Top Ten

February 9, 2007

Robarts Research Institute May Merge with UWO

The only independent research institute in Canada , Robarts, is in talks to merge with the University of Western Ontario . Research grants have failed to cover the administrative and operating costs of the institute, and without core government funding (such as most universities or hospitals can obtain), Robarts predicts its funding model will not be sustainable for much longer. Robarts would be incorporated into UWO's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. London Free Press

Canadian Students Shoulder $20 Billion in Cumulative Debt

Students gathered in 30 major cities across Canada on Wednesday making various demands that all boiled down to reducing the cost and debt load of PSE for students. Thousands gathered in downtown Toronto to call for a re-freeze of tuition fees. Workshops, panel discussions and information pickets took place.  Students in Halifax banged on drums. Students also pushed for Bill C-398, the Canada PSE Act, which sets criteria for funding of university and college programs to ensure quality and accessibility. CTV | Globe & Mail | Toronto Star | CBC

Low-Income Barriers to PSE Not Actually Financial

Governments that spent Wednesday listening to student demands for lower tuition fees were more than likely pleased with Thursday's report from Statistics Canada, which concluded that the financial obstacles to university are overstated. According to a 2003 study, standardized test scores, parental education, and high school quality account for 84% of the gap between high- and low-income PSE participation -- leaving just 12% of the gap related to actual financial constraints. CBC | National Post 

Al Gore Sells Out at uToronto

: 900 lucky individuals were able to secure tickets to former US Vice President Al Gore's talk at uToronto later this month. 600 VIPs received the remaining tickets of the available 1,500. The school's ticket sales website was hit with more than 23,000 hits in three minutes yesterday morning. Many who lined up hours in advance at the box office itself went home empty-handed. Recently, Gore sold out a 10,000 seat venue in Idaho within 90 minutes. Toronto Star

UBC Puts Rare Darwin Letters Online

UBC announced yesterday that a rare collection of letters written by Charles Darwin is now digitally available through the school's website. 52 letters to and from the infamous evolutionary biologist, and originator of the concept of natural selection, are included in the online archive. UBC's library has also digitized a collection of Florence Nightingale letters, and an important collection of early Japanese maps. A link to the project is available at | UBC news release 

Ontario Website Offers One-Stop Financial Aid

Ontario has launched a new website intended to make PSE costs, financial aids and resources accessible through a single web portal. The provincial government emphasizes that there are adequate resources for any student to pursue college or university if they would like, and the site aims to connect students and their families to the information they need to make their education happen. The site includes the costs of tuition, books, mandatory fees and annual living expenses; the amount of loans and grants available through OSAP; the amount expected from the student or their family; and a repayment calculator to estimate the future costs of paying back a student loan.  OSAP Access Window | Ontario MTCU news release

US Students Increasingly Favour Urban Campuses

Across the US , rural colleges are dropping their quaint, pastoral images in favour of creating downtown appeal. Expansions are taking place to create shops, eateries and social spots, as well on-campus non-academic housing. These colleges believe that young people are drawn to areas with more life than a country school has to offer; universities also feel that working adults and retirees will be attracted to an updated version of a rural campus. Lack of off-campus social life is often cited as the reason for student drop-outs from rural schools.  New York Times

McMaster's Stance on Academic Integrity

In the wake of Maclean's feature article on widespread cheating in Canadian universities, McMaster points to its Office of Academic Integrity (one of the first such offices in Canada when it was established in 2002). Technology has diversified the methods through which students can obtain or share academic products: websites sell essays on virtually any topic, and cell phones can photograph or text message test questions.  McMaster's policy on cheating is to assign a zero to the assignment of a first-time offender, but not to mark the student's academic record until the second offence. The Office of Academic Integrity also recommends staggered essay assignments, where students must submit their work at various stages of completion.  Daily News (McMaster)

YouTube Submission Gets Residence Staff Fired

Five students of Long Island University have been removed from residence staff and will face a disciplinary hearing regarding a video mimicking a terrorist hostage situation. In the video, the mascot of the school's C.W. Post Campus was threatened by masked individuals with Middle Eastern accents. The students are being reprimanded on the grounds that the video was insulting to victims and families of hostage situations, and that student employees serve as role models at the institution. Canadian Press 

Indiana U to Eliminate Physics and Philosophy

Indiana State University has caused upset among its students and faculty with a proposition to eliminate undergraduate degree programs in Physics and Philosophy. The changes are part of an effort to reduce the number of programs at the 11,000 student school from 214 to 150.  Currently, 8,800 students are enrolled in 107 courses, and only 1,800 in the remaining 107. The physics department has 9 undergrad majors and philosophy department has 19.  The current US trend is to invest in physical sciences, so ISU is going counter-trend with this controversial move.  Inside Higher Education