Today's Top Ten

April 24, 2014

uWindsor approves over $35 million for building projects

The board of governors at the University of Windsor recently approved funding for 2 building projects, one of them part of uWindsor’s downtown expansion plans. A $32.6-million budget has been approved for the transformation of the historic Armouries building in downtown Windsor, which will house the School of Creative Arts. The 66,000-square-foot building project will include a new performance hall as well as space for classrooms, study rooms, offices, and practice and art studios. The City of Windsor donated the building and land, as well as $10 million towards the project. uWindsor also approved a $4.1-million budget to complete the interior of the new on-campus Innovation Centre, including accelerator space for collaboration in partnership with the Entrepreneurship Practice and Innovation Centre (EPICentre). The building will also include space for Campus Community Police and Parking Services, the Institute for Border Logistics and Security, and office space for Research and Innovation Services. EPICentre is run by the Odette School of Business and provides support to student entrepreneurs. uWindsor News (Armouries) | uWindsor News (Innovation) | Windsor Star 

UoGuelph’s Kemptville campus wins reprieve

The University of Guelph’s Kemptville campus will accept students for at least one more year thanks to $2 million in funding from Ontario. UoGuelph had announced its intention to close the campus by the end of 2015, citing stagnant enrolment and climbing costs. Local officials criticized the decision, noting the campus’s importance to the region’s agricultural sector. The new money will be a “stop-gap” while a long-term solution is worked out. The announcement means that students enrolled in existing UoGuelph diploma programs will be able to finish their studies, and that provincially subsidized trade apprentice programs can continue next year. “I am thrilled with the collaborative work that has been done to help ensure that classes at the Kemptville campus can continue in the near future and I look forward to local community partners working towards a long-term solution that will help this great campus thrive,” said Ontario Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Brad Duguid. Ontario News Release | CBC | Guelph Mercury | CTV | The Daily Observer

Atlantic universities face declining enrolment

In the face of a declining youth demographic and lowered enrolment numbers, Atlantic universities are looking at ways to increase enrolment. In a recent University Affairs article, Cape Breton University President David Wheeler argues the enrolment growth can be achieved by increasing the number of international students, improving retention rates, increasing graduate enrolment in certain programs, and targeting programs to the needs of the province. Administrators at other Atlantic universities have taken similar approaches, including increasing marketing efforts nationally and internationally, targeting non-traditional students, and offering more scholarships. In the same article, Academica Group’s Ken Steele comments that although international recruitment will “remain a fertile ground for a few more years,” it is not without “cost or risk.” Once 25 or 30% of the student body is made up of international students there begins to be a strain on student supports and services, warns Steele. While some in Atlantic Canada are optimistic, others are cautioning that more drastic measures are needed; economist Tim O’Neill, in a 2010 paper, suggested that some of Nova Scotia’s universities consider merging and consolidating program offerings. University Affairs

MUN to offer first management MSc in Atlantic Canada

Memorial University will become the first university in Atlantic Canada to offer an MSc in management. Prospective students have until May 15, 2014 to apply to join the inaugural cohort of the 2-year, thesis-based program. The program will offer 5 concentrations: general management, information systems, operations management, human resources management, and organizational behaviour. “Having this program at Memorial increases the likelihood of our post-secondary students being able to obtain research-focused work in Newfoundland and Labrador following graduation,” said Wilfred Zerbe, Dean of MUN’s business faculty. While 19 PSE institutions in Canada offer graduate degrees related to management, MUN’s MSc will be the only such degree offered in Atlantic Canada. A feasibility study determined that MUN’s research-focused degree will help meet an unsatisfied demand of nearly 2,800 students who wish to pursue graduate studies in management. MUN News Release

Richardson Stadium at Queen’s gets $5-million gift

Queen’s University has received a $5-million donation from the Richardson Foundation towards the revitalization of the George Taylor Richardson Memorial Stadium. The original stadium was built in 1920 through a gift from James Armstrong Richardson; the stadium was named for his younger brother, who died during WWI. “The histories of Queen’s, Kingston and the Richardson family are closely intertwined and I am sincerely thankful that the Richardsons have decided to continue that legacy through this remarkable gift,” says Queen’s Principal Daniel Woolf. Renovating the Richardson Stadium is a $25-million priority within the $500-million Initiative Campaign that Queen’s launched in 2012. The $5-million gift from the Richardson family follows a $10-million donation from Queen’s alumnus and University of Guelph football coach Stu Lang. Queen’s News

HEC Montréal launches new research outreach website

HEC Montréal has launched a new, user-friendly website that showcases the work of its researchers. The website highlights faculty publications, and is designed to facilitate knowledge transfer between the university, the media, and the general public, as well as foster commercialization opportunities for HEC Montréal researchers. The site also includes features that are intended to help staff and faculty access up-to-date information about funding opportunities. HEC Montréal has also released a video to accompany the website launch, featuring a number of their researchers and providing an overview of the work being done at the institution and its value beyond the university. HEC Montréal News Release | HEC Montréal Research and Knowledge Transfer

US college enrolment drops for third time in 4 years

College enrolment in the US has declined, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Less than 66% of 2013’s high school graduates enrolled in college, the smallest percentage since 2006. The new data reflects the largest decline in college enrolments in 2 decades. The decline is particularly acute among part-time and community college enrolments; for-profit colleges also saw a decline. Meanwhile, enrolment at 4-year colleges increased. The numbers may indicate that more high school students are opting to join the work force rather than going to college. Fivethirtyeight.com’s chief economics writer Ben Casselman speculates that the ebb may be the result of economic recovery, but notes that enrolment rates continue to sit above pre-recession levels. The US unemployment rate remains significantly higher for high school graduates with no college education, and college graduates earn, on average, $500,000 more over the course of their careers than individuals with high school diplomas only. FiveThirtyEight.com | Bureau of Labor Statistics News Release

US colleges propose new methods to evaluate internship programs

6 US colleges have argued before a federal appellate court that PSE institutions are uniquely capable of determining the value of unpaid internships. 2 cases currently before the courts could affect colleges’ abilities to offer internships as part of their curricula. Critics have contended that unpaid internships unfairly exploit students as inexpensive labour, while proponents contend that internships play an “increasingly vital role … in postsecondary education,” offering valuable experiential learning and professionalization opportunities. The 6 colleges argue that unpaid internships should be permitted when it is determined that the intern, and not the employer, is the primary beneficiary of the relationship, and propose revisions to a 2010 6-point test issued by the Department of Labor to evaluate the legality of an unpaid internship. 2/3 of last year’s college graduates participated in internships or cooperative education programs, of which nearly half were unpaid. The Chronicle of Higher Education

Georgetown study unpacks demand for college-educated workers

New research from Georgetown University analyzes the demand for college-educated workers in the US. The report, entitled “The Online College Labor Market: Where the Jobs Are” examines online job postings to assess the demand for employees based on educational requirements, occupations, and industry. Of all positions posted online that require a degree, 75% required a BA; 20% required an MA, and 5% required a PhD. 33% of those jobs requiring a college degree were in managerial/professional office occupations, followed by STEM occupations (28%). The research also found that among the college-educated, software developers were most in demand; however, STEM occupations are over-represented in online job postings when compared to national workforce figures. Demand for MAs was highest in healthcare professional/technical occupations, while demand for PhDs was highest among social sciences occupations. Among advanced degree holders, lawyers were in the greatest demand. The authors note that while 60–70% of job openings in the US are posted on the Internet, positions not requiring a degree are less likely to appear online. The Chronicle of Higher Education | Full Report

US study finds discrimination in student correspondence with faculty

A new US study indicates that women and minorities are less likely than white males to receive email responses from professors. The study, conducted by Katherine Milkman, Modupe Akinola, and Dolly Chugh, used a list of names that were “randomly assigned to signal gender and race” and sent messages that were otherwise identical to 6,500 faculty members. In an interview with NPR, primary author Milkman noted in particular “tremendous bias against Asian students”; moreover, the study found that female candidates saw little benefit when reaching out to female faculty. The numbers also varied by discipline, with the worst bias occurring among business faculty. “In business academia,” said Milkman, “we see a 25 percentage point gap in the response rate to Caucasian males vs. women and minorities.” The paper admits, however, that the experiment’s design makes it impossible to determine the cause of the detected bias. NPR | Full Study