Top Ten

June 26, 2015

Keyano College announces second round of staff, program cuts

Keyano College has announced a second round of program and staff cuts, reports Fort McMurray Today. A number of its Trades and Industrial Safety Certifications courses are being discontinued due to a drop off in local demand and a decline in college revenues. Keyano will continue to offer select industry safety courses, such as the Oil Sands Safety Association Basic Safety Orientation, an industry standard. With the cancellation of the safety certificate courses, Keyano is cutting five positions—four instructors and one coordinator. A further eight support staff positions are also being cut, bringing the total number of staff reductions to 31 since June 1. Fort McMurray Today

Lambton receives $20 M from ON, Canada for new health education centre

The governments of Canada and Ontario have announced that they will each contribute $10 M to the creation of a Centre for Health Education and Sustainable Care (CHESC) at Lambton College. The funds will come from the Small Communities Fund, designed to support priority public infrastructure projects in communities with fewer than 100,000 residents. The CHESC will provide space for research and learning, with multi-functional laboratories, interactive learning studios, and large meeting spaces. Lambton County has committed an additional $5 M to the centre; the rest will be raised by the college through its Envision Tomorrow capital campaign. Construction is expected to begin in 2016. Lambton News | Ontario News | The Observer | Blackburn News

uToronto starts construction on new Centre for Engineering Innovation & Entrepreneurship

The University of Toronto this week held a groundbreaking celebration for its new Centre for Engineering Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CEIE). The innovative Centre is designed to foster collaboration and entrepreneurship and will allow students, faculty, and researchers to work with industry partners from around the world. The CEIE will provide space for technology-enhanced learning, versatile group meeting rooms, and facilities for prototyping, fabrication, and visualization. “By incorporating innovation in engineering education and smart building design, the CEIE will be one of the finest research and teaching environments of any engineering school in the world,” said uToronto President Meric Gertler. uToronto News

uMontréal’s IRIC receives $0.5 M from Gosselin Fondation

The Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) at the Université de Montréal has been awarded $0.5 M from the Fondation Marcel et Rolande Gosselin for its chemolibrary. The chemolibrary is a collection of molecules used during screenings that form the basis of new drugs to be designed by the researchers. “This donation demonstrates once again the faith that people have in IRIC and its ability to implement projects that will have a sure impact on those with cancer,” said Robert Tessier, Chair of IRIC’s board. “I thank the [Fondation] for a contribution that will make it possible to accelerate the discovery of successful ground-breaking therapies.” uMontréal News

uWaterloo breaks ground on new student residence

Construction has begun on a new 12-storey student residence at the University of Waterloo. The building is student-focused and was designed after consultations with students and other stakeholders. The residence will include study and lounge spaces, multi-faith rooms, a community centre, and a full-service cafeteria. This will be the largest student residence on campus and is designed for undergraduate students; uWaterloo has a first-year housing guarantee for new undergraduates. Officials are planning for the residence to be ready for its first inhabitants by fall 2017. uWaterloo News

Engineers Canada releases report on labour market

Engineers Canada has released a new report outlining projections of the expected supply and demand of engineers in Canada through to 2025. The report, Engineering Labour Market in Canada: Projections to 2025, provides provincial-level breakdowns of the number of engineers currently working, the average age of engineers in different fields, and the projected need for engineers to fill vacated positions. The report suggests that recent engineering graduates will not be able to replace retiring senior engineers; inter-provincial mobility of senior engineers and the immigration of international engineers will be necessary to fill these positions. The report also recommends that traditionally underrepresented groups such as women and Aboriginal peoples will be needed in the engineering workforce. Engineers Canada News Release | Full Report

SFU pilots online student evaluation forms

Responding to concerns about the effectiveness of student evaluations of teaching, Simon Fraser University has announced the pilot of a new integrated, online system. The system will use a standardized, institution-wide set of questions, which can be supplemented by customizable questions at the faculty, department, and course levels. The online system will be integrated with SFU’s learning management system and accessible on mobile devices. The new system focuses “less on student perceptions of instructors, and more on how students learn.” Academica recently evaluated student feedback forms at 15 Ontario colleges, finding significant benefits from the adoption of an institution-wide, electronic instrument. SFU News

Caution must be exercised in adoption of blended learning technologies

The Washington Post has published an article by Phil McRae, of the Alberta Teachers’ Association and the University of Alberta, on the buzz surrounding blended learning—the integration of face-to-face learning with online resources or courses. According to McRae, “[blended learning] has become entangled with the ambiguous notion of personalized learning.” He continues that while there is hope for the model, caution must be exercised to ensure that it does not become “yet another overhyped myth on the crowded road of technology-as-education-reform panacea.” “It is time,” he concludes, “to claim the space of blended learning and push back at the myths and questionable rhetoric.” The Washington Post

US Department of Education further scales back plan for rating colleges

The US Department of Education is moving away from its controversial plan to create a national college-ratings system. Academic researchers, college leaders, and Congress have expressed concerns about the system, with the latter introducing measures to prevent the department from spending money developing it. Instead, the department will introduce a “consumer-oriented” website by the end of the summer, that will allow students to compare colleges “on whatever measures are important to them.” In a blog post on the department’s website, Jamienne Studley, the Deputy Under Secretary for Education, wrote that they look forward to “continuing to work with the community to make sure that we all are helping to make affordable, high-quality higher education a reality for everyone.” Chronicle of Higher Education | Inside Higher Ed | Wall Street Journal | Department of Education

Cambridge University seeks Lego professor

The University of Cambridge is seeking applicants for a newly created Lego professor. The 800-year-old UK university has received a $7.6 M research grant from the Lego Foundation, which “aims to build a future where learning through play empowers children to become creative, engaged, life-long learners.” This follows on the institution’s announcement a year ago that they were seeking a “doctor of chocolate.” The successful applicant will lead the work of the Research Centre on Play in Education, Development and Learning (PEDaL). CBC | BBC News | Cambridge Release