Top Ten

February 5, 2008

$74 million expansion for UofT's Robarts Library

The University of Toronto has endorsed a proposal that will see a new $74-million expansion added to the Robarts Library, which houses one of North America's largest academic collections. The plan will construct a third triangular tower, between the two existing towers, which was dropped from the building's original design due to cost. The expansion will mean 50% more student study space.  Student surveys have found that safe study room is an important issue. 

uManitoba receives $3 million for med school expansion

Thanks to $3 million in new funding from the province, the University of Manitoba will be adding 10 more seats to its medical program this September (a 10% increase).  This is the fourth expansion to the program since 2000. 

STU agrees to binding arbitration

St. Thomas University is welcoming its students back to class today, thanks to an agreement to binding arbitration reached over the weekend.  The faculty association still plans vigorous negotiations over the issue of compensation -- "We don't have to give up the fight, but we can go back to the classroom." The university's winter term will be extended by 11 days, and reading week reduced to just 2 days, to help make up for class time lost during the strike, which began in late December.

uWindsor TA strike vote Wednesday

Graduate and teaching assistants at the University of Windsor will vote tomorrow on whether to authorize a strike date, as early as the week of February 17th. CUPE's concerns appear to focus primarily on rising tuition fees. Negotiations with the university are described as having reached "an impasse". 

uWaterloo "turning its sights on the world"

The University of Waterloo is "pulling out the stops" to boost its profile internationally, particularly in China, India, and the United Arab Emirates, and boost undergrad international students from 8% to 20% over the next decade. UW has always been "plugged in" internationally, from the development of the "Waterloo pump" to the founding of Engineers Without Borders. The new "Waterloo International" office on campus is establishing more exchanges, and overseas campuses in China and Abu Dhabi. International tuition, between $13,000 and $32,000 per year, is apparently among the highest in Canada.

Nova Scotians urged to consider skilled trades an option

The Nova Scotia Department of Education hosted a panel discussion at last Friday's school board conference in Halifax, and panelists urged Nova Scotia parents to consider careers in the skilled trades for their children. The panel included Dr. Martin Gardner, a cardiologist whose son is training as a chef. Although NS parents seem slow to accept the trades, students are seeing the employment opportunities. Enrolment at NSCC has increased 6% this year.

uWinnipeg launches Aboriginal Governance program

The University of Winnipeg has announced a new graduate program in Aboriginal Governance, to start in fall 2008.  The program claims to be the "first of its kind" in Canada, and aims to produce emerging leaders in this field, and in other public areas.  "The Aboriginal Governance graduate program is essential as Canada moves forward to incorporate the largest growing population group in this country."

Campus security goes high-tech at Carleton

Carleton University has launched a new program that offers increased security to students working late on campus.  Students can request a personal alarm pendant to wear around their necks.  When activated, the device sets off sirens, flashing lights and receives a response from campus security in less than 2 minutes.

US teens try out "college on training wheels" in summer

A number of companies are now offering 15- and 16-year-olds the opportunity to try out "pre-college" programs at institutions worldwide, for an early taste of campus life, and in some cases, early college credits.  Many families see such programs as a vital part of the school selection process, and programs fill quickly -- even with price tags as high as $7,800 for just six weeks.  The Summer Discovery program, which is offered at 10 different universities, placed more than 2,000 students last year. 

Integrating business into the liberal arts tradition

Students and the economy are placing more and more emphasis on "marketable" educations, but many liberal arts institutions are hesitant to add a business major to their offerings.  One liberal arts institution has found that particularly low-income, first-generation students will perk at the "business" label because of its promise of success, due to poor understanding of the benefits that come with a "broader educational focus." Independent US colleges are integrating business and liberal arts through blending, co-curricular, and thematic approaches.