Top Ten

September 3, 2015

Queen’s opens $17 M nuclear power research facility

This Tuesday, the Queen’s University Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science officially opened its new $17 M Reactor Materials Testing Laboratory. The centre’s mission is to support the development of safe and efficient nuclear power through the Nuclear Materials Group in the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Queen's. Funding for the project was provided by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Ministry of Research and Innovation, in-kind donations, and matching funds from Queen’s. “Internationally there is continued strong investment in nuclear power,” said Kimberly Woodhouse, Dean of the Queen’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. “This is an exciting opportunity for the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and our students, particularly our graduate students who now have access to a world-class facility in which to conduct their research.” Queen’s

Ryerson unveils updated brand

Ryerson University this week introduced a revised brand guided by the principles of the university’s academic plan titled, “Our Time to Lead.” The new branding features a new logo with updated, more vibrant tones of Ryerson’s traditional blue and gold colours. The community branding toolkit released by the university also includes updated fonts, colour palettes, photography styles, graphic devices, brand architecture systems, and messaging structure. The initiative was led by the marketing and creative services team at Ryerson’s Communications, Government and Community Engagement department; it used a multi-phase research and consultation process that engaged students, faculty, staff, alumni, and supporters of the university. Ryerson

Students from France turning away from Quebec after rise in tuition

Students from France are turning away from studying at Quebec universities now that their tuition fees have nearly tripled, reports ICI Radio-Canada. The change comes in the wake of Quebec’s decision to no longer offer postsecondary students from France the same discounted tuition as those from Quebec. Some of Quebec’s universities have already noted declining enrolments connected to this shift, with l'École de technologie supérieure de Montréal reporting that its enrolment from French students has dropped 50% since last year. However, larger institutions like Concordia University and McGill University have reported steady enrolment from French students despite the tuition changes. ICI Radio-Canada (French)

McGill pioneers new mental health program for music students

Students at McGill University's Schulich School of Music have become the first to receive mandatory mental health training and mentorship specifically in a music school context, reports CBC. Representatives from the School of Music said that they developed the new program in response to the acute stress that is felt by music students due to the competitiveness of their programs and the high-stakes auditioning processes they must often go through. An internal survey of McGill students within the past few years found that music students were overrepresented among those accessing the university’s mental health services. Part of the School of Music’s new programming is to enrol every incoming student in a class in music professional development, which offers comprehensive wellbeing training in mental and physical health along with advice for finding a job after graduation. The program also pairs incoming students with mentors and provides access to a peer support network. CBC (audio interview) | CBC Music

Dal student was planning campus massacre, say court documents

A medical student at Dalhousie University told a psychiatrist he planned to obtain a gun and kill up to 20 people and himself, according to court documents. Additional documents from the search of the student’s Halifax apartment reported that police found 1,834 rounds of rifle ammunition, a Russian SKS rifle, a Henry Golden Boy .22-calibre rifle, a banana clip for a rifle, a baggie with three clips and a bore cleaner, two ammunition boxes, a firearms acquisition card, and a gun club card. Officials at Dal said the student has been suspended from the school and that university security has been increased since concerns about the student first arose. The police began investigating the student after he allegedly uttered threats of death or bodily harm toward Dal’s Associate Dean of Undergraduate Medical Education and her daughter, who was also the student’s classmate. CBC

uRegina officially launches universitaire francophone

The University of Regina and Saskatchewan’s French-speaking Fransaskois community have celebrated the official inauguration of La Cité universitaire francophone on uRegina’s campus. The institute is the result of the amalgamation of the Institut français and the Department of French at uRegina, and it will provide its educational programming in French. La Cité universitaire francophone was also granted academic status equivalent to that of other faculties, thus giving it the authority to manage its university programs and grant degrees. uRegina President Vianne Timmons said, “the launch of La Cité is in line with our Strategic Plan’s objectives of student success and community engagement. It also reflects our commitment to serve postsecondary education needs of French speakers in Saskatchewan, and better positions us to serve our students and our communities.” uRegina

Departments need social media to give professors proper credit

Many universities use social media with the vague sense that it is necessary for a modern university to do so, writes a contributor for the Chronicle of Higher Education. But the truth is that social media is more than a fast way to share information; it also makes faculty workloads more transparent. Many universities have time-consuming formal processes that employees must go through if they wish to update a faculty or staff profile. However, the updates can be published almost instantly to large audiences via social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter. In keeping these updates public, social media can provide faculty with a powerful way of reminding the university and the public of how far and how often academic work stretches beyond the classroom. Chronicle of Higher Education

Ontario should focus on quality, not quantity in university enrolment

Ontario should reconsider the notion that growing university enrolment is always a good thing, writes Martin Hicks, Executive Director of Data and Statistics for the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO). Hicks suggests that ON is passively responding to university enrolment by forecasting future enrolment numbers and then struggling to accommodate them. However, Hicks asks his readers, “are we not at the point where, in an informed and intelligent way, we should actually decide consciously and deliberately on how big we want our public postsecondary system to be and call that our provincial enrolment policy?” In other words, he suggests that ON policymakers take the opportunity to think beyond the idea that more enrolment is always better and to focus instead on improving the quality of education offered at the province’s postsecondary institutions. HEQCO

UCF enrols four times the students it can fit into classrooms, live-streams for remainder

The University of Central Florida has begun using online lecture streaming to enrol as many as four times the number of students it can fit into its assigned classrooms, reports Inside Higher Ed. While online courses have become common in many colleges and universities, UCF is one of the first to intentionally enrol more students for in-class delivery than it can accommodate in a physical classroom. This approach creates a first come, first serve situation in which students rush to apply for certain courses to ensure themselves a physical space. As much as 75% of those who enrol, however, are pushed outside the classroom and forced to attend virtually. The strategy is most commonly used in introductory undergraduate courses with large enrolment numbers. Inside Higher Ed

Money looks at what US college tuition cost a century ago

With concerns over the cost of college appearing in US presidential campaign messages and many news cycles, the team at Money has run a series of calculations to determine what several well-known colleges would charge for tuition today if they had stuck with their prices from a hundred years ago. After adjusting for inflation, the editors found that tuition at Harvard would cost $3,544 today if it were to accurately reflect 1915 prices; the actual cost of tuition at Harvard today is $45,278. MIT would charge $5,907 if its rates had remained the same, while today it charges $46,704. Finally, Stanford University would charge $0, as its tuition was free in 1915. However, the university now charges $45,729. The team at Money ultimately found that while the consumer price index has risen 2,263% over the past century, the average cost of tuition has increased a “staggering” 42,930%. Money