Top Ten

December 11, 2006

Fire Disrupts Exams on UPEI Campus

Friday morning a fire and explosion occurred in the equipment depot near the Utility Building at the University of Prince Edward Island. The fire was extinguished within an hour by the Charlottetown Fire Department, but one building was completely destroyed. Students, faculty and staff were evacuated from the north and central areas of campus, and both Main and Steel Buildings remained closed until an assessment of smoke damage can be carried out today. An impressive photo appears on the UPEI Cadre website.

$25 Million to uCalgary Digital Library

Don Taylor, president of Engineered Air, has donated $25 million to the University of Calgary, and in recognition UofC has named the Taylor Family Digital Library. "The greatest digital library Canada has ever seen" will put the vast electronic resources at the UofC library, museum and archives online, accessible to all. The digital library is one of five major capital projects that will expand the UofC campus to accommodate 7,000 more students by 2010. uCalgary news

Simon Fraser Student Society Executive Removed

Last week, the BC Supreme Court put an end to six months of student protests at Simon Fraser University, by upholding the results of a referendum to impeach seven executives of the SFU Student Society. There were major concerns about transparency and honesty within the executive. "The reign of terror is over," said one student. UBC Ubyssey

York Still Hopeful for Subway Extension

Talks between the Ontario government and Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty were "very friendly" last week, raising hopes that federal funds to support the 6.2 km extension of the TTC subway through York University will be forthcoming. The province has put $670 million in trust for the $2 billion project, and the City of Toronto and York Region are expected to contribute another third. Public transit initiatives are a key way the federal government can score points for the environment. Toronto Star

Other Countries Will "Eat Our Lunch"

The Canadian Council on Learning says the country is training too few workers for today's economy -- particularly PhDs, scientists and engineers -- and urges a national blueprint for higher education with targets for quality, affordability, and access. Examples from other countries suggest that key indices might include funding, graduation rates, class size, library holdings, and teaching credentials. PSE grads get sick less often, are more likely to vote, volunteer, and donate to charity, and are less likely to break the law, says the 160-page report. Toronto Star

StatsCan Reports Male Professors Being Paid Less

The salaries of female professors at Canadian universities have been catching up to their male counterparts -- but only because the entry salaries for male professors, adjusted for inflation, have been falling progressively since the 1960s. Salary differences between genders were larger at universities with merit-based pay systems, than at those with seniority-based pay systems. Between 1970 and 2001, women have risen from 13% to 29% of full-time faculty at Canadian universities. The StatsCan report, "the evolution of male-female wage differentials in Canadian universities: 1970 to 2001," is available free online (PDF).

The Learning Partnership Publishes Demographic Study

Late last month, The Learning Partnership published Demographic Changes in Canada and their Impact on Public Education, a study mapping current and future trends by region across the country. The paper focuses on the rising proportion of recent immigrants and students who speak neither official language; the rising numbers of immigrants and visible minority students in large urban centres; the impact of rising numbers of Aboriginal students moving to urban schools; and the impact of declining student populations in rural communities. Download study (PDF)

"Cherry-Picking" Top Programs for Education City in Qatar

The government of Qatar has been seeking top university programs from across the US to develop a full menu of undergraduate and graduate programs at its new Education City. Qatar gives multi-million-dollar contracts to universities to hire faculty and staff to educate students from the Middle East in free, state-of-the-art facilities "steeped in luxury." So far, satellites have been established by Georgetown, Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Texas A&M, and Virginia Commonwealth University. Boston Globe

Gallaudet Accreditation at Risk

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education plans to visit Gallaudet University, the school for the deaf in Washington DC recently beset by controversy and student protests, and has postponed a decision on accreditation, expressing "serious concerns" about a 2005 federal report that deemed Gallaudet "ineffective" in certain areas. The commission questioned whether Gallaudet is in compliance with standards on integrity, leadership, mission, admissions, retention, educational offerings and assessments. Washington Post

Windsor "a Den of Tawdry, Youthful Bacchanalia"

Noah Richler's travel column in Saturday's Globe & Mail reports that Michigan students are flooding across the border into Windsor, Ontario, to enjoy a lower drinking age, and an ample supply of "bars, restaurants, and rub 'n' tug clubs." Detroit's professional sports teams draw fans, frat boys and families, while student volunteers patrol the streets in bright red jackets. By the end of his article, Richler also uncovers some less sordid aspects of Windsor. Globe & Mail