Top Ten

February 27, 2007

Students Still Out of Pocket

When the College of International Business Practice Entrepreneurship shut down unexpectedly in 2005, almost 100 students were left without their degrees.  The school's tuition was $15,000, and students are still asking whether they will get their money back or remain responsible for paying their student loans. The minister of post-secondary education is deferring the students to the federal government: "We told them that we will be negotiating with the federal government in doing whatever we can to come to some sort of a resolution for the request."  CBC NB

New "Green" Architecture Program at Algonquin

Algonquin College is launching a new program in "green" architecture, starting in the fall.  The program is meant for students who have already completed an architecture program, and will serve to teach them "greener" design strategies. The graduate certificate program is unique in Canada, says Algonquin,  and is in response to increasing concerns regarding climate change. The program will stress choosing the best location, energy-efficient structures, and using materials that will not have negative consequences on the site. The Ottawa Sun

Dal puts Campus Enhancements to Student Referendum

Dalhousie University is putting to its students the decision of whether to update 12 student social and workspaces across 3 campuses.  Possible changes include renovating existing spaces, building a new student activities building next to the SUB, and a new studio/workspace for engineering, architecture and planning students.  The estimated cost of the facelift is $25 million.  Once the projects are largely complete and students are experiencing the benefits, they will be asked to pay a $10 per-course levy.  Dalhousie News

Young Alumni Want Fast, Electronic and Easy

Traditional alumni networks have a print focus, static directories, slow development and are not user-friendly.  The new wave of online social networks like Facebook and MySpace are characterized by pseudonyms, lack of privacy and advertising.  A project underway at uToronto suggests that a closed online network -- an "authenticated, trusted social network with your Brand at the centre" -- is a dynamic, scalable update to traditional alumni communities.  Today's alumni are much more at home in an online setting, and prefer electronic communications to print.  Opt-in, trusted sources are received the best.  Supporting Advancement  (PDF)

uManitoba's OSN Featured in UA

uManitoba's Virtual Learning Commons is featured in a feature article on the decline of student email-use in the March issue of University Affairs.  The VLC is an online social networking site that includes a message board and personal profiles, similar to Facebook or MySpace.  uMan launched the site back in September, and logged almost 5,000 hits in the first three months.  The site is open to the public, but only individuals with a student login can post content (MySpace similarly is open for limited public viewing, but anyone with an email address can get full access through the site's free registration process).  The site aims to create an online social venue for students that is identified with the university.  An assignment manager, online writing tutorial and lists of upcoming workshops are also available through the site.  uMan has received a lot of interest from other schools considering building a similar service.  University Affairs (March 2007)

Open Access to Research Gains Momentum in Europe

The Toronto Star reports that European researchers and academics want government-funded research to be made publicly-accessible shortly after publication.  A petition started by 5 key institutions has moved quickly, gathering more than 20,000 signatures from over 750 institutions worldwide in just a few weeks -- including Nobel Prize winners.  In Canada , hundreds of millions of dollars go into research each year.  The results are then published in journals which are often subscription-only.  Recently, CFI funded a national initiative to purchase shared access for schools across the country to increased academic resources.  Athabasca University is the only Canadian university that requests faculty submit electronic copies of all publications to a repository.  Toronto Star

HS Counsellors Anger Parents with Anti-College Advice

As PSE participation rates for US high-school graduates continue to rise, the number of college drop-outs is also rising.  Some pot-stirring guidance counsellors are starting to advise students against starting an education that they may not complete, says an expose on National Public Radio. Suggested alternatives such as apprenticeship programs meet with backlash from parents who want a college education for their offspring.  Blue-collar workers who are happy with their lifestyle have started speaking out on what they feel is an over-emphasis on the need for a college education. National Public Radio

US Sorority Cuts "Uncommitted" Members

The New York Times reports that 23 members of Delta Zeta's DePauw house were recently evicted by the sorority's national chapter.  The girls were asked to leave due to "insufficient" commitment to recruitment, after being interviewed by the national office. The 23 evicted members included all the overweight, black, Korean and Vietnamese members.  6 of the 12 remaining ("slender" and "popular") ladies voluntarily quit to show solidarity with the evicted 23. "Virtually everyone who didn't fit a certain sorority member archetype was told to leave," says one of the voluntarily-former members.  In 1928, the same sorority at DePauw caused a furor by refusing membership to a young black student.  New York Times

Students Go Soft on Marketing

Student opinion toward on-campus marketing is softening.  According to a recent survey, 30% of young Canadians say marketing in schools, colleges or universities is "perfectly fine," compared to 10% four years before (2002).  Only 11% felt there should be "no marketing, period" -- down from 26% in 2002.  Very few campuses remain "clean," without any ads.  UBC's director of business development says these are the smaller, private schools with tuition high enough to free them from the need for ad revenue.  UBC was the first university in Canada to sign an exclusive contract with Coca-Cola -- the antagonist of "Killer Coke" campaigns at several campuses now -- and says that the reputation of UBC is always considered when sponsorships or ad placements are brought to the table.  Marketing Magazine (February 26, 2007 - Subscription required).

Trans-Fat Free, Organic and "Slow" (in a good way)

Those who crave trans fats with their stir-fry will soon have to go off-campus to get a fix.  Food services across the US , and hopefully Canada too, are switching cooking oils to eliminate trans fats, a contributor to cholesterol and heart disease.  Not only are North American schools opening campuses around the globe, but they are serving global fare on the tables at home.  Pizza and burgers are still up for grabs, but Indian, Middle Eastern and Thai cuisine is becoming ubiquitous on student menus. More than 200 college dining officials met last week to discuss "slow food" and organic produce. Health-conscious students with high standards for food quality are said to have influenced the changes.  The Union Tribune