Top Ten

March 16, 2008

Carleton student reported missing

Nadia Kajouji, an 18-year-old female Carleton University student from Brampton, has been missing since returning to Ottawa on March 9.  The Ottawa Police say that foul play is not suspected at this time, and report that her parents have come to Ottawa to join the search for her.  Ms Kajouji was reported missing by her roommates last Tuesday.  The Globe & Mail | The Ottawa Citizen | Carleton University News Release

BC universities team up against climate change

British Columbia's universities have signed a Climate Change Statement of Action, committing their institutions to a leadership role in reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.  Each university is committed to initiating a comprehensive plan, including an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions on campus.  Each will then set reduction targets and strategies.  The university presidents plan to invite other PSE institutions in the province to sign the Statement as well.  UBC News Release

Carleton builds reputation with winning athletics

The Globe & Mail credits Carleton University's men's basketball team for the university's successful transition from "Last Chance U" to being a popular university choice.  The Carleton Ravens hope to win their sixth consecutive national title at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Final 8.  Carleton's president, Dr. Samy Mahmoud, reports that the team's success has had an impact on the institution's outlook: "Sports are no longer an ancillary activity here.  It's at the core of what we do."  Applications to Carleton went up by 11% in 2006-07 and 8% again this year.  The Globe & Mail

UNB scales back varsity athletics

The University of New Brunswick has removed varsity status from four teams in a move to cut back the athletics program.  Women's hockey, wrestling, and cross country, as well as men's swimming, will no longer be varsity sports at UNB Fredericton.  Consequently, the teams will not receive funding from the $1 million athletics budget, and student team members will not be eligible for athletic scholarships.  More than 100 students will be affected.  CBC

Urban universities fight to keep commuters on campus

To enhance student engagement, satisfaction and completion rates, universities in major Canadian cities are making it a top priority to encourage commuter students to spend more time on campus. Successful initiatives include commuter student lounges, don-like mentors for commuter students, and expanded on-campus employment. uToronto estimates that 85% of students at its 3 campuses are commuters. First-year Learning Communities (FLC) "replicate the benefits of residence living" by assigning students to small groups of about 24 students, who share common classes and labs.  University Affairs

uAlberta med students showcase talents on YouTube

Medical students at the University of Alberta created a popular online hip-hop video as a study aid.  "Diagnosis Wenckebach" was created collaboratively by the students using Homer, a new online learning system.  Homer allows students to access their schedules, lecture notes, slides, online libraries and journal articles, as well as their campus email, Facebook and other resources.  Homer allows for more student-submitted and peer-policed content than Blackboard, including quizzes, questions and study tips.  The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required) | Diagnosis Wenckebach on YouTube | The Gateway (Student Newspaper)

CPRN releases study on school-to-work in Quebec

A new report from the Canadian Policy Research Network, "Implementing the School-to-Work Transition in Quebec," reviews 20 years of efforts to revitalize vocational training in Quebec (where the highest percentage of students attend vocational courses in high school), and assesses their impact on PSE enrolment. Raising entrance averages in an attempt to promote greater respect for the skilled trades did not improve declining enrolment. Computer-assisted teaching methods, career exploration programs, and a greater emphasis on programs in the workplace have led to a "clear strengthening" of vocational education in Quebec, but co-op work placements remain largely undevelopedCPRN | Full Report in English (PDF)

Australia plans major higher ed review

Australia is planning a major review of its higher education system, which the minister claims has "fallen into disrepair."  A commission will focus on access, quality and strengthening "a chaotic, compromised and unsustainable" financing system, and a "bewildering array of student financial arrangements" -- issues that sound familiar in both the US and Canada.  Minister's Speech

Students choose to stay home or earn money over spring break

Despite the gloom of winter and the hype about tropical spring break getaways, most students keep their reading week less glamorous and instead go on school-sponsored service trips, stay on campus, or head home to visit with friends and family.  According to a US survey conducted by the National Association of College Stores, 37% of students planned on spending their spring break at home this year, 28% planned on working, and 5% had volunteer trips planned. Just under 25% had a "special trip" planned. Inside Higher Ed

Montreal teens getting an unhealthy amount of screen time

A five-year study of almost 1,300 Montreal teenagers has found that they are spending an average of 30 hours a week in front of TV and computer screens -- double the 2 hours a day recommended by health officials.  Despite the popularity of social networks, TV gets the lion's share of high schoolers' attention. 60% of participants reported spending 20 hours a week online or watching TV.  33% spent 40 hours per week, and 10% reported up to 60 hours per week. Teens living in poorer neighbourhoods watch more TV, particularly the girls. Screen time is considered a "risk factor" for obesity, but also may lead to imitation of risky, aggressive or violent behaviourThe Globe & Mail