Top Ten

June 22, 2015

Donation from Canada’s cranberry king establishes centre for business ethics at UBC

Cranberry mogul Peter Dhillon has given $7.5 M to UBC to establish the Peter R Dhillon Centre for Business Ethics at the Sauder School of Business. Dhillon is the chairman of Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc and the CEO of the Richberry Group of Companies. He said that the new centre will strive to “equip future leaders with the ethical perspectives they need to navigate the increasingly complex world of business.” UBC President Arvind Gupta said of Dhillon’s contribution, “our partnership with Peter will greatly enrich our learning and research environment and allow Sauder to become an innovator in, and a model for, values-based business education and outreach.” UBC News | Vancouver Sun

SFU to launch Pacific Water Research Centre

Simon Fraser University will this week announce the creation of the new Pacific Water Research Centre (PWRC), part of its Faculty of Environment. The PWRC will respond to regional, national, and international concerns about the world's water resources and provide a hub for cross-disciplinary, collaborative research to help address global water crises. Faculty of Environment Dean Ingrid Leman Stefanovic said, “the goal of the PWRC aims to inform research questions on the strength of local and regional priorities, to ensure that community-engaged research leads to positive, community-relevant changes.” SFU News Release

$10 M invested in brain research

Six teams of neuroscience researchers will benefit from a total of $10 M in funding to help address unmet needs in neuroscience. $8.5 M of the funding will be provided by CQDM, Brain Canada, and the Ontario Brain Institute as part of their Focus on Brain strategic initiative; an additional $1.5 M will be provided through in-kind contributions. 33 researchers from institutions including Concordia University, McGill University, Polytechnique Montréal, UBC, Université de Montreal, Université de Sherbrooke, and the University of Waterloo will use the funding to develop new tools, technologies, and platforms that will accelerate the discovery of new drugs for brain and nervous system disorders. McGill News Release | CQDM News Release

Apple adds Olds College to list of distinguished schools

Apple has awarded Olds College special recognition for the school’s use of mobile technology in education. The announcement reportedly makes Olds only the second school in Canada to be named an Apple Distinguished School. Jason Dewling, Olds’ VP Academics, said that Apple’s recognition “honours the innovative work environment in which our people do their job.” This fall, representatives from Apple will visit Olds to observe and learn from its practices. Olds’ use of technology includes equipping all staff, faculty, and students with iPads and maintaining a high bandwidth for the university’s Internet connection. Olds News

COU launches new website; releases annual report

The Council of Ontario Universities (COU) has unveiled its newly designed website, which includes an updated look, improved search tools, and better mobile device functionality. The site adds three new features: a Q&A section, a Resource Finder, and a section showcasing key facts about Ontario’s universities. COU has also released its 2013–14 Annual Report, which presents new developments in student success and research. “The past year saw countless numbers of students launching their own businesses, researchers providing solutions to pressing societal problems, and a myriad of university-community partnerships strengthening the student experience,” said President Bonnie M Patterson and Chair Max Blouw. COU News Release | Annual Report

Universities Canada signs MOU with Brazilian rectors

Universities Canada has signed a five-year memorandum of understanding with the Association of Brazilian Rectors of State and Municipal Universities (ABRUEM) to promote academic and research cooperation. The new agreement will prompt dialogue and coordination in areas including student mobility, research collaboration, academic partnerships, and internationalization. 19 Brazilian rectors are currently in Canada to meet with 45 university leaders in 10 cities; they will discuss issues such as environmental sustainability, citizenship and democracy, and university-industry partnerships. “Canada and Brazil share a common commitment to excellence in higher education, research, and innovation,” said Universities Canada President Paul Davidson. Universities Canada News Release

Scholarships used to attract women to MBA programs

In an effort to increase the number of women enrolling in business programs, some Australian institutions are offering free or low-cost MBAs to eligible women. Such programs now have Canadian students wondering if their institutions should follow suit. “It would be more appealing and get more women interested in doing their MBA because the return on the investment is often not the same for women,” said one student at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business. Some Canadian programs do offer substantial scholarships to encourage women to enrol. The Queen’s School of Business offers two scholarships that cover 50% of tuition for recipients in its EMBA and EMBA Americas programs. Western University’s Ivey Business School, meanwhile, offers five scholarships for women in its MBA program. Globe and Mail

Report provides guidance on better serving returning adult learners

A new report evaluating the Lumina Foundation’s adult college completion work sheds light on the challenges faced by returning adult students in the US. According to the report, many returning students continue to face a number of the same barriers—including financial challenges and difficulty balancing work, life, and school—that prompted them to leave college in the first place. The report offers information on how to best reach adult learners and on the effectiveness of various institutional and academic resources; however, it acknowledges that many unanswered questions remain. The report also includes a number of recommendations for colleges that include the provision of online student services, flexible course scheduling, and opportunities for students to earn credit for prior learning. Inside Higher Ed | Full Report

uTexas campus uses data and personal coaching to retain students

The newly formed University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley is trying to combat the fact that nearly half of its STEM students eventually switch out of its science programs. Using a combination of big data and personalized approaches, the Total Education Experience (TEx) system will monitor student progress through a competency-based biomedical program, allowing students to complete it at their own pace and tracking barriers to completion. Steve Mintz, Director of the Institute for Transformational Learning, said, “we want it [the system] to be as highly interactive as possible, highly social, highly collaborative.” The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

Tech companies deploy own certification courses to build credentials sought in job applicants

Tech companies like Microsoft and IBM are increasingly turning to company-designed training to help job applicants build the skills necessary for working in these companies. Instead of degrees, these companies often issue a series of badges that indicate whether people have attained a set of core competencies. According to O’Connell, this trend has emerged partially in response to the rising cost of university education and its perceived inability to offer the training needed to work in today’s ever-evolving tech companies. With respect to this trend, Kevin Carey of The New York Times writes, "if digital badges infiltrate the credential market, they could shake the economic foundations of a higher education industry that over the last 30 years has consistently increased prices much higher than inflation and family income." Fast Company