Top Ten

April 9, 2007

"Students grade their schools" in Maclean's

Now that we finally have our copies of the April 2nd "University Student Issue" of Maclean's, we're in a much better position to report on the contents. First off, the much-ballyhooed survey of "70,000" students actually combines 28 schools' results from NSSE, 23 schools' results from the CUSC, and a new survey of about 7,000 undergrads at 8 other institutions, using 8 of the CUSC questions. Of the universities normally ranked by Maclean's, only Université de Moncton did not participate in any of the three surveys. Full results are available only in the print version. Maclean's

UBC's Nobel winner talks to Maclean's:

In the same issue, recent UBC recruit Carl Wieman discusses his decision to relocate to Canada, and his research into teaching effectiveness at university. Weiman left the US in part because he was dismayed that university administrations spent up to 50% of their attention on NCAA athletics, and football coaches earned 10 times what university presidents did. (He moved to UBC, which ironically is now considering NCAA membership too.) Wieman also reports that his research has found that engaging, entertaining profs don't necessarily teach their students any better; that profs don't have to be engaged in research in order to be good instructors; and that students aren't actually good judges of the quality of their own education. (Ironic, in the same issue as a survey of undergraduates on that very topic.) Maclean's 

$217 in new funds for health research

CIHR has announced $217 million in new funding for 589 health research projects across the country. The projects that will receive grants from the new money were selected by peer-review and will be carried out over periods of one to five years.  Researchers at uCalgary, uToronto, Laval and McMaster have all been announced so far as recipients.  CIHR News Release

3 Guggenheim fellows at uToronto

Last week, the 2007 Guggenheim Fellowships were announced. Of 189 recipients in the US and Canada, just 3 were awarded to faculty at a Canadian university -- and all are at uToronto: Michael Goldstein (Mathematics), Jerry Mitrovica (Physics), and Peter Zandstra (Biomedical Engineering). On average, the awards are worth $40,000 US, and are "appointed on the basis of distinguished achievement in the past and exceptional promise for future accomplishment." Media Release | List of Recipients 

UBC's long journey to the NCAA

While NCAA's decision to approve a pilot program allowing non-US schools to seek membership, we won't be seeing UBC or any other Canadian institutions competing in Division I anytime in the next few years.  SFU's first bid to join Division II was in 1998, and UBC's visit to NCAA headquarters was almost two years ago.  The vote to change legislation to accommodate non-US schools cannot even take place until the next AGM in January 2008.  The pilot program is 10 years long, and NCAA hopes to see 2 or 3 non-US schools as active members within that time -- and it could be just that long before UBC finds a conference to call its own.  The Vancouver Sun (Subscription required)

Carleton budget cuts limit disability athletics

Carleton University has announced that 8 of its varsity teams are being dropped a competitive level because they have not been performing at a level equal to the costs of top-level competition.  These teams will no longer be eligible to compete at provincial or national championships.  This includes the swim team, the only varsity sport where disabled students are allowed to compete equally against fully-abled peers.  The swim team is appealing the decision; several students say that if they'd known the team was up for demotion, they would have chosen a university whose swim team was more permanently "varsity." CBC 

Closed BC schools continue recruiting students

The Private Career-Training Institutions Agency of BC has released the names of 8 schools that have been ordered to close, as well as 45 schools that have had registration suspended for failing to comply with the Agency's rules.  In the past, the PCTIA has kept this information private.  Many of the schools are still running ads despite receiving their closing papers, and 4 still state on their websites that they are registered with the PCTIA (the body that ordered them to close).  7 of the 8 schools still appear to be offering classes. The Vancouver Sun (Subscription required)

uGuelph drops Coca-Cola over human rights

The "KillerCoke" campaign has a victory in Southwestern Ontario .  University of Guelph students have voted to end the university's contract with Coca-Cola, in favour of finding a more "ethical" beverage supplier. Almost 5,000 students took part in the vote, which went 64.4% in favour of ending involvement with Coke's tarnished reputation.  20 other North American universities have ended their contracts with the soft-drink giant.  As uGuelph's agreement ends shortly, the university is already reviewing other suppliers.  The Guelph Mercury  

Last year's success is this year's standard

"Amazing girls" are graduating from North American high schools: girls who are "high achieving, ambitious and confident," and do everything from sports and student council to volunteer work, while maintaining A averages. And apparently, most importantly, they also look "effortlessly hot." In the US , these amazing girls were all raised to aspire to the same few select institutions, and are now facing off against each other and suddenly feeling inadequate.  As a generation of women trained to be excellent but humble, athletic but feminine, and competitive but generous prepare to enter PSE, it's no wonder boys are reluctant to apply against them.  The New York Times

Top stories from last week's Top Ten

According to click-through rates by our 450 subscribers, last week's most intriguing stories were the new Carleton University website, helicopter parents, and the CASE study on PSE marketing.  Just before a long weekend, it looks like quite a few of you also took time to check out the campus prank videos on YouTube (Brandeis & Dartmouth).  We hope you're finding Academica's Top Ten informative, and welcome suggestions, submissions, or feedback on how we're doing!