Top Ten

February 26, 2007

Suicide Bomber Hits Baghdad College Campus

On Sunday, just as students returned for mid-term exams at the business studies annex of Mustansiriyah University in Baghdad, a suicide bomber detonated his belt, killing at least 41 people and injuring at least 46 more. Students used rags and towels to mop up the blood on campus. Minneapolis Star-Tribune | Globe & Mail

10 Profs Receive Killam Fellowships

Last Thursday, the Canada Council for the Arts awarded $700,000 to 10 recipients of its 40th annual Killam Research Fellowships. From 74 applications, the CCA selected two profs from McMaster, and one prof from each of uGuelph, uToronto, uVictoria, uQaM, UBC, uOttawa, Dalhousie, and Queen's. CCA News Release

Top 10 Party Schools in Canada

CBC Radio and other media have been abuzz discussing the results of a recent poll to name the top "party schools" in Canada. No surprise that McGill took pride of place, having recently been named to Playboy's list of top party schools in North America. The rest of the list is more surprising though: #2 uCalgary, #3 Dalhousie, #4 Bishop's, #5 York, #6 UWO, #7 Concordia, #8 UBC, #9 Queen's, and #10 uGuelph. The website provides a brief synopsis of academic and recreational highlights for each institution. AskMen Poll | McGill Party (CBC)

Nova Scotians Must Travel for MCAT

Last January we mentioned a glitch in the first fully-computerized edition of the Medical College Admission Tests.  Now the CBC reports another "glitch": accessibility to a limited number of terminals.  In Halifax, there will be only 5 MCAT terminals, accommodating a maximum of 100 applicants.  All of these spots have been spoken for, leaving 200 aspiring young docs looking to travel in order to find a seat.  Nova Scotian students are traveling to Montreal , Maine and Toronto -- adding the stresses and costs of travel to their MCAT experience.  CBC

Student Elections Crop Up On Facebook

Facebook and other social networking sites are playing a more active role in student politics. The York Federation of Students hosts several groups on Facebook, including "YFS on Facebook", "Reduce Tuition Fees Coalition at York" and "I support the Stop Hate Campaign".  Stud ent election candidates at York and Mount Allison University have been penalized for campaigning early on Facebook, raising some interesting questions. Is Facebook personal or public? Are Facebook postings any more campaigning than getting signatures of support? Excalibur (Student Newspaper)

Smaller Schools Offer Snugger Fit

US National Public Radio recently aired a piece discussing an alternative trend in college or university selection.  Family tradition and heavy-weight rankings are the usual criteria that seem to place the same five or so schools at the top of everyone's list.  Some students however brave being different and seek a school that fits their educational style and interests, rather than an Ivy League name to put on their CV.  Some students want a supportive educational environment rather than a lonely race to the top.  Meeting groups of real students, rather than a single campus tour guide with a prepared speech, is encouraging a movement of students to apply at smaller, lesser-known schools.  NPR

International Expansion a Risky Venture

Attendees at the annual conference of the Association of International Educational Administrators were warned that while overseas branch campuses are booming, an attentive eye is still required to avoid failure.  Institutions who have opened shop internationally have found several heavy demands: a high value is placed on face time, which means long overseas flights on a frequent basis; a foreign world of local, state and national policy must be navigated; and teaching styles and classroom etiquette has to be rethought through the eyes of a new culture. Faculty interested in working for a Canadian institution, but half a world away, must be specifically recruited. Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

HS Students Getting Higher Grades, but Learning Less

Two US studies of high school students released last week have started a furor.  The first shows senior students performing poorly on national math and reading tests.  The second shows students working harder: earning more credits, taking harder courses and earning higher grades.  Almost 40% of high school seniors scored below basic skills in maths, and more than 25% scored equally low on reading.  The national tests aim to measure the amount students have learned, and if students are in fact pursuing more challenging material and earning higher grades, the tests should have shown much higher levels.  The Education Department has not offered any concrete explanations for the conflicting results, but says ensuring that students are receiving a quality education will be a difficult task.  Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required) | CNN

Suicidal Students in Virginia Won't be Suspended

After several lawsuits from suspended students, the state of Virginia has passed a bill (awaiting the Governor's signature now) that will prevent public universities from punishing students for suicidal behaviour or for seeking treatment for suicidal thoughts. The bill is expected to encourage universities to establish policies for appropriately handling students who are a danger to themselves and others, rather than potentially adding a school suspension to the crisis.  Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

Student Requests for Therapy Soar

US colleges are reporting increased demand for mental health services across the board.  In the past five years, the number of uWashington students seeking appointments for depression, anxiety and other mental health concerns have close to tripled. 20% of students at Seattle Pacific University have sought therapy.  As frequent as reports of increased demand, are the reports of wait lists and backlogs of students yet to be treated.  This trend may be resulting from financial stress and heavy debt loads, or even the increased social acceptance of therapy.   Seattle Post-Intelligencer