Top Ten

October 7, 2014

St Clair renames Health Science Centre in recognition of donation

St Clair College’s Health Science Centre has been renamed the Anthony P Toldo Centre for Applied Health Sciences following a $1 M donation from the Toldo Foundation. The renaming recognizes the many contributions made to the community by Toldo, who passed away 5 years ago. The gift also serves to kick off St Clair’s upcoming Foundation for Life fundraising campaign. “This gift from the Toldo Foundation is a clear sign that a community leader has recognized that the combined talent of an amazing staff at this college is making a difference as the leading educator in the province of Ontario,” said St Clair President John Strasser. Toldo’s son, Anthony, said, “I think this continues the legacy of my father. Our family has been active in the community and this building being focused on healthcare and education fits well with that … It’s one of the best health care facilities in Canada.” St Clair News Release | Windsor Star

BC commits funding for learners with disabilities, Aboriginal learners

British Columbia last week made 2 funding announcements that will benefit learners with disabilities as well as Aboriginal learners. The province committed $1.5 M in funding, to be divided equally among 20 PSE institutions, to help persons with disabilities develop job skills that match the needs of BC’s labour market. “The employment rate for people with disabilities is 18 percentage points lower than for people without a disability. We heard very clearly through our recent disability consultation that people with disabilities who are under employed, and those who can and want to work, need better support,” said BC Social Development and Social Innovation Minister Don MacRae. BC also announced $6.4 M in funding to support 23 projects that forge skills-training partnerships between PSE institutions and local Aboriginal communities. “By improving access to education, skills and trades training for Aboriginal students through programs like the Aboriginal Community-based Delivery Partnerships program, we can help Aboriginal communities to take advantage of economic opportunities and support BC’s labour market,” said BC Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk. Both investments come as part of BC’s Skills for Jobs BlueprintBC News Release (Disabilities) | BC News Release(Aboriginal)

Mount Allison officially opens Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts

Mount Allison University on Friday celebrated the official opening of its first new academic building in over 3 decades. The Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts, named for the late entrepreneur and former MTA Chancellor, will offer space for teaching, performance, and creative pursuits in the university’s fine arts and drama program, with specialized studios, classrooms, seminar spaces, and a black-box professional teaching theatre. “Mount Allison has always been committed to providing students with opportunities to learn and develop both within and outside the classroom. The Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts brings these philosophies together,” said MTA President Robert Campbell. The building was funded through private donations, with no direct government funding or external debt. MTA News Release

NORCAT opens training facility on Boréal campus

The Northern Centre for Advanced Technology has opened a new location on the campus of Collège Boréal in Timmins, to help meet a need for health and safety training and programming among industry clients in the area. The new facility will offer a full complement of programs, delivered via hands-on classroom work, e-learning, and the use of state-of-the-art simulation equipment. “We’ve been doing business in Timmins for many, many years and we want to offer—and our customers were asking for—more enhanced services in the Timmins area similar to what we offer in Sudbury. The only way to really do that is to get permanent boots on the ground in the Timmins area,” said NORCAT Director of Training and Development Jason Bubba. Bubba also said that he looks forward to establishing a strong partnership with Boréal.

New StFX President commits to research, internationalization, accessibility

At his installation ceremony on Friday, Kent MacDonald identified 3 priorities for his time as President of St Francis Xavier University. First, MacDonald announced a recommitment to StFX’s academic mission, pledging to add $1 M to the research budget for faculty and student researchers. MacDonald also announced his intention to expand StFX’s global reach through the development of a comprehensive international strategy. He further committed to increasing the number of international students on campus to 10% of all students. MacDonald also said that he aims to increase StFX’s total enrolment to 5,000 students. Finally, MacDonald announced that he intends to raise $25 M over the next 5 years through the Xavieran Legacy Fund to improve accessibility and offer educational opportunities to “the most talented students, regardless of background.” StFX News

Canadian scientists hold forum to protest government cutbacks

A group of Canadian scientists calling themselves "Scientists for the Right to Know" held a forum last week to raise awareness of the effects of government cuts to research. Entitled “Imposed Ignorance,” the forum featured a panel discussion with former Chief Statistician of Canada Munir Sheikh, former head of the federal public service Mel Cappe, and uToronto professor David Hulchanski. The panelists each offered testimony regarding how individuals and agencies have been silenced through moves including the cancellation of the mandatory detailed census, the auditing of charities that speak out on public issues, and the censoring of an Environment Canada climatologist who had written a science-fiction novel about global warming. The group also highlighted government elimination of programs including the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy, the Law Commission of Canada, the National Council of Welfare, and the Canadian Council on Learning, as well as cuts to Statistics Canada, Health Canada, and Environment Canada. “It’s easy to wreck something that’s working well and it’s hard to make it work again. When the muscles atrophy, it is very hard to pick up weights. It will take a long time to recover,” said Hulchanski. Toronto Star

Ryerson sees success with new, eat-local approach to food services

Ryerson University is seeing new success with its food services thanks to a re-brand and a new focus on fresh, locally sourced options. Since ending its contract with Aramark last year, Ryerson has adopted a new vision that privileges locally sourced, campus-made food. Under its new agreement with Chartwells, 25% of goods are sourced in southern Ontario, and soups, sandwiches, and salads are all made on site. Ryerson is also offering more culturally diverse fare, as well as a budget-friendly $5 lunch option. “Students are seeing improvements in affordability and availability and diversity in food services on campus, as well as sustainability,” said Ryerson Students’ Union President Rajean Hoilett. Executive Chef Joshna Maharaj says that the new approach is more labour-intensive, but that sales are up. “Food costs are slightly elevated, but not in an unmanageable way. It shows that we can support small business, buy higher-quality food for the campus community and not have it break the bank,” she said. Toronto Star

2-year MBA programs remains popular as enrolment in 1-year, specialized programs dips

New data from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) show that full-time, 2-year MBA programs remain the standard in business education. Compared to 2013 figures, applications increased or were stable for 65% of 2-year MBA programs considered in the study, while applications decreased in 60% of 1-year and specialized graduate programs. The longer duration of the 2-year MBA may actually be the key to its appeal, in spite of the added cost. “It might offer additional time with classmates for networking, internships, activities for case competitions, or even exchange for study abroad,” said GMAC’s Director of Research Communications, Michelle Sparkman. Most (55%) flexible MBA programs also reported an increase in the number of applicants compared to 2013, while 43% of online MBA programs reported an increase in applications and 50% a decrease. GMAC also reports that Canada ranked 10th as a target for recruiters, ahead of France and the United Kingdom. Globe and Mail | Full Report

Universities deploy variety of tactics to improve time-to-completion for Humanities PhDs

A report in The Chronicle of Higher Education surveys how a number of Humanities PhD programs in the US and Canada are reducing time-to-completion rates. The University of Alberta’s Department of English and Film Studies is among the programs featured. The article notes that uAlberta has helped reduce the sense of isolation felt by many of its PhD students by offering lab-like settings, mentorship programs, workshops, and a colloquium. Other programs, including those in the University of Texas system, require students to complete a “Milestones Agreement Form,” which forces students to identify when they will hit key points in the PhD process, such as competing coursework. Other universities allow students to complete alternative dissertations, such as a collection of essays, an exhibition, or a digital publication. Vanderbilt University, meanwhile, has moved up its deadlines to encourage students to begin the dissertation process earlier. On the other hand, the University of Texas at Austin encourages students by cutting off their financial support once they complete their sixth year of study. The Chronicle of Higher Education

US adjuncts plan national walkout in February

Adjuncts in the US are planning a national walkout day on February 25, 2015. The event, intended to highlight the low wages and poor working conditions experienced by many adjunct faculty members, was proposed by a writing instructor at San Jose State University who, citing job security concerns, wishes to remain anonymous. She said that she hopes the event will shed light on the “educational or administrative issues impacting adjuncts … across the country, or [the] plights of individual adjuncts.” The idea of a nation-wide event, she said, is to communicate that “no adjunct or campus must face these shared issues alone.” Information about the event is being shared largely through social media. Maria Maisto, President of the adjunct advocacy organization New Faculty Majority, said, “any actions that raise awareness and continue to put pressure on higher education to reform are welcome.” Inside Higher Ed