Top Ten

July 9, 2007

uToronto moves ahead with $53 million athletics centre

uToronto’s proposed Centre for High Performance Sport has been approved by Governing Council.  State-of-the-art fitness and athletic facilities, a sports medicine clinic, as well as teaching and research space will be included in the $53 million project. “U of T is setting a new standard of excellence for every aspect of sport in Canada.” According to the CEO of the Canadian Olympic Committee, “this will contribute significantly to the creation of the sports institute environment that we very much need in Ontario.” uToronto News Release

Acadia faculty request conciliator to join talks

Acadia University and its faculty have brought in a conciliator to help move contract negotiations forward.  The professors’ contract expired at the end of June.  The university has proposed reducing the number of faculty by as much as 15%.  Other issues are salary and pay equity.  The Chronicle Herald

Universities are becoming key nodes in knowledge networks

Transfer agreements between universities and colleges should be more transparent, with a few research-intensive universities serving as national centres of excellence, and first-year tuition rates that are as low as possible -- according to Thomas Courchene, a Queen's University professor of Economics, in a recent convocation address at uRegina. Such arrangements will contribute to Canada’s mission in the Information Age: to “design a sustainable, socially inclusive and internationally competitive infrastructure that ensures equal opportunity for all Canadians to develop, to enhance and to employ in Canada their skills and human capital, thereby enabling them to become full citizens in the information-era Canadian and global societies.” Policy Opinions

Brock begins construction on new Learning Commons

Brock University’s “student living room” is scheduled to start construction next month. The Learning Commons will be a 20,000 sq ft space in the James A. Gibson library that will offer couches, desks and a coffee bar.  The Brock University Students’ Union has committed $1 million to the project, and part of a $6.6 million provincial grant is being used by the university itself. 83 computers and 50 wireless laptops will be available for use.  A $2.5 million alarm system is also being installed.  The St. Catherines Standard

Loyalist joins leading universities in collaborative computer consortium

Loyalist College is the latest Canadian institution to join the High Performance Computing Virtual Laboratory.  Originally a consortium between Carleton, Queen’s, Royal Military College and uOttawa, the project now also includes Ryerson University, Seneca College, and Loyalist.  The consortium allows researchers to collaborate across institutional boundaries.  The Belleville Intelligencer 

RMC mourns second grad killed in Afghanistan

Captain Matthew Dawe, a Royal Military College graduate, was one of 6 Canadian soldiers who died last week in a roadside bomb explosion in Afghanistan.  “Matt only graduated from here in 2004 and a lot of his professors are still here.  Every military death hits us in a certain way, but this one is different because we knew him.”  RMC does not provide cadets with combat training, but provides free university education to future military leaders. The Kingston Whig-Standard

uVic faculty pitch in to keep children out of war

Three faculty members from the University of Victoria are heading to Africa this week to join Romeo Dallaire’s campaign to end the use of child soldiers.  They will join 40 others in developing solutions to this problem.  “The school’s practical experiences with youth violence, gangs and the aftermath of war makes this initiative a natural fit.”  As many as 300,000 children across 30 countries serve as soldiers, human mine detectors, spies and play other military roles.  uVic News Release

Second Life university campus erased because of poor behaviour

Woodbury University’s virtual campus has been exiled from Second Life.  Linden Lab, the company behind SL, deleted Woodbury from the virtual universe after warnings regarding disruptive and hostile digital characters were ignored. Characters affiliated with Woodbury have been accused of launching attacks against other SL “islands” or communities, as well as exhibiting racist and harassing behaviours.  Users agree to a statement saying “they will not act in a defamatory, vulgar, or harassing manner, nor damage digital property or computers.”  Although the network is completely virtual, property (such as Woodbury’s island) and other assets are purchased with real money.  The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

Private donations focus on well-know, well-endowed institutions

Will Smith, the "Fresh Prince," raps about how now that he’s famous he gets records for free, but when he was young and out of pocket change store owners turned him away.  The same seems to go for universities: those that "have," receive, and those that "have-not," do not.  It is argued that once an institution or person reaches a certain level of wealth, additional wealth is no longer productive.  Over the last 10 years, gifts from private donors have been flooding into institutions that are not in need – such as the $75 million donation to Stanford University made by the CEO and co-founder of Yahoo in February 2007.  Stanford raised more than $911 million in 2005-06, and its endowment currently sits at $14 billion.  The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

University labs feel the 9/11 crunch

Academic labs are working under heightened security when handling and transporting radioactive materials, brought on since September 11, 2001.  These materials, used for research purposes, could also be used to build dirty bombs by terror groups.  uToronto has one of the highest concentrations in Canada of researchers using radiological isotopes.  The university was audited by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission in 2005, and asked to improve the security of nuclear substances.  The London Free Press