Top Ten

July 17, 2014

Seneca establishes Centre for Research in Student Mobility

Seneca College has announced that it will create The Centre for Research in Student Mobility, the first centre in Ontario dedicated to studying how and why students transfer between PSE institutions and programs. The centre will examine student mobility provincially, nationally, and internationally, in order to help the development of pathways between universities and colleges. Research conducted at the centre is expected to inform policy, program and pathway development, student advising and supports, and institutional partnerships. “As the Ontario leader in pathways, Seneca knows the importance of flexible learning and educational options that enable students to move between programs and institutions,” says Joy McKinnon, Seneca’s VP Academic. Student-mobility research is already underway at Seneca, with several projects currently studying provincial key performance indicator data, international student movement in Ontario, and the mobility of first-generation and mature students. Seneca News Release

Ontario municipalities make push for PSE campuses

Municipalities across central Ontario are hoping that provincial funding, offered in anticipation of a projected enrolment growth in the province, will enable them to host their own PSE campuses. Milton, Barrie, Markham, and Brampton, among others, have partnered with institutions to bring PSE to their communities, citing unmet demand for student spaces. But some feel a more cautious approach is warranted. Orillia Mayor Angelo Orsi believes that his region’s needs are already being met by existing facilities. “I think the market is not there when there’s no shortage of capacity in Simcoe County here. So adding more capacity to an existing area, you’re causing more concern,” he said. Other skeptics fear that the growth of new universities will simply come at the expense of growth at others. The province’s hope is that new campuses will improve student capacity and affordability. Interested municipalities were asked to demonstrate that they would be able to support 10,000 students in 20 years. Globe and Mail

Postscript: Milton, Orillia endorse new campus plans

Milton and Orillia, Ontario have endorsed plans to bring PSE to their communities. Milton Town Council voted unanimously to approve WLU’s proposal to build a university campus there, and formally agreed to transfer 150 acres of land, valued at approximately $50 million, to the university pending the province’s approval of the campus proposal. Meanwhile, Orillia City Council voted unanimously to support a joint Lakehead University/Georgian College proposal to offer space for 6,000 students in Barrie and Orillia. The LakeheadU/Georgian plan would create immediate space for 2,000 students without requiring additional infrastructure; subsequent growth would be accommodated with 2 new buildings for specialized program space. WLU News Release | Georgian News Release

Trades training program created for Métis in AB

There is a new introduction to trades program available for Métis peoples in northwestern Alberta, offered through the Rupertsland Institute’s Métis Training to Employment Services. The Trades Work Program is a free 10-week program that introduces learners to employment in the trades, including classes in safety, shop training, trades math and science review, occupational fitness, and job search assistance. The first week is completed in the students’ home communities, followed by 7 weeks on campus at Grande Prairie Regional College’s Fairview Campus. Students return home for 2 weeks of work experience to complete the program, after which they are eligible to apply to write an apprenticeship entrance exam. The program also targets employers in order to create more work-study and apprenticeship placements in the area. “It’s a win for the community, it’s a win for the employers, [and] it’s a win for the clients. We are having these individuals who come train become self-sufficient, out in the workforce and building toward a career they have chosen to be in,” said Michele McCullough, Manager for Métis Training to Employment Services. Daily Herald Tribune

New resource to help Ontario students with disabilities

A new Ontario resource guide, The Transition Resource Guide, has been created to ease the transition from high school to university or college for students with disabilities. The Regional Assessment and Resource Centre (RARC), based at Queen’s University, created the comprehensive resource with input from various stakeholders, including students with disabilities, disability service professionals at Ontario’s universities and colleges, and secondary school counsellors. The guide gives general information on choosing a school, applying for scholarships and bursaries, and accessing disability services, as well as providing institution-specific information. The guide is available online in French and English; print copies will be distributed to secondary school counsellors across Ontario. Allyson Harrison, Clinical Director at RARC, noted that “there is a great demand from students, educators and counsellors in Ontario to have this type of information available in a central, easily accessible place.” An advisory board of stakeholders will periodically review the guide to ensure it remains up-to-date and accurate. Queen’s News | Guide website

Federal program contributes funds for college partnerships in China, Vietnam, and Nigeria

Colleges and Institutes Canada (formerly the Association of Canadian Community Colleges) has received funding from the federal government’s Global Opportunities for Associations (GOA) program to help develop partnerships in China, Vietnam, and Nigeria. The organization will use the funding to identify potential international partnerships and enhance its member institutions’ ability to attract international students. “Canadian colleges are known as exemplary providers of education for employment around the world. This federal investment will support Colleges and Institutes Canada’s international marketing, student recruitment and partnership activities in order to champion the college advantage in China, Vietnam, Nigeria, and other priority countries for our members,” said Denise Amyot, the organization's President. News Release

Debate over whether research fraud should be a criminal offence

Scholars who commit research fraud should feel “the full weight of the law,” says Zulfiqar Bhutta, Co-Director of the Centre for Global Child Health at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children. Bhutta believes that scientific fraud should be treated as a criminal offence, citing instances perpetrated by individuals and pharmaceutical industry researchers. In medical research, especially, the consequences of research fraud can be dire. However, charges are rarely laid. Instead, cases are generally treated as an internal matter by the university or institution that employs the researcher. “Individuals generally get off with just a slap on the wrist at the time and at most a dismissal of service, Bhutta told an interviewer. Bhutta’s perspective is not universally held among scientists; he notes that “our fraternity is not very united when it comes to washing our dirty linen in public.” Retractions of medical journal articles increased 19-fold between 2001 and 2010. Hamilton Spectator (CP) | Wall Street Journal

Generation Z is tech-savvy, socially conscious, entrepreneurial

Maclean’s magazine has published a feature article on “Generation Z,” a term it uses to describe youth born after 1995. According to the article, early research on Generation Z indicates that they are “a stellar generation: educated, industrious, collaborative and eager to build a better planet.” Their perspective is framed by their experience of institutional and economic instability, resource depletion, and social media. They favour jobs with social impact and want to start their own businesses. They are also more likely to volunteer than Millennials, and more likely to identify as savers than spenders. They view technology as a fundamental part of their environment, unlike their parents, who typically see it as disruptive. But they will also carry a heavy burden: Don Tapscott, Chancellor of Trent University and author of 15 best-selling books including Growing Up Digital, says that “these kids are going to have to save the world, literally.” Tapscott also cautions that sharp lines will likely be drawn between digital haves and digital have nots. Maclean’s

32 Canadian universities in CWUR Top 1000

The Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) has published its list of the top 1,000 global universities. CWUR boasts that its methodology is unique in that it does not rely on surveys or university-submitted data. Instead, it uses 8 indicators including the number of alumni who have won major awards, alumni employment figures, faculty awards, publications, patents, and citations. The University of Toronto was the top Canadian school, ranking 31st in the list. McGill University (42) and the University of British Columbia (61) also cracked the top 100, with the University of Alberta ranking 103rd. 32 Canadian institutions appear in the top 1000. Harvard again topped the CWUR list; 8 of the top 10 schools are in the US. CWUR News Release | Complete Rankings

Desire2Learn re-brands, updates education platforms

Canadian education software provider Desire2Learn is re-branding itself as “D2L,” and has also adopted “Brightspace” as the name for what it describes as its “integrated learning platform.” The company is moving away from the term “learning management system” to better emphasize the integration of a number of products it has acquired over the last several years, including Knowillage Systems, Learning Path (LeaP), and the Achievement Standards Network. The company will update its e-book and digital course material platform, Binder, and is working with Microsoft to develop a version of the software for Windows 8. The new app will enable users to “consume, organize, and annotate” e-books and learning materials from a growing list of publishers. It is expected to be released this fall. D2L also announced a partnership with IBM that will allow it to embed IBM’s Cognos business intelligence software into D2L Insights, a data analytics platform. Inside Higher Ed | Brightspace Blog | THE Journal

Web platform shares scientific research with non-experts

Robert Seigel, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Miami, has developed a web platform that he hopes will help scientists better communicate their published research to non-expert audiences. “Publiscize” allows scientists, organizations, or “enthusiasts” to sign up to receive daily alerts about new content. They may also submit a “scinopsis” of their accepted or published peer-reviewed research to share with others. The website offers guidelines to help scientists write for a lay audience, suggesting that they consider first-person narration and that they lead with their main point. Seigel says that his site encourages professors to share their research without having to go through institutional communications officers, though he hopes public relations officers will use his site as well. Inside Higher Ed | Publiscize