Top Ten

January 24, 2007

Quebec Student Group Urges Free Education

A student group advocating for radical changes in policy, the Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante, has released a study suggesting Quebec move to a free-tuition PSE system. The cost of cutting tuition completely would put a $550 million annual burden on the province's budget. The Association speaks for 40,000 CEGEP and university students. Free tuition would make education univerally accessible and eliminate the discouraging fear of debt. A similar system is already in place in Scandinavian countries. Montreal Gazette 

UBC Forecasts $28 Million Budget Shortfall

In the last 5 years, UBC has seen a 50% increase in its operating budget. A rush of applicants and rapid expansion has overtaxed the school's resources, despite more than $1 billion in capital investments in 2005-06 alone, and double the normal amount of private donations. UBC's president told faculty in November that there was a projected shortfall of $28 million in 2007-08, and if unchecked, potentially $37 million by 2008-09. SFU and many other schools are also planning cuts in the face of declining government funding. BC tuition is also frozen to the rate of inflation. Vancouver Sun 

Huron's Recipe for Success

Tiny but "mighty," Huron University College is showing off the success of its multi-year plan to increase the school's visibility. The Ontario University Application Centre saw an overall 20.6% increase in applicants to Huron, and a 23.5% increase in first-choice applicants. Historically an Anglican seminary founded in 1862, Huron is now a 1,000 student institution. Based in part on applicant research by Academica Group, Huron developed a broad communications plan, promoted stories about the college, improved campus visits and re-geared communications with high school counsellors. London Free Press 

Off-Campus UOIT Students Clash with Neighbours

Residents of Oshawa are voicing loud concerns over the increase in students that came with opening of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Although there are more out-of-town students attending the institution than expected, administration still reports that they offer the same ratio of on-campus housing as other universities. Community members miss their quiet family community, and students feel stereotyped and unfairly accused. UOIT's student association has released a "good neighbour guide," and Oshawa is considering installing a satellite police branch on campus, possibly limiting the number of bedrooms per dwelling, and creating an off-campus code of conduct. Toronto Star 

Pencharz Report Calls for National Research Monitor

The same report that found Memorial University's research policies to be sound, also urges a national organization to monitor research in Canada. Such systems are in place already in Denmark and the US, with more on the way from Japan and Australia. The already existing monitors have found that cases of scientific misconduct occur at a rate of three per million of the population -- implying that there might be between 30 to 60 cases per year in Canada, but far fewer are currently being reported. Maclean's | CBC 

Memorial to Move on Labrador PSE

Commissioned by Memorial in late 2005, a report on Labrador region's PSE needs was released yesterday. The region faces a low rate of secondary graduation in some areas, a high number of adults with less than secondary education, and some language and cultural barriers. No solid plan has been released yet, but Memorial's president says that a strategy for post-secondary in Labrador will likely approach outside the traditional full-time 4-year model, possibly targeted and intensive courses as well as certificate and diploma programs in the areas of business, economics, political science, public administration, fishery and tourism. Many Labradorians have lifestyles that do not allow leaving their homes for school, and often have families to consider and accommodate. Memorial Release

Acadia to Lower Tuition, Increase IT

AcadiaU announced yesterday that, starting in September 2008, tuition will be down and students will no longer be required to lease a notebook computer through the school's Acadia Advantage program. 50% of current university students already own a notebook when they come to an institution, and the remaining students will be required to acquire a laptop that meets the school's specs. Ten years ago, few students had their own computers and the university met this challenge. Now the school will focus on providing IT services that meet student academic and communication needs. Acadia will also be following almost all other universities by releasing a breakdown of its pricing that separates tuition from fees, allowing easier comparison to other schools. Acadia Release 

Guelph President Answers All

UGuelph president Alastair Summerlee is taking on the questions of up to 5,000 staff and faculty as well as the entire university student body -- and he is excited about it. He and provost Maureen Mancuso will be hosting a "rumour mill" meeting intended to create a transparent and communicative environment on campus. Students, staff and faculty are invited to ask about any reports or rumours and to make suggestions as well. With no idea what might be asked, the Guelph Mercury applauds uGuelph administration for taking such a bold approach to communication. The meeting is being considered a possible monthly event. Guelph Mercury 

Mazda Online Promotion Features Canadian Campuses

Bishop's, Carleton and Queen's Universities are to be the setting of an online game called Campus Joyride, featuring Mazda vehicles. Each campus was filmed with strategically placed cars, and players will virtually cruise around campus clicking each Mazda they see. Users will be able to "change the radio station," and hear different songs selected from a crop of university student bands. The three schools will be given points based on how often individuals choose to drive on their campus over the other two. The Charlatan 

Tips for Coursecasting

Interest in podcast versions of class lectures, or "coursecasting", continues to rise for many reasons. It allows professors to use a student's addiction to white headphones for an educational purpose, putting course content onto playlists along with the student's choice of the latest hits. It is also a great way for students to catch up on or review lectures, maybe allowing a few more students to tune in their minds during class instead of scrambling to write everything down. The Chronicle suggests that institutions considering coursecasting: 1) make it easy for professors, 2) get student feedback and suggestions, and 3) read the fine print of services like iTunes U -- make sure you are clear who will be owning the material once it goes live. Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)