Top Ten

May 1, 2007

Algoma UC admitted to AUCC

Algoma University College has just become the 92nd member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC). An affiliated college of Laurentian University, Algoma boasts 1,200 students and is located in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. AUCC member institutions are required to meet strict guidelines on academic freedom, governance, curriculum and other operational criteria. It is thought that Algoma has ambitions of independence from Laurentian University and achieving AUCC membership may be seen by some as a first step toward that goal. AUCC News Release 

McGill apologizes for transcripts leaked on website

Last week, hundreds of McGill students woke up to the announcement that their academic records were inadvertently made public, because of the implementation of a new, too-powerful search engine.  Searching for particular students using the site’s search function connected to their complete transcripts.  According to McGill’s records, fewer than a dozen people accessed the data. Security was re-established within 90 minutes of being reported.  CBC | McGill News Release

Alberta invests $15 million in apprenticeships

Alberta’s apprenticeship program has an additional 3,000 spots thanks to $15 million in funding from the provincial government.  The goal of this year’s $43-million project is to help generate future grads to meet labour market needs for skilled tradespeople.  There are more than 60,000 apprentices in Alberta. Alberta News Release

New $18-million facility for College of the North Atlantic

The College of the North Atlantic’s Labrador campus has issued a call for consultants interested in designing a new $18-million facility.  The building will accommodate 250 students with 9 classrooms, a lecture theatre, apprenticeship and mining shop space, 2 physics and bio/chem labs, a library, cafeteria and admin/student services.  Labrador West has high growth potential, and the new facility will help meet the region’s future needs for skilled workers.  The St. John’s Telegram 

Grade inflation, lack of motivation running rampant

The sociologist behind Academica's evolving research into applicant psychographics, Dr. James Côté, has co-authored a forthcoming book from University of Toronto Press entitled Ivory Tower Blues: A University System in Crisis. Perhaps for effect, Friday's National Post calls the book "a scathing indictment of the system" that "sounds the alarm about the demise of higher education." The book's point is that high school grade inflation and the coddling of "helicopter parents" has created a crop of aimless drifters and "indignant, combative" undergraduates with a "consumer mentality" toward their "degree purchase" -- as a result, demoralizing faculty who must worry about their teaching evaluations. The National Post | UofT Press 

"Ethics" are different for Business students

Business students consider themselves just as ethical as students in other disciplines -- but according to an article published in the Journal of Business Ethics, their definition of cheating is considerably more forgiving than that of their peers.  Business students do not consider collaborating on a project to be cheating, even if the assignment was meant to be done alone. They also have no qualms about telling each other what is on a test before it’s taken.  A 2003 study found that business grads continue to be more forgiving of questionable ethics, even in the workplace.  Maclean’s 

34 Duke MBAs charged in cheating scandal

33 Duke MBA students were found guilty of "inappropriate collaboration" on a recent test, and another was found guilty of lying. (4 others were exonerated.)  9 students face expulsion, and 15 have been suspended from school for a year, in what is considered the largest reported cheating scandal in the institution’s history.  56% of business grad students admitted to cheating within the last year in a national survey last year.  47% of students in non-business grad programs admitted to cheating.  A leadership professor at the George Washington University School of Business defends the students, who he describes as “enterprising.” “They took initiative, and they worked together.  Aren’t those all the qualities we’re trying to encourage in business students?”  The News Observer | The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

uToronto's newest library x-rated

The newest library at the University of Toronto is kept under tight lock and key.  No materials can be signed out, and only researchers who submit a formal request letter and receive approval are allowed to enter.  The Sexual Representation Research Collection includes more than 1,000 x-rated movies, a bookcase full of mid-twentieth century erotic fiction, and disks full of online images. uToronto’s new Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies acquired the collection through several unsolicited donations, but defends archiving potentially illegal materials: "That's precisely the value of a university... It collects stuff that some people find objectionable." Maclean’s

Teaching certificate denied over MySpace photo

The night before convocation, Stacy Snyder was told she would be receiving a degree in English instead of Education. Millersville University made the decision because an online photo on Snyder's MySpace profile appeared to promote underage drinking. 27-year-old Snyder is suing
the university for $75,000 in damagesCNN | The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required) | The Seattle Post-Intelligencer 

Text messaging eroding grammar skills

Irish youth are struggling with spelling and grammar, and the Education Department blames frequent text messaging. A survey of 37,000 students concluded that “cutting-edge communications technology has encouraged poor literacy and a blunt, choppy style at odds with academic rigor.”  Text messagers frequently employ sound-based spellings and rarely include punctuation, and result in writing “unduly reliant on short sentences, simple tenses and a limited vocabulary.”  Rather than seeing open-ended questions as an opportunity to explore the material or show depth of understanding, most students chose to answer sparingly.  But maybe they just hadn’t done the reading?  USA Today