Top Ten

October 7, 2015

Queen’s professor emeritus named co-winner of 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics

A professor emeritus at Queen’s University has been named co-winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics. Arthur McDonald will share the prize with Takaaki Kajita of the University of Tokyo for demonstrating that subatomic particles known as neutrinos have mass, a conclusion that goes against the long-held belief that they were without mass. Since 1989, McDonald has served as Director of the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, where he first made his breakthrough discovery while studying neutrinos from the sun. McDonald said being named winner was a "very daunting experience” before adding, "fortunately, I have many colleagues as well who share this prize with me.” CBC | Ottawa Sun | Globe and Mail | National Post | Toronto Star

$1 M donation kicks off UPEI fundraising campaign

The University of Prince Edward Island has officially launched a new fundraising campaign with the help of a $1 M donation on behalf of the Saint Dunstan’s University Board of Governors. The INSPIRE! Campaign has a fundraising goal of $50 M and aims to support UPEI’s students by enhancing student experience, expanding programming, and showcasing the school's expertise. UPEI President Alaa Abd-El-Aziz said, “with leadership and support like that shown by Saint Dunstan’s University Board of Governors, UPEI will continue to evolve and deliver the exceptional learning experiences and opportunities that prepare our students for success.” Journal Pioneer | UPEI

Aurora College profs, marketers team up to boost enrolment

Trades programs at Aurora College have ramped up their recruitment efforts to address low enrolment rates. Instructors and marketers from the college have teamed up to roll out a series of initiatives that includes promotional videos, campus and workshop walkthroughs, and an open house event. Duane MacDonald, Acting Chair of Trades, Apprenticeship and Industrial Training, said, “the numbers are definitely lower than I would like to see, I would welcome more students to come here. … Our school is modern and we’re up-to-date. We have all the latest technology in our shops. Our instructors are trained and they are current coming out of industry.” Northern Journal

Review of OUF calls for universities to invest more in digital communications

A visit to the recent Ontario Universities’ Fair has revealed that “Ontario Universities (in general) don’t seem to be investing enough into digital communications,” report JP Rains and Steve Krysak. However, the University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo garnered praise for responsiveness, focused messaging, and personalization when it came to engaging students during the fair and via email afterward. OCAD University also received positive reviews for its user-friendly and efficient collection of information from prospective students. Among the less favourable findings was the fact that three of the eight emails the authors received from universities after the fair were not compliant with Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation. Shoshal Report

uToronto curbs use of gender-neutral bathrooms after two reports of voyeurism

The University of Toronto has pulled back on its use of gender-neutral bathrooms in one of its colleges after two incidents of voyeurism. Toronto Police said on Monday that two women at uToronto’s Whitney Hall residence reported seeing a cellphone reach over the wall of their shower stalls in an attempt to record them. Melinda Scott, Dean of Students at University College, said that some bathrooms in Whitney Hall have now been re-designated specifically for residents who identify as men or women, although several gender-neutral bathrooms remain. “The purpose of this temporary measure is to provide a safe space for the women who have been directly impacted by the incidents of voyeurism and other students who may feel more comfortable in a single-gender washroom,” she said. Toronto Star

CFS vows to inform students, increase voter turnout in lead-up to election

Federal leaders have the power to make higher education much more accessible without spending a single cent, writes Bilan Arte, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS). This approach would require a government to redirect funds from existing tax credit and savings schemes to needs-based grants. This simple maneuver would significantly lighten the debt burden that most of today’s students face after graduating from PSE. But the primary reason action like this is not taken, Arte concludes, is because not enough young people vote. This is why the Canadian Federation of Students will continue to pursue initiatives designed to inform students about political issues and increase voter turnout in the upcoming federal election. Huffington Post

Government must question its treatment of older, younger generations

It is time for federal governments to report and discuss how much money they allocate to supporting the old compared to the young, writes UBC Professor Paul Kershaw for the Toronto Star. Kershaw questions the widely held belief that the previous ten years of Conservative government has decreased federal financial support for Canadians, arguing that both federal spending and tax benefits have risen significantly for those over 60 while investment in those aged 18 to 49 has decreased substantially. The contributing pressures of rising housing costs, student debt, and the difficulty of finding a well-paid job with benefits is leaving the upcoming generation much worse off than that which came before. The only solution to this issue, Kershaw concludes, is for both Canadians and their government to take a hard, sustained look at how federal policy benefits members of different generations. Toronto Star

Women in STEM need more relief from marginalization, anxiety

More needs to be done to address the high rates of anxiety and depression among women working in STEM disciplines, writes University of Toronto Professor Jennifer Drake. She goes on to argue that women in STEM are more prone to the long-term effects of stress because entrenched stereotypes about STEM cause them to exist in a constant state of “fight or flight.” Even when women are complimented in this environment, Drake argues, the compliment almost always positions the woman as exceptional or even “freakish” for being employed in a field so heavily dominated by men. However, Drake concludes that the effects of stress and marginalization faced by women in STEM can be mitigated through mentorship and targeted intervention programs. Time

Study finds significant variation in preparedness among 2-year college students

Students who attend 2-year community colleges are less likely to earn a bachelor’s degree in six years than those who go straight into 4-year colleges, according to a new report by the National Bureau of Economic Research. However, the study found that there was significant variation in the level of preparation different 2-year colleges gave their graduates. The variations found at the community college level were so great that many institutions were found to "attract students that are as high achieving as some of the less-selective four-year colleges in the state.” The authors conclude that this variation in student preparedness requires further study because “"previous research has mostly treated all two-year colleges as a homogeneous outside option for bachelor’s degree-aspiring students.” Inside Higher Ed | Report Abstract

International students choices for master’s programs differs by nationality, says new report

International students from different countries often look for different things when choosing to pursue a graduate degree in the US, according to a new report by World Education Services (WES). The study, titled “How Master’s Students Choose Institutions: Research on International Student Segmentation,” found that over 70% of Chinese students were able to pay more than $30 K per year for their studies and 58% were able to pay over $40 K. Nearly 70% of students from India, by comparison, had a budget of under $30 K. The survey also found that Chinese students valued institutional reputation most highly when choosing which institution to attend, while students from India were more likely to focus on the best return for their investment. Summary | Full Report