Top Ten

June 25, 2014

Laurentian approves $25 million for Barrie campus

Laurentian University’s board of governors this week approved a balanced budget for 2014-15 that includes $25 million for the proposed stand-alone campus in Barrie, ON. Laurentian had previously committed $14 million; the increased amount will be enhanced by the $14 million that the city of Barrie has committed towards the campus expansion project. Laurentian will now issue a formal request to the provincial government, which is accepting proposals for major capacity expansion projects. Laurentian plans to build a campus to house 3,100 learners, with residence space for 500–750 students, facilities for athletics and recreation, and a student centre. Programs at the proposed campus would reflect the community’s current and future needs. Laurentian has created a website with information about the proposed Barrie campus called It’s Time BarrieLaurentian News (Barrie) | CTV | Laurentian News(budget)

uWinnipeg increases tuition to achieve balanced budget

The University of Winnipeg has approved a balanced budget for 2014-15 that includes a 2.4% tuition increase, larger class sizes, a policy of aggressive vacancy management resulting in annual savings of $3.6 million, and $700,000 in annual savings through administrative restructuring. uWinnipeg asserts it receives an average of $33.8 million less annually from the government than similarly sized institutions elsewhere in Canada. Outgoing President Lloyd Axworthy has recently succeeded in persuading the Manitoba government to establish a working group of government officials and university representatives to consider this long-standing claim of historical underfunding. Axworthy said the university hopes the working group will effect changes in how the institution is funded. As for next year’s budget, Axworthy noted that uWinnipeg managed to avoid large-scale program cuts. "We're branching out into a substantial increase in our online learning," he said, “and aiming to double the international student enrolment over the next few years from the current 5%."uWinnipeg News | Winnipeg Free Press | CTV

Industry-led apprenticeship agency to launch in NS

Nova Scotia’s planned industry-led apprenticeship agency will officially launch July 1, 2014, the provincial government announced this week. Previously, it operated as the apprenticeship training division of the provincial Department of Labour and Advanced Education. The new model will give more decision-making authority to industry, increasing employer involvement in the system; as well, the agency will work with industry to increase training opportunities and to provide better access to training so apprentices can gain the skills they need to succeed in the workforce. "When employers are more invested in the system they'll take on more apprentices. That means more opportunities for apprentices to train and complete their training here, training they can use to help the province grow," said Kelly Regan, Minister of Labour and Advanced Education. NS News Release

WesternU opens new Collider Centre for manufacturing research and innovation

Western University's Collider Centre for Technology Commercialization (Collider) has officially opened in London, ON. The Collider is a “centre for commercialization of advanced manufacturing technology and will provide manufacturers with industrial research space, business services, contract research services and access to research staff and expertise, as well as production and testing equipment.” WesternU researchers will have opportunities to collaborate with businesses from Canada and around the globe, with Collider anticipated to be a go-to centre for manufacturing research and innovation in North America. The project was supported by a 2012 investment from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. “The Collider represents a huge step forward for research and innovation in Canada,” said WesternU’s VP Research John Capone. “It is a bridge between research and industry, uncovering the next generation of discoveries.” Canada News Release |WesternU News | London Metro

HEQCO report finds dual credit pathways benefit students

Programs that offer educational pathways to non-traditional students, such as dual credit and School Within a College (SWAC), can help students gain required credits for high school graduation, ease the transition into PSE, and improve grades, according to a new report by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO). The report focuses on the dual credit and SWAC programs offered by George Brown College, finding that the programs had several benefits for participating students. Notably, GPAs for students in both programs increased; the GPA for students in the dual credit program increased from 65% to 74%, and the GPA for the SWAC students increased from 49% to 71%. The majority of students in the 2 programs agreed that participation made a difference in their choice to attend PSE or not. In addition, 90% of the students said that the programs helped them prepare to apply for and attend PSE. HEQCO Summary | Full Report

ARUCC and PCCAT release study of transcript and transfer credit practices

A new report has been released by the Association of Registrars of the Universities and Colleges of Canada (ARUCC) and the Pan-Canadian Consortium on Admissions and Transfer (PCCAT), the first phase of an extended study into current transcript and transfer credit nomenclature practices in Canada. The goal of the larger project is “to enhance the clarity, consistency and transparency of the academic transcript and transfer credit resources that support student mobility.” The report examined current practices in Canada, as well as 4 other jurisdictions, to determine promising practices, system overviews, and emergent perspectives and themes. Although the report does not suggest prescriptive solutions, it does provide recommendations to guide the next phase of the ARUCC/PCCAT project. These include: updating and enhancing the ARUCC Transcript Guide; developing a national Transfer Credit Glossary; developing a sustainable communications plan regarding transfer credits; and supporting the development and adoption of electronic transcript exchange standards. Report

How to repair the divide between science and policy

A recent contribution to the Globe and Mail discusses the divide between Canadian public policy and scientific research, calling the consequences of this broken connection “disastrous.” The authors refer to federal rules that restrict scientific researchers, especially those working on resource and environmental issues, from publishing their findings, presenting research at conferences, and speaking to journalists without bureaucratic approval. This perceived muzzling, combined with the closure of labs and libraries, can have far-reaching effects, they argue. The authors make 4 recommendations for the federal government to effectively receive necessary scientific input: first, begin rebuilding scientific capacity that has been cut in recent years; second, introduce legislation that mandates the publication of all government-funded research; third, establish a statutory Science Adviser to report directly to the PM; fourth, reform the existing Council of Canadian Academies so that it can conduct research and provide science advice. Globe and Mail

uToronto student residence gains approval from OMB

The Ontario Municipal Board has given approval to a controversial University of Toronto student residence project on College St. The planned residence will be developed and operated by Knightstone Capital Management and will consist of 25 storeys with room for 829 beds. Neighbourhood activists opposed the project, citing worries about the noise and mess that could come with hundreds of students; opponents were successful in reducing the original proposed height of the building from 42 storeys to 25. “We believe in the process that’s in place and we followed it. We’ll obviously make the best efforts to ensure that (the residence) fits well in the community,” said Patrick Miksa, VP for academic assets at Knightstone. Toronto Star

Canadian think-tank proposes “youth job guarantee”

Canadian think-tank the Broadbent Institute has a plan to create 186,000 “guaranteed” employment positions for Canada’s unemployed youth. The institute recently released a report that details this plan, essentially requiring investments by government and private businesses that will create 12-week-long, paid co-op, internship, and job placement positions in order to give young Canadians a boost into employment. “It’s time for the federal government and Canadian businesses to get serious about the youth jobs crisis and work together to tackle it,” said Rick Smith, Executive Director of the Broadbent Institute. “The employment situation of young people is worse today than before the recession, and that’s simply unacceptable.” At a pay rate of $15/hour, the institute asserts it is possible to decrease the number of unemployed youth by almost 50,000 at any given time. Smith says the private sector can use so-called “dead money”—money that is neither being invested or spent—to create jobs specifically for young workers, with the added bonus of growing the future labour force. CTV | Report

Trends and behaviours of today’s online learners

US-based online education company Learning House has released its third annual study of the behaviours of online learners. The study identifies key trends emerging in online education as well as student preferences and motivators. The report offers several key findings: online learners are increasingly taking courses from institutions farther away, with 54% of students taking courses from an institution within 100 miles, down from 80% in 2012; although cost and financial aid matter to online learners, more than two-thirds reported choosing programs that were not the most inexpensive; the most impactful marketing messages were those that suggested job placement success; and the ability to easily transfer credits to and from online programs was considered essential. The study also found that business programs are the most popular, with more than 25% of students enrolled in business courses, and the vast majority (88%) of online learners were enrolled in degree programs as opposed to certificate programs. Learning House Summary | Full Report