Top Ten

November 13, 2006

International Education Week in Canada

For the third consecutive year, CMEC (the Council of Ministers of Education in Canada) is supporting International Education Week, Nov 13-17. IEW raises awareness in participating countries of the benefits of international exchanges of students, teachers, researchers and curricula, at all levels of education. "International education graduates have formed both an intercultural and international appreciation for what their host country has to offer" creating advantages for future research, political and economic relationships. More information can be found on the IEW Web site at www.iew-sei.ca. CNW media release 

Canadian Universities Avoid US Data Servers

The US Patriot Act makes all data stored on US soil susceptible to search and seizure by authorities without warning or cause, which is why Canadian institutions must carefully ensure that personal information (such as data from an online survey) is never stored or mirrored south of the border. Now, Canadian postsecondary institutions are abandoning US-based RefWorks, a popular internet-based tool that allows academics and students to store research information, generate citations and create bibliographies, because of the same concerns. Instead, they are switching to a Canadian RefWorks server, created by the Ontario Council of University Libraries and housed at the University of Toronto. Article from Saturday's Globe & Mail

RCMP Break Up Business Games in Banff

More than 200 university business students attended the 16th annual Western Business Games, a networking opportunity for students in Western Canada, at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in Banff National Park, Alberta last week. Unfortunately, an after-hours party got out of hand, and hotel staff called in help: 4 RCMP officers, a canine unit, and 3 Parks Canada wardens. One student was arrested for uttering threats, five rooms were evicted, and a UBC student was sent to hospital after falling down two flights of stairs. The Business Games are unapologetically a rowdy party, with scheduled events such as "Beer Pong," but their future is now in doubt. UBC Ubyssey article

More Commentary on Maclean's Rankings

In the wake of a particularly controversial edition of the Maclean's university ranking issue, administration, faculty and students at many institutions are taking issue with the results. Dalhousie University's media relations manager, Charles Crosby, explains that the Maclean's survey matters, despite its many flaws, and that open and transparent access to information is valuable to the community. "Even within the flawed league tables, Dalhousie more than holds its own... As number 26 in size, we are clearly 'punching above our weight class.'" On the other hand, Professor Niraj Dawar, of the University of Western Ontario (which dropped in the rankings this year), warns that "rankings can be quite volatile and show a lot of movement, which in some cases could be an indicator something is not right with the data." David Estok, UWO's AVP Communications & Public Affairs, observes that the uneven use of public data and data provided to Maclean's by 3 of the medical-doctoral institutions "creates problems for comparisons" and helps to explain significant shifts in rank this year. "I think we all wonder about the real value in taking a group of complex universities and trying to reduce them to a single number," adds Estok. Dalhousie News | Western News 

uToronto Explains New Budget Model

The University of Toronto has introduced a new collective budget model, which will provide a new level of fiscal transparency and clarity of revenues and expenses for academic divisions. The new budget provides academic divisions with incentives for generating their own revenue, while promoting institutional strategic priorities through a "University Fund," something like "equalization payments" to support smaller units and programs that are strategically vital. UofT news 

Exceptional High School Students Explore "Waterloo Unlimited"

This week, 46 top grade 11 students from across Canada will participate in a series of on-campus workshops at the University of Waterloo, exploring the theme of design. The students will interact with university faculty and students from a broad range of disciplines, including engineering, literature, and urban planning. Each day includes 2 lectures, a 2-hour hands-on workshop, and a 2-hour skills session. Waterloo Unlimited has been offering enrichment experiences to high school students since 2004. UW media release 

Brandon U Basketball "Coach Emeritus"

Jerry Hemmings had a 30-year career as coach of men's basketball at Brandon University, utilizing aggressive recruiting techniques that often angered his peers but attracted top-flight basketball players from Toronto in particular. He coached the Bobcats to 734 game victories and four national championships. In 2004, Brandon U relieved Hemmings of his coaching duties, but last week reached a negotiated settlement that includes a recognition dinner in his honour, and a special new designation, Coach Emeritus. Globe & Mail article 

Tips for Reaching Teens Online

More than 87% of all American teens are online -- and Academica studies show that virtually 99% of all Canadian college and university applicants depend on the internet. But young web users "crave interactive, fresh, and authentic content" and will be unforgiving if you provide anything less. This is a generation raised online, propelling the growth of social networking websites, and they are more reliant on peer advice than ever before. Only 4% believe that advertising tells the truth. Dave Friedman, of Razorfish, suggests in a Chief Marketer article that part of the answer for marketers is providing "immersive experiences they can share with their friends," such as Frucrew.com, which promotes Fructis haircare products through viral e-mails, a haircare "diagnostic tool," e-mailable "pickup lines" to share with friends, and a "hair intervention" that lets visitors advise friends about hairstyle no-nos. Chief Marketer 

The 4-Second Rule

When you drop a cookie on the floor, every child knows the 3-second rule. But a recent study by Akamai reveals that 75% of web consumers will not return to sites that take longer than 4 seconds to load -- a pet peeve third only to high prices and shipping costs. With the rise of high-speed internet, users patience has been cut in half. BBC  

Ethics Rules Send NIH Scientists Packing

According to a survey with 8,000 respondents, almost 40% of researchers at the US National Institutes of Health are looking for other jobs, or considering it, to escape new ethics rules that require greater personal financial disclosure, and ban private consulting deals with drug and biotech companies. Although 73% felt the new policy, adopted last year, would boost the NIH's credibility with the public, many also believe it will hinder recruitment and retention of the best scientists. "The leaders of the NIH and in Congress have to think a bit harder about giving a tiny bit of breathing room so that NIH scientists are not sent into a monastery from which they can't ever come out, in the name of scientific integrity." NIH Survey Report (pdf)