Top Ten

February 20, 2008

CFS says research commercialization funding is not what's needed

The Canadian Federation of Students has declared that the federal government's $163 million investment in the commercialization of research is "misguided."  CFS says the investment shows the Conservative government's private sector bias.  "Innovation is stifled when you have the federal government and big business looking over your shoulder. The federal government should not interfere by using directed funding that undermines academic freedom and innovation."  CFS News Release 

Quebec students plan day of action on Thursday

L'Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante, a province-wide student union in Quebec, has organized a student Day of Action to take place in Quebec City tomorrow.  ASSE advocates for free education, quality and accessibility of resources, and free daycare.  UQAM social science students, who are currently on a general strike, and many other student unions will strike on the Day of Action.  The McGill Daily | The McGill Tribune 

New programs to accommodate the "gap year"

Princeton University is developing an innovative new gap year program to accommodate many first year students' desire to "cleanse the palate of high school." As early as 2009, Princeton's new program will send as many as 10% of its students overseas for a tuition-free year of social service before starting their freshman year on campus.  The program will give students an international perspective, give them time to mature, and a break from academics for a year.  (In Canada, York University runs a special website, Bridging the Gap, to keep in touch with students who defer their education for a year.)  The New York Times

Above and beyond to recruit top students

Mount Allison University offered this year's applicants a "three for free" program -- a $100 gas or airfare rebate toward travel costs incurred to attend a campus tour.  "We know well over 50% of students who visit here decide to come, so we're trying to make it easier."  York is offering to hold an applicant's spot for a year, to accommodate a "gap year:" "We're well aware how common the gap year is. We don't want these students to feel in any way like second-class."  The Toronto Star reports that York, Trent and McMaster go above and beyond to recruit top students, with special letters and hand-delivered offers and goody bags.  The Toronto Star 

StFX publishes 6-page insert in Globe & Mail

St. Francis Xavier University published a 6-page colour insert in the Ontario edition of yesterday's Globe & Mail, to raise its profile as "Canada's premier undergraduate university." Articles focus on top rankings, international exchanges, research innovations, famous alumni, campus renewal, and student profiles. Says StFX president Sean Riley, "size doesn't automatically equate to quality. In New England, for example, they have mastered the small, high-quality university architecture. Many US parents see that as the ultimate model of undergraduate education." Insert 

uWaterloo students vote 2 to 1 to pull plug on campus radio

University of Waterloo students have voted 2 to 1 to cut their funding of the campus radio station, CKMS.  Commentaries suggest that students no longer feel the station is serving their needs. With less than 13% turnout, the student union still reports that the results of this referendum are binding. CKMS promises to pursue other avenues for funding, possibly including the uWaterloo administration, and public fundraising.  Maclean's On Campus | Student union news | Imprint (student newspaper)

uRegina helps uMalawi improve training

Over the next 6 years, faculty from the University of Regina will help a southeast African university improve its technical training, to help improve skills and alleviate poverty, and to better prepare students for the workforce.  The curriculum of the University of Malawi Polytechnic will be revised to better reflect social and economic needs.  CIDA has invested $2.4 million in the project through the University Partnership in Cooperation and Development program.  The Regina Leader-Post

Alberta's party platforms on higher education

It's election time in Alberta. On the heels of the Liberal party's commitment to reduce tuition by an average of $1,000 and to reduce student loan rates, the Conservatives are promising to cut student loan interest rates by 2.5% and to continue to cap tuition increases to the rate of inflation.  Ed Stelmach, the party leader, also promises to improve the affordability of grad programs and to "help students and their families with the high cost of education." The Edmonton Journal

Memorial posts 80,000 digital artifacts for public access

On Monday, Memorial University and its library staff unveiled a new Digital Archives Initiative that puts more than 80,000 documents from its library and archives online for free public access in digitized form.  These documents include audio and video files, historic maps, diaries and journals -- many of which are hundreds of years old and very delicate.  The materials can now be viewed comfortably by the general public, from the comfort of their home computer.  Memorial News Release | Digital Archives

Bishop's cafeteria employee uttered threats

A Sodexho employee working at the Bishop's University cafeteria has been charged with uttering death threats against his colleagues, and will undergo psychiatric tests.  Last Thursday night (the same day as the shootings at Northern Illinois University), and again on Friday morning, he apparently said "he wanted to take a large calibre gun and become a famous gunman, and kill people."  Police SWAT teams stormed his apartment early Saturday morning, but found no weapons.  CBC | Montreal Gazette