Top Ten

January 4, 2008

NSCC cleans up $100,000 in vandalism

Nova Scotia Community College is recovering after an attack that caused an estimated $100,000 in damages.  Vandals broke into NSCC's Centre for Geographic Sciences late last week, smashing windows, computers and lockers.  Students were notified this week and brought in to identify personal belongings yesterday.  A man and two teens have been arrested in connection with the incident, and another area break-in.  Classes will begin on schedule.

Major collection to be donated to Queen's art gallery

Eventually, the majority of Alfred Bader's internationally-sought art collection will be transferred to Queen's University.  Thanks to Bader's contributions, Queen's is positioned to offer the only masters degree program in art conservation in the country, and is also becoming the capital of Dutch masterpieces.  The Bader Collection, including paintings by Rembrandt, Lastman, and Lievens, are all currently on display at the university's Agnes Etherington Art Gallery.  Bader, who also donated Herstmonceaux Castle to Queen's, studied chemistry at Queen's after being turned away from McGill and uToronto in 1941.

Canadian universities leverage Facebook for recruitment

A recent article in the Globe & Mail explored student recruitment efforts by Canadian universities using Facebook.  Mount Allison University runs a Class of 2012 Facebook group, as well as offering student-made videos on YouTube and publishing student blogs.  uToronto's Rotman School of Management moved onto Facebook because its applicants were asking them why they weren't.  Academica Group's SkoolPool service, which allows students on Facebook to share their decision process and connect with schools via profile pages, was also profiled in the article.

uAlberta previews new website design

The University of Alberta is offering a sneak preview of its soon-to-launch centenary anniversary website at  The site includes rotating graphic banners featuring student accomplishments, research work and global initiatives.  Many of the current website's elements (news listings, upcoming events, campus updates) are carried over into the new template.  Of course, the "100 Years!" logo is prominent, as is a large red feedback button. 

Study proposes new Georgian, Nipissing presence in Huntsville

A feasibility study completed just before Christmas recommends that Georgian College and Nipissing University consider establishing a school in Huntsville, Ontario, to offer postgraduate qualifications, particularly in disciplines like sports and fitness, tourism and hospitality, environment and water. The town's mayor is now asking the community whether the project should continue to move forward with a business plan.  "We have to be careful.  The province really isn't keen on funding any new institutions."  The mayor estimates that an institution would require a multi-million dollar investment from the town.

Aboriginal centres combat culture shock on campus

Students from the University of Alberta and Grant MacEwan College say that having an aboriginal centre on campus improves their post-secondary experience.  "It helps being with people who are the same as you."  Both centres aim to make aboriginal students feel at home away from home, "acting as a little community" bringing students together, whether they are First Nation, Métis or Inuit.  The centres also aim to combat urban culture shock.  uAlberta has about 1,000 students who self-identify as Aboriginal -- a steady and consistent increase over 15 years ago.

uAlberta student blogger says living allowance inadequate

A University of Alberta student reports that the province expects him to live on $897 per month, the allocation for "an appropriate living allowance" by Alberta student loans.  Last year, a 21% increase in the living allowance was recommended by the Students' Finance Board, to make up for cost increases in Alberta's cities.  Student Steven Dollansky criticizes the system for having "no concrete way of determining how much is enough." After several years of 2% or less in increases (compared with up to 7% at the federal level), a 14% increase was secured last year. 

Former premier calls for national PSE strategy

Former Ontario premier and minister of education Bill Davis has joined the call for a national PSE strategy.  In his article, published in the January edition of the Colleges Ontario newsletter, Davis cites statistics such as 70% of new jobs in Canada will require PSE by 2015 -- just seven years from now.  He also predicts a "borderless knowledge society" that will require strategies for credit transfer, recognition of prior learning, research and development, and innovation, that cannot be done at the provincial level. 

US universities launch K-12 schools to diversify applicant pool

Several US colleges are establishing their own primary and secondary schools in order to ensure that applicants are appropriately prepared for university.  UC-Davis, uPacific, Stanford, UC-Berkeley and uChicago, among others, have started elementary and/or secondary schools recently.  Each of these schools aims at funnelling "disadvantaged" students towards university, and claim to be having success.  "Universities are trying to increase the number of minority students that come and can be successful."

Next up: "Mobile social networking"

With 60% of teens owning cell phones, and 75% having desktop computer access, today's young person is "tech-savvy."  "New technology increases the frequency of communication with friends, with e-mail being the one glaringly uncool exception in their eyes."  With use of both cell phones and social networking websites rivaling each other for most pervasive new technology, analysts predict that the next step will be merging the two to create "mobile social networks."