Top Ten

March 21, 2008

"Nasty surprise" for BC universities

BC's 6 universities were notified earlier this month that their funding for 2008-09 will be $16 million less than promised. In spring 2007, the BC government outlined 3-year funding levels, but has since decided to reduce all operating grants by 2.6% and shift funding to high priorities -- aboriginal student recruitment and training for health care and trades -- which is largely delivered by the province's colleges and technical institutes. The changes came just weeks before budgets were finalized.  The Vancouver Sun

Lethbridge College proud to be "Totally New'd"

Lethbridge College Towel Guy 

Last week Lethbridge College launched its edgy "Totally New'd" campaign in outdoor, transit, and radio throughout Alberta and parts of BC and Saskatchewan. The campaign, developed with Academica Group's creative team (see our case study), promotes Lethbridge College's new facilities, name, brand, leadership, and attitude. It's created quite a stir around town, but is very popular with the target demographic. Website hits are up 15% already, and as Carmen Toth says "this one has legs... literally!" Expect to see ongoing adventures of Towel Guy in future. Totally New'd campaign


Postscript: (March 31, 2008): 
Lethbridge College "Towel Guy" hits Facebook: For those of you following the saga of Lethbridge College's "towel guy," he now has his own Facebook profile, and you can even play him at Scrabulous. Towel has joined numerous Facebook groups on both sides of the controversy, from "People against Lethbridge College's Totally New'd Personality" to "For Love of the Towel Guy" and "The Towel Guy is Sexy". Facebook

$122 million in budget for Saskatchewan PSE

Saskatchewan's 2008-09 budget included an 11% increase to the budget of the Ministry of Advanced Education. The Ready for Growth initiative promises $45.8 million in capital investments for the province's PSE institutions. $25.5 million will support a tuition freeze.  $12 million will fund a new Graduate Retention Program.  $10.5 million will add 120 new spots for registered nurse programs, and $9.8 million will go to SIAST to train health care professionals, add 42 new seats and keep tuition affordable.  Saskatchewan News Release

Skills training for northern Saskatchewan Aboriginals

The federal government and Saskatchewan's provincial government have announced a new Aboriginal Skills and Employment Partnership (ASEP) project.  The program will provide training and skills development opportunities for 1,500 Aboriginal people living in northern Saskatchewan.  More than $33 million in government funding for the project was announced late last week.  Saskatchewan News Release

uMontréal announces winners in video contest

More than 40 videos were submitted to the Université de Montréal / NightLife magazine contest, "Un avenir à créer" (A Future to Create), which encouraged UdeM students and alumni to express their visions of the future and higher education in 30 seconds. (A surprising number arrived at the conclusion, "l'avenir, c'est moi.") Throughout February, more than 4,000 people voted, and prizes included an internship as a videographer at the magazine. The contest will return next year. Finalist Videos | uMontreal media release 

UOIT announces pioneering Cybercrime centre

The University of Ontario Institute of Technology has announced plans for a unique new research centre focused on fighting online crime.  The Centre for Cybercrime Research will open this fall, and will address issues such as identity theft, e-theft, cyberbullying and online exploitation of children.  The centre will benefit from the leadership of a former Toronto police officer and internationally renowned expert in online child exploitation, Paul Gillespie.  The Toronto Star

uGuelph, Humber tackle obesity with new fitness degree

The University of Guelph and Humber College are offering a new fitness degree that is making headlines.  The program teaches students how to prescribe exercise and diet to individuals suffering from obesity and obesity-related diseases.  The 4-year program was developed in response to growing demand in the fitness industry, and will take its first class in Fall 2008.  There are more than 5.5 million Canadian adults and 500,000 children who are obese.  uGuelph News Release | The National Post | The Vancouver Province 

Trebas Institute did not accommodate blind student

A recent ruling by the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has confirmed that all PSE institutions, large or small, have a duty to accommodate students with disabilities. The Tribunal found that Trebas Institute Ontario, a private career college in Toronto, discriminated against a blind student by leaving all accommodations up to the student to arrange. The ruling requires Trebas to ensure all written materials for its courses are available in alternative formats, and to designate an administrator responsible for and trained in accommodating students with disabilities. Ontario Human Rights Commission media release

College students are depressed, anxious "stress cases"

In a recent MTVu survey of 2,000 students on 40 US campuses, 80% said they experienced stress on a daily basis.  60% had trouble motivating themselves, and more than 50% had trouble sleeping and concentrating.  36% said they felt like failures at least some of the time, and 9% had seriously considered suicide in the past 12 months. Despite all this, only 20% were willing to make use of on-campus mental-health resources. 68% felt that the US made a mistake in going to war with Iraq. 62% said they had answered with "complete honesty." Executive Summary (4-page PDF) | The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) | Associated Press 

Chicago studies "potholes" on the road to college

In Chicago, just 8% of high school students gain a college degree by their mid-20s. Although 83% say they want to pursue PSE, 40% of those never even apply. A new three-year study out of the University of Chicago has found that critical factors include a "college-going culture" at the high school, and steady support from teachers and guidance counsellors through the financial aid and application process. (One pilot program assigns a counsellor to incoming grade 9s for 5 years, through their first year of PSE.) Simplifying the financial aid application process could make a big difference to participation rates. Christian Science Monitor