2011 Academic Ranking of World Universities

The 2011 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) was released on Monday. Because it’s compiled by Shanghai Jiaotong University, it’s commonly known as “the Shanghai ranking.”  As I recently blogged about here,  the methodologies used in global university rankings typically advantage English-language universities. This year’s Shanghai ranking confirms this: 20 of the Top 25 universities in the ARWU are located in the United States, and four […]

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The Hidden Impact of Rising PSE Costs for Students

Over the past several decades in Canada, tuition rates and student debt levels have both increased substantially. Yet, I am not aware of much research seeking to assess either how exactly this impacts students, or how precisely students are making ends meet. A recent article in the Huffington Post–though not focused on Canada–sheds some light on this phenonenon. The article looks […]

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Concordia’s “Culture of Contempt”

In June of this year, a report was released on governance at Concordia University. Entitled Strengthening Governance at Concordia: A Collective Challenge, the report can be accessed here: www.concordia.ca/vpirsg/documents/EGRC-REPORT.pdf. The 39-page report was written by the External Governance Review Committee, a three-person committee chaired by none other than Bernard J. Shapiro (Canada’s first Ethics Commissioner). The report paints a picture of a […]

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Tuition Increases by Stealth

On Tuesday night, Peterborough City Council approved a plan for a for-profit corporation to own and operate a new student residence at Trent University.  I’m concerned that this may signal a new trend at Canadian universities; about a year ago, I blogged about a similar plan at the University of Toronto. I am not opposed to private sector actors being […]

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Global University Rankings

The European University Association (EUA) recently released a report they’d commissioned entitled Global University Rankings and Their Impact. The report was written by Andrejs Rauhvargers. According to the EAU, one of their major motivations in commissioning the report was that their member universities are “often under pressure to appear in the rankings, or to improve their position in one way or another.” Some […]

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Fix PSE System Before Building Addition!

According to an article in yesterday’s Toronto Star, the Ontario government will create room for 60,000 new students in its colleges and universities by 2015-2016, 10% of which will be for graduate students. (I assume this means that, by 2015-2016, there will be 60,000 more students enroled in Ontario’s post-secondary insitutions than is currently the case, and that 10% of these new spaces […]

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The Town Without Poverty

A guest post from Richard Pereira, a recent winner of the PEF Essay Contest… – Canadian Economics Association – The Town Without Poverty There were hundreds of speakers at this year’s CEA conference in Ottawa.  About a dozen of these were designated “Special Lectures/Conférences spéciales” and among them were Jack Mintz on “The GST After Twenty Years”, Don Drummond on […]

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Access to Post-Secondary Education

I recently had the chance to read a 2008 book entitled Who Goes?  Who Stays?  What Matters?  Accessing and Persisting in Post-Secondary Education in Canada.  Edited by Ross Finnie, Richard Mueller, Arthur Sweetman and Alex Usher, the anthology features 14 chapters written by a total of 21 authors.     I found Chapter 4 (co-authored by Finnie and Mueller) and Chapter […]

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Reforming Ontario’s Universities

I have just finished reading a 2009 book entitled Academic Transformation:  The Forces Reshaping Higher Education in Ontario.  The book, written by Ian Clark, Greg Moran, Michael Skolnik and David Trick, has received a fair bit of attention among post-secondary (PSE) wonks.  While I find it informative, I am uncomfortable with the book’s central feature:  a proposal to reform Ontario’s PSE sector with the […]

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Do academic journals matter any more?

I do a lot of reading and writing as part of my job. But though I work for a research policy institute, I find I have little need for academic journals, and if anything, academic journals have made themselves less and less relevant over time. It used to be the case that academic journals represented essential sources of literature if […]

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When CEOs Run Universities

Yesterday’s Globe and Mail features an article on the resignation of Paul Bates as Dean of McMaster’s business school.  I believe the article is instructive in terms of understanding what can happen when private-sector actors are put in senior administrative roles at Canadian univerities According to the article, McMaster hired Mr. Bates in 2004.  Mr. Bates had no university degree, yet […]

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Blaming the Victims: Quebec Students

Last month, I blogged about a major new report on the living conditions of Quebec undergraduate students.  The report’s findings include the fact that 50% of full-time undergraduate students in Quebec report living on less $12,200 per year. On the heels of that report’s release comes the news that the Conference of Rectors and Principals of Quebec Universities (CREPUQ), which lobbies on behalf […]

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McGuinty’s Post-Secondary Education Strategy

Many blog readers will remember that when Dalton McGuinty became premier of Ontario in 2003 he vowed to be the “education premier.” Yet, university students in Ontario–at both the undergraduate and graduate level–now pay the highest tuition fees in Canada.  Ontario is also in last place nationally in terms of per-student funding for post-secondary education, and has the lowest professor-to-student […]

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Debunking the Myth of the Lazy Student

Results of a major survey of post-secondary students were released on Thursday.  The 149-page report, entitled Sources et Modes de Financement des Etudiants the Premier Cycle 2009, was written by the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec (FEUQ).  It was done in collaboration with Léger Marketing, who suveyed almost 13,000 undergraduate students in Quebec, spanning 14 different post-secondary institutions in the province.  According […]

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The Globe’s Report on Private Schools

If there was truth in news reporting, the Globe’s “report” on private schools (Sept. 14) would be labeled a “special advertising supplement”. It is essentially a cheerleading exercise for private schools, funded by advertising from private schools, so you’ll find no news in this report. Which is too bad because the topic of private schools merits some real journalism about […]

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Do Tuition Rates Matter?

Alex Usher is a frequent commentator on post-secondary education in Canada.  He regularly blogs for the Globe and Mail at globecampus.ca.  Yesterday, he wrote an open letter to leaders of Canada’s three major political parties in which he offered advice on post-secondary education policy. I found the following passage to be particularly provocative: First, scratch anything that vaguely resembles a […]

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Canadian Council for International Co-operation Loses Federal Funding

The Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC) – the leading national voice of civil society international development and anti poverty organizations – appear to have lost the two-thirds of their funding which came from CIDA. This is yet another example of the Harper government refusing to fund independent research and advocacy. Over the last while, we have seen the effective […]

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Spending on students makes sense

A guest post from PEF Steering Committee member, Nick Falvo, initially published in The Charlatan: Spending on students makes sense Students from across Ontario took to the streets Nov. 5 to fight for a fairer deal for post-secondary education. This is a struggle that students must fight to win, as decreasing government funding, rising tuition fees and a slumping economy […]

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Time to Revisit the Mainstream Theoretical Framework

There’s a great article in today’s Vancouver Sun hammering on the fact that all major mainstream economists failed to anticipate the economic crisis. Provocatively titled Economics 101: Everything you know is wrong, the article quotes James Galbraith’s indictment on the mainstream of the profession that originally appeared in a New York Times Magazine article: “There are thousands of economists. Most […]

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More Statscan Censorship?

Once again, there seems to be a heavier hand in censoring or editing Statistics Canada’s releases.  This morning The Daily reported that: “Spending on research and development in the higher education sector amounted to $9.6 billion (current dollars) in the fiscal year 2006/2007.” but there was no word on whether this was an increase or decrease from the previous period, which Statscan releases […]

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Early learning developments in BC

Having already eaten the NDP’s lunch on the climate change file, the BC Liberals (the second-term, more moderate Liberals) threaten to do the same on early learning and child care. In the 2008 Throne Speech, the government said that it would study expansion of full-day kindergarten to five-year-olds, then to four- and three-year olds. But they are smart: having resisted […]

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The Role of Post-secondary Education

“Post-secondary education plays an important role in ensuring there are highly trained people to fill the many positions that will be left vacant by the wave of retiring baby boomers,” says BC Minister of Advanced Education Murray Coell in a news release announcing the creation of a new doctoral degree program (in gerontology) at Simon Fraser University. The release ends […]

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Harvard moves to open access

Initiatives like the Public Library of Science have began to challenge the scientific publishers’ monopoly over the dissemination of research but now that high profile institutions like Harvard are coming on board with their own open access policies it really looks like the end of an era. Earlier this year, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard voted to […]

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