Top Ten

September 17, 2015

Mitacs invests $2.19 M in seven universities for water treatment research

Mitacs has announced that it will invest $2.19 M to fund the development of new processes in water treatment to support resource recovery. The project will be undertaken by the London, Ontario-based Trojan Technologies in partnership with researchers from McMaster University, University of Alberta, University of Regina, University of Toronto, University of Waterloo, University of Windsor, and Western University. The project will be supported through 140 Mitacs Accelerate internships over three years. The internships are intended to provide paid opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to bring their specialized expertise to business-related research challenges. Mitacs

Trent launches School of the Environment

Trent University has launched a new School of the Environment, uniting more than 20 programs and research centres under one roof. The school brings together undergraduate degree programs from across the arts and sciences, including Environmental and Resource Science, Geography, and Indigenous Environmental Studies, with graduate programs in Environmental and Life Sciences and in Sustainability Studies. On the research centre front, the new school has connections with the Trent Experimental Farm and the Institute of Watershed Sciences, among others. “The Trent School of the Environment confirms [our] commitment to both excellence in environmental education and to environmental research that is recognized around the world,” said School Director Stephen Bocking. Trent

TWU opens new Richmond campus this week

Trinity Western University is celebrating the opening of its new Richmond campus this week. The campus, approved by the city in 2008, is home to the university’s MA and BA in Leadership, programs formerly hosted at the Richmond Cultural Centre and the Richmond Olympic Oval. Starting in 2016, TWU Richmond will host the university’s MBA program as well. “While TWU Richmond will deliver all of the benefits of our Langley-based programs, we’ve tailored our programming to meet the needs of the citizens of Richmond and have a lasting impact in the city,” said TWU President Bob Kuhn. TWU

uRegina, Cumberland sign MOU with Town of Nipawin

The University of Regina and Cumberland College have signed an MOU with Nipawin, Saskatchewan and the surrounding area to offer more PSE and research opportunities. The MOU was signed by uRegina President Vianne Timmons, Cumberland President Tom Weegar, and Nipawin Mayor David Trann at a ceremony in Nipawin on Monday. The agreement will help Cumberland expand on the number of undergraduate opportunities it already offers in partnership with uRegina, including uRegina’s BEd program as well as classes in arts, science, social work, and professional certificates. uRegina | Cumberland | Nipawin Journal

MB creates online database for prior learning recognition

Manitoba has announced the creation of a searchable online database that will “ensure course credits and work experience are recognized consistently.” Expected to be operational by spring 2016, the portal will list transfer agreements between the seven partnering institutions, with others added over time. “Students need and value access to flexible and affordable postsecondary education options. This new transfer credit portal will enhance opportunities for students and provides the necessary supports within the system,” said BrandonU President Gervan Fearon. The province is also funding a new student advocate service, which will offer confidential advice to students concerning transfer credit. MB | Brandon Sun

UQO unveils new logo, school colours

The Université du Québec en Outaouais has announced that it has adopted a new logo and colours as part of the school’s rebranding campaign. The redesign was undertaken by employees of the school and presented to the university community in a ceremony yesterday. The logo features the letters “UQO” in blue in a style that officials described as more contemporary and sleek than its predecessor. The school added that it was pleased to have the new logo ready in advance of the school’s 35th anniversary in 2016. The new logo will be featured prominently on the school’s website, which officials said will be overhauled to offer prospective students a better user experience and more direct access to relevant information. UQO

HEQCO releases two new studies on writing

The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) has released two new reports on writing in Ontario schools. The first of the studies, titled “Writing Assignments and Instruction at Ontario’s Publicly Funded Universities: A View from Three Disciplines,” found that writing instruction in Ontario lacks a systematic, coherent approach across schools. Instructors who participated in the study tended to use a range of methods to teach writing based on personal preferences. The second study, “Writers in Action: Modelling and Scaffolding Second-Language Learners’ Writing Process,” examined how the tracking of student writing processes through video screen capture (VSC) technology might improve outcomes. The study found that VSC helped students reflect upon their writing processes, while it helped instructors assess the strategies and behaviours involved in the writing process as much as the final product. HEQCO (“Writing Assignments”) | Full Report | HEQCO (“Writers in Action”) | Full Report

University-educated immigrants more likely to have obtained degree outside Canada

According to a new study by Statistics Canada, in 2011, fully 75% of immigrants aged 25 to 65 with a university degree obtained their highest qualification outside of Canada, compared to just 25% who obtained that degree within Canada. Of the quarter million university-educated immigrants arriving in Canada in 2000 or later, 108 K came from China, the largest source of university-educated immigrants over this period. University-educated immigrants from India and the Philippines were the most likely to have a degree from outside Canada, at 90% and 96% respectively. Immigrants reporting French as their mother tongue were far more likely to have obtained their degree in Canada, at 29%, compared to 17% for English and 16% for other languages. StatCan | Full Report

STEM grads earn more, but have higher employment volatility than liberal arts grads

A longitudinal study has revealed that both liberal arts and STEM degrees lead to successful careers. The study, conducted using graduates from the University of Ottawa, showed that while both groups began careers at a similar entry salary of $40 K, STEM graduates were earning about $10K more than liberal arts graduates after 13 years. Study author Ross Finnie noted however that STEM graduates experienced more employment volatility than liberal arts graduates, due to the specificity of their learned skills, saying “if STEM … demand stays strong, then you’ll probably do well. But if it falters, things are going to bounce around a bit, and maybe not in your favour.” The general set of skills taught in liberal arts was cited as the reason for graduate employment stability. Finnie will expand his study across the nation to see whether the study’s results accurately represent graduates more broadly. CBC | Full Study

Graduates need more than just an academic credential

Higher education is entering an era in which graduates require more than a single academic credential, argues Goldie Blumenstyk in the Chronicle of Higher Education. In an effort to maintain the high value of their offerings, some institutions now encourage students to complete additional certifications alongside their coursework or to record non-academic accomplishments on an extended transcript to highlight their skills. MOOC providers, non-profit organizations, and outside businesses have joined the movement of defining and outlining students’ abilities for potential employers. Lumina Foundation President Jamie Merisotis explains that this has resulted in a “highly fragmented landscape with no system in place to assure the quality of those [additional] credentials.” Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)