Top Ten

February 6, 2007

Gaza Universities Attacked In Fatah-Hamas Conflict

Violence between Fatah and Hamas factions caused weekend gunfire in Gaza . As many as 27 people were killed, many kidnapped and more than 200 wounded. The Islamic University of Gaza, which is affiliated with Hamas, was attacked on Thursday and Friday by Fatah forces, suffering $15 million in damage. The library, computer building and several classrooms were set on fire and the entire campus was hit with machine-gun fire. Hamas forces attacked the Fatah-affiliated Al-Quds University and Azahar University with rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank rockets. Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) | Evening Bulletin | CNN

Canadian Universities "Rocked" by Presidential Resignations

Yesterday's Globe & Mail profiled three high-profile, low-publicity resignations of Canadian university presidents over recent months.  Carleton U and uRegina both lost their presidents after closed-door conflicts between the individuals and the schools' boards of governors. uQuebec at Montreal saw its rector resign after a $40 million overrun in construction on a new science facility. The Canadian Association of University Teachers finds the mid-term resignations unusual, and suggests that it may be a symptom of the corporatization of higher education. Leadership positions at Canadian universities may be much less coveted than in the past.  Globe & Mail

Fire Forces STU Journalism Students Out of CBC

Last week, a fire caused tens of thousands of dollars damage to the rooms and equipment used by St. Thomas University 's journalism program. STU is unique in that its journalism students work out of CBC Fredericton's facilities, rather than on the school's main campus, giving students experience in a professional broadcast facility. The fire was extinguished quickly, but video and still cameras, mini-disc players and a laptop computer were all destroyed. Only one video camera of six remains intact. The students have temporarily moved onto main campus. CBC

Prof among the 10 "Hottest Jobs" in Canada

In an article profiled by MSN Lifestyle, Canadian Living has published a list of the "10 Hottest Jobs" in Canada .  Each of the 10 promises to bring money, job security and demand from employers for qualified candidates.  "College or vocational school teacher" is rated #3, due to the boom in skilled trades and the need for trained workers. "University professor" came in at #6, because of increased government funding and workplace demand for "a highly trained and educated workforce." The article states that the average worker changes careers three to seven times. Canadian Living / MSN

Universities Skeptical of "U-Tube"

Memorial University has stirred the opinions of university marketers with its new "Rant like Rick" YouTube campaign. Some fear the free-for-all nature of the website's content may undermine the brand of academia. Richard Fisher of York University emphasizes the importance of context, and the risk of a university being positioned between "the guy who can stuff 60 grapes into his mouth" and the next random pick. 2006 has been repeatedly heralded as the year of YouTube, and its popularity continues to grow. Memorial's ads are also airing in movie theatres and select television markets. Saskatoon Star Phoenix  (subscription required)  

Oklahoma Tuition Up for Auction

Last Saturday, the Oklahoma Wesleyan University put a year of tuition and room and board up for auction on, hoping to create some buzz around the school. As of yesterday morning, bidding was up to $6,500 and 30 individuals had placed bids since Saturday: the approximate value of the package is $23,000, and it is transferable, so long as the tuition recipient meets the university's admission requirements.  Whether or not the auction will create the desired buzz has yet to be seen, but this is certainly yet another step towards the commercialization and commoditization of higher education. CTV | OWU eBay Auction 

Growing Research Opportunities for Undergrads

Research opportunities for undergraduate students seem to be the hottest recruitment, development, and engagement tool at US universities. Students see research placements as an advantage for grad school applications, many of which now require research experience, and are attracted to the idea of a professor-mentor. Many schools are using research positions as a way to fund lower-income students.  There is evidence that research placements help offset the high drop-out rates of minorities and women in the sciences. York Dispatch (AP) | CNN

Vatican Calls for Humanization of Catholic Colleges

The Vatican's Archbishop J. Michael Miller spoke to Roman Catholic college leaders over the weekend to encourage an "authentic, humanistic" response to market pressures on a modern educational institution. He urged that, in a world of growing disparities, the educational "haves" must bridge the digital divide by forging "mutually enriching research partnerships with institutions in developing countries." The Archbishop called for Catholic schools to be "neighbour universities" rather than competitors, and to emphasize a zest for wisdom and truth, and a humanistic approach to students and student recruitment.  Inside Higher Ed

Standardized Testing Comes to Russian PSE

The Russian government is expected to pass into law a bill that requires university applicants to take a standardized test, similar to the SAT.  The test is already being used to some extent in 85 of 88 regions in the country. It is hoped that the testing will eliminate the prevalence of bribes disguised as payment for exam tutoring -- it is estimated that half of all Russian families pay bribes to instructors and college-admissions officials. Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)