Top Ten

November 10, 2006

Common University Data Ontario Announced

Yesterday, the Council of Ontario Universities announced enhanced information available to the public online, through and CUDO promises consistent data on number of degrees awarded, student enrolment and entrance averages by program; number of students living on campus and activities offered; student satisfaction; first-year tuition and ancillary fees by program; number of teaching faculty; undergraduate class size, by year level; research awards granted; and graduation and employment rates by program. CNW media release 

Canada Research Chairs Program Settles

After more than three years, yesterday mediation finally settled a human rights complaint against the billion-dollar CRC program by 8 women professors who claimed gender discrimination. In the CRC's first year, only 14% of appointments were to women; that percentage has increased steadily to 33% in the latest round. (Women comprise just 30% of all university faculty in Canada.) The CRC has agreed to state publicly that the goals of equity and excellence are not mutually exclusive, and will set new, enforceable hiring targets for women, Aboriginal peoples, visible minorities and persons with a disability. Since almost all of the 2,000 new research positions have been filled, change will come only in the contract renewal process. "Justice delayed is justice denied," said one of the complainants. CAUT media release | CRC media release 

UWO Grad Elected to Run WHO

A medical graduate of the University of Western Ontario, and alumna of Brescia University College, Dr. Margaret Chan was elected director-general of the World Health Organization yesterday. Chan has been in charge of handling the SARS epidemic in Hong Kong, and famously ordered the destruction of 1.5 million domestic poultry during the avian flu outbreak in 1997. Even more remarkably, the Toronto Star ran the UWO media release as its headline. UWO media release | Toronto Star

"Last Chance U dismisses Maclean's Magazine Rebuff"

This headline appeared on the front page of the Ottawa Citizen on November 3rd, describing Carleton University. Since that paper does not provide news feeds, we didn't notice it here at the time -- but yesterday the Carleton campus student paper, the Charlatan, published a defense that objected to the term, insisting that Carleton ceased to be "Last Chance U" sometime in the 1990s. The editorial was particularly disappointed that the Citizen chose to print the insult the day before convocation, which is fair enough. But since the campus paper does post newfeeds to the internet, the students have violated a fundamental principle of public relations, giving the insult even broader play by repeating it. The Charlatan

McMaster Launches RFID Lab

Yesterday, the new McMaster Radio Frequency Identification Applications Lab (MRAL) was announced, located at the McMaster Innovation Park in Hamilton. MRAL is the only initiative of its kind in Canada, and is currently working on a pilot project with Hamilton Health Sciences to develop an equipment management system. Partners in the venture include Hewlett-Packard, Deloitte, Sun Microsystems, and the Ontario Centres of Excellence. McMaster item 

Nipissing Pleased with NSSE Results

Nipissing University released a story dated today describing "the positive results piling up" from student satisfaction. Results from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) have been made public, and the results show Nipissing well above the Ontario average. (For example, 90% of first-year Nipissing students rated their educational experience as good or excellent, compared to only 79% on average in Ontario.) 384 Nipissing students completed the NSSE. Nipissing has posted results from NSSE, the Globe & Mail University Report Card, the Maclean's graduate survey, and the Canadian Undergraduate Survey Consortium on its website at Nipissing news item 

Students Allowed to Use "Txt-Speak" in Exams

New Zealand's high school students will be able to use "text-speak" -- text message shorthand -- in national exams this year, officials said Friday. The move has divided students and educators, who fear it could damage the English language. Authorities say that "credit will be given if the answer clearly shows the required understanding." An opposition political party said in a statement, "Untd Futr is cncernd bout da xeptnce of txt spk 2 b allwd in ritn xams 4 NCEA. Skoolz r ther 2 educ8 + raze litracy 2 certn standrds. NCEA shudnt let da standrd b decidd by informl pop cultr of da time." Maclean's 

Toronto Students Get a Voice

The Toronto District School Board has sent out a "census" this week to 100,000 students from Grades 7 through 12, giving them up to 30 minutes in class to express anonymously "their innermost thoughts about themselves and how they learn, from their race and sexual orientation to whether they have a good relationship with their teachers." A similar survey will go home next March for students from kindergarten through Grade 6. Some students have expressed concern about the question on sexual preference. The objective was to address concerns that Toronto schools seemed to expel more students of colour. Toronto Star 

Sharp Increase in Online Learning

A report released yesterday by the US-based Sloan Consortium, a group of colleges pursuing online programs, estimates that the number of college and university students taking at least one online course rose 40% in fall 2005, to about 3.2 million students. The results one year earlier had suggested a plateau was at hand. Another recent survey by Eduventures found 50% of PSE consumers would prefer to get at least some of their instruction online. The distinction between traditional and distance-delivered courses is blurring, as more and more professors post syllabi and homework assignments online. About 38% of senior administrators felt that online courses "degraded the educational experience." CNN 

Biggest Youth Voter Turnout in 20 Years

Energized by the Iraq war, and giving a boost to Democrats, about 24% of Americans under age 30 cast ballots in Tuesday's elections, the biggest youth turnout in at least 20 years. Youth turnout had previously peaked at 27% in 1982, during the Reagan administration. A poll by Harvard University's Institute of Politics last week showed that by a three-to-one margin, young Americans said the country was on the "wrong track." 46% favoured a total troop withdrawal from Iraq within a year, while one-third said troops should be withdrawn after the Iraqis take full control. Reuters