Top Ten

November 7, 2006

$22 Million US to uManitoba for India AIDS Project

An American aid agency, USAID, has made the largest grant in the university's history to a team of physicians at the University of Manitoba, to design and implement an HIV/AIDS prevention and support program in India. The five-year, $22 million US commitment follows several multimillion-dollar grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and CIDA. In total, close to $70-million has been channelled to the university's HIV/AIDS programs in India. The news was carried on the front page of yesterday's Globe & Mail.

UOIT / Durham College to Host 2008 Ontario Special Olympics

Yesterday, special olympians and hundreds of supporters gathered to announce that Durham College and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) will be the host site of the Special Olympics Ontario Spring Games in May 2008. More than 700 athletes and 170 coaches will take part in the 2008 Games, and along with power lifting and basketball, swimming, five-pin bowling and 10-pin bowling will also be contested. Media release

"Apples to Apples" University Comparisons

The Educational Policy Institute released a report yesterday, Apples to Apples: Towards a Pan-Canadian Common University Data Set, which outlines current sources of comparator data through national consortia such as the G-13 Group and CAUBO, and the strengths and weaknesses of current data. The document makes the case for a common, national data set for universities that would benefit institutions and external stakeholders, and outlines likely contents and implementation issues. EPI plans to hold a number of regional forums in Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal during the winter term to discuss this paper. The brief report can be downloaded from EPI.

Province Launches $340 Million "Employment Ontario"

Yesterday the Ontario government launched Employment Ontario, its new, integrated gateway to training, apprenticeship and labour market services for employers and the unemployed in Ontario. EO will consolidate 470 service providers in 900 locations, with a budget of $340 million, and is intended to make it easier for businesses to find skilled workers, and for workers to obtain academic upgrading and skills traiing. EO has a new website in 23 languages,, and a toll-free hotline. CNW media release 

Laddering Programs for High School Students

A new study by the American Youth Policy Forum promotes the value of dual enrollment, advanced placement, or tech prep courses at college and university for students while still attending high school. These Secondary-Post-Secondary Learning Options (SPLOs) offer what high school often doesn't: "challenge, engagement, access to the adult world, and support." The result is increased rigour, motivation, and engagement -- and ultimately, higher PSE completion rates. SPLOs help disadvantaged students believe they are capable of PSE. The College Ladder 

Canadians Abandoning Newsprint

Circulation is dropping at Canada's largest newspapers, part of a continent-wide shift to start obtaining news from websites and online sources (like this one?). Numbers released by the Audit Bureau of Circulation for the six months ended September show small increases for a few papers, usually their weekend editions, but overall a drop of about 1% for the major dailies, and up to a 10% drop for the National Post. US figures show overall newspaper readership has declined 2.8% in the same period, while newspaper websites have shown an 8% increase in traffic. The biggest drop is occuring for 25-to-34-year-olds. Globe & Mail 

Internet Strategy Must-Reads

In a recent blog entry, Michael Stoner recommends four key books on web marketing we should all read. Steve Krug's Don't Make Me Think, David Meerman Scott's Cashing In With Content, Debbie Weil's The Corporate Blogging Book, and Hart Greenfield & Johson's NonProfit Internet Strategies: Best Practices for Marketing, Communications, and Fundraising Success. Krug emphasizes user-centered web design. Scott urges a sophisticated approach to content. Weil describes effective blogging strategy. Stoner's Blog

"Ludology" a Hot Program

Yesterday's Globe & Mail observes in an aside that "ludology" (from Latin ludus or game) is a growing academic discipline, the study of video games. Technology Review magazine notes more than 100 US and Canadian colleges and universities offer some version of video-game studies, from computer science to game-making theory and cultural critiques. Globe & Mail 

The Fragmentation of Universities

The current issue of Commonweal includes an opinion piece by Alasdair MacIntyre, a philosophy prof at Notre Dame. He argues that Roman Catholic universities should be able to provide "a less fragmented conception" of PSE, recovering the true nature of a university, instead of the "disciplines, subdisciplines, and subsubdisciplines" which have multiplied since the 19th century. Scholars have become "narrowly focused researchers who also happen to teach," providing students with little more than "a collection of bits and pieces, a specialist's grasp of this, a semispecialist's partial understanding of that, an introductory survey of something else." "Each part of the curriculum is someone’s responsibility, but no one has a responsibility for making the connections between the parts." Profs and students alike are reluctant to take risks, and focus on core curriculum required to become specialists. Commonweal 

Geography as Educational Destiny

This month's Chronicle of Higher Education examines the impact of place on educational attainment and economic prosperity. The "Geographic Have-Nots" in small farming communities and inner cities alike have less skilled teachers, fewer educational resources, less educated parents, and fewer employment prospects for PSE. For many rural and urban students, then, geography amounts to destiny, stranding them on the wrong side of a growing educational divide. Chronicle of Higher Education