Top Ten

January 10, 2007

Concordia Loyola Campus Evacuated Yesterday

A 911 call from a university employee led to a police search for a camouflage-wearing individual with what was possibly a weapons case. According to varying reports, some or all buildings were evacuated by police, and some students were locked in classrooms until police arrived to lead them outside. Video surveillance tapes were used to track the individual’s movements to a locker, where a martial arts stick was found. Classes resumed at 4:00pm. Montreal Gazette | Canadian Press

McMaster "Evidence-Based Medicine" a Top Medical Breakthrough

The British Medical Journal is hailing the development of evidence-based medicine by researchers at McMaster University as one of the 15 greatest medical breakthroughs of the past 166 years -- alongside anesthesia, antibiotics, the Pill, vaccines and the risks associated with smoking. The development of evidence-based medicine replaced reliance on past cases and consensus. Without this approach to medical practice, most women with early breast cancer would still be undergoing mastectomy instead of lumpectomy or radiation. Votes are being accepted at the BMJ website, and the ultimate winner will be announced January 18th. McMaster News | British Medical Journal

Moody's Warns Financial Challenges Ahead for Colleges

The 2007 Higher Education Outlook report by Moody's Investors Service predicts that, after years of increasing enrolment, US colleges should now anticipate a drop. Total US PSE enrolment increased by 12.8% between 1999 and 2004, but the coming years are expected to see only a 1% annual increase. The report criticizes university management structures for often having large "unwieldy" boards and "arcane" budgeting models. The causes for this coming shift are cited as "stagnant household incomes, increasing scrutiny by state and federal politicians and policy makers, and increasing competition for the dwindling number of students." Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

Law School Version of NSSE

The Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE) reports that 3rd-year law students are disengaged from their studies, and argues that students who are engaged in studying, class participation, and peer discussion, and receive feedback from faculty, will learn more than students who are not. These habits not only produce academic success, but also set the path for lifelong learning. By 3rd year, law students are spending as little time in class as undergraduates. In general, law students are less likely than undergrads to talk to faculty about learning materials or careers. LSSSE Report (PDF - 28 pages)

Women and Minorities Making Long-Term Advances

The Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology's Professional Women and Minorities report shows that both groups are still lagging behind white men, but also making progress. As in the past, this is happening faster for women than for minorities. Since 1966, women now receive double the percent of bacherlor degrees awarded in science and engineering, and increased masters degrees and doctorates. In 2003/04, women received 46% of the degrees in medicine. Hispanics represent 14% of the US population, but earned just 7.3% of bachelor degrees; and African Americans represent 13% but earned 8.4%. Inside Higher Ed

US College Athletes Put Sports Before Majors

The NCAA convention discussed survey results revealing that 20% of college athletes were prevented from choosing their preferred major due to their sports. The survey of 20,000 athletes also showed that sports are demanding more time from athletes than they did 20 years ago. Athletes largely do not regret the influence of sport on their education, however, and would be willing to dedicate even more time to athletic pursuits. NCAA president Myles Brand likens athletic scholarships to employment, and suggests that both place limitations on students while also providing the funds required to pay for education in the first place. Chronicle of Higher Education (requires subscription)

uGuelph Prof Featured in Maclean's and Esquire

Paul Hebert, professor of integrative biology at the University of Guelph and head of the new Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, is featured in a one-page science article in the January 17 issue of Maclean's magazine, and Esquire magazine named DNA barcoding one of the "Hot 45 Ideas/Things for 2006" in its December issue. Both articles focus on Hebert's groundbreaking research on DNA barcoding and how it's changing the way species are differentiated. uGuelph media release | Esquire article

The Changing "Place" of the Library

As distance education and satellite campuses grow, the concept of a campus library as "place" needs to be rethought. To bring the benefits of a "social, active, contextual, engaging, and student-owned environment" to distance ed students, library infrastructures must support digital resources and telephone or live chat advising, and two-day delivery of print materials. So far, students "love full-text articles but appear to be slow in adopting electronic books." Campus libraries must "compete" with Google to become "resources of choice." Inside Higher Ed

Losing Enrolment in C-Lot

Neil Raisman, former university president and author of Embrace the Oxymoron: Customer Service in Higher Education, rants in University Business that poor signage and inconvenient parking for prospective students may be costing many colleges enrollment. "A Lot -- Faculty and Staff only - Sticker required - Tow Zone" is just not that friendly a welcome for visitors. But everyone knows that "parking closest to the building is a God-given faculty and administrative right, even if one is an atheist." University Business

University Presidents Becoming CEOs, Being Ousted

The New York Times reports that, across the US, university presidents are being ousted after faculty or student challenges and there is an "increasingly uneasy relationship between those running colleges and those teaching at them." Presidents have been turfed at Harvard, Gallaudet, Case Western Reserve, Baylor and more. What was once considered a "plum academic post" is now "a position of extraordinary precariousness." Some of the friction can be attributed to the "obscene" salaries awarded to former academic colleagues when they move to the president's office. New York Times