Top Ten

March 16, 2007

Canadian Receives International Research Award

Charles Taylor, professor emeritus at McGill University , was awarded the largest annual monetary prize on Wednesday -- for his work exploring violence and the role of language in our understanding of God.  Taylor is the first Canadian to win the $1.8 million Templeton Prize, funded by an American-born British billionaire.  The award will be formally presented to Taylor by Prince Philip at a Buckingham Palace ceremony in May.  The Globe & Mail | The Toronto Star | CBC | McGill News Release

BC Struggles with Enrolment

A dwindling population of 18-to-20-year-olds, and a swell of new PSE institutions, has seen BC go from one of the hardest places to get into school to a province of schools struggling to fill their classrooms.  50% of SFU's highest entrance scholarships were declined last year -- some up to $25,000 over 4 years.  The same trend was seen 10 years ago in the US .  The population of applicant-age students is expected to decline by 6% in Vancouver over the next 5 years and up to 9% in other areas of the province.  The Globe & Mail (subscription required)

Mount Royal to Launch Nursing as First University Program

Mount Royal College has received the go-ahead from the Alberta provincial government to offer its first university degree program in September 2007.  The program is one of 20 degrees proposed to the Campus Alberta Quality Council by Mount Royal .  The first class of Mount Royal 's Bachelor of Nursing program will accept 300 students, with an additional 50 students per year for four years.  MR News Release

MacEwan Allowed to Ignore Irate Student

Grant MacEwan College has received permission from Alberta 's information & Privacy commissioner to ignore all FOI requests from a former student until 2010.  The school has spent tens of thousands of dollars processing requests for information from a single student, who has been plaguing the school for almost six years now. She accused an instructor of being infatuated her and wrote him an "ominous" email about the consequences of showing her too much attention, and when banned from contacting the instructor further, she launched an ongoing campaign of detailed Freedom of Information requests to the administration.  The Edmonton Journal  

Support Staff Strike at Concordia

ConcordiaU's support staff started a 24-hour strike yesterday morning, saying that five years without a salary increase and four years of contract negotiations is not acceptable.  The news release issued by the Support Staff Union (CUSSU-CSN) charges the university with stalling talks over several items, including seniority rights and job re-evaluation.  Concordia posted its last contract offer on its website for the public to view.  This offer was rejected by 87.5% of the union's membership.  CSN News Release | The Montreal Gazette

US Students Increasingly Adopt Destructive Habits

Binge drinking, prescription drug abuse, arrests and risky sexual patterns are all on the rise on American campuses, according to a report released yesterday by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at ColumbiaU. Drinking and binging rates have been steady since 1993, but are now increasing quickly.  Daily marijuana users have more than doubled, now 4% of students.  23% of students meet the criteria for substance abuse and dependence.  CTV News

"Helicopter Parents" Surveyed

The College Parents of America has released its second annual National Survey on College Parent Experiences. 30.7% of parents are in touch with their children at college on a daily basis.  72.5% of parents contact their son or daughter at least 2-3 times per week. 82% of parents are using cell phones to get in touch; 50% say that they either rarely or never use a regular landline to call.  28% of parents use online or text messaging frequently or very frequently.  90% of parents surveyed attended a parents' orientation session, and 70% say they visit their child on campus at least once per term. Financial worries plague 45% of parents, health and safety concerns 43%, and academics are on the minds of 36%. College Parents of America  (PDF)

North American Campuses Finish a Year of Greening

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education counts more than 600 environmental sustainability projects installed at colleges and universities in North America over the last year.  The Association's executive director predicts another equally "green" year for 2007, based on the first two months so far. Campus sustainability efforts are broadening and deepening, with more aggressive strategies and projects.  The combined green power purchases of the top 10 higher education purchasers tripled in 2006.

Pitfalls Abound in Online Recruitment Efforts

Despite their affinity for technology, teens have not been shown to respond any better to schools that adopt new media into their recruitment approach.  Trends change so rapidly that experts suggest using only young staff to handle new media tools, and even then to use with caution.  Even though students indicate that talking to admissions officers via IM appeals to them, only 6% report actually having done so -- and most are averse to IM contact that they themselves did not initiate.  Social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook belong to the student as well, and exploitation of these services for institutional purposes can raise opposition.  School profiles on these pages are also open to public comment, not all of which may be to the institution's liking.  The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required) 

Global "Megaversity" is Far Off

William R. Brody of Johns Hopkins University talks about the dream of a "megaversity" that would be "a research and education dynamo electronically linking the best faculty and the most capable students in a worldwide academic community."  He talks about it, to indicate that it does not seem to be where we are currently headed.  Tradition and the strong national boundaries on government funding will work to keep universities separate for years to come. The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)