Top Ten

July 26, 2007

SFU breaks own record with $36 million in donations

Simon Fraser University achieved record high donations in 2006: almost $36 million was raised, a 20% increase over 2005.  $23 million was given towards new equipment and facilities; $3.5 million to student aid; and $9 million to research (chairs and centres).  SFU’s largest donation in its history was received from Dr. Steward and Marilyn Blusson: $12 million towards a new home for the new Faculty of Health Sciences.  SFU News Release 

NS students to be re-vaccinated

Nova Scotia’s PSE and senior high school students are to receive a second dose of mumps, measles and rubella vaccine in an effort to end the mumps outbreak in the province. University and college-age Canadians are at increased risk of contracting all three illnesses. Students both at the province’s institutions, as well as young Nova Scotians who study outside of the province, will be offered the vaccine.  There have been 461 cases of mumps since February 2007.  NS News Release | CTV | The Globe & Mail 

NL ministry wants an independent Grenfell by 2008

Newfoundland & Labrador’s Education Minister has reiterated that the government would like to see Sir Wilfred Grenfell College become independent by next year, despite objections from Memorial University in St. John’s.  The minister has advised Grenfell to “prepare for change,” and that the issues raised regarding budget, sharing services and credit transfer agreements will be dealt with over the next 12 months.  “I’d certainly like to have them ready for the next academic year.”  CBC 

Calgary a "capital for organ education"

Mount Royal College will host 3 internationally renowned organists this week, to train students from across the globe at Organ Academy.  Students are of course drawn by the names on the bill: a former organist of Westminster Abbey, a professor of organ studies at Yale, and a professor of organ and musicology at Cornell.  The broad variety of organs, which tend to be very individual and unique instruments, is also a large draw to the college.  Calgary is becoming “a capital for organ education in Canada.”  MRC News Release 

66% of CSL disability applicants are rejected

Thousands of disabled Canadians have been turned down for the Canada Student Loan Permanent Disability Benefit since January 2005.  Only 33% are approved for full or partial support, according to documents obtained by the Coalition for Student Loan Fairness.  Applicants are required to show both permanent disability and financial need.  The details of eligibility are detailed clearly on the program’s website, and yet two-thirds are still denied, sometimes after paying up to $150 in doctors' fees to get the required documentation.  Maclean’s 

Student life cycle management can improve completion rates

Getting students to apply and then accept your offer is only the first phase of the student life cycle; many issues may delay or prevent students from graduating.  California State University found that lack of course availability, poor understanding of graduation requirements, and not having an academic plan were factors causing 76% of students to take more than 6 years to graduate. Student life cycle management (SLM) software was found to reduce the amount of time spent gathering information on students, and dramatically improve the efficiency of monitoring student success and difficulties.  Campus Technology 

Freshman orientation offers something for the whole family

Some US colleges are adding a family twist to freshman orientation by adding programs for younger brothers and sisters to the bill.  Young siblings of students are entertained with arts and crafts and trips to local attractions, and also given institutional t-shirts.  These programs are far more marketing than babysitting: Mount Holyoke College hits teen sibs with a program on applying to college. 10% of US schools offer something for siblings.  The downside?  Freshmen might experience sibling rivalry, over having "their day" stolen by the whole family.  The Boston Globe 

Teens turn on themselves in times of stress

“Deliberate self-injury without suicidal intent” may be more prevalent among young adults than we think. An August journal article reports that 46% of US high school students have practiced self-injury in the last year, citing cutting, burning and hitting themselves.  “Whenever I’m upset or in pain, I take it out on myself.” Previous studies had suggested the rate was only 13-25%.  A representative of Safe Abuse Finally Ends in Canada reports seeing “an explosion in self-injury among adolescents.” 80% of her clients are teens, up from 50% a few years ago.  The Globe & Mail 

Oxford University threatened by flooding in England

The largest rivers in England are flooding after several weeks of above-average rainfall. 1,500 people have been evacuated from Oxford, and emergency workers are attempting to protect the historic university buildings, but are on the verge of running out of sandbags.  A famous cathedral in Tewkesbury, which has not flooded since 1760, is now under a metre of water.  The Globe & Mail

London beats Toronto on Facebook

London, England has now trumped Toronto for Facebook participation.  Toronto’s Facebook network used to be the largest on the popular social website, but at some point last week London topped Toronto’s 705,000 users with its own climb to 810,000.  Canada’s use of Facebook is growing at approximately 4% a week, according to the site’s senior communications manager.  Canadians represent more than 10% of the total Facebook population -- 11.4 million Canadians logged onto the site in June 2007, compared to just 343,000 last year.  The Globe & Mail