Top Ten

July 11, 2007

Ontario colleges respond with silence to student lawsuit

Since the filing of a $200 million class action lawsuit against Ontario’s 24 community colleges, there has “been no indication” that colleges will be changing their habits.  Conestoga College’s president has stated that the institution “will continue charging these [ancillary] fees” and that students who do not want to pay have the choice of not attending the college.  The students behind the lawsuit hope that it will pressure the government into enforcing the law against certain ancillary fees currently being charged to students.  Canadian Federation of Students News Release

uToronto courts international innovator to join Rotman

Touted as “one of the most important urban thinkers since Jane Jacobs,” Richard Florida looks to be appointed to uToronto’s Rotman School of Management in the Fall.  If appointed, Florida’s relocation is said to be a huge boost for Toronto as well as for Canada.  Florida has cited Toronto’s multicultural nature and gay-friendly attitude as attractive to many world-class thinkers.  He is currently at George Mason University in Washington.  The National Post

uManitoba business students top international competition

5 students from uManitoba’s Asper School of Business have placed in the top 1% of competitors from schools across North America, Europe, Australia, China, the Middle East and India.  The students spent several weeks participating in the Capstone Business Simulation program, earning top marks in all 6 rounds.  Asper’s team crossed the finish line with a cumulative profit of $156 million “virtual” dollars earned over 5 simulated years.  uManitoba News Release

Britain puts 50 PSE institutions on a financial watch list

The British government has issued a list of 50 UK universities considered at risk of financial failure.  Notably, many of the schools cited were former polytechnics and institutions that received their university status in the 1990s.  The situation is said to have improved since the list was originally put together, with British institutions now able to charge up to £6000 per year.  An independent review of university finances in 2009 will be pressed to remove the government cap on tuition fees.  The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

Student debt might mean less alumni giving

“I’m still paying tens of thousands of dollars [in debt] and now they want more money? I think it’s just ludicrous,” was one 2007 graduate’s response to an early request for a donation.  Increasingly heavy student debt loads are causing concern with fundraising departments that have the tough job of fostering alumni relationships with students carrying $40,000 in debt.  In the US, private student loans are growing at a pace of 27% annually.  Major donors are almost exclusively from a pool of those who got in the habit of donating shortly after graduation.  Young grads bogged down with debt are less likely to start this habit.  The Boston Globe

Finding staff is biggest challenge for institutional fundraisers

According to the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, the supply of qualified fundraising personnel is running short.  Institutions are pushing the campaign targets higher and longer, and consequentially are scrambling to find staff.  86% of research-university development officers report that their most challenging issue is recruiting and retaining personnel. The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

Virginia Tech implements phone/email/IM alert system

Virginia Tech has implemented a 3-tier emergency alert system that will notify individuals via phone, email or instant messaging.  4,300 students and staff have registered to receive notifications since July 2.  Since the events of April 16, when 33 members of the community were killed by an on-campus shooter, campuses across North America and around the world have been re-evaluating on campus emergency communication strategies.  Virginia AP

Facebook increases traffic by 89% over 12 months

The number of unique site visitors frequenting increased by 89% between May 2006 and May 2007.  26 million unique visitors took the time to stop by the site in May of this year. The number of 25 to 34 year old users has increased by 149% since the broadening of the site to allow non-student members.  Over the same period, 12 to 17 year old users increased by 181%.  “As the overall visitation to Facebook continues to grow, the demographic composition of the site will likely most closely resemble that of the total Internet audience.”  Visitors are spending 35% more time on the popular website, averaging 186 minutes per month.  Biz Report

BlackBoard pokes fun at Second Life

BlackBoard has released a video parodying life on Second Life that is catching a bit of attention.  For those that have not yet dabbled in online island hopping or “flying” over to virtual campuses as Ken has been during his vacation, this video offers a humourous look at some of the awkwardness involved in learning how to live virtually. College Web Editor