Top Ten

November 2, 2006

CIHR Funding Announcements:

Another flurry of media releases yesterday, as federal MPs staged photo ops at research universities across Canada to announce more than $138 million in CIHR (Canadian Institutes of Health Research) funding grants for the University of New Brunswick at Fredericton ($920,000), University of Ottawa ($14 million), University of Toronto ($65 million), McMaster University ($13.4 million), University of Western Ontario ($10.4 million), Brandon University ($263,323), University of Alberta ($16.4 million), University of Calgary ($17.3 million), University of Lethbridge ($17,500), and University of Northern British Columbia ($17,500). Is there an election coming?

Carleton Students Pledge Solidarity with Union

Teaching assistants at Carleton University, represented by CUPE, and faculty and academic staff, represented by CUASA, have committed to support each other financially and on the picket lines, should either reach a settlement first. The TAs will be in a legal strike position November 11, and the faculty on November 15. Carleton's undergraduate and graduate student unions have also pledged to move their operations off-campus should a strike occur. CUPE Media Release

Faculty Strike Closes Most Kenyan Universities

Five of Kenya's six public universities have been closed indefinitely and their 80,000 students sent away as a strike by professors and lecturers over a salary dispute enters its second week. Professors are demanding a 600% pay increase, and 65 have been fired for refusing a court order to return to work. Chronicle of Higher Ed (requires subscription)

Mount Allison Summer Program in India

Yesterday, Mount Allison university and the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute announced an exciting new partnership -- the Shastri Institute Mount Allison University Summer Program in India. For 8 weeks in June and July, students from across Canada, including MTA students, will have an opportunity to participate in a cultural and educational immersion in an Indian environment. The summer program is open to students who have completed two years of undergraduate study and have completed some component of India Studies course work, or have a particular academic interest in India Studies. The application deadline is January 15, 2007. See www.mta.ca/india

Staggering Demand for International Schools in Asia

International schools offering European or American elementary and secondary school curricula in Asia, particularly in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai, are experiencing huge and growing waiting lists, because the growth of international commerce has drawn millions of expatriate Americans. Qualified teachers are in short supply; many schools are at or over capacity; student-teacher ratios are coming under pressure; teaching resources are sometimes stretched; competition is driving up the costs of attracting the best staff; and, ultimately, costs of education may have to rise significantly. There are an estimated 3,000 international schools worldwide, and tuition is often $20,000 US or higher. International Herald Tribune

Media, Information & Technoculture Booming at UWO

The University of Western Ontario is scrambling to accommodate a space crunch for its popular undergraduate MIT program, which in less than 10 years has reached "a steady-state enrolment" of about 700 students "surpassing all expectations regarding growth and student demand." The academic plan for the Faculty of Information and Media Studies emphasizes interdisciplinarity and collaboration, resulting in joint appointments with Law, Sociology, Computer Science, Visual Arts, Music and Women's Studies. Western News story

Beware of Professors, Prospective Employers, and Predators Online

Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner Dr. Ann Cavoukian warned Ryerson University students to beware "the three P's" when using websites such as MySpace, Friendster or Facebook. Her office, in collaboration with Facebook, conducted a focus group with Ontario students on online social networking. "Privacy is a critical part of how to do online social networking in an intelligent fashion... you want to provide information to your friends and the people around you as opposed to everyone around you on the open Internet." Facebook has recently been opening their site to the general public. Ryerson news item

King's University College Buys Adjacent Facility

King's University College at the University of Western Ontario has purchased an adjacent Hebrew Day School, to provide additional classrooms and in particular, to provide 74 badly-needed parking spaces. Student parking on nearby streets throughout old north London has caused considerable community friction in recent months. A satellite campus bookstore may also open in the building. Western News story | London Free Press article

Universities See Risks and Rewards in Internationalization

A recent survey of university leaders in 95 countries by the International Association of Universities (part of UNESCO), and authored by a professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), found that 96% see benefits of internationalization, but 70% also see risks to the quality of higher education. The goal is "to increase student and faculty international knowledge and intercultural understanding" and "to strengthen research and knowledge capacity and production." The risks include growing commercialization, the rise in foreign "degree mills," and the threat of brain drain. Distance education, identified as a fast-growing segment in 2003, is now regarded as one of the least active. The report can be obtained by writing to iau2@unesco.org