Top Ten

October 17, 2007

UWO tops 2007 Globe University Report Card for another year

The University of Western Ontario is resting on its laurels at the top of the 2007 Globe & Mail University Report Card, which was distributed in yesterday's edition of the national newspaper.  UWO is known for outstanding student experience, which is promoted front and centre in recruitment materials and earned marks for the institution in this year's Report Card.  Many other urban universities are looking to UWO's success in their own efforts at improving community.  UWO struggled with a "party school" image in the 1990s and turned it around. 

Nova Scotia faces declining PSE enrolment

The numbers are in, and Nova Scotia's PSE enrolment numbers are down by 870 students -- the largest decline in years.  Acadia University suffered the most significant drop, a 9.7% decline from last year.  St. Francis Xavier, Mount Saint Vincent, and Saint Mary's Universities saw 4.3%, 3.5% and 2.6% drops respectively.  Fortunately, SMU saw a 7.7% increase in international student enrolment.  Nova Scotia's universities are home to the highest tuition fees in Canada, and lack a "comprehensive, needs-based system of grants" according to the Alliance of Nova Scotia Student Associations chair.

Brock, Loyalist earn maximum accreditation for Nursing Program

Brock University's Department of Nursing has earned the maximum 7-year accreditation from the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN).  Loyalist College collaborates with Brock's Nursing Department, and also received the accreditation.  Brock spent almost 2 years preparing for the "rigorous" review process, which included a self-study of the department and a site visit. 

uManitoba to award young corporal posthumous BA

The University of Manitoba has announced that it will award a posthumous degree to Cpl. Jordan Anderson, an Edmonton-based soldier who was killed in Afghanistan this past summer.  Anderson had been pursuing a BA through uManitoba's military support office prior to his death.  He is reported to have been very close to completing his degree, and had earned all the program requirements.  Anderson's family will attend the university's fall convocation ceremonies in Winnipeg tomorrow.

Financial aid programs logically set their sights on low-income students

Less than 33% of 19-year-olds from low-income families went to university in 2003, compared to 50% of those from high-income backgrounds.  Increasingly, grants are being targeted toward low-income students, to realize potential that would otherwise sit untapped.  $83 million in government and scholarship foundation funding is earmarked for low-income students.  Besides lack of money, low-income students are also discouraged by flawed information, poor preparation, and low PSE-expectations from their advisors.

Osgoode Hall Dean experiences law school from a wheelchair for a day

The Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School at York University went to class in a wheelchair last Thursday as part of the annual "Dean for a Day" contest.  This year, Michale Dytyniak, a first-year law student with cerebral palsy, wrote the winning essay.  The contest gives the Dean an opportunity to see his job from the perspective of a student, and found this year's switch both humbling and challenging.  Dytyniak's on-campus experience was delayed by a front entrance without a door opener.

Canadian students increasingly commute from home

Moving out of the family home is considered an essential part of the university experience by many, but with residence fees ranging from $2,000 up to $8,000 per year, the cost may be starting to outweigh the value for some students.  46% of first-year students reportedly choose to stay at home.  Residence dons live with first-year students through their first year away, and many schools offer themed floors (alcohol-free, international, faculty-based).  Living away from home is increasingly seen as a risk or personal challenge, rather than an opportunity. 

uGuelph satisfies students with independent menu

The University of Guelph has rejected corporate catering for decades, having signed with no major providers since the early 1970s, and perhaps other Canadian universities should follow suit.  Corporate food services earned very poor grades from students in the 2007 Globe & Mail University Report Card.  Students are demanding affordable, nutritious, and diverse options that won't have them locked in a bathroom stall for the rest of the night.

Saskatchewan parties square off over education

The first week of campaigning in Saskatchewan's provincial election focused on 2 main issues, one of which was PSE.  The provincial NDP has promised to cut tuition in the province by $1,000 next year, on top of a tuition freeze in place since 2005. Tuition would rise with the rate of inflation in future.  The Saskatchewan Party has proposed a less costly plan that would offer graduates a $20,000 tuition rebate over 7 years -- if they stay and work in the province. 

UWO professor competes against porn and text messages

Students are "downloading porn, playing solitaire and trying to listen to lectures" all at the same time, reports Tim "The Greatest Professor that Ever Lived" Blackmore.  Students at the University of Western Ontario scramble to make it into his section of Intro to Media & Society, or to snag a spot in his upper-year classes on "Killer Culture."  Class texts include comics and army movies, and yet he still has trouble reaching students because they are so distracted by their addiction to the fun of cell phones, PDA's and laptops.