Top Ten

November 14, 2007

BC funds new $49 million SFU campus

The BC government has announced $49.3 million in funding to create a new home for Simon Fraser University's School for the Contemporary Arts.  The new downtown Vancouver campus will help revitalize the city's core and recruit creative talent in the area.  The facility will cover 12,000 square metres, and five floors and will include performance facilities, teaching studios, a 400-seat theatre and a multimedia lounge and lab for new media work.  It is expected to bring $7.5 million per year into the area. 

Police break up student protesters at UQAM

Université du Québec à Montréal's prospective rector and veteran professor was greeted with insults and "jostling" by 100 on-strike students who prevented him from reaching class.  Students are striking to protest increased tuition and a $160 increase in student fees.  3 protesters were arrested but no charges were laid.  One police officer was slightly injured in the clash, which saw up to 50 students surround the professor, who was unharmed.

UOIT intends to be leader in graduate education

The University of Ontario Institute of Technology has launched its new "innovative and research-intensive" Graduate Studies program at an on campus trade show.  UOIT intends to position itself as a leader in graduate education delivery, and also hopes further growth in graduate studies could benefit the grad enrolment space crunch that is anticipated in future years.  Students already in the program were on hand for the launch.  UOIT hopes that its graduate programs will represent 15% of total enrolment within 7 years.

$3 million for Canadian brain research

$1.5 million each have been awarded to two teams of researchers. The first is lead by uMontreal and includes academics from several other institutions including uOttawa.  The second grant team will be lead by a researcher at uCalgary's Hotchkiss Brain Institute, and includes researchers from uAlberta and uLaval.  The funding is provided by NeuroScience Canada and will focus on the study of brain repair.

SFU Surrey gets infusion from youngest donor

Dale Regehr's $1 million donation to SFU-Surrey makes him the campus' largest and youngest donor.  The contribution is towards the $2 million Close to Home campaign, which will fund scholarships for new students with high academic achievement, leadership and community involvement.  Regehr's company, WestStone Properties, is currently building a $1 billion community called "Urban Village" next door to the campus.

Alberta launches PSE prep DVD & guide for disabled students

The Alberta government has launched its multimedia "post-secondary prep kit" for students with disabilities, to help ease the transition to either college or university.  The kit is designed for students in grades 9 through 12, and aims to "inspire and motivate" disabled students to consider PSE.  While 50% of the generation's population has a post-secondary education, only 36% of those with disabilities do.  A planning guide for students and their families and a success story DVD make up the kit.

Canada's universities release statement on Aboriginal graduation rates

The Aboriginal roundtable, which took place in Winnipeg last week and included 20 Canadian university presidents and representatives from First Nations and Metis educational institutions and governments, has released a statement of the roundtable's conclusions.  Canada's universities commit to accelerating efforts to increase graduation rates of First Nations, Metis and Inuit Students.  The universities will listen and respond to the needs of these students and their communities, and build relationships of mutual respect.  Increasing the number of graduates from these communities is seen as beneficial to the communities and to the country as a whole.

Carleton puts off biometric ID system until 2008

Carleton University is considering replacing student ID cards with biometric hand-readers placed throughout campus, but not this year.  A VP confirms that the issue has been deferred for decision next September.  Hand-readers at athletics facilities and dining halls would enable students who had forgotten their cards to access the facilities regardless.  The devices would work by measuring the student's hand and comparing it to a database including the palm prints of all students with access.  The new system carries significant expenses, as well as benefits.

Academics are sick of workplace pressure

20% of Canadian professors report that a high-stress work environment is having a negative impact on their health.  A new study finds stress in the post-secondary work environment "surprisingly high."  Working at a college or university is shown to not be "the easy job that most people think it is."  Out of 1,500 academics surveyed at 56 universities, more than 10% report being so "clinically distressed" that they could qualify for long-term leave.

US campuses follow the national smoke-free trend

The American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation reports that almost 60 US colleges have put smoke-free campus policies into place that force students off school grounds before they can light up.  One school that has had such a policy in place for 4 years says they have had no problems with the policy.  According to the American Cancer Society, the "smoke-free country" trend is spreading quickly and campuses are simply reflecting the trend.