Top Ten

March 13, 2007

Grad Student Demandset to Overwhelm Ontario

A report released yesterday by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) says that the province's universities do not have sufficient faculty supervisors to accommodate the looming double cohort's move to graduate studies.  The report points out shortfalls in both funding and planning, and warns schools not to take on more students than they can handle. Government estimates predict about 37,000 grad students in Fall 2007, a 30% increase over 2006.  680 News | OCUFA News Release | Read the Report (PDF)

Ontario Universities go to Field with Biocar

uGuelph, uToronto and uWindsor will share $6 million from the province toward building a "green biocar," a vehicle with a fully eco-friendly interior made from composites of agricultural crops such as corn and wheat -- including dashboard, seats, headrests, door panels, etc.  16 sciences are involved in the project.  The funding comes from the Ontario Research Fund's Research Excellence Program.  uGuelph News Release

NB Students are Drop-Out Risks

The New Brunswick Commission on Post-Secondary Education is moving forward and last week released a discussion paper to the public.  Referencing another study, the paper states that 20% of university students in the province drop out after their first year.  Some students may drift into university unsure of what they want to do, or because of parental expectations.  Other students blame inadequate high school guidance departments.  The Commission argues that enrolling students who end up dropping out is a waste of money for all concerned.  CBC

uVic & Ecole Polytechnique take Engineering Prizes

The University of Victoria and Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal each took a first-place spot at last weekend's Canadian Engineering Competition, in the Innovative Design and Consulting Engineering categories respectively. McMaster's teams took silver in both categories.  McMaster's entry in Innovative Design was the CPR Glove, which has received a substantial amount of press coverage.  uSask students took third in Innovative Design, and uAlberta took third in consulting engineering.  21 universities from across the country took part in the competition. McMaster News Release

Dalhousie Reserves Med School Spots for New Canadians

10 residency positions at Dalhousie University will be set aside for international medical grads who are either Canadian citizens or permanent residents.  This unique enrolment approach aims to create spots for qualified international applicants, hopefully leading to new doctors in the area.  Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are both experiencing a shortage of doctors.  NS will fund 8 of the spots, and NB will fund the other 2. Canadian Press

Brock Researcher gets $1.5 Million for Honduras Project

A Brock University researcher is the recipient of a $1.5 million grant from the Global Health Research Initiative.  Prof Ana Sanchez will be working with a researcher at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Honduras to help fight infectious diseases in Honduras Honduras is reputed to have one of the highest rates for AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in Central America, and is also the victim of several ancient diseases as well.  The Global Health Research Initiative is a partnership between the CIHR, the International Development Research Centre, Health Canada and  the Canadian International Development Agency.  Brock News Release

Lansbridge U Closure has Repercussions

The closure of Lansbridge University in Vancouver might affect the school's Fredericton NB branch.  Lansbridge in Fredericton has been in operation since 1999.  Previous graduates of both schools will also feel the impact of the closure as a shadow falls on their Lansbridge degrees.  CBC

Stanford Loses $2.5 Million Donor over Exxon Partnership

A $2.5 million donation to Stanford has been retracted by private donor and movie producer Steve Bing, who was alarmed by Stanford's 10-year, $100 million partnership with Exxon Mobil.  Bing has previously donated a total of $22.5 million to Stanford, but called the university president to say that he would no longer contribute to the school, and is calling other donors to similarly halt their support of the school. Bing objects to an attempt at "greenwashing" the oil company's image.  The Mercury News

Are Textbooks the Hidden Cost of Education?

 We've always found textbook pricing to be a favourite complaint of PSE students in focus groups, particularly as prices exceed $140 for books that seldom get used. Some US students report a total cost of $4,500 in books throughout their programs. Now, government bodies in Minnesota , California , Connecticut and elsewhere are considering legislation that would place controls on textbook publishing and costs, as well as criteria for requiring students to buy a particular book.  Publishers say such legislation would interfere with their contitutional rights, and the academic freedom of faculty to assign required reading.  The Contra Costa Times/Associated Press | CNN

Wikipedia to require Disclosure from Academics

Last week, it was discovered that a Wikipedia contributor, supposedly a tenured professor, was actually a 24-year old without even a doctorate.  In the aftermath of the scandal, Wikipedia has announced that it will now require credentialed contributors to identify themselves, rather than logging in under pseudonyms.  Anonymous users may still contribute to the site, but the new policy will not give educational authority to undeserving contributors.  The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)