Top Ten

March 13, 2008

Facebook-related expulsion at Ryerson makes headlines

Maybe it was just a slow news week, but the story of Chris Avenir, a Ryerson student threatened with expulsion for moderating a Facebook study group, has been covered by almost every national newspaper, has spawned a "Chris Didn't Cheat" blog, an online petition, and several pro-Chris Facebook groups.  Dalhousie University has started an online discussion asking if universities should be more tolerant of online study via sites such as Facebook.  Avenir should receive a decision from the university within 4 days.  He is optimistic.  Dale Kirby | Dalhousie | The Globe & Mail | The London Free Press

NL plans independent Grenfell, Ocean Technology strategy

Higher education in Newfoundland & Labrador has an exciting year ahead, according to this week's throne speech.  The speech commended ground-breaking research by the province's academics, and reiterated a commitment to the pending independence of Sir Wilfred Grenfell College (currently a satellite campus of Memorial University). The government affirmed its commitment to freeze tuition fees for the next 4 years, and is planning an Innovation Strategy and an Ocean Technology Strategy.  Memorial News Release

Colleges Ontario launches second phase of Obay campaign

The second phase of the Colleges Ontario "Obay" compaign pushes intrigued parents and students to a new microsite,, and challenges the assumption that "College is the option you 'settle for' if you can't get into university." The site includes samples of the Obay teaser campaign, as well as 3 new cinema ads like "Birth" -- which portrays two parents literally labelling their newborn girl "Lawyer" when they first lay eyes upon her.  Why College? | Maclean's On Campus

uCalgary hands $6.5 million over to students to improve experience

The University of Calgary's Quality Money program will launch 9 new projects on campus this year, including a campus bike initiative, a co-curricular record, and increased undergraduate mentorship opportunities.  Through the Quality Money initiative, the university provides funds to the Students' Union, which gathers input from students before deciding on its priorities. "We're the only university in Canada putting money directly in the hands of students."  More than $6.5 million has been given to the student union over the past 5 years.  uCalgary News Release

NAIT opens new Centre for Machinist Technology

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) plans to unveil its new Sandvik Coroman Centre for Machinist Technology tomorrow, thanks to a $2 million donation from Sandvik Coromant of Sweden.  The machinist program was one of the first to be offered at NAIT, and took its first apprentices in 1963.  NAIT currently trains more than 70% of all machinists in Alberta, and the new facility will enable the school to increase the program's capacity by 50%.  NAIT News Release

Concordia receives $1.3 million towards human rights projects

Concordia University and the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS) have received a $1.3 million gift from alumnus James M. Stanford.  The donation will support the Will to Intervene project, which "aims to mobilize key politicians to act and design tools to pressure governments to prevent future genocides."  Lieutenant General Romeo Dallaire, Canada's "foremost peace ambassador," is closely involved with MIGS and the W2I program.  Concordia News Release 

Growing gender gap in shrinking computer science programs

uAlberta has observed a decrease in the number of computer science graduates in Canada, with half as many female students as in the 1970s. Eleni Stroulia, uAlberta prof, believes that students see it as "a geeky subject." Students are also concerned about losing jobs to outsourcing. Professors suggest that more visible IT role models could help students see the field as viable. The Gateway (uAlberta student newspaper)

US students lack confidence in math, science, verbal skills

A new report finds that US first-year college students lack confidence in their math and science skills.  First-generation and non-first-generation students rated themselves similarly low for confidence in math, science and verbal skills.  43% reported math has always been a challenge. Only 39% of first-generation students felt they had the financial resources to complete their programs, compared to 51% of students whose parents had a college education. 95% of first-year students reported being highly motivated to complete their programs.  Red Orbit

Georgian prof debuts new book via YouTube

We have previously covered the emerging phenomenon of YouTube celebrity lecturers. Now, it looks like book publishers are trying to leverage YouTube videos to promote new releases too. Laurentian @ Georgian English professor Bruce Meyer discusses his latest book, Heroes: The Champions of our Literary Imaginations, in an excerpt from "BookTelevision."  Meyer has authored 28 books, including at least one bestseller, is a regular on CBC, and is closely linked to many well-known Canadian authors. Georgian News Release | Bruce Meyer on YouTube

The more you learn, the longer you live?

Harvard Medical School researchers have concluded that Americans who go to college live an average of seven years longer than those who stop after high school. (So, unless you go on to graduate school, you come out ahead!) Smoking-related illnesses account for fully one-fifth the difference, and the investigators suspect that medical insurance coverage accounts for a good deal as well. Life expectancies have been rising over the past decade -- but only for educated Americans. "You can have a rising tide that only lifts half the boats."  Bloomberg