Top Ten

August 20, 2014

uOttawa to open new Business Law Clinic

The University of Ottawa will soon open its new bilingual and bijural Business Law Clinic, reportedly the first of its kind in Canada. The new clinic will serve entrepreneurs, small businesses, and non-profit organizations, providing pro bono legal services in both official languages and in both the common and civil law systems. The clinic will cover a variety of legal areas including corporate/commercial law, intellectual property law, employment law, basic tax law, non-profit and charity law, and commercial arbitration. There will also be free public education seminars offered by the clinic. “This is really a win-win scenario,” said Michael Marin, Academic Director of the Business Law Clinic. “Clients will get top-notch legal services that they otherwise couldn’t afford, and students will get hands-on experience in business law.” The service, which opens in September, will fill a gap in legal aid availability, which is usually geared towards criminal, family, and refugee legal cases. uOttawa News Release

BC graduates report satisfaction with education

British Columbia has released the results from its annual student outcomes surveys, reporting a graduate satisfaction rate of 93%. The surveys poll graduates from a wide range of academic, technical, and developmental programs, 2 years after graduation. 91% of respondents that graduated from diploma, associate degree or certificate programs were in the workforce, 88% of baccalaureate graduates were in the workforce, and 96% of former apprentice students were employed at the time of the survey. “Students who have a good experience with post-secondary education are more likely to find good jobs and be successful in their work and personal lives,” said Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk. The surveys collect information on employment, student loan/debt information, and student satisfaction with the education they received. BC News Release | The Province | Survey Factsheet

CBU highlights energy-savings initiatives

Cape Breton University’s on-site energy manager, Mohsin Khan, is helping the institution identify ways to be more energy efficient, resulting in lowered energy consumption and cost-savings. CBU has partnered with Efficiency Nova Scotia on the energy-saving project. Khan is focusing on 3 areas of improvement during his one-year position, including the proposed installation of an energy management information system; the identification of areas on campus where energy is being wasted; and the upgrade of current, inefficient equipment to newer, more ​efficient models to reduce consumption. Khan’s goal is to reduce energy usage by 1.5 GWh, which would equal approximately $180,000 in savings per year. Khan is also overseeing the installation of LED lighting systems and motion detectors to further reduce energy usage. “Energy efficiency is not just upgrading equipment to more efficient models,” says Mohsin. “It is a collective effort.” CBU News

SMA recognizes Confederation’s leadership in Aboriginal education, rural access

The strategic mandate agreement (SMA) signed between Ontario and Confederation College recognizes the institution’s leadership in Aboriginal education and its support for education access in rural areas of northwestern Ontario. The SMA identifies as areas of institutional strength Confederation’s applied research and experiential learning opportunities in advanced manufacturing, biomass and water resources, wellness, and Aboriginal learning. Confederation is also recognized for its Technology Enabled Learning environment as well as its Negahneewin Council, which, the SMA says, “plays a vital role in identifying priorities for Aboriginal learning and communities.” Confederation also offers the Centre for Policy in Aboriginal Learning, which helps to identify and disseminate best practices in Aboriginal Learning. The SMA identifies 4 proposed areas of growth: health and community service, trades/technology and engineering, education access and pre-programming, and business. Confederation SMA

Nipissing SMA highlights institution’s critical social, economic role in Northern Ontario

The strategic mandate agreement (SMA) between Nipissing University and Ontario emphasizes Nipissing’s critical role in the economic, social, and cultural development of northern Ontario as well as its support for building and strengthening relationships with First Nations and Aboriginal communities through the Schulich School of Education. The SMA emphasizes that Nipissing is one of the largest employers in the North Bay region and that it works closely with the city and other local municipalities on matters including environmental and fishing issues. Nipissing also supports the local economy though its Biomass Innovation Centre project and its many professional programs. The SMA highlights the many ways in which Nipissing promotes education access in non-urban communities, especially for Aboriginal and first-generation learners. Education, mathematics, environmental science, and history are identified in the SMA as areas of research strength, while inter-professional health education, education, social justice, administration/management, and science and technology are identified as proposed areas of program growth. Nipissing SMA   

Humanities scholars must find middle ground with MOOCs: BrockU professor

A Brock University Professor Emeritus considers the impact of massive open online courses (MOOCs) on humanities education in an op-ed published in the Globe and Mail. John Sainsbury says that if the humanities are to weather the proliferation of MOOCs in PSE, discipline and smart thinking will be required. “Those teaching in the humanities must negotiate a steady course between the bafflegab of the technophiles and the blinkered defeatism of the technophobes,” Sainsbury writes. He notes that technology has the ability to provide “a window to a cornucopia of riches,” such as the British Library’s illuminated manuscript collection. However, he adds that an Internet chatroom is a poor substitute for face-to-face dialogue. Sainsbury advises humanities scholars to strive for better understanding of the limitations and benefits of MOOCs in order to better advocate for a middle way, such as the inclusion of a monthly, face-to-face seminar in an otherwise digital course. Globe and Mail

D2L raises $85 M in funding

Canadian education software provider D2L (formerly Desire2Learn) has announced that its latest fundraising round has garnered $85 M in financing. In a blog post, D2L CEO John Baker said that the new funding will fuel the company’s growth and enable it to expand its focus to areas including productivity, learner achievement and satisfaction, improved retention and graduation rates, and greater engagement. Baker also said that the funding will enable the Kitchener-based firm to more quickly expand its services globally. “We hope we will expand dramatically here in North America, but at the same time we are seeing at times triple-digit growth in some of the countries that we are working with internationally,” he said. “I feel what lies ahead is even more exciting as we bring to market some of the next-generation stuff around game-based learning.” D2L Blog | Financial Post

US Bar Association updates regulations for distance, experiential learning

The American Bar Association (ABA) has approved a series of reforms that will affect legal education in the US. Many of the reforms are designed to facilitate distance education at law schools. Among other reforms, the ABA approved an increase in the number of credit hours a student may take by distance learning. Previously, the limit was 12 credit hours; now it will be 15. The ABA also added a requirement that students complete 6 credit hours in a legal clinic or “experiential” environment. Other reforms will affect the accreditation process. New criteria will focus on outcomes, such as students’ scores on the bar exam, rather than the qualifications of incoming students. The Chronicle of Higher Education

Internships help business students land job offers

The results of a new survey published in Businessweek suggest that completing a “business-related internship” correlated with the likelihood of US business students receiving a job offer. 75% of business students who responded to the survey reported that they had completed an internship; of those, 61% of respondents received a job offer by the winter of their senior year. Among those students who did not complete an internship, only 28% had a job offer at the same point. The impact of completing an internship varied depending on industry. Fields like financial services, technology, and consulting saw the most sizeable gaps, while the gap was less significant in health care, advertising and public relations, and nonprofits. The data may be somewhat skewed by the hiring practices of significant industries. Consulting firms, for instance, are more likely to actively recruit upper-year students than some other fields, while nonprofits may be more likely to hire closer to graduation. Businessweek

Starbucks to go: coffee giant to deploy food trucks at 3 US campuses

Starbucks plans to position mobile stores at 3 US campuses this fall. Starbucks’ food trucks will appear at Arizona State University, James Madison University (Virginia), and Coastal Carolina University (South Carolina) as a pilot project. If successful, Starbucks may forge ahead with food trucks on more campuses. The trucks, which will be run by food services company Aramark, will feature menus that the company says will be “nearly identical” to their bricks-and-mortar locations. The trucks will also in some cases be able to keep later hours than traditional cafes. This initiative will mark the first time that Starbucks will deploy “to go” stores in North America. Toronto Star