Top Ten

September 28, 2015

McGill takes major step toward $800 M Royal Vic conversion

McGill University has released a call for tenders to conduct feasibility studies for the conversion of Montreal’s Royal Victoria Hospital into a campus complex. The project is expected to cost at least $800 M, with the proposed feasibility studies alone slated to cost $8 M. These studies will assess the technical, financial, and heritage-related challenges of transforming the former hospital and are expected to take 18 months to complete. While plans for the site will depend on the outcome of the studies, McGill has indicated that it would like to break ground on the new complex to coincide with the university’s 200th anniversary in 2021. Montreal Gazette

UBC launches urban forestry program to help "climate-proof" cities

The University of British Columbia has launched one of Canada's first bachelor’s programs in urban forestry to teach students how to manage trees in a city environment. According to Tree Canada’s President Mike Rosen, traditional forestry training for industrial purposes is not applicable to urban forests, which have been seriously affected by climate change. Students of the new program will take courses on subjects such as urban ecology and greenspace planning to learn how to care for urban forest canopies and provide an environmentally sound solution to rising global temperatures. UBC | Metro News

Humber College opens new student centre

Humber College has opened a new learning resource centre at its North Campus. The Learning Resource Commons was built with the support of $74.7 M from Ontario; it will support the school’s enrolment growth by creating space for 2,200 students to learn and foster a greater sense of community at the North Campus. The centre includes a new library, common space, Humber’s School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the International Centre, and the Office for Student Success and Engagement. ON | Humber (1) | Humber (2)

Holland College website hacked, but no data compromised

Holland College’s website was reportedly hacked early last Thursday morning, when hackers replaced the site's usual content with a message saying the school had been warned to address possible security issues and implement updates. IT Manager Richard MacDonald said the website was restored to normal very quickly and that he was confident no personal information was compromised. The school has said that it is working to identify and fix the security vulnerability. CBC | The Guardian

Fleming establishes Contact North online learning centre on its Cobourg Campus

Fleming College has opened a branch of the Contact North | Contact Nord online learning centre on its Cobourg Campus. This centre will offer students 1,000 online programs and 18,000 online courses from a variety of colleges, universities, and literacy and basic skill providers. Fleming President Tony Tilly said the centre "will allow local students to explore opportunities in postsecondary studies while being supported by experts in online learning.” Contact North functions as Ontario’s distance education and training network, partnering with Ontario’s public colleges, universities, and training providers to support over four million Ontario residents in over 600 different communities. Fleming

Canada needs to enhance its adult education opportunities, study says

A new study has found that Canada's education system is heavily skewed towards younger learners and is in need of a new adult education and training strategy. The study, conducted by Torben Drewes and Tyler Meredith, found that “one in seven working-age adults report having insufficient qualifications for their current job, and one in five lack basic literacy and numeracy skills.” The study provided three key recommendations that focused on improving labour market research, developing a better loans system for older adults, and overhauling apprenticeship systems. Full Study

PSE students should focus on transferrable skills on day one

Students entering PSE need to think about developing job-related skills as early as possible, writes the Toronto Sun. The article goes on to profile some of the innovative ways that schools like Queen’s University and George Brown College are helping their students understand the pathways that lead to future careers. Queen’s has supported students in this regard through the creation of “major maps” and a “co-curricular opportunities directory” that give students a better idea of how to choose courses and even extracurricular activities based on learning outcomes. George Brown has, among other initiatives, created a badge program that gives special acknowledgement to students who have participated in applied research. Toronto Sun

Citizens with a university degree more likely to vote in federal election

According to a Maclean’s analysis of Statistics Canada data, Canadians holding a university degree are more likely to vote. For the 2011 federal election, 78% of people with a university degree voted compared to less than 60% of those with a high school education or less. Among those aged 25 to 34, the difference was even greater, with those holding a university degree being 42% more likely to vote than those with less than a high school diploma. Maclean’s

Parental saving for college at an all-time high

Parental saving for college in the US has reached an all-time high according to a new survey by Fidelity Investments. The survey found that 69% of parents reported saving for children's educations compared to 64% in 2014. More parents are also using savings accounts for tax benefits, with this number rising to 39% from 32% last year. Millennial parents are particularly intent on saving, with 74% saying they are saving for their children’s college and 46% saying they plan to cover the full cost. Yet Forbes contributor Samantha Sharf expressed skepticism toward these plans, noting that with rising college costs, the average American family might need to save more than 20% of its pre-tax income to fully cover one child’s college tuition. Inside Higher Ed | Forbes | TIME | Reuters | Fidelity

AACU-led initiative reportedly creates viable alternative to standardized testing

PSE representatives in the US are claiming that a new project has produced a viable alternative to standardized testing as a means of measuring student learning outcomes. The project, titled the “Multi-State Collaborative to Advance Learning Outcomes Assessment,” was led by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU). The outcome of the project is a set of rubrics that map out common standards for faculty to evaluate student assignments. The stated goal of the project was to preserve faculty authority over the grading of work while tying this work to standards that can be judged consistently across courses, institutions, and states. Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)