Top Ten

January 18, 2008

uAlberta opens $87-million downtown centre

The University of Alberta's new downtown facility officially opened yesterday, "breathing new life into a quiet block of downtown."  The Enterprise Square facility represents UofA's strong ties to the community and community engagement.  It also strengthens relationships with downtown businesses and cultural organizations.  uAlberta received $15 million from both federal and provincial governments, and $12.5 million from the city of Edmonton. 

Orillia tentatively commits $10 million to Lakehead campus

Orillia's city council has tentatively approved a $10 million commitment to Lakehead University's permanent Orillia campus.  The proposed commitment calls for a University tax levy of 2% over 2 years, which some critics call unfair to older taxpayers who may not use the campus. The commitment is due to be ratified at a council meeting next Monday.

Ontario university applications up 5%

The numbers are in, and this year Ontario's universities received the highest volume of applications since the double cohort. Applications have risen approximately 5% overall, according to the first round of numbers released by OUAC.  83,000 applications were received from high school students by last week's application deadline -- up about 4,000 from last year. The surge in numbers will increase competition for top programs, and may well reinforce pressure for the province to fund additional spaces.

SFU arts facility receives $2 million donation

Simon Fraser University has received a $2 million donation toward a new state-of-art education and performance centre at the School for the Contemporary Arts. The facility's main exhibition space will be named the Audain Visual Arts Teaching Gallery, to recognize donor Michael Audain.  A visiting chair in visual arts will also be established in his name.

Report says NS producing surplus teachers

A new provincial report suggests that Nova Scotia is producing a surplus of teachers: NS schools are graduating 1,000 new teachers annually, to fill just 370 vacancies.  As a result, more than 700 teachers leave either the province or the profession each year. The report therefore does not look favourably on a proposed BEd program at Cape Breton University. CBU has campaigned for its own program, because it has to turn away applicants for the program it currently offers in partnership with Memorial University.

Oshawa bylaw targeting student housing defeated

A controversial housing bylaw proposed by the City of Oshawa Ontario, which many felt attacked student tenants and landlords, has been put on the back burner after a public hearing on Monday.  During 2007, tension between the community and students led the city to impose interim bylaws that prevented renovating properties for rental purposes, and also led to search warrants and police raids.  The proposed bylaw would have capped the number of bedrooms per house, imposed a $250 licensing fee per bedroom, and increased insurance requirements.

Mediator appointed to resolve STU faculty strike

The New Brunswick government has appointed a mediator to help resolve the dispute between St. Thomas University's administration and its faculty association, so that students can begin their winter term.  The mediator, Milton Veniot, also served during union negotiations at both Acadia University and the University of Prince Edward Island. 

York students call for safety audit, preventative measures

York University's student union is once again calling for an external safety audit after an on-campus sexual assault last week.  Students are calling for preventative measures, rather than a "case by case" approach.  Several new security measures went into place at York this week, including 22 new Residence Watch officers and an expansion of the campus security camera system.  These measures were recommended after assaults that occurred in September.

NDP criticizes Millennium Scholarship program

Although many student organizations have rallied to the defense of the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation, and urged an extension of its original mandate (which expires in 2009), the federal government maintains that no decision has yet been made. This week, the NDP's PSE critic wrote a scathing letter to the HRSD minister, calling CMSF "fundamentally flawed" and urging instead a publicly administered, federal system of upfront non-repayable grants. The NDP warns that it would not be acceptable to convert the grants into student loans, which would only worsen the national student debt "crisis."

YouTube previews of Second Life campuses

If you haven't had a chance to poke around Second Life's virtual islands, you can now sneak an inside look via YouTube.  SL currently boasts 11 million registered users (1 million of whom have logged in during the last 60 days).  Clips of Texas State, Ohio University, Boise State University and San Jose State's SL campuses are available for non-SL users to browse via YouTube.  Building an SL presence for your institution requires a substantial investment of staff time -- although some schools have recruited students to help build their 3D environments for them.