Top Ten

July 3, 2015

Ryerson receives $1 M for ethical leadership centre

Ryerson University has received a $1 M gift from the Rogers family that will fund ethical leadership education at the Ted Rogers Leadership Centre (TRLC). This gift builds upon the more than $33 M that the Rogers family has given to the university to date. The funds will be used to expand the centre’s curricula, build its Ethical Leadership Case Studies Program, and create new universally accessible e-learning options that encourage critical and ethical thinking. Ryerson President Sheldon Levy said, “this great investment in our efforts celebrates a legacy of leadership by example in providing new opportunities for students to aim high, work together and have an impact.” Ryerson News Release

HEQCO releases new report on effectiveness of uWindsor mentor program

​The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) has released a study titled Evaluating the Effects of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Mentor Program, which suggests that a peer mentorship program at the University of Windsor has a positive outcome for both first-year students and their senior-year mentors. uWindsor established the program in 2005 to improve enrolment and retention by integrating senior-year mentors into first-year foundation courses in five academic departments. The study used a classroom survey along with focus groups, interviews, and institutional data to determine a positive relationship between the mentorship program and retention rates from first to second year. HEQCO Summary | Full Report

Top neuroscientist cites federal cuts in decision to move to UK

Celebrated neuroscientist Robert Brownstone is leaving his position at Dalhousie University for a position at University College London, citing the Canadian Government’s lack of respect for science as a primary factor. In a radio interview with CBC’s Carol Off, Brownstone said, “I’m concerned [Canadians are] going to lose the culture of knowledge and the culture of the importance of knowledge.” According to CBC, Brownstone connects this crisis in Canada’s culture of knowledge to federal funding cuts toward science and the recent decision by the Canadian Government to “reset the National Research Council to a more business-friendly model.” CBC

Mental health, binge-drinking cited as major health concerns at universities, colleges

Mental health is an urgent concern on college and university campuses, according to University of Victoria professor Trevor Hancock. Writing in the Times Colonist, Hancock cites a 2013 student health survey at UVic, which shows that while only 32% of respondents had experienced colds, flu, or other communicable diseases over the test period, a staggering 90% reported feeling overwhelmed, with 88% feeling “exhausted” and 65% feeling “very sad.” More than half of respondents (52%) reported feeling “hopeless.” Hancock correlates these findings with the high incidence of alcohol abuse among students, with 39% reporting binge-drinking in the two weeks leading up to the survey. Times Colonist

Sheridan, Vancouver Film School named among top 20 schools for animation and gaming

The Vancouver Film School has been ranked sixth out of the top 20 schools in the world for visual effects, animation, and game design, according to the CG Student Awards. The awards committee ranked the top 20 by voting on over 1,000 portfolios from students and recent graduates studying at 216 international schools. Sheridan College also made the list, securing the eleventh spot. CG Student Awards Co-Founder Andrew McDonald said, “having access to over 1,000 entries ranked from top-to-bottom by industry experts is an extremely powerful indicator of where the best talent is coming from on a global scale.” Sheridan News Release | CG Student Awards Release

UBCO, Okanagan College back international health charter

Last week, Canadian institutions joined postsecondary schools from around the world in signing the Okanagan Charter, an international agreement committing the participating institutions to the inclusion of health promotion and sustainability in all policies and practices. The charter was developed by delegates attending the recent International Conference on Health Promoting Universities and Colleges, which was hosted at UBC Okanagan. The first institutions to sign the charter were represented by UBC President Arvind Gupta, Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton, Simon Fraser University Student Society President Enoch Weng, and UBC Students’ Union Okanagan President Tom Macauley. Conference Chair Claire Budgen said, “higher education has a special leadership role to play in the promotion of health across sectors, departments, disciplines and professions.” Kelowna Capital News | UBCO Release

TrentU arena deal moves forward with unanimous approval

The Peterborough City Council has voted unanimously to build a new arena at Trent University with two ice pads. Trent helped secure the deal by offering the city the 22-acre building site at no cost and contributing $2 M to the servicing costs of the land. The university also reserved an additional 23 acres for city use, which is enough land to build two more ice pads. Councillor Dean Pappas said, “Trent has been a good partner—coming to the table with cash and the land, as well.” In return, City Council has committed to spend up to $2.5 M to provide municipal services to the east bank of Trent’s campus. Peterborough Examiner |

AlgomaU president steps down, reflects on five years at the helm

Richard Myers, whose five-year term as president of Algoma University ended earlier this week, sat down for a detailed reflection with the Sault Star. Over his term, the primary focus was boosting enrolment, an issue the institution still struggles with. “It's a real challenge because this is a very isolated community, it's quite far from the real population centres in the province, and the local population is declining,” said Myers. Nevertheless, enrolment at AlgomaU has grown more than 30% during his term, and international student presence is up from 10% to 21%. The Sault Star

Harvard’s “huge gift” creates unrealistic coverage expectations

The extensive coverage of a $400 M donation by John Paulson to Harvard University has created unrealistic expectations of national media interest, writes Kristine Maloney, a specialist in higher ed media relations. “In actuality,” she writes, “very few gifts make for appealing national news, regardless of how momentous or transformational the gift is to the institution.” The Harvard story differed in three key ways: it’s Harvard, it’s controversial, and it’s an unusually large amount of money. She offers three tips to communications professionals seeking to generate interest: humanize the story, think outside the education sphere, and “consider local coverage a win.” Inside Higher Ed

70% of US students stressed about finances, survey says

More than 70% of college students in the US report feeling stressed about their personal finances, according to the National Student Financial Wellness Study (NSFWS). Conducted by The Ohio State University (OSU), the NSFWS is a national survey of students’ financial attitudes and practices, administered at 52 US institutions. 64% of students hold loan debt, with more than one-third reporting this as their primary source of tuition funding. Nearly 60% of students said they worry about having enough money to pay for school. Most students reported an expected starting salary between $40,000 and $59,999. When Academica asked members of our StudentVu panel why they chose their program, most reported that it was personal, passionate interest that drove them, not salary expectations. Inside Higher Ed | OSU Release | NSFWS Report