Top Ten

October 25, 2007

uSask champions NASA competition for 3rd consecutive year

While 4 seconds short of the $500,000 prize, the University of Saskatchewan has placed first in NASA's Elevator 2010 competition for the third year in a row.  uSask's entry climbed to the finish line in 54 seconds; a finish of 50 seconds or less was required in order to take home the prize, which means the stakes will be even higher next year when the prizes roll together. Last year the team was only 2 seconds over the limit.  This year's entries were required to climb even further than last year.

uToronto, uMontreal, UBC remain tops for research

The 2007 list of Canada's Top 50 Research Universities has been released, and the University of Toronto has come out on top again, with $763.5 million in sponsored research income during 2006.  Université de Montréal remained in second place with $447.2 million, followed by the University of British Columbia with $422 million (up 2 places from last year).  McGill and uAlberta made up the rest of the top 5.  The top 50 cumulatively reported $5.53 billion in sponsored research income during 2006, an increase of 6.4% over 2005.

uLethbridge receives $68 million for capital improvements

The Alberta government has announced $68 million in funding for the University of Lethbridge.  $50 million will go toward the new Markin Building, which will add 450 student spaces in health and management studies, and be the home of both faculties starting in 2010.  The remaining $18 million will go toward upgrading University Hall.

uOttawa professor under investigation by French police

The Globe & Mail reports that an unnamed professor at the University of Ottawa is being investigated by French police in connection with the bombing of a Paris synagogue almost 30 years ago.  The 53-year-old instructor holds dual Canadian-Lebanese citizenship, and he apparently resembles a sketch released by French authorities in 1980.  Four people were killed during the bombing, and several others were injured.  The man claims never to have been a political militant, and his identity has not been confirmed by police. 

Lethbridge College receives $10.7 million for 1,300 new student spaces

The Alberta government also announced $8.5 million to modernize the trades facility at Lethbridge College, providing as many as 1,300 additional spaces for trade and industrial training programs, and $2.2 million to enhance the College's safety and emergency response system.

Capilano College seeks US accreditation

Although Capilano College has been granting degrees for 15 years, like many Canadian institutions it has had trouble getting Canadian universities to recognize its degrees, since it is not a member of the AUCC. Rather than attempting to join the AUCC, Capilano has initiated the accreditation process with the nearest US PSE accreditation body, the North West Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). NWCCU is visiting Capilano to review its campus this week. 

Laval students follow through on tuition hike strike

So far, it seems only Laval University's students have followed through with a promised strike against the tuition thaw in Quebec.  Students walked out last Thursday, after the Association des Étudiantes et Étudiants en Anthropologie de l’Université Laval (AÉÉA) voted to launch an immediate strike the day before -- to be re-voted every three days.  Another 8 student associations representing 20,000 students, have voted in favour of a general strike mandate.  It is proposed to launch the strike when 25,000 represented students are on board. 

BC schools reject off-campus behaviour codes

While many Ontario and Quebec universities are adding off-campus behaviour clauses to their student codes of conduct, BC institutions say they are not tempted to do the same.  One BC student calls the practice "close to infringing on students' Charter rights."  The only BC school with an off-campus code is "the overtly Christian" Trinity Western University.  Brock University, Fanshawe College, Queen's University and Bishop's University in Ontario and Quebec are considering off-campus codes, due to  community tensions. 

New Brunswick promises a decision that will benefit students

New Brunswick's provincial government will not commit to a decision date regarding the recommended merger of several university campuses with community colleges.  A working group of university presidents and college principals has been put into place to advise the government's decision.  The public has been told not to expect a decision in the upcoming session of provincial legislature, and the next session will not convene until November 27.  Minister Doherty has stated that whatever decision is reached will be based on the goal of a student focused PSE system in the province.

Ontario universities collaborate on security solutions

A panel of experts has been appointed to spend a year studying ways to improve emergency preparedness at Ontario universities.  The panel is chaired by Brock University's president, Jack Lightstone, and will seek provincial funding to increase security on campuses and put resources in place for situations such as on-campus shootings.  This will be the first time Ontario's university presidents have collaborated on campus safety, an increasingly important issue to applicants.

Windsor student alliance launches new website

uWindsor's Students' Alliance has redesigned and relaunched its website, online at  The site includes an exam bank, calendar, news and information on services, job and volunteer opportunities and an online ticket purchasing platform.  The alliance is promoting the new site to students with a campaign called "Quench your thirst for UWSA facts."  Water bottles with a contest code on the bottom will be handed out across campus.  Students can plug in the code via the website to enter for a paid account at a campus pub.

Acadia Faculty and Board resume negotiations

Acadia University's Faculty Association and its Board of Governors have returned to the negotiating table under a media blackout that started midday yesterday. Negotiations resumed briefly last week, but then broke down again.  Faculty have been on strike since Monday of last week.

Facebook signs $240 million deal with Microsoft

Facebook has finally taken some money for its success, selling 1.6% of its shares to Microsoft for $240 million US.  The 4-year old "social utility" is valued at $15 billion total.  Facebook also signed an exclusive advertising agreement that will make Microsoft its third-party advertising platform. 

uVictoria to switch to 100% recycled paper

The University of Victoria might win over a few green hearts with its recent announcement that the institution will switch from bond paper to paper composed of 100% post-consumer waste content, starting January 1, 2008 -- a first in the province of BC.  Currently, uVic uses paper with 30% post-consumer waste content.  The switch to recycled paper will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as reflect ethical purchasing practices.  There is no cost increase expected. 

Parents losing faith in internet's benefits to children

A report released by the PEW Internet & American Life Project finds that parents are souring on the internet.  A telephone survey of US parents held in late 2006 found that only 59% of parents feel that the internet has benefited their children -- an 8% drop since 2004.  More parents are reporting that the internet has had zero effect on their children.  65% of parents check which websites their teenagers visit, and 77% of parents have rules about their children's media use.  88% of teens say that information and communication devices make their lives easier, while only 69% of parents feel the same. 

Saskatchewan students tell politicians how to win their vote

Saskatchewan's students have a set of demands for the province's political parties. To earn their support at the polling stations, students want politicians to offer decreased tuition, a system of need-based grants, increased access for aboriginal students, and increased access to affordable housing.  Tuition has increased 227% over the last 15 years in Saskatchewan, says the Regina Leader-Post, and fees currently sit well above the national average.  Enrolment has decreased by 13%.

Marketers beware of "Millennial" generalizations

What many schools think they know about Millennial students is often based on anecdotes that are generalized to an entire generation.  Theory based on generalizations is a risky thing to trust, particularly because the Millennial cohort is a very complex "group."  Regard national or continental statistics with caution -- go for the local data to know your own market.  For example, Millennial students are statistically found to spend more time on homework than their elder peers, but this is not true for all regions.

uFlorida vindicated regarding taser incident

A state investigation released yesterday finds in favour of the University of Florida's police force in the case of Andrew Meyer, who was tasered during John Kerry's visit to campus a month ago.  Meyer refused to leave the microphone when his time was up, used vulgar language and physically resisted the officers.  Videos of the incident and Meyer's cry of "Don't Tase Me, Bro!" have become an international sensation on YouTube.

Facebook lets developers go mobile

The Facebook platform, which allows developers (like Academica Group!) to create third-party software to run on the popular social utility, is expanding apps' reach to the cell phones and handhelds of Facebook users. Facebook offers a version of its site optimized for mobile phone browsers, and special versions for iPhone and Blackberry.

Schools experiment with Google Maps API

Paul Dempsey's presentation entitled "Adding Google Maps to Your College Website" earned "Best in Conference" at this year's Higher Ed Web Developers 2007 in Rochester, NY.  His presentation took the audience through the process of adding a Google map to Dickinson College's website -- allowing users to zoom in and out on a live road map, as well as enter their location to receive custom directions.  Based on discussion from the uWebDevelopers discussion list, uWashington, Roberts Wesleyan College, and Durham College (Ontario) are also making use of the Google Maps API on their own sites.