Top Ten

February 7, 2008

UBC receives another campus threat

Another unspecific threat against the University of British Columbia was received this week, and the campus was on "full-scale alert" yesterday. Classes were cancelled in the Biosciences building. Last week, a very similar threat was received, without details of location or method of harm. An email was sent to all faculty, staff and students. Phones and the university's website will be used to update the community. UBC's emergency alert system has not been deployed.

Postscript: July 4, 2008
University of British Columbia student Hwi Lee has plead guilty to uttering threats and causing mischief in relation to 2 incidents at UBC in January and February. Both threats forced the closure of the university's biosciences building. No one was hurt in either instance. The 19-year-old was arrested without incident in late February. CBC

Universities explore emergency communication options

Simon Fraser University, the University of Alberta, and the University of New Brunswick are part of a three-year study of emergency messaging on campuses.  The project was formed after the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre where 33 people were killed, and the 2006 Dawson College shooting where 1 student was killed and 19 were injured.  Text messaging is touted as the emergency communication system winning the most "attention."  uCalgary has recently implemented a text-message alert system.  UBC has purchased such a system but has not deployed it. 

uMontreal centre receives 1 million... Aeroplan miles?

Universite de Montreal's international studies centre, CERIUM, has received $380,000 cash and 1 million Aeroplan miles from Aeroplan.  CERIUM was established less than 4 years ago, but has already established itself in the competitive international studies market.  Aeroplan's gift will help it "soar ahead" of its competition.

Polytechnics Canada wants more federal research funding

Polytechnics Canada is asking the federal government to "introduce additional measures to facilitate research and commercialization activities between industry and polytechnics," as well as invest in "career-ready graduates."  Polytechnics Canada is calling for "fair" support for all three PSE streams (polytechnics, colleges and universities).  BCIT, SAIT, Conestoga, George Brown, Humber, Sheridan and Seneca are the 7 members of the alliance.

uMoncton won't become a polytechnic

We mentioned last week that New Brunswick's premier has confirmed the future of liberal arts at the University of New Brunswick - Saint John.  Apparently, the NB government has also confirmed that the University of Moncton's Shippagan and Edmunston campuses will continue as university campuses, rather than being "transformed" into polytechnic institutes. 

Mount Royal plans 5 new degree options for September

Calgary's Mount Royal College hopes to launch 5 new undergraduate degree programs for fall 2008.  Alberta's Liberal leader has repeated a campaign promise to give the college university status if elected.  MRC's president is focusing on recognized programs and credits, rather than a "label."  MRC launched a nursing degree program last fall, and in the works are a BA, BA criminal justice studies, BComm, BSc and BBA.

Postscript: April 17, 2008

Last Friday, Calgary's Mount Royal College officially announced the 5 new degree programs that it anticipated earlier this year.

New Lethbridge College viewbook wins CASE award

Congratulations to our friends at Lethbridge College, which won a bronze CASE VIII Communication Award for writing in its redesigned 2007 viewbook. The CASE VIII awards include nominees from the western regions of both the US and Canada.  The viewbook's revised layout and design was developed by the school's Advancement Marketing Team, with support from Academica Group's marketing strategy and creative team leaders, Mary Blais and David Beyer. 

Tennessee university keeps in touch despite tornado, website crash

On Tuesday, a tornado took down 2 dorms and the institutional website at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Despite the website crash, the university's communications team was able to update the community at "UU Emergency Blog," hosted at  A .com was created for the blog and published in a local newspaper article covering the damages on campus.  UU also used its Facebook Page to share updates, photos and videos related to the crisis.

What's so great about smaller classes?

Small liberal arts colleges have to "emphasize their advantages" to stay competitive. Simply reiterating that they have "small class sizes" isn't enough: study after study has found that colleges need to explain the benefits of that feature. Small classes mean increased participation, greater classroom engagement, more learning for your money.

Ontario invests $52 million in student summer jobs

Ontario has announced $51.5 million in funding for 2008's student summer job programs.  Programs that will receive funding include the Ontario Rangers, the Summer Company Program, and the Summer Jobs Service -- which offers a $2-per-hour hiring incentive for businesses that hire students for up to 16 weeks.