Top Ten

December 4, 2006

Top Ten from the Soo

This week, Academica's Top Ten is coming to you from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, where we're on-campus at Sault College, one of our newest clients.

uLethbridge Opposes Mount Royal College's Transition

According to the Calgary Herald, the University of Lethbridge is opposed to Mount Royal College's gradual transition to university status. "If you want to have five full-fledged universities in the province, that's fine, but let's think about what it means from a budgetary point of view, and let's make sure we fund each and every one of them properly first." Nearly 40% of UofL students this fall are from the Calgary region. MRC's president is quoted as saying "we are probably going to be the cheapest university created in the history of the world." Calgary Herald

Female York Students Concerned

The Toronto Star reports that female students at York University are buddying up for protection on campus, staying on their cell phones with friends, staying indoors, or even going home to Mom and Dad for a few weeks in the wake of sex assaults near the Keele campus. Said one student, "It's scary. I can't go out and meet my friends at night any more unless I'm with somebody." Police have confirmed both attacks were by the same man. Toronto Star

Atlantic Fisheries Research Centre Opens

Last Friday was the official opening of the Atlantic Canada Fishery By-Products Research Centre at the Memorial University of Newfoundland's Marine Institute. The Centre, which will also draw on laboratory capabilities at Dalhousie, SFX and McGill, will focus on research with commercial and socio-economic benefits for the region. Biochemists, process engineers and lab technicians at the centre are developing extraction, isolation and concentration processes for marine bioactive compounds. One of the initiatives is a study on which current fishery waste products could be used for their recoverable oils to be converted into biodiesel. MUN news

Rebranding Catholic University Colleges

Sunday's Ottawa Citizen included an article on the rebranding of Saint Paul University and Dominican University College, in Ottawa.
"Finding that ethics is hotter than religion, two Ottawa universities aim to double their enrolments with a bit of rebranding." Saint Paul is launching a BA in Conflict Studies program, and Dominican an Applied Ethics program. The article cites Academica Group's research on the impact of religious affiliation on university applicants. Our analysis estimated that 33,000 Ontario applicants felt strongly positive or negative about religious affiliation. Religion White Paper | Ottawa Citizen article (requires subscription)

Pfizer Pulls Major Heart Drug from Clinical Trials

This weekend, Pfizer pulled its most important experimental drug, Torcetrapib, from clinical trials because of patient deaths. Torcetrapib was designed to raise levels of "good cholesterol", and to be used in combination with Lipitor or Zocor to reduce "bad" cholesterol. For Pfizer, the end of the program is an enormous blow. The company and investors had expected that torcetrapib to make up for sales of $13 billion that Pfizer would lose when Lipitor loses patent protection in the US in 2010. International Herald Tribune

New Rhodes Scholars from Memorial and uAlberta

Memorial University of Newfoundland has announced that 22-year-old Biochemistry student Luke Pike will travel to Oxford next fall to undertake a graduate degree in medical oncology with the support of a Rhodes Scholarship. Pike has a 3.97 grade point average, has received NSERC and numerous other awards, and is the third-place powerlifter in Canada. He follows in the footsteps of famous Newfoundland/Labrador Rhodes Scholars Rex Murphy and Premier Danny Williams. Medical student Travis Murdoch is the University of Alberta's 24th Rhodes Scholar, and will take a one-year leave from his studies at UofA to pursue a Masters of Science in Integrated Immunology at Oxford. He is a strong researcher, volunteer, and rock musician. MUN news | uAlberta Folio

Two-Tier Educational System in India

According to the New York Times, graduates in India meet career success if they have marketable skills like "a robust handshake, a placeless accent and a confident walk," while those without are "ensnared in old, drudgelike jobs." Students at the handful of elite Indian institutions are trained in these skills, but the majority of India's 11 million students in 18,000 colleges and universities receive "starkly inferior training." In India, the unemployment rate for college graduates is actually higher than those for middle or high school grads -- the issue is educational quality. New York Times

YouTube, PodCasts, and Viral Campaigns, Oh My!

This month's issue of Wired magazine includes a cover story on LonelyGirl15, and feature articles on the rise of YouTube and the fall of traditional TV. The mantra for young people, we're told, is "if you aren't posting, you don't exist." Commercial TV has been degenerating into "reality" programming and "America's Funniest Home Videos" anyway, so the time is right for the sort of "monkeyvision" you get on YouTube. More than 100 million viewers a day can't be wrong... but they don't yet fit into a revenue model, either. Chevrolet's revolutionary "wikification" of online advertising for the Tahoe -- inviting web visitors to compete to see who could create the best ad -- attracted more than 30,000 spots, some of them good, some of them offensive. Wired (contents available online)

LockDown Alert for Parents

A new, free cell-phone-based emergency notification system for parents launched in the US last month, and now supports more than 94,000 public schools. Every day, dozens of schools across the US go into lockdown because of bomb threats, weapons incidents, or even wandering mountain lions. Most schools do not notify parents directly when an emergency situation occurs. will send text alerts to parents' cell phones or email when an emergency situation occurs at their child's school. The service is sponsored by Google and other advertisers, and is offered free to schools and parents. Media Release