WENR

eWENR, July/August 2000: The Americas

CANADA

Ontario recently became the largest province to legalize private higher education moving Canada one step closer to establishing a competing system for the country’s public universities. The decision comes shortly after New Brunswick province set the wheels in motion to allow private universities to grant degrees.

Although the move elicited cries of protest from professors, teachers and students alike, the Ontario government feels that this is one way to cope with the anticipated 20 percent increase in undergraduate enrollment during the next decade.

Ontario has indicated that the new private institutions will not be eligible for funding from the provincial government. Supporters of this “sink-or-swim” approach argue that increased competition for students will create superior models of higher education.

Others contend that it is impossible for the government to completely refrain from funding non-public colleges and universities. They fear that if private institutions do in fact become approved for government loans and research grants, there will be less money for the state-run universities.

— Times Higher Educational Supplement
May 12, 2000

The University of Toronto [1] has decided to discontinue its 3-year undergraduate degree. In April the university’s governing council voted to phase out the 15-credit baccalaureate at its downtown campus starting next year and to do the same at the Mississauga campus at a later date. The Scarborough campus will continue to offer the degree until it finishes restructuring its curriculum. Unlike the other two campuses, Scarborough is based heavily on co-operative education.

Students currently enrolled in the three-year baccalaureate program at all three campuses will be allowed to complete their degrees.

Many students are protesting the decision, arguing that gutting the three-year program will serve to exclude students who cannot afford a four-year, 20-credit undergraduate degree. However, university officials say the move is necessary to guarantee the integrity of a University of Toronto degree, ensuring that students are given adequate time to develop critical thinking, writing and analytical skills.

At present, about 40 percent of University of Toronto students opt for the three-year, 15-credit degree. Roughly half that number return to school to complete another year of undergraduate school or to attend a professional school in fields such as medicine or law.

Most other Toronto universities say they plan on keeping the three-year degree option. However, Lakehead University [2] in Thunder Bay is also considering doing away with it.

— Toronto Star
April 7, 2000

PERU

The government has joined forces with opposition leaders to create a new university in the Amazon region. Officials are hoping the National University of the Southeast Amazon, which will be located in Madre de Dios, develops into an important center for environmental research.

The university will begin by offering programs in environmental studies, education and engineering. It will also house the Natural Resources and Environmental Research Institute. The university is expecting to enroll approximately 600 students by March 2001.

Government officials are concerned that the new university will not have the resources or funds to attract topnotch academics. Tenured professors at public universities in Peru generally earn only $1,000 a month. However, officials are hoping the proximity of the new institution to rare plant and animal life will attract support and talent from outside of Peru.

— The Chronicle of Higher Education
June 30, 2000

UNITED STATES

In the days of yore before the Internet exploded onto the scene, colleges and universities were able to attract the best and brightest with a prestigious name or a champion football team. But in today’s increasingly Web-based society, undergraduates are as interested in a school’s Internet resources as they are in its curriculum and scholastic reputation.

Each year colleges and universities compete to get their names on the Yahoo! Internet Life‘s list of 100 most wired schools. The following universities made the top-ten in the 2000 ranking: Carnegie Mellon, University of Delaware, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Indiana University, Dartmouth, MIT, Rensselear Polytechnic, University of Virginia, Washington State and UCLA.

The top-10 colleges were Williams, Colgate, Bates, Occidental, Oberlin, Sweet Briar, Albion, Illinois Wesleyan, Smith & Trinity.

Thirteen of the nation’s top schools, including Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, Duke, Michigan and the University of Chicago, boycotted the survey that was conducted for this year’s ranking. None of them made the top 20 in last year’s rankings.

— College Bound
June 2000

The Association Liaison Office for University Cooperation in Development [3] has established a matchmaking service for U.S. institutions of higher education interested in working with colleges and universities in developing countries.

The office, which works with six American higher-education associations and the U.S. Agency for International Development to create partnerships with institutions overseas, recently set up a Web site called CUPID [4] (Colleges and Universities Partnering for International Development). The new site enables institutions based in the United States and abroad to exchange information about themselves and to search for institutions with similar interests in order to form joint programs.

Additional information about existing international links between colleges can be found at: www.aascu.org/alo/ihelp [5].

— Chronicle of Higher Education
June 16, 2000


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