Top Ten

October 8, 2015

Okanagan receives largest donation in its history

Okanagan College’s aerospace campus in Vernon has received the single largest equipment donation in its history: a British Aerospace Model Jetstream 31, worth roughly $700 K. The Swanberg family of Grande Prairie and Fort St John donated the aircraft in memory of Sylvan and Dorothy Swanberg. “Our family is very proud to be able to support the next generation of Aircraft Maintenance Engineers,” said their son, Loren Swanberg. “Continuous education and hands-on training is so important in the aviation industry.” Okanagan President Jim Hamilton said, “this gift will enrich the training experience for our students for years to come. … I want to express our sincere gratitude to the Swanberg family for this support.” Okanagan | KelownaNow | Global News | Kelowna Daily Courier | Castanet

Olds to join Dickinson’s District Ventures accelerator initiative

Olds College has announced that it will join Arlene Dickinson’s District Ventures initiative, a new business accelerator. Unlike many other business accelerators, this one will focus on the consumer-packaged goods (CPG) sector, assisting in particular entrepreneurs in the food and beverage and health and wellness sectors. “A CPG-focused accelerator is a natural marriage with Canada’s thriving agricultural and health sectors and, with the critical need to add value to our raw products at home before we export them globally,” said Dickinson, formerly of Dragons’ Den. Olds President Tom Thompson said, “we look forward to contributing meaningfully to the advancement of District Ventures, as well as the entrepreneurs we meet along the way.” Olds | Calgary Herald

SPU creates “world-first” partnership with Australian institute to teach canon law

Saint Paul University has entered into a partnership with the Australian-based Broken Bay Institute (BBI) that is reportedly the first of its kind in the world. The agreement will allow SPU to offer its Master’s and Licentiate in Canon Law to students throughout the Asia-Pacific region. SPU will offer this programming through a combination of online courses and in-person courses at the BBI campus in Sydney. Prior to this agreement, students from the Asia-Pacific region would have to relocate to Canada to receive such an education. SPU Rector Chantal Beauvais said, “this partnership highlights the dynamism and effectiveness of distance learning at SPU, and the ingenuity of the Faculty of Canon Law in reaching out to prospective students around the world.” SPU

York Entrepreneurship Development Institute launches business accelerator campus

The York Entrepreneurship Development Institute (YEDI) has recently launched its Business Accelerator Campus, an 80,000 square foot facility that will foster “high potential, high growth ventures.” The facility has office, commercial, industrial, educational, and theatrical spaces as well as a TV studio. Among the first clients are graduates of the Accelerator Track at York University’s Schulich School of Business. YEDI

Governor General on why Canadians don’t win more Nobels

In the wake of yesterday’s Nobel Prize announcement, the National Post has interviewed Governor General David Johnston to follow up on his comments from two years ago that Canada is “woefully inept at winning major international prizes.” Johnston said that the Nobel win is an acknowledgment of the investments Canada has made in basic research: “the Nobel says that Canada can play in that league of the best research in the world.” He said that Canada has a culture of “humility and restraint”; yet a global excellence strategy is designed to recognize excellence, which can sometimes mean putting “some of that culture aside.” National Post

PSE business ventures can put taxpayers at risk, says AB auditor general

A new report by Alberta’s Auditor General says that the provincial government has “inadequate rules governing postsecondary institution business ventures.” “Without clearly defining and effectively communicating the [government’s] expectations and guidelines on ventures, boards and management will expose their postsecondary institutions to risk that, if not managed properly, may result in financial loss, reputational damage and legal exposure,” said Merwan Saher. AB’s Innovation and Advanced Education minister has said that the ministry will address the issues raised by the report. Calgary Herald | Full Report

Canada must focus on the knowledge economy for sustained prosperity

Canada’s economy has traditionally been focused on natural resource extraction, but for the future, the true sources of sustained prosperity are “knowledge, innovation, and creativity,” according to Richard Florida and Greg Spencer. In a Globe and Mail article, they argue that Canada has neglected the development of its knowledge economy. Their new report shows that Canada has two distinct economic models with two distinct geographies: natural resources in the West and knowledge and creativity in the East. They conclude that Canada must focus on both, not one at the exclusion of the other. Globe and Mail | Full Study

CAUT speaks out about precarious academic employment

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is speaking out about precarious academic employment. One in three university professors are on temporary or part-time contracts, which means they “cannot fully participate in all aspects of academic work,” according to CAUT President Robin Vose. CAUT is joining with trade unions across the globe for World Day for Decent Work, noting that this trend toward short-term employment extends across other sectors. “Most contract staff are paid only for their time teaching,” said Vose. “Because their work is precarious, their academic freedom is vulnerable. All academic staff should be fairly and fully employed.” CAUT

Peer environment explains half the completion gap between two- and four-year US colleges

US students who begin their PSE at four-year colleges are much more likely to finish bachelor’s degrees within six years than those who begin at community colleges. According to a new study, the peer environment explains nearly half of the gap between these two populations. The study also found that “structural barriers” limiting transfer between institutions played an important role in this completion gap. Having better peers is also associated with higher attainment in both sectors. The results are based on three million recent high-school graduates, using PSAT scores to measure academic ability. Chronicle of Higher Education | Full Report

MOOCs are ideal for filling knowledge gaps

While many people might argue about whether MOOCs will ever provide a successful alternative to traditional university education, MOOCs can without doubt serve as a valuable supplement to this education, writes a contributor for Inside Higher Ed. When some students enrol in graduate school, for example, they might need to draw on information they encountered in their first year of undergraduate studies and thus have difficulty remembering. The author argues that in this type of situation, the accessible and unintimidating qualities of MOOCs make them an ideal and cost-effective way of filling in knowledge gaps that do not require enrolment in a traditional university course. The author concludes that perusing MOOC offerings might have the added benefit of “inspir[ing] you to learn about something you’ve never considered.” Inside Higher Ed