also the be the result of cultural attitudes: some feel CBE “smacks too much of training,” and Canadian universities in particular “balk at talk of competencies and learning outcomes.” She says CBE “challenges the traditional belief that the professor holds all of the knowledge and that it must be disseminated in the classroom.” University Affairs

New US consortium to offer infrastructure for digital education

4 US PSE institutions have launched a new consortium that they say will "tip the table in favor of the academy" on digital education. The Unizin Consortium says it will "enable each institution, faculty, and students to draw on an evolving set of tools to support digital learning for residential, flipped classroom, online courses/degrees, badged experiences for Alumni, or even MOOCs if desired." The initiative is intended to help institutions retain greater control over digital education than they would have when outsourcing services. A blog post announcing the launch describes Unizin as a "cloud-scale services operator" that does not offer content, but is a "common infrastructure service" to facilitate collaboration between institutions. Inside Higher Ed | Unizin Blog

PSE institutions must reach out to underrepresented students early

An article in Education Week argues that more must be done at the K-12 level to overcome PSE enrolment gaps among underrepresented racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic populations. Lindsey E Malcom-Piqueux, a professor of higher education administration at George Washington University, says that currently not all students have an equal opportunity to be “college-ready.” While Malcom-Piqueux notes the importance of academic preparedness, she says that “other factors such as educational aspirations, early access to information about postsecondary options, perceptions of college costs and the availability of financial aid” must be addressed as well. She recommends a number of measures, including better sharing of information about admissions and financial aid processes and automatic granting of application-fee waivers. She also recommends that PSE institutions establish earlier contact with low-income and minority students, even offering financial-aid guarantees as early as middle school. Education Week