Top Ten

March 7, 2007

York Subway Extension Finally on Track

Yesterday, PM Stephen Harper announced roughly $1 billion of federal funding for Toronto public transit. "You'll have to forgive us for being late, we got stuck in traffic," he joked. Specifically, the funds mean that the University-Spadina subway line will finally be extended from Downsview to the York University campus.  Dedicated bus lines are also in the plan, and extensions of the 407 Toll Route east, and Highway 404 North.  CBC

SMU Cancels Race Debate for Security Concerns

A debate between a Saint Mary's University Philosophy professor and a "race realist" scheduled for yesterday was cancelled by the university, citing the need for a higher level of security than it can provide to ensure safety of participants. Protests had been planned by those opposing the event. Jared Taylor, the debater who advocates for the separation of races, has previously been the victim of violence while sharing his views in the Halifax area.  CBC | SMU Statement

New Southern Ontario Distance-Ed Service

A distance education and training network announced for Southern Ontario will create increased access to secondary and post-secondary schools for students in small and rural communities.  Contact North, the 20-year-old distance education and training network servicing Northern Ontario, will help set up its new southern equivalent with close to $1.2 million from the federal government.  The investment is part of a larger effort to increase overall accessibility to many groups facing barriers to education, including Ontarian francophones, Aboriginal peoples, disabled individuals, and first generation PSE students.  Ontario MTCU News Release

uWaterloo Launches Work & Health PhD

The University of Waterloo has announced a new interdisciplinary PhD program in work and health that will admit students beginning this September.  The program will be the first of its kind in Canada, and will provide students with the skills to build workplace wellness.  According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 51% of Canadians feel their work contributes to serious personal stress levels.  ILO reports that as many as 1 in 10 workers suffer from depression, anxiety, stress or burnout.  The school's departments of health studies and gerontology, kinesiology, and recreation & leisure studies will be involved in the program. UW News Release

Carleton announces Muslim Community Scholarship

Carleton University's School of Journalism and Communication has announced a new scholarship, to be awarded to an outstanding student in the program who is also a member of the Muslim community, with demonstrated interest in the area of Muslim human rights in Canada.  The El-Aggan Family Muslim Community Award will be worth $4,500 annually, and is funded by a $50,000 bursary from the El-Aggan family, matched by the Ontario Trust for Student Support.  Female students will be given preference in selection.  The recipient must also have demonstrated financial need, and be either a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.  The El-Aggan family hopes the scholarship "will attract young Muslim-Canadians to fairly represent their communities in the media, especially in the area of human rights." Carleton News Release

SFU Students Advocate for Gender-Free Washrooms

A group of Women's Studies students at Simon Fraser University are advocating for the installation of single-stall, gender-neutral washrooms on every floor of every building on campus, to create safe spaces for those who are inter-sex, transgendered, or gender queer.  An SFU residence building already features gender-neutral washrooms.  Students at SFU are offered the two traditional m/f options as well as "other" on SFU registration documents.  McGill University has plans in the works for a gender-neutral, "barrier-free" washroom accessible to transgendered, disabled and students with families.  Carleton University has a few unisex washrooms as well.  The Manitoban (Student Newspaper)

New GO Bus Terminal at McMaster

A new GO Bus terminal is expected to serve more than 2,000 passengers a day on McMaster University's campus, between the Mary E. Keyes Residence and the H.G. Thode Library.  The terminal is wheelchair accessible and has heated shelters.  McMaster Daily News

Trend toward Profs Living in Student Dorms

Across the US, about two dozen universities have instituted residential college programs in which profs live in residence with students, and conference tracks on the subject are drawing crowds of college administrators. Although the idea goes back centuries, it has experienced a resurgence in the wake of "rampant alcohol abuse" and to create a greater sense of belonging. Bumping into your prof on the way to the shower can be disconcerting at first, but it definitely eliminates some of the "us versus them" mentality.  CNN

Website Updates Overwhelm many College IT Departments

A recent survey by RedDot reports that 91% of US college IT departments are experiencing rising workloads, largely in basic web chores, including content updates to the campus website. Using a Content Management System (CMS), responsibility for content updates can be distributed to a broad group of faculty and administrative personnel, while a limited set of publishers review and approve changes. Academica Group is currently consulting and/or managing the migration of several sites to CMS (and someday soon we'll get around to our own site too!).  Survey News Release | Email Academica

Leverage Your Website for Media Relations

As developers of institutional websites (and as frequent users of almost every college and university media page we can get our hands on), we think some tips are in order for optimizing your website for media use.  News releases should be distributed redundantly by website, RSS feed, and e-mail.  If your institution releases information in large quantities or from several departments, grouping or categorizing will help users find what they are interested in. (An RSS feed that includes major news, but not campus events and weather cancellations, is ideal for national media.) Your website should host an archive of current and past announcements, news releases, media coverage and key publications and reports.  This section of the site should be as easy to find as the "Contact Us" button, and should also contain key media contacts.  See also this recent blog at College Web Editor.