Top Ten

November 13, 2014

City Building Institute launched at Ryerson

Earlier this week, Ryerson University celebrated the launch of the new City Building Institute, designed to address urban issues on a local, national, and global scale. The institute will gather diverse perspectives from multiple disciplines to “improve public policy literacy through cutting-edge research and integrated teaching.” The new institute will be housed in the Faculty of Community Services, and research activities will be guided by 5 themes: integrated land use and social/physical infrastructure investment; inclusive and complete communities through economic, social, and design strategies; new options for universal mobility, including green corridors and active transportation; climate change mitigation/adaptation through urban design and environmental planning; and financial instruments that advance city building goals. The City Building Institute will be co-chaired by distinguished visiting scholar Anne Golden and Ryerson professor David Amborski. Ryerson News | Institute Website

Students protest provincial austerity measures in Montreal

Students in Montreal took to the streets on Wednesday to protest austerity measures in Quebec. A group of between 2 and 3 dozen protesters organized by the Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (ASSE) began marching at about 6am; after being told by police that their gathering was illegal because no route had been provided, protesters split up before regrouping a short time later at Cégep du Vieux Montreal. By this time, police outnumbered the protesters, who dispersed at about 8am. A police spokesperson said at the time that “the group is small and all is in order”; the protesters did not cause any disruption to traffic. However, further protests were planned for later in the day. Wednesday’s protest follows 2 demonstrations held on October 31, one of which involved over 10,000 people. Montreal Gazette (Wednesday) | Montreal Gazette (October 31)

Ontario's foreign-trained nurses call for better support to prepare for OSCE exam

Foreign-trained nurses are facing difficulties finding bridging programs that would help them qualify to practice in Ontario, reports the Toronto Star. The Star says that three-quarters of immigrant nurses have failed the College of Nurses of Ontario’s (CNO) new licensing exam, but that there is also a lack of programs that would help them pass. Those who fail the objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) typically must register in York University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, which is designed specifically for internationally trained nurses; however, the program offers just 50 spots and takes 20 months to complete. Some immigrant nurses have also reported a lack of information on how to prepare for the exam. “There is no study guide. You can’t prepare and study for it. If this is the way they prefer to license us, at least send us quickly to the OSCE and open more bridging programs to get us on track,” said one nurse from Israel. A spokesperson for the CNO said that they are aware of the situation and that they are working with groups including the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) to arrive at a solution. Academica Group, working with researchers at Western University, the University of Ottawa, and McMaster University, has recently completed a case study evaluation of bridging programs for internationally educated allied health professionals that will be released in the coming months. Toronto Star

Ontario passes bill to protect interns and temps, ties minimum wage to inflation

Ontario has approved legislation designed to extend protections to temporary workers and interns and to tie the minimum wage to inflation rates. Bill 18 will extend Occupational Health and Safety Act coverage to co-op students and unpaid interns; previously, these vulnerable workers did not have the same protections and rights to safety training that other workers had. The safety of interns and co-op students has been a growing concern of late, in response to the deaths of several young workers. In addition, Bill 18 will ensure that temporary workers hired through a placement agency are able to address issues both with their company and the agency, improve the process around wage theft claims for all workers, expand the Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals Act to all migrant workers, and tie minimum wage increases to the Consumer Price Index for Ontario. Toronto Star

Blueprints for Student Success website launches

A new website has launched that is designed to help students navigate the complex world of PSE and, more specifically, the supports available to assist student success. The Blueprints for Student Success website developed out of a multi-institutional research project—Supporting Student Success—led by Tricia Seifert from the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute of Studies for Education (OISE). The website offers definitions and explanations of student services and the various programs associated with student success and support, as well as information on current initiatives at institutions, an FAQ section with tips and advice from current students, and student experience videos. The website’s creators hope that their site will help current and future students build a blueprint for success. Supporting Student Success News Release | Blueprints for Student Success Website

MPHEC releases enrolment, credentials statistics

The Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission (MPHEC) has released new data on enrolment numbers and credentials granted in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. Enrolments dipped in NB, from 21,981 full- and part-time students in 2012–13 to 21,223 in 2013–14. The only NB institution to see an increase in  enrolments was UNB-Fredericton. In PEI, enrolments fell from 4,385 to 4,214, while in Nova Scotia they increased slightly, from 44,073 to 44,227. Total enrolments for all 3 provinces fell from 70,439 in 2012–13 to 69,664 in 2013–14. 15,685 credentials were granted across the Maritimes in 2013, compared with 15,250 in 2012. In February, MPHEC had reported that enrolment numbers were holding steady thanks to international and out-of-region students. The MPHEC data also include breakdowns that take into account gender, major field of study, immigration status, and province of residence. Full Enrolment Data | Full Credentials Data

Colleges skeptical of Canada Job Grant skills-training funding

Colleges are proceeding with caution when it comes to Canada Job Grant funding for skills training. Part of the trepidation comes from early concerns that the project would be funded by cuts to other valuable programs, while others are fearful that the federal initiative will draw funding away from provincial efforts to support skills training. However, some institutions, such SAIT Polytechnic, are embracing the program and highlighting it as they reach out to employers. “In our understanding of the job grants and seeing what it’s trying to promote, it is directly aligning with the kind of programming that SAIT offers,” said Patrick Weinmayr, Director of Products and Partnerships at SAIT. However, Jen Donofrio, Director of Strategic Enrolment Management at Olds College, says that the grant will have little impact on employer-college contact, as those relationships were in place before the program went into effect. According to Wendy Therrien, VP Government Relations and Canada Partnerships at Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan), “it’s a bit early to be able to tell what the implications of the Canada Job Grant are for colleges in general—and the extent to which [colleges] are finding it positive or negative, or the extent to which they’re changing the way they’re working.” Globe and Mail

Ivey named top international business school by Businessweek

Businessweek has released its biennial rankings of full-time MBA programs, naming the Ivey School of Business at Western University the top international business program. Ivey climbed 6 places to take the top spot. Queen’s University’s business school appears in 10th spot, falling 6 places from its position in the 2012 rankings. The University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business held steady at 11th on the list, with McGill’s Desautels Faculty of Management appearing at 15th, down from 10th in 2012. Concordia’s Molson School of Business appears on the list for the first time, ranked 20th. York University’s Schulich School of Business was ranked 24th, down from 14th in 2012. Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business was named the top American school. Businessweek| Full Rankings

First-time enrolment by Chinese students in US grad programs drops for first time

New data released by the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) indicate that first-time enrolment by Chinese students in US graduate programs has dropped for the first time since at least 2004, when CGS began issuing its annual report. The numbers are not necessarily surprising, and reflect efforts in China to improve the quality of its own research universities as US schools are dealing with budget cuts. In spite of the drop in Chinese students, overall international enrolment was up by 8%. The increase can be attributed primarily to a 27% growth in international students from India. First-time graduate enrolments from Brazil also increased by a significant percentage, nearly doubling last year’s figure. Among fields of study, the growth was greatest in physical and earth sciences programs (20%); CGS includes math and computer sciences in this category. Engineering programs saw an 11% increase in enrolments. The Chronicle of Higher Education | Full Report

US collaborative degree programs skew heavily toward non-US participants

The American Council on Education (ACE) has released a new report on international joint and dual degrees that sheds light on some challenges faced by US institutions implementing such programs. According to the report, American student participation in joint and dual degree programs is limited; 63% of collaborative programs surveyed for the report enrolled exclusively non-American students while just 4% enrolled only American students. This leads the authors to suggest that “collaborative degree programs may be more of a proxy for recruiting international students, and are likely to contribute to the continuing ‘imbalance of trade’ in outward and inward flow of students.” While many respondents to the ACE survey said that they would like to see more outbound student mobility, few were optimistic that this was likely to happen given an apparent lack of interest on the part of American students. The report also considers factors that may affect the sustainability of these programs, as well as noting issues of grade inflation that are often associated with collaborative degree programs. Inside Higher Ed | Full Report