Top Ten

November 24, 2006

$86 Million Funding to French PSE in Ontario

Yesterday the governments of Ontario and Canada announced an additional $86 million over the next four years for Ontario's two French-language colleges and six bilingual universities, to develop new programs, provide additional opportunities for French-as-a-second-language students to pursue francophone PSE, and to bolster financial aid for students studying in French. Ottawa-based La Cité collégiale will receive $7.3 million in 2006/07. CNW media release  

McGill Students Ask to Ban Cars on Campus

On Wednesday at McGill University, more than 100 students, faculty and staff attended a lunchtime town hall meeting with Principal Heather Munroe-Blum. They raised questions about a 145-year-old debt, about international student fees, student services and ethical practices. A group of students presented a petition written on old bed sheets, calling for a total ban of cars on the McGill campus. McGill Reporter 

Canadian Women Benefit More from University

Yesterday Statscan released a report indicating that women's participation in university has outpaced men's since the 1970s, and that the gap widened substantially during the 1990s. It suggests that a major reason may be that the financial returns were greater for female university graduates: in 2003, women with a degree earned 173% more than those with high school, while men earned only 113% more. The study, The Gender Imbalance in Participation in Canadian Universities, is available free online. Media release 

Forensic Audit of Douglas College Student Union

Financial scandal has rocked the student union at BC's Douglas College, leading the College administration to freeze the transfer of $1.5 million in student fees, and Global TV to air a national news story. A forensic audit found $65,000 in tax arrears, a $20,000 personal loan made for two weeks to the girlfriend of the student union financial services coordinator, $460,000 diverted from the student health plan to pay for purchase of a building, as well as generally deficient bookkeeping and financial reporting. Students have launched an impeachment campaign. Royal City Record  

What Students Want from Religious Courses

Students in introductory courses in religion and theology, at religious and non-religious institutions, want lots of discussion, want to learn facts about religious groups, and want to become better people. ("Tell us who the Muslims are. They want to overcome their prejudices.") Professors aren’t opposed to any of those things, but they are much more interested in teaching critical thinking. This "great divide" was uncovered by a national US survey of 12,000 students by a Notre Dame professor, and will be published in book form next year. Also surprising were the few professors at religious institutions with moral and religious agendas for their students, and the high percentages of students at secular institutions with hopes for such an experience in class. InsideHigherEd 

Project Pericles Promotes Civic Engagement on 22 Campuses

Ten years ago, renowned philanthropist Eugene M. Lang founded Project Pericles Inc. in New York, to help ensure that student volunteer work linked to their educational focus, to ensure they became responsible and engaged lifelong citizens. Lang challenged college presidents to work together to improve their colleges' community-service programs, and to make civic involvement a part of the curriculum in every department. "Periclean" colleges must appoint a program director who reports directly to the college president, create a subcommittee on the board of trustees that oversees the effort, and establish a campus Pericles program with clear objectives for student, faculty and staff involvement. Chronicle of Higher Education (requires subscription)

US Financial Aid Misses the Middle Class

CASE recently convened an international panel of university presidents (including Martha Piper, former president of UBC) to discuss rising tuition, financial aid, and non-financial barriers to PSE. Some interesting points: merit aid is focused on those in the top socioeconomic quintile, while needs-based aid is focused on those in the bottom quintile, leaving 60% in the middle with inhibited choices. Piper asserts that in Canada, access is less about tuition than about motivation among marginalized populations. Donors prefer to fund merit scholarships, so UBC takes operational funds for need-based aid. CASE Currents (requires professional membership)

NY Times on College President Blogs

This week, the New York Times reports, "while some colleges and their presidents have seen their reputations shredded on student blogs, and others have tried to limit what students and faculty members may say online, about a dozen or so presidents... are vaulting the digital and generational divide and starting their own blogs." PR advisors warn that presidents "blog at their own peril," and legal advisors call it "insane." Many allow students to post comments in reply, leading to criticisms of faculty and administration policies. New York Times 

Facebook Rejects College Webpages

Colleges that try to use as a creative way to reach students will discover, eventually, that the popular social-networking site has a policy that prohibits accounts on behalf of any group or entity. Employment placement offices or admissions offices will find their pages removed, sometimes without warning. Colleges that have learned the hard way may turn to MySpace instead -- which allows organizational pages. Chronicle of Higher Education (requires subscription)

uGuelph Student World Hacky-Sack Champion

(OK, it's a slow news day.) Yesterday the University of Guelph issued a news release congratulating first-year Math student Jorden Moir on bringing home two first-place titles from the footbag competition in Ithaca, New York. Moir says, "we want people to know that the sport exists, that there are serious athletes who train for it and that it spans far beyond just kicking." He's been to 36 competitions throughout North America and Europe. Videos of his fancy footwork can be seen on YouTube (just search for "Jorden Moir"). uGuelph media release