Top Ten

April 30, 2007

SFU opens $60 million science& tech centre

A new science and technology building, touted as one of BC’s most complex building projects, is to open today at Simon Fraser University.  The Technology and Science Complex 2 (TASC2) will be the home of 4D Laboratories.  The building will include vibration-free floating floors, an environmental toxicology lab, and a fully-equipped recording studio, to name just a few features. Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems, and the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences, as well as many specialized labs and offices, will also reside in the new building. SFU News Release


BC students run highest debt load

“I don’t think education should be this unattainable for people.  If they’re willing to educate our work force -- and by they, I mean the country -- I think it’s really important to make it more accessible,” says a BC student on the rapid increase in tuition fees since 2002. Davin Fox is more than $30,000 in debt, with no degree to show for it.  The financial burden led to migraines so severe that his doctor advised him to drop out of two PSE programs in the past two years. 59% of Canadian students are carrying debt averaging $24,047.  BC has the country’s highest average, $27,000.  One-third of students not attending PSE cited financial reasons as their primary deterrent.

BC institutions continue to react to Campus 2020 plan

While BC’s university-colleges are happy to hear that they will most likely be granted university status, they will still be differentiated from the province’s pre-existing universities.  The regional schools will have a focus on teaching, while the traditional universities will have the prestige of research and scholarship. The recommendation for a regional system of universities has implications for colleges as well: currently many colleges in BC are approved to offer degree programming, but Campus 2020 recommends returning to a collaborative degree model. The Abbotsford News | The Vancouver Sun

Dawson College students in Wonderland

Seven months after the shootings on campus at Montreal's Dawson College, 26 students staging Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland have reinvented the classic tale as "Alice in Oblivion," a multimedia show conveying the emotional aftermath of the shootings, and representing their attempt to process the trauma. "I hadn't realized how twisted and dark" the tale is, says one student. School psychologists and volunteer huggers are treated with sarcasm, but the relentless news media earn the students' greatest scorn. The Globe & Mail 

US schools consider allowing more guns on campus

Meanwhile, students at the University of Utah have their own way of dealing with the Virginia Tech massacre -- they're now packing guns for safety.  Brent Tenney, a Utah student, takes his loaded 9mm semiautomatic to campus everyday. “It’s not that I run around scared all day long, but if something happens to me, I do want to be prepared.”  Many states and colleges are reviewing their gun policies after criticism that fatalities at VT could have been minimized if an armed student or staff had been able to step in.  In 1997, a campus shooter was held at bay by an assistant principal armed with a 0.45-calibre pistol.  The Boston Globe

Ryerson exams on a factory scale

In the midst of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre’s schedule of tradeshows, conferences, and fairs, is a discreet listing for Ryerson University.  The massive facilities of the MTCC were converted to mass exam rooms for 6 days this month, with up to 2,000 students crammed in at a time. Students describe the MTCC as “a frickin’ hangar,” an analogy made all the more real by the traffic controllers directing students from Union Station to the correct location inside the convention centre.  Ryerson began renting rooms at the MTCC two years ago, when enrolment in the largest programs outgrew campus facilities.  The Toronto Star

Inaugural graduating class from Laurentian's BEd

Laurentian University is graduating its first class from its school of education this year.  Many of the grads were from the surrounding area, and without the new program at Laurentian would have had to relocate to earn their teaching degrees.  The BEd program runs in four- and five-year streams, with classroom experience throughout. Grads earn an undergrad degree as well as their BEd.  The Sudbury Star

Belt-tightening cuts 5 Brock sports teams

Brock University has announced that it will be suspending 5 of its varsity programs during 2007-2008: figure skating, men’s and women’s golf, women’s lacrosse and men’s tennis.  This is just one result of belt-tightening across Ontario universities. Carleton U, as previously reported, also recently cut 8 varsity teams.  According to Brock’s director of athletics: “universities as a group find themselves with not as many resources as we would like ... I think it’s spread out across all universities and a lot of things are under review and, basically, it’s because of funding.”  Niagara This Week

Saskatchewan joins Prairie Research Network

New federal funding is expanding Manitoba’s province-wide technology transfer initiative into Saskatchewan.  The Manitoba Intellectual Property Mobilization Partnership is a cooperative arrangement between the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.  uSask and uRegina will be joining uMan, uWinn, BrandonU, RRC, and several over institutions, forming a new Prairie IPM Partnership.  The project accelerates cooperation and transfer of knowledge between research-intensive institutions.  uMan News Release

MIT Admissions Dean used false resume

Last September, well-respected MIT Dean of Admissions Marilee Jones made our Top Ten by urging a less stressful application process for undergraduates. Ironically, after 28 years at MIT, the truth caught up with Jones, and last Thursday she resigned her position, admitting that when she herself applied to MIT, she falsely claimed degrees from Albany Medical College, Union College, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In fact, she had never completed an undergraduate education.  The New York Times | The Boston Globe