Top Ten

September 29, 2007

Canadian student organizations unite to back CMSF

As the mandate of the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation is set to expire in 2009, Ontario students joined student organizations across Canada on Thursday in an appeal to preserve federal funding under the program.  Significantly impacting the accessibility of PSE in Canada, the uncertain future of the Foundation is said to create a “looming $350 million hole in Canada's financial aid system.”  Since its inception, the CMSF has provided bursaries and scholarships worth more than $2.2 billion to students across Canada. 

"Rant Like Rick" returns to Memorial

Who says complaining never got you anywhere? Paying tribute to recent honorary degree recipient Rick Mercer, Memorial University is starting auditions for the second year of Rant Like Rick -- a contest that asks full-time MUN students to present a 30- to 90-second rant on a topic of their choice. This year, the ten best performers will compete in a "rantastic death match….American Idol style." The top winner will go home with $1000 and a championship title worth putting on their resumé! sells McGill lecture notes online

Helping students to better balance academics and "partying", a group of McGill economics and political science students launched, an online note-sharing project, about 4 weeks ago.  Priced at $2.50 per lecture, Nerdnotes competes with other long-established McGill note-taking clubs. Some question whether the site's note collections are legal, or if their sale without the professor's permission is a violation of intellectual property rights.  There is no indication at this time whether or not Nerdnotes will expand its scope to include notes from other Canadian institutions.

New funds for international nursing program

In an effort to reduce the critical nursing shortage in Canada, and help internationally-educated nurses transition to careers as registered nurses in the Canadian health care system, Alberta Advanced Education has approved an increase in funding for Mount Royal College’s unique Bridge to Canadian Nursing program.  Funding an additional 45 spaces at an Edmonton satellite campus, the program will help international nurses overcome barriers such as English-language skills, and better cope with "isolation and the autonomous role of nurses in Canada."  Prior to this unique program, nurses who were educated outside of Canada only had access to distance delivery courses.

Home economics not about cooking potatoes anymore

Surviving university-level home economics programs have evolved into "human ecology" or "family and consumer sciences" programs. Beating the "June Cleaver stigma," students today tackle tough issues like reducing childhood obesity, and developing community-based solutions to poverty.  Enrolment has been climbing in recent years at the University of Alberta and Brescia University College, and some attribute growing interest to reality TV, like Supernanny, What Not to Wear, and The Biggest Loser.

uSask & uRegina vote to strike

The possibility of a strike looms for employees of Saskatchewan PSE institutes as 1500 union members voted 89% in favour of strike action during talks last week.  CUPE 1975 represents employees of the University of Regina, University of Saskatchewan, and First Nations University of Canada, as well as employees at the MacKenzie Art Gallery and uRegina Food Service Workers employed by Aramark.  Among the issues are wages and disability benefits.  The union and their employer will meet next week for another round of talks.

Texting to alert students

In an effort to accelerate response in emergency situations, schools across the US are implementing new communications technologies.  Thanks to a text messaging system that sent messages to cell phones, computers, PDAs, beepers, and public digital signs, students were alerted within 18 minutes of an armed student on campus last week at St. John's University, New York.  In another recent incident at the University of Wisconsin, the school sent out mass e-mails and took out an ad on Facebook to warn students.  With an increasingly wired student population, the implementation of such technology is proving to be a significant development in school security.

US colleges now under threefold scrutiny

Legal investigations into kickbacks from student loan providers were one of the biggest stories of the year in US higher education, resulting in penalties and sanctions, and scuttling the sale of Sallie Mae for $25 billion. Then came investigations into improper benefits to college employees from international exchange agencies. Now, the University of California is accused of accepting $12,000 in commissions from Minneapolis-based Capella University for referring 24 continuing ed students over the past 5 years.

New gay-friendly rankings of US colleges

As we pointed out last week, niche college rankings are proliferating in the US.  Now Campus Pride has unveiled a ranking of their own, which measures the "gay friendliness" of campuses.  Designed to gauge how welcoming colleges are to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered students, the "LGBT-Friendly Campus Climate Index" will serve as a benchmarking tool for LGBT campus programming, and give applicants an idea of which American campuses are most welcoming.  So far, close to 100 colleges and universities have participated in the 50-item survey used to compile the index.

US students protest use of tasers on campus

Following a recent incident in which police officers stunned a University of Florida student with a taser during a public forum with US senator John Kerry, student protesters are arguing that the high-voltage devices should be banned from campuses.  Amnesty International reports that the weapons have been "associated with at least 70 deaths in the United States and Canada since 2001 and may increase the risk of heart failure."  Use-of-force policies differ from institution to institution, but even officers who support tasers say they should be used judiciously.  Other experts warn against the use of tasers on campus, saying that such forceful tactics eliminate the officer’s need to problem-solve.