Top Ten

January 4, 2007

$1 Billion in Training for Ontario

Effective January 1, many federal work programs were transferred to the province of Ontario under the Canada-Ontario Labour Market Development Agreement. As a result, Employment Ontario will offer nearly $1 billion in training and employment services to Ontario workers and businesses through a "one-stop job network" of 1,200 third-party providers. Ontario's minister of Colleges, Training & Universities hopes the merger will end red tape between federal and provincial programs. Toronto Star | Employment Ontario website

CSIS Revs Up Recruitment at Canadian Universities

As universities strive to meet demand for security and intelligence programs, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service is preparing to recruit 70% more positions, soon to be vacated by retiring baby boomers. CSIS will launch an aggressive advertising campaign this spring. Maclean's

uWinnipeg Celebrates 40th Anniversary Year

Tomorrow the University of Winnipeg will kick off its 40th anniversary as a university "and 136 years of excellence" with a "Fun in the Sun" afternoon street party, including "snowman building, horse and wagon rides, gingerbread decorating, face painting, balloon art and family entertainment." Media release (PDF)

TVO's 10 Best Lecturers

Yesterday, TVOntario's "Big Ideas" announced the top ten finalists in the 2007 Best Lecturer Competition, including professors from UOIT, Queen's, Laurentian, York's Osgoode Hall Law School, and six professors from the University of Toronto (half from UT Scarborough). Finalists were chosen by a judging panel including Globe & Mail columnist Margaret Wente, and Maclean's managing editor Tony Keller. TD Melloche Monnex will provide the winning institution with a $10,000 scholarship. Media release | TVO clips and bios

American University of Iraq Planned

Despite the ongoing war, plans are nonetheless proceeding for an American University of Iraq, modeled after the famous private universities in Cairo and Beirut. Classes will be taught in English, a business plan has been completed by McKinsey & Company, and a $250 million fundraising campaign is underway. But instead of situating the University in Baghdad, which was for millennia an intellectual centre of the Arab world, it is destined for the relatively safe outskirts of Sulaimaniya, the eastern capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. Enrolment is projected to reach 1,000 students by 2011 -- compared to 70,000 at Baghdad University. New York Times

Huron UC Hosts Anglican Conference on Sexuality

Huron University College, at the University of Western Ontario, will host a conference January 12-13 on theological issues surrounding human sexuality, the first time Canadian Anglicans have spoken publicly on the subjects of same-sex marriage and the ordination of gay clergy. A dozen public papers will be presented by scholars from across Canada, and in attendance will be the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada. Western News

Scholarship Incentives Improve Retention of Female Undergraduates

A working paper published late last month by the National Bureau of Economic Research examined retention of first-year undergraduates at "a large satellite campus of a major Canadian university." The study found that students were more likely to take advantage of peer advising and tutorial services if they saw the promise of substantial merit scholarships (up to $5,000) in their second year, and that retention and grades of female students (but not males) increased 3% when they were offered scholarships for maintaining a minimum GPA. Academic supports alone appeared to have no impact on retention. The paper's authors include Daniel Lang (at OISE, the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education) and Philip Oreopoulos (at uToronto Scarborough). Chronicle of Higher Education (requires subscription) | NBER study ($5 for PDF)

US Employers Still Seem to Distrust Online Degrees

The results of several US employer surveys indicate a bias against online degrees, even as more and more colleges are offering programs online. In a study released last month, 55% of 101 US managers surveyed by Vault Inc. said they favoured applicants with traditional degrees. 96% of 269 hiring managers in another study preferred traditional credentials, sometimes because they perceive greater communication skills can be learned in the classroom. Those employers who have distance education experience, on the other hand, believe an online degree demonstrates a person’s level of self-motivation. Chronicle of Higher Education (requires subscription)

Students Turned Off by Rules at MySpace, YouTube

Under pressure to make their sites safe for children and to prevent copyright infringement, websites like MySpace and YouTube have recently hired "the virtual equivalent of hall monitors" to police user behaviour. As a result, youth are apparently turning to unregulated sites like Stickam, LiveLeak, and Dailymotion, where they can mount unfiltered live webcam broadcasts, without monitoring. New York Times

Collaborative Online Book Authorship

David Seaman, a first-year NYU student, asked "what is the meaning of life?" on his blog in October 2004. Within an hour he had more than 60 responses, many "deeply insightful commentary." After 50,000 hits and 2,000 answers, he has published the most surprising 72 responses, both uplifting and pessimistic, in a trade paperback, The Real Meaning of Life. The collective online wisdom runs the gamut from intellectual pursuits to beer and sex.