Top Ten

October 5, 2007

Enrolment at Ontario Colleges increases by 6%

Although application numbers were down 2.2% at Ontario colleges this fall (as reported in late September), apparently the actual students enrolled in first-year courses is up 6% -- more than 5,000 students.  (Perhaps more students are applying to fewer programs or colleges.)  CO took the opportunity, just days before the Ontario provincial election, to observe that enrolment has risen 51% since 1989, but per-student funding has dropped 29% in the same period.

Faculty union at Bishop's upset by compensation for managers

It was announced last week that 26 managers at Bishop's University are to be financially compensated for extra work performed while non-academic staff were on strike this past summer.  Managers not already at the top of their salary range will receive a 2.5% step increase back to July 1.  Members of the faculty union are apparently "appalled by the lack of sensitivity" during a financial crisis, and several have withdrawn gifts to the university's Foundation

London politician proposes joint performing arts centre with UWO

London deputy mayor Tom Gosnell has suggested that a new performing arts centre be built in partnership with the University of Western Ontario, rather than independently.  It is estimated the facility will cost upwards of $55 million, if the city goes solo on the project.  UWO's music faculty has been lobbying for a new performance hall and might be able to mesh its needs with those of the city. Gosnell sits as the city's representative on the UWO board of governors.

uTours DVD profiles 20 Canadian universities

A two-DVD set including student interviews and tours of 20 Canadian university campuses have been produced "by students, for students." uTours offers unofficial tours that are not endorsed by the universities themselves, but supported by corporate sponsors Dell, Intel, Microsoft, TD Canada Trust, and others.  Producers claim to have "surveyed" more than 6,000 students. The interviews cover "everything from night life to dining on campus." Sample clips are available on the uTours website.

uCalgary proposes new $50 million student residence

The president of uCalgary has recommended its Board of Governors approve a new 300-unit student residence to open late in 2009 at a cost of $50-60 million.  The president noted that students who live on campus in their first year are much more engaged, as well as more likely to succeed in their studies.  Increasingly, students are showing interest in remaining on campus during upper years of study. 

Racist graffiti at St. Thomas University

Posters for a Sierra Leone student's fundraiser at St. Thomas University in Fredericton have been defaced with racist graffiti.  The fundraiser was organized by SHOUT (Students Helping Others Understand Tolerance), and raised money to bring a third-year student's mother over to Canada from Sierra Leone. 

Berkeley launches 9 full courses on YouTube

UC-Berkeley has uploaded more than 300 hours of recorded classes and events onto the popular free video site, YouTube.  The topics covered include peace and conflict studies, bioenegineering courses and a science class called "Physics for Future Presidents," and include 9 full courses of 40 lectures each.  Berkeley claims to be the first university offering full courses on the website, and plans to add more over time.

International university fair to be hosted on Second Life

20 institutions have signed up so far for a "virtual college fair" to be hosted on internet virtual world Second Life.  A public librarian is the mastermind behind the project. Students will be able to interact with representatives from schools all over the world from the comfort of their living room.  3 Second Life "islands" -- Eye4You, Skoolaborate and Global Kids -- are providing the space for the event at no cost to the schools. 

Facebook competes with copycat sites by offering non-English versions

Having successfully implanted itself into the lives of English-speaking internet users, has set its sights on the foreign language market.  With translation support from Stanford University students, the social network giant hopes to launch alternative language versions of its site sooner rather than later.  According to web traffic statistics, almost 30% of Facebook's traffic comes from the US, 10.8% from Canada, and 9.5% from the UK.  Egypt and Puerto Rico make up about 3% each. 

Blogging prof identifies student types, from Showstoppers to Grade Grubbers

(Please permit our Friday Top Ten to occasionally entertain as well as enlighten.) Oso Raro, the pseudonymous author behind the blog "Slaves of Academe," has suggested a tongue-in-cheek taxonomy of liberal arts students based on his/her experience at "Cold City U."  Students are segmented into 11 categories: The Spy, The Smart White Girl, The Student Activist, The Politicised Woman of Colour, The Cautious Woman of Colour (rather like Oprah), The Showstopper, The Shy Girl (Ugly Betty), The Skepticon, The Dude, The Grade Grubber, and The Dullard.  Reader comments suggest even more.