Top Ten

October 19, 2006

Norwalk Hits St. Francis Xavier Too

Just as Mount Allison University, in Sackville NB, gave the green light to campus activities after the Norwalk virus made more than 300 ill this past week, a new outbreak of a similar virus has hit St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, making at least 30 students ill. MTA administration has offered some advice to SFX, and administrators have been distributing sports drinks, water, and hand sanitizer to students. Globe & Mail article

Hazing Rituals Growing More Sexualized

"When Rites Go Wrong," in the November issue of University Affairs, argues that athletic hazing rituals have grown increasingly degrading and homoerotic in recent years, citing recent examples at McGill and Simon Fraser. Digicams and the internet mean that formerly secret rituals can readily become front-page news. A recent US study found that 50% of hazings involve alcohol, 66% involve humiliation, and 20% involve illegal activities. A researcher explains that originally "the rituals were designed to have people humble themselves... to have more trust in the organization they were joining." That intent has been forgotten by most coaches, athletes and athletic directors. Even alumni sometimes pressure teams to keep old traditions alive. University Affairs

UWO Researcher Develops HIV Vaccine

Dr. Yong Kang, of The University of Western Ontario's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, has developed a pioneering HIV vaccine that is being readied for clinical trial. A major South Korean firm, Curocom, has committed $85 million and is opening Curocom Canada at UWO's Research Park. The vaccine could be available within three years to treat patients suffering from low-level HIV infection, although "it will not be a cure for those suffering from full-blown AIDS." There is hope that it may ultimately provide complete immunity to HIV, however. Toronto Star article

Course-Casting Doesn't Affect Lecture Attendance

A pilot test this fall at the University of Tulane offers audio recordings, presentation notes and podcasts of classroom lectures to students. So far, it appears that classroom attendance has not been adversely affected, despite the fears of some faculty. "Course-castings are study aids, not a substitute for attending classes." Tulane article

Xiamen University Adds Compulsory Golf Courses

A university in southeast China has established a new golf practice range, which will host classes as part of the compulsory curriculum for all first-year students in business, law, economics and computer software. The premise is that "golf has become a common business activity and an access route to those with power." Shanghai University already offers golf lessons to its freshmen, and four other Chinese colleges are considering. People's Daily Online

International Students Losing Interest in US

A report released on Monday by the American Council on Education reports that US enrollment of international students increased only 17% between 2000 and 2005, while Britain gained 29%, Australia 42%, Germany 46%, France 81%, and Japan 108%. In total, there were 2.5 million international students worldwide in 2004. Chronicle of Higher Ed (subscription required)

Chinese Losing Interest in Canada

A front-page story in yesterday's Globe & Mail reports a sharp decrease in the number of Chinese immigrants to Canada, reversing a long-term trend, while the number from India is rising. This year, Indian nationals comprised 20% of total immigrants to Canada, while people from mainland China comprised just 3%. "For years, China has dominated. This is about to change and there will be a dramatic shift in cultural taste." There will also be an impact on ESL classes, since Indian immigrants usually speak English already. Globe & Mail article

Parents Less Disciplinarian

University of Guelph researchers have found that "parents have shed their thick disciplinarian skin" and are instead "getting fun, pleasure and companionship out of their children on a regular basis." No longer always the "givers," parents are now getting fulfillment too. Such intimacy does "require parents to let down their guard and get to the child's level." uGuelph media release

Professors More Engaged in Recruitment

When applicants visit a campus, many want to meet with a faculty member, and the quality of that meeting can make or break their institutional choice. Faculty members shouldn't become salespeople, of course, but when one prof took his daughter on campus visits, he was astounded by the rudeness of his peers at other institutions. It was a miracle when faculty members even showed up for scheduled appointments! His daughter "is picking a college because she established a personal relationship with a professor whom she felt she could trust." His article, in the Chronicle of Higher Ed, urges professors to "treat potential students the same way we would want colleagues at other institutions to treat our own children." Chronicle of Higher Ed (subscription required)

Stanford Alumni Plan Lunar Campus

Last week, a group of Stanford alumni met to discuss progress on a six-year-old effort to create "a major Stanford lunar presence by 2015." The project was started by Steve Durst, editor of the Space Age Publishing Company, and includes Apollo 11's Buzz Aldrin. So far, the website doesn't look like much... Stanford on the Moon website