Top Ten

March 27, 2008

$19 million for new digital media initiatives at OCAD, uWaterloo

We knew we would miss a few stories from yesterday's Ontario Budget. Announcements also included $19 million from the Ministry of Research and Innovation to encourage skills development and research in digital media. The University of Waterloo received $10 million towards a new digital media institute at its proposed Stratford campus. The Ontario College of Art & Design received $9 million toward a new lab in interactive design and digital media, which will eventually become a Centre for Research and Graduate Studies at the school.  uWaterloo News Release | OCAD News Release

Canadian campuses turning out the lights for Earth Hour

Many of Canada's universities, colleges and polytechnics will be participating in Earth Hour tomorrow.  The Earth Hour event asks participants to turn off their lights and "non-essential electrical appliances" for just one hour, to take a stand against climate change and global warming.  Earth Hour | SFU News Release | Georgian College News Release | uGuelph News Release

uWaterloo announces Open Text Centre for Digital Media Research

Yesterday we mentioned that the Ontario Budget included $10 million for a new digital media institute at the new Stratford campus of the University of Waterloo. Now uWaterloo has announced a further $10 million, contributed by Waterloo-based software giant Open Text Corporation, for which the new institute will be named. The centre will bring together researchers and students from around the world to focus on digital media applications and ways to commercialize this research into a rapidly-evolving private sector. uWaterloo News Release | Open Text News Release

$19-million sports research facility at Camosun

A year ago, the province of BC committed $6.1 million to Camosun College to support the $18.5 million Pacific Sport Institute.  Last week, the cheque was delivered. The facility plans to open its first phase in September 2008, including facilities for sports science and sport medicine, as well as an all-weather field, double gym, fitness and wellness facilities, classrooms and labs.  The second phase will include a third gym, a track and broadcast centre.  Journal of Commerce

Toronto multiplex doubles as Ryerson class space

Ryerson University will be holding morning classes in the theatres of a local movie multiplex.  Students get in free to see movies at the theatre this weekend, and also get a $2 discount on regular-price $13 tickets next year.  Shared use of the facility was negotiated ten years ago when the university allowed AMC Canada to build the theatre above its parking garage.  Special mini-desktops have been designed that will fit into seat cupholders, and then fold away when the space is being used as a regular movie theatre.  The Toronto Star

Concordia part-time faculty may be on strike as of Monday

900 part-time faculty at Concordia University are threatening a strike that may cut the term short for many students.  The union has been without a contract or wage increase for six years, and has had it with "being treated like a side order of french fries."  Concordia Media Relations reports that the majority of classes will not be affected, and asks students to attend all classes. Class and work disruptions are not currently planned for the exam period.  The Montreal Gazette | Concordia News Release

Review finds Memorial professor was treated unfairly

An external review has found that Cathy Popadiuk, a medical professor at Memorial University, was subjected to years of harassment and bullying.  The report finds that Popadiuk "was placed in an intimidating, hostile environment, has been discouraged by her superiors and has had her clinical work assessed in a manner that denied her justice."  The Canadian Association of University Teachers commissioned the independent review, which was released yesterday.  The report recommends that both the University and the Eastern Health authority issue an apology.  The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) | CAUT Bulletin

Postscript: June 24, 2008

Memorial medical professor sues UBC dean of medicine: The CAUT review found Memorial University gynecology oncology professor Cathy Popadiuk was harassed by the university and the Eastern Health Corp, because of a letter written by University of British Columbia's dean of medicine, Gavin Stuart. Now Popadiuk is suing Stuart for defamation. Popadiuk claims Stuart's letter insinuates she was unprofessional. In his statement of defence, Stuart says he had an ethical duty to report Popadiuk's conduct, and denies he defamed her. CanWest News Service

Grenfell College moves toward independence

Legislation granting university status to Sir Wilfred Grenfell College may be introduced as early as the current session of Newfoundland & Labrador's House of Assembly.  The stakeholder advisory committee's report has been completed, and provides principles that will guide the province through the implementation process.  The committee included members of the Board of Regents, student representatives, and officials from both Memorial University and Grenfell, as well as provincial representatives.  The Western Star


Carleton University launches project to overcome digital divide

Carleton University plans to narrow Canada's digital divide by bringing technology into rural and remote communities.  The university's Centre for Community Innovation will offer an "essential workplace skills" project that will use technology to overcome geographic distance, time, infrastructure and computer literacy barriers.  The project will use video and audio-graphic conferencing, satellite radio, podcasts and collaborative wiki's (online white boards) to "foster an entrepreneurial work culture in central and eastern Canada."  The Ottawa Citizen

Globe & Mail publishes "Report on MBA Programs"

Yesterday's Globe & Mail included a standalone insert on Canadian MBA programs with a number of feature stories. MBA students are finding a growing range of specialty degrees in IT, Biotech, and Tech Management. CIHR has helped 28 science doctoral grads pursue MBAs in the past 3 years, to encourage the commercialization of research. Many biz schools are introducing entrepreneurship streams for students interested in becoming their own bosses, and increasingly focus on business ethics. A sidebar listing selected MBA tuitions and scholarships includes the $60,000 Krembil scholarship at York's Schulich School of Business. Highlighted biz courses include the treatment of accountants in Hollywood movies and lessons from the NHL.

Queen's University releases revised code of conduct

Kingston neighbours of Queen's University are happy to hear about proposed changes to the school's non-academic code of conduct.  Queen's released the proposed revisions to the code on Monday, after months of work by a panel of staff, students and faculty.  If the document is accepted by senate, the code will go into effect for June.  The code requires that any punishable actions have a "real and substantial connection" to the university. The revised code continues to rely on the community to report incidents, which some community members feel is not enough.  The Whig-Standard

CFI distributes $23 million for research

The Canada Foundation for Innovation has announced $22.5 million to fund 134 projects across 31 Canadian universities.  $18.7 million was distributed through the Leaders Opportunity Fund, and a further $3.7 million through the Infrastructure Operating Fund.  The University of Toronto received the largest overall funding amount, with $2.3 million across 15 projects.  The University of British Columbia came in close behind with $2.1 million across 17 projects.  The University of Montreal received $1.8 million across 11 projects.  CFI News Release | BC News Release 

Michigan State opens first major US campus in Dubai

Michigan State University was the first major US university to open a branch campus in Dubai.  Known for its strong global presence, MSU had yet to "heavily engage" in the Middle East.  In 2006, International Academic City in Dubai offered the university a line of credit to cover its start-up costs with the promise of repayment from tuition revenues.  MSU's Dubai campus is set to open this August, and will offer undergraduate degrees in computer engineering and project and construction management.  200 students are expected to enroll for the first term.  The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

McGill encourages ideas to "Cut the Red Tape"

In an effort to reduce administrative hassles and bureaucracy, McGill University recently challenged its community to "Cut the Red Tape."  More than 100 proposals singled out procedures and policies that the community wants to see changed, and 10 winning suggestions received a $100 prize. "Participants got right to the heart of the bureaucracy that bugs them and made relevant and constructive suggestions for change."  One suggestion pointed out that students have to visit several different offices across campus to process their federal student loan cheques -- the University has consequently committed to having all the cheques delivered to a single location.  McGill News Release

Most students are "in it for the money"

A new study published in the Education Guardian finds many university students are selecting their courses based on career plans and employability, not personal or academic interest.  Almost 22% of 130,000 students reported that "getting a good job" was their main reason for choosing a program of study.  17% said they chose their study area based on interest.  55% of students had already determined their career paths after graduation, while just 8% had no idea about their future careers.  The Manitoban (student newspaper)

Smithies shares Nobel prize money with 4 universities

Nobel prize winner Oliver Smithies says that the year he spent at the University of Toronto set him on the path to the prestigious award.  In recognition of this, Dr. Smithies has announced he will share his Nobel prize money with UofT's Faculty of Medicine to establish an annual lecture.  Smithies will also be donating to the University of North Carolina, the University of Oxford, and the University of Wisconsin.  The Globe & Mail

Part-time faculty may be linked to retention issues

New research suggests that first-year students are more likely to drop out of university if "gatekeeper courses" are taught by part-time faculty.  (Gatekeeper courses are defined as any large introductory class that is required to move forward in a program.)  A study across four universities found that students taught by part-time faculty in these types of classes were significantly less likely to continue their education beyond first year.  The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

"High-stakes game" in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Qatar

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar "have been engaged in a high-stakes game of one-upmanship involving... American universities."  Traditional centres of education in the region have declined due to war, poverty, and political conflict.  Cornell U, Carnegie Mellon U, Georgetown U and several other high-profile American institutions have signed onto the "Education City" complex in Qatar. Back in 2003, Dubai established its "Knowledge Village," an education "mall" targetting the large population of expats in the community.  Abu Dhabi recently lured New York University away from Dubai by making a $50-million commitment.  The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

Web giants support open source social networking

Google launched the OpenSocial platform last October, hoping to create an open-source programming standard for social networking applications, such as those created for Facebook, MySpace, and Google's own Orkut. This week, Yahoo, Google and MySpace announced the creation of the OpenSocial Foundation, to launch in the next 90 days. Ultimately, the vision would allow your school to build a widget that works not just on MySpace, but on Google's Orkut as well as Hi5 and Bebo too.  Facebook runs on a different standard and is one of the few major sites that have yet to join the OpenSocial movement -- despite being the first to open up their Platform to application development in the first place.  Business Week 

JuicyCampus gossip website defends against its own backlash says that investigations into the website are "heavy-handed" and a "waste of government resources."  The New Jersey and Connecticut attorneys general are currently investigating the self-styled gossip website.  The site's founders say that they have been open about the site's content from the start, and that federal court rulings have not held other sites responsible for similar content.  Inside Higher Ed | JuicyCampus Blog