Top Ten

November 14, 2006

UOIT Granted Membership in AUCC

Now in its fourth year of studies with 4,300 students, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology has finally been granted membership in the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. UOIT, "Ontario's only laptop-based university," plans to open the Automotive Centre of Excellence in 2008, and a new 72,000-square-foot athletic centre expansion. UOIT media release 

McGill Students Ban "Discriminatory" Blood Drives

The McGill University student union is refusing to allow blood donation drives in its buildings until Quebec's blood collection agency agrees to accept donations from homosexual men. Héma-Québec's screening questionnaire currently asks, among other things, whether male would-be donors have had sex with another man at any time since 1977. Health Canada must give the go-ahead before Héma-Québec's donor questionnaire can be changed. CBC story 

York University Catches its Breath

A feature article in yesterday's Toronto Star outlines phenomenal growth in recent years at York University, which was once "derided as the remote windswept home of Soviet-style buildings and students who couldn't get into a better school." President Lorna Marsden, who is preparing to step aside next year after a decade at the helm, and whose successor may be named this month, has driven much of the progress. Some critics, though, say that there has been "too much focus on chasing research money... and not enough on York's academic roots, fractured labour relations or tolerance of dissent." Marsden's biggest coup may be the construction of a new TTC subway line, but her dream of a medical school for York may not be realized. Toronto Star

UTM Announces Oscar Peterson Hall

A new 423-bed residence at the University of Toronto at Mississauga, scheduled to open next September, will be named for acclaimed jazz pianist, social justice proponent, and Mississauga resident Oscar Peterson. A UTM biology student and artist will create a multi-canvas installation for the building, illustrating facets of Peterson's life. UofT news 

President Insults $20 Million Donor

The Miami Herald reports that Herbert Wertheim, once chair of the FIU foundation board, has withdrawn a $20 million US gift to Florida International University, the largest in the school's history, because he felt insulted in a telephone conversation with FIU president Modesto Maidique. The loss of matching state funds means the insult costs FIU $40 million. Madique reportedly told Wertheim that he was getting the naming rights to FIU's medical school "on the cheap" and that FIU could now get $100 million for that honour. Maidique has sent an apology note, but Wertheim says, "Humpty Dumpty is broken." Miami Herald 

2006 NSSE Results Released Yesterday

The annual report of the National Survey of Student Engagement includes provocative findings that online learners are more engaged, satisfied and challenged than traditional students. NSSE does not release institution-specific results, but about a third of the 523 participating universities are choosing to release at least some selected results, to provide a measure of performance. Some argue that publicly-funded institutions are obliged to publicize their NSSE results, and that those institutions afraid of the results should not participate at all. Discussion at Inside Higher Ed | Full NSSE Annual Report (pdf) | Case Studies in the Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

Youth Christmas Wish List

Student Price Card, Canada's leading student loyalty program, has released results of its annual Christmas shopping survey. 58% of youth feel that the holiday season is too commercialized, but 43% plan to spend over $300 on holiday shopping. Fashion is the number one purchase item, followed by electronics, music CDs and DVDs. "Must-have gadgets of 2006" include the Apple iPod Video and Nano, the latest CDs by Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado, and video game "Need for Speed: Carbon." CNW media release 

Trent Students Explain "Suicide Prevention Week"

Yesterday's campus newspaper at Trent University, the Arthur, devoted its centre spread to debunking myths about suicide in the wake of "the recent suicide of a Trent student during reading break." The fall reading week at Trent is modelled after similar mid-semester breaks at Oxford and Cambridge, and was never intended as a "suicide prevention week." In fact, statistics show that most student suicides occur in spring and summer, not fall or winter. The suicide rate in Ontario is 14.1 per 100,000 males, and 4.3 per 100,000 females. Trent Arthur (pdf)

MySpace, FaceBook, YouTube Top Youth Sites

Yesterday, Anderson Analytics announced the 2006 results of its GenX2Z College Brand Survey of about 1,000 US college students registered with Their survey concludes that the favourite brands of US college students are Nike, American Eagle, Sony, Gap, and Old Navy. The top five student websites are MySpace, FaceBook, YouTube, CollegeHumor and Google. Media release (with thanks to Art Osborne)

Premiere of Student Documentary Today

Five University of Toronto law and medicine students filmed "Girl Child," a 30-minute documentary on the sexual exploitation of young girls in Zimbabwe through forced marriage and rape, and how the practice perpetuates the spread of HIV/AIDS. More than 60% of girls aged 15-25 in Zimbabwe are HIV-positive. The film will premiere with a fundraiser tonight at the Gladstone Hotel today, in support of Girl Child Network. A one-minute trailer appears online (WMV format) | UofT Media Release (with thanks to Jane Kidner)