Top Ten

August 8, 2014

Georgian receives $2 M from Grey County for marine centre

Georgian College has received a $2-M commitment from Grey County towards the Marine Emergency Duties (MED) Training and Research Centre in Owen Sound, Ontario. The funds would be distributed over 10 years, beginning in 2015; the grant must still be approved as part of the county’s 2015 budget. Georgian’s Owen Sound campus is the home of the Great Lakes International Marine Training and Research Centre, the only location in central Canada currently providing International Marine Technology Training. Georgian’s plans for the new MED centre include a 6,500-square-foot facility that would be equipped to train mariners from the Great Lakes area who must currently travel to eastern or western Canada for training. Georgian has asked for funding from the provincial and federal governments and the marine industry as well. Georgian News | Simcoe.com | Grey County News Release

Chatham commits funding for downtown St Clair campus

Although St Clair College's plans to purchase one particular building in downtown Chatham, Ontario have fallen through, the municipality has committed $1.3 M for the establishment of a downtown Chatham campus to house the institution's baking program. “We have an agreement signed with St Clair College to contribute $1.3 million to the downtown campus and there were a number of conditions that were associated with that in terms of the scope of the program and the number of students,” says Chatham-Kent’s Chief Administrative Officer Don Shropshire. “I think right now, it’s up to the college to find a suitable location and the agreement could be fulfilled.” St Clair has recently expanded its holdings, including purchasing a 9-hole golf course last summer. Blackburn News

Sobey CPA MBA stream accredited by 3 NS professional bodies

The certified public accountant (CPA) stream of the MBA program at Saint Mary’s University’s Sobey School of Business has been accredited by 3 professional bodies: the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nova Scotia, the Certified Management Accountants of Nova Scotia, and the Certified General Accountants of Nova Scotia. Sobey’s 3-year, part-time program offers students a hybrid delivery format that includes weekend face-to-face instruction that is complemented by an online learning platform. Students who successfully complete the program are eligible to complete the CPA Atlantic School of Business’s CPA Capstone 2 course, which is required to sit the CPA Common Final Exam. “The Sobey MBA (CPA Stream) combines the broad business skills of the MBA degree with the accounting expertise and professional skills demanded for the new Canadian CP designation—a combination that adds up to professional success,” said Program Coordinator David Bateman. SMU News Release

NB announces new e-learning platform for residents

The New Brunswick government has announced it will invest $800,000 over 2 years to the new SkillsNB e-learning platform, which offers free training and up-skilling to residents of NB. SkillsNB is a joint initiative between the provincial government and SkillSoft, a Fredericton-based online learning company. SkillsNB will offer courses and resources such as videos, simulations, and textbooks in English and French in a variety of subjects including business, IT, leadership, and management. “In order to grow our economy and create jobs we need to invest in our greatest resource—our people,” said Premier David Alward. “These courses will allow New Brunswickers to invest in their future and skills, anywhere, anytime.” NB News Release

Survey finds that healthcare grads most likely to find work in their field

A new report published by Workopolis found that persons with degrees in nursing and pharmacy were most likely to find jobs related to their education post-graduation. 97% of nursing graduates who responded had been able to find work in their field of study, as well as 94% of pharmacy grads, 91% of computer science grads, 90% of engineering grads, and 88% of human resources grads. The poll also found that engineering grads earned the highest average starting salary, followed by healthcare graduates. 73% of respondents to Workopolis’s poll said that they work in jobs unrelated to their studies, and 56% said that they were overqualified for their present job. Tara Talbot, VP Human Resources at Workpolis, attributes the results to the challenge of staying ahead of rapid changes in labour demand. The report also says that the number of educated job-seekers has increased over the last 14 years, and that today’s PSE students stay in school 13% longer than those who graduated in 2000. CTV News | Toronto Star

Campuses embrace pedestrianization

Urban university campuses across Canada are embracing car-free, pedestrian-friendly spaces. Gould Street near Ryerson University features a café atmosphere in the summertime, and offers ice skating on “Lake Devo” in the winter. McGill University has participated in a city-wide push for pedestrianization, reclaiming McTavish Street as a car-free zone and planning to collaborate with civic leaders on creating a 2 km pedestrian corridor by 2017. The University of Windsor, meanwhile, is undertaking a major project that will shift the focus of its campus master plan away from buildings and toward the spaces in between. The project will involve 7 car-free zones, including a waterfront commons. The University of British Columbia converted its Main Mall into a pedestrian zone, making a more versatile, open space that landscape architect Dean Gregory says helps foster “a sense of pride and a strong sense of place” on campus. University Affairs

Author says that majors are "outdated"

Bestselling author Jeff Selingo says that the idea of a major in PSE is “outdated in a 21st-century economy in a constant state of flux.” Selingo’s blog post was prompted by a proposal for a new university campus in Brampton, which would do away with majors. He says that majors serve the needs of faculty more than students. Selingo says that while students may need some structure to help them take the classes they need to take a qualifying exam, licensing test, or to apply to professional programs, majors do not offer those specific requirements anyway. He says that a better approach would be to ask students what problems they want to solve. Selingo argues that while few 18-year-olds know what career they want to enter when they graduate, many are passionate about solving problems in the world. Identifying those problems, he says, should direct a student’s studies rather than a broad major. He points to Stanford University’s concept of “purpose learning,” which suggests replacing “major” with “mission,” as an example of what he proposes. Quest University in British Columbia offers a "block" curriculum, with no majors or departments and studies organized around a "question" that shapes independent research in students upper years of study. LinkedIn | Stanford 2025

At-risk students need help with PSE’s “hidden curriculum”

Buffy Smith, a sociology and criminal justice professor at the University of St Thomas in Minnesota, says that a “hidden curriculum” of “norms, values, and expectations” can be used to help guide at-risk students who may be unfamiliar with the culture of the US college campus. “All institutions have a formal curriculum and a hidden curriculum. Since students are either rewarded or penalized based on their knowledge of the hidden curriculum, it is important to unveil the hidden cultural codes and norms to students at all institutions,” Smith says. Smith notes that at-risk students are often uncomfortable with asking questions when they need help, and may miss out on some opportunities and privileges as a result. Smith adds that mentoring programs should incorporate assessment plans in order to better measure their success, and that institutions should base their programs on 3 cycles: advising, advocacy, and apprenticeship. Inside Higher Ed

Researchers find that selectivity does not improve US graduation rates

A study published in the American Educational Research Journal reports that US PSE institutions’ selectivity has little bearing on graduation rates. The research contradicts earlier findings, which have variously found that selectivity can improve or hinder graduation rates. Instead, the authors say that “selectivity does not have an independent effect on graduation.” Paul Attewell, one of the authors, says that his team’s findings suggest that “policy makers should be careful not to give colleges incentives for not serving the most disadvantaged students by overemphasizing graduation rates as a performance measure.” The report did find a correlation between tuition fees and graduation rates, noting that “a $1,000 increase in annual full-time in-state tuition is associated with a small increase in graduation rates.” The authors suggest that this may be due to more expensive colleges being better able to fund student success programs, or because higher tuition fees “incentivize students to graduate because of the large investment that they, and their families, have made in their schooling so that they avert the ‘moral hazard’ of not completing college.” The Chronicle of Higher Education | Full Report

UMass Dartmouth to pay $1.2 M to prof in discrimination case

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has been ordered to pay $1.2 M to a faculty member who alleges that she was denied promotion due to gender and racial discrimination. Lula Sun launched a complaint against the university in 2004 and 2006 after she was denied a promotion to Full Professor. The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) ruled in her favour in 2011, ordering the university to give Sun more than $150,000 in back pay as well as $200,000 in damages for emotional distress. MCAD also imposed a $10,000 civil penalty and ordered campus officials to participate in training on discrimination. The university appealed the amount of the damages, the civil penalty, and the mandatory training. However, MCAD has decided to uphold the 2011 decision while further ordering the institution to pay more than $500,000 in legal fees as well as interest and additional penalties. UMass Dartmouth has said that they will not launch a further appeal. Herald News