Top Ten

January 17, 2007

Death Toll Hits 65 at Baghdad's MustansiriyaU Yesterday

At least 65 are dead and 138 wounded at Mustansiriya University after yesterday's violence. Explosions occurred at the school's back entrance as well as at the main gate, under a bridge used by both students and employees. The violence reportedly was directed towards an anti-American Shiite cleric that was known to be in the area. Mustansiriya is considered a Mehdi militia stronghold; Sunni professors have left the school because of radical Shiite influence on the students. CNN | CTV 

CIHR Funding Expected to Leave 4 of 5 Out in the Cold

Alan Bernstein, president of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, says that researchers are right to be concerned about the availability of funds. Increases to the institute's base budget have levelled off and research projects have increased. Bernstein predicts that only 1 in 5 projects will receive funds from the $350 million in grants to be released this month. Young researchers are expected to feel the crunch most of all. Globe & Mail 

New $66 Million Construction Trades Facility at Algonquin

In what may be its priciest project yet, Algonquin College is hoping to finance a new building to house its construction trades programs. The private sector is offering to contribute and the school is now looking to the Ontario government to top up the amount to the needed $66 million. With 48,000 retirees expected in the Canadian construction industry over the next seven years, and with booms in Alberta, BC, and other hot spots demanding a further 22,000 additional workers, there is very high demand for skilled construction tradespeople. The new building would allow an additional 520 students. Ottawa Citizen 

Montreal Universities See Rapid Growth

Construction and hiring are signs of good business in Montreal's higher education sector. McGill will see a new life sciences building and cancer research pavillion. Concordia plans a 15-storey addition for the John Molson School of Business. L'Université du Quebec a Montreal opened a new science pavillion last spring, and is behind the $325 Voyageur terminal redevelopment. Prof retirements are leading to significant hiring as well: Concordia aims to hire at least 25 profs a year, and McGill has been hiring at a pace of 100 per year. The rapid growth and turnover are seen as an opportunity for academic renewal in one of our country's most vibrant cities. Montreal Gazette 

Victim of McGill / CIA Experiments Seeks Class-Action Lawsuit

Janine Huard claims she received harmful treatment for her postpartum depression at McGill's Allan Memorial Institute fifty years ago, and is looking for compensation from the federal government. Dr. Ewen Cameron used Huard, and almost three hundred other victims, to test experimental brainwashing techniques that he believed would treat depression. 77 individuals received federal compensation in 1994, and Huard herself received $66,000 from the CIA as redress for its involvement. Huard and 200 others have received no compensation from the federal government. Montreal Gazette 

Yale and UPenn to Keep Early Admissions Policy

Defying predictions, Yale, UPennsylvania and about 7% of US universities are keeping their doors open for the early birds. Handling the entire applicant body in one round would be a larger, more complicated process and would remove a method of showing which students were most committed to study at a particular school. Harvard and Princeton found that low-income and minority applicants were systematically under-represented in the early pool: less than 10% of students applying for financial aid were early applicants. Those keeping early admissions say they do not see the same discrepancy between their two pools of applicants. Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required) | Philadelphia Inquirer 

SMU Faculty Oppose Bush Presidential Library

Even before a location has been selected for the memorial President Bush library at Southern Methodist University, liberal-minded faculty and theologians are banding together to oppose the possibility. The location selection committee announced last month that it was in exclusive talks with SMU as the potential home of the museum and policy centre, but the final decision has not yet been made. Some faculty are concerned by Bush's statements suggesting a partisan policy think tank rather than something a little less conservatively biased. Other concerns rise from being affiliated with the Bush presidency's shortcomings regarding civil liberties, the environment, gay rights and the war in Iraq. CNN | Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required) | University Business 

uBuffalo President Challenges Critics of Higher Education

John B. Simpson, president of the State University of New York at Buffalo, spoke out last week against a "year" of reports challenging PSE institutions in the US. He attributes racial and socioeconomic inequities to high school completion rates and other social phenomena beyond the control of colleges. He calls on state governments to address the larger social trends, and increase funding in the face of rising international competition. Inside Higher Ed 

Commission Advises Reforms to Indian Higher Education

India needs to increase the number and quality (and consequently funding) of its universities if the country is to develop and compete as a knowledge economy, according to a report by the country's National Knowledge Commission. The report calls for more universities, both home-grown and from abroad, with an emphasis on competition to encourage quality study and research conditions. There are currently 350 universities in India and the commission advises another 1,150 are needed. An independent regulatory authority is also recommended. Chronicle for Higher Education (Subscription Required) 

Tribal Colleges Work To Keep Students Learning, Rather than Lawns Growing

Colleges like White Earth Tribal College and United Tribes Technical College aim to train native students from reservations, and increase participation and retention rates. Many students from reservations prefer the closer location and more nurturing environment of a tribal college. These colleges though are said to only have a 15% graduation rate from their two-year programs. United Tribes offers early childhood centres and an elementary school on its campus, to allow families to stay together and to help single parents stay in school. UT also has an 88% graduation rate. Minnesota Public Radio