Top Ten

September 6, 2007

$10-million full degree-granting authority for UOIT

Yesterday, the Ontario government announced a $10 million capital investment in the campus shared by the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and Durham College. The funds will go toward campus facilities including lecture halls, classrooms, study space, labs and offices. The province also recognized "the proven academic excellence of UOIT programs" by granting the university "unrestricted degree granting authority."  UOIT News Release | Ontario News Release

Classes continue at Carleton despite staff strike

You've got to feel for our colleagues at Carleton University!  In the heat of the back-to-school crunch, they're coping with a violent sexual assault on campus, and now picket lines set up by support staff yesterday morning.  The university assures students that classes will continue regardless.  Biology, chemistry and physics, engineering and other labs may experience disruptions. The union reports that all office work, IT support, libraries and other technical functions will be suspended. Carleton News Release | CUPE News Release

Tory takes heat for "U of Zero" remark

John Tory, the appropriately-named leader of the Ontario conservative party, is on the campaign trail, and taking heat for his education policies (like equal funding for religious schools). Last week, he jokingly referred to uOttawa (“U of O”) as the “U of Zero”, earning himself a world of backlash from Ontario Liberals, who smell blood.  Several are still calling for a formal apology, although Tory issued an apologetic news release earlier this week. Maclean’s

Yukon College launches microsite for rural students

"Campfire to College" (C2C) is a unique microsite launched by Yukon College, in Whitehorse, that aims to support incoming rural students as they transition to an urban environment. The site includes interviews with instructors, counsellors, First Nations education workers, and former students, discussing issues that rural students may encounter in “the big city.”  Topics range from creating a budget and managing workload, to dealing with homesickness and handling culture shock.  CBC | Campfire to College

Fleming College increases enrolment by 12%

Fleming College, in Peterborough Ontario, welcomed its largest-ever incoming class this week.  With more than 2,850 students starting first-year programs this term, the school has achieved a 12% increase in enrolment over last year.  Students interviewed cited campus beauty, program strength, and student services as reasons for choosing Fleming College. Peterborough Examiner

Significant opt-out of McGill student services

Students at McGill University were allowed to opt out of various student fees, and now several student services are facing drastic budget cuts. The University controls an online opt-out process that used to be controlled by each individual group. While the administration approves of the increased transparency and faster service provided by the new unilateral online system, student groups and unions say they are placed in jeopardy by the lack of financial security.  Some groups face as much as 40% cuts to their budgets.  The McGill Daily (Student Newspaper)

Canadian universities can notify parents of mental health issues

One thing Canadian post-secondary students cannot opt out of, is the sharing of mental health records with parents, says BC’s information and privacy commissioner.  Although, in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings, the public believes that universities are only permitted to release such information in emergency situations, in fact BC universities can share students' personal information if it will prevent harm to themselves or others. Maclean's

New BC study attacks high tuition levels

A new poll released Tuesday by the Federation of Post-Secondary Education of BC found that 81% of British Columbians feel that student debt is “making it harder for students to complete their education.” 55% of respondents felt tuition fees were too high. Maclean's observes that the study contradicts a report by the Educational Policy Institute last week, which urged need-based aid instead of lower tuition. Maclean’s

Almost half of low-income NS families cannot send members to school

14% of Nova Scotians report that a member of their family has been forced to drop out of college or university because of financial issues.  28% reported that high fees prevented a family member from pursuing studies at all.  Low-income respondents reported 22% and 40% for the above.  In 2006, NS tuition increased by 3.9%, and was frozen in 2007. 81% of Nova Scotians feel that the premier broke a promise to lower tuition.  Halifax News

US academic attacks "annual labour shortage hoax"

English prof William Pannapacker, of Michigan's Hope College, urges students to "forget the predictions" when it comes to looming labour market demand. "Education, like the stock market, is built on speculation." In the late 80s, projected demand for humanities professors failed to take into account the possibility of delayed retirements, which created a glut of academics. In the late 90s, students were told to pursue computing careers, just before the dot-com bust. Ultimately, students should be wary of gold rush opportunities and instead focus on their own strengths and interests. Chronicle of Higher Education