Top Ten

December 8, 2006

121 Canada Research Chairs Announced

Yesterday the federal government announced $91.5 million worth of Canada Research Chairs, and the media releases flew fast and furious from universities across the country. The biggest winners were uToronto (33 CRCs), UBC (11), uAlberta (8), uMontreal (7), uWaterloo (5), McMaster (5), and McGill, Queen's, and uManitoba (with 4 CRCs each). CRC media release

Seneca College Opens Markham Campus

Yesterday, Seneca College officially opened its Markham campus, at Highways 7 and 404. The ten-storey building will eventually house up to 2,500 students studying travel and tourism, business computing, brand management and interactive marketing. Toronto Star

A Tough Day for Public Affairs at Western

You have to feel sorry for UWO's public affairs office. Yesterday, an early-morning bomb scare evacuated 200 employees for much of the day. It turned out the improperly-addressed package contained weather monitoring equipment. (Western News) Then a breakdown at the campus steam plant left every building on campus without heat, on a day when more than a foot of snow fell. Alternative accommodations were being sought for 460 students in one affected residence hall. (Western News) And at UWO's University Hospital, staff were trying to resume normal operations three days after a patient showed possible signs of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. About 1,500 patients could have come into contact with infected instruments, although it is likely a false alarm. (Globe & Mail)

CMA Journal Appoints New Editor-in-Chief

The Canadian Medical Association Journal made international headlines when nearly all of its top editors quit or were fired in February, and 15 of 19 board members resigned in protest. Paul Hebert, an author, clinician, and professor at uOttawa, will take office next month as the new Editor-in-Chief, ending the controversy. "The staff and editors here at CMAJ, as well as the national and international research community, have all helped the journal to weather the storm this past year. Media release

Uncertain Future for Canadian PSE

The Canadian Council on Learning's report, released today, argues that the challenges confronting Canadian PSE go far beyond any need for greater human or financial resources. The report outlines the need for a set of explicit, well-defined national goals and objectives for PSE; comprehensive indicators and measures to assess performance and progress; and the creation of nationwide mechanisms to accomplish both. "Canada lacks a shared vision, and there are prominent gaps in the information and analysis of post-secondary education." CCL media release

Graduation and Retention Rates Matter

Students using online education resource identified college graduation and retention rates as a top priority when searching for a bachelor's or master's degree program. In many cases, a school's graduation rate outweighed other factors such as tuition, proximity to home, and academic reputation. "It's important to find a college with strong support systems in place: academic counseling, social programs, and financial aid. A high retention and graduation rate is a sign that students are getting the support they need to realize their goals." Media release

US Campus Nuclear Reactors Draw Scrutiny

US news media and federal regulators are focusing attention on the use of weapons-grade uranium in "Mickey Mouse reactors" on several university campuses. Nuclear-safety advocates say campus reactors like MIT's remain a target for terrorists, while risk analysts believe terrorists are unlikely to bother. Most campus reactors have been converted to lower-yield fuel, but weapons-grade fuel is still used at Oregon State U, Purdue, uWisconsin at Madison, Washington State U, MIT, and uMissouri at Columbia. Chronicle of Higher Education (requires subscription)

"Instant Messaging Gap" Divides Teens and Adults

An Associated Press / America Online poll of 1,013 adults and 500 teens found that 48% of those aged 13-18 use instant messaging, more than twice the percentage of adults. Adults generally prefer email. Most teens who IM send more than 25 messages a day, and 20% send more than 100. About one in five have asked for a date by IM, and just as many have used IM to break up with someone. Boston Globe

uCalifornia Researches its Reputation

The University of California has spent half a million dollars (US) on consultants to conduct research on stakeholder perceptions, and "still hasn't settled on a message nor spent a penny on getting the word out." In the process, UC has learned that some middle-income parents think they can't afford to send their kids there; that high school counsellors are so confused by the admissions process at UC that they steer students elsewhere; and that the public thinks UC spends too much on executive pay. San Francisco Chronicle

Gift Idea - 2007 Scientific Integrity Calendar

The Union of Concerned Scientists is worried about political interference in science. So this summer, they held an editorial cartoon contest called "Science Idol." From hundreds of entries, a panel of cartoonists and scientists selected the best 12 to be featured in a $10 wall calendar, which also notes important dates in science history, major holidays, and "dates related to political interference in science." UCS