Top Ten

April 10, 2008

19 UBC students arrested at fiery protest

In January, we reported that student vandals had "declared war" on the UBC administration over the bulldozing of a student-built park. Last Friday night, students lit a protest bonfire on UBC's Vancouver campus, and the RCMP and fire department were summoned. When students blocked the firefighters' access to the bonfire, police intervened and 19 students were arrested. (The YouTube video "Knoll Aid" captures the entire series of events in just 6 minutes.) Now, the students are demanding a public inquiry, and claim that police "used excessive force, aggravated a peaceful situation and engaged in a process of misinformation with the media."  UBC News Release | Maclean's On Campus

BC minister says colleges and universities will "do fine"

The Globe & Mail reports that BC's minister of advanced education "is confident the province's colleges and universities will manage recent funding changes without major program disruption or layoffs."  In response to widespread coverage and several concerned news releases about program cuts and layoffs from both schools and faculty associations, on Tuesday the minister said, "I think they will do fine," and that only small programs or those not in high demand would be affected.  The Globe & Mail

Niagara College tops Ontario satisfaction KPIs for fourth year

According to this year's Ontario college Key Performance Index (KPI) surveys, 91% of Ontario college grads found jobs within 6 months, 93% of employers were satisfied with the quality of educational preparation, 83% of grads were satisfied with the usefulness of their college education, and 78% were satisfied with the overall quality of services, programming and resources available to them.  Niagara College was #1 in overall student satisfaction for the fourth year in a row.  Georgian College had the highest graduate employment rate (94%).  Cambrian and Sault Colleges tied for the highest graduate satisfaction rate (87%).  Collège Boréal had the highest employer satisfaction rate (98%), and graduation rate (77%).  Colleges Ontario News Release | The St. Catherine's Standard

Canadian universities targets for student lawsuits

Over the past 30 years, university administrators and lawyers have seen a steady increase in student lawsuits.  Recently, uWinnipeg has been taken to court over a B+, UBC won an $18-million lawsuit with a student claiming religious discrimination, and the BC Ministry of Advanced Education has been sued over a student loan issue.  (The Top Ten has recently covered student lawsuits levelled against Colleges Ontario, Laurentian, York, UBC, and threatened against St. Thomas U.) Most institutional lawyers are careful not to cite cases, for fear of copycat lawsuits.  Some speculate that the increasing litigiousness is fuelled by the perception that universities have plenty of money, and are likely to settle out of court just to keep an issue quiet.  University Affairs

McGill scores prime time exposure for the price of a sweatshirt

Fans of Fox TV's House (and there are 20 million of them) know that Dr. James Wilson, the foil to Dr. Gregory House's sarcastic cynicism, often appears on the show sporting a McGill sweatshirt.  (Wilson's girlfriend has also worn the sweatshirt.) The series, conceived by a Canadian, approached McGill for branded items as props back in 2005 -- with no other explanation than that they would be worn by Wilson.  McGill asked only that the items be used in a respectful and appropriate manner.  University Affairs

UCFV hopes to dispel myths about the IT sector

In the hope of encouraging more students to pursue Information Technology programs, the University College of the Fraser Valley is offering a series of free online webinars on April 15 and 17.  According to UCFV, there are 10,000 IT jobs open in BC alone, and new IT grads are starting at $50,000 salaries ($90,000 with just two years experience).  UCFV's Computer Information Systems department head believes that the industry continues to suffer from a "bad rap" acquired during the dot-com bust.  UCFV News Release

4 Atlantic colleges to provide custom training to newspaper staff

The College of the North Atlantic, Holland College, Nova Scotia Community College, and New Brunswick Community College have signed a pan-Atlantic training contract with the Atlantic Community Newspaper Association.  The ACNA represents more than 64 newspapers.  All 4 colleges will offer custom training to ACNA members, including a 3-day Professional Selling Program for newspaper ad sales staff.  An On-Line Ad Sales program will also be available.  NSCC News Release

uRegina takes new student orientation program on the road

The University of Regina will be making stops across Saskatchewan, delivering open workshops to prepare new students for university life.  The "UR Ready" workshops will provide need-to-know information about student life, and provide a forum for students to ask any questions they might have for their upcoming term.  uRegina News Release

Women more likely to return to school after dropping out

New research indicates that young women are less likely to drop out of high school than men, and more likely to return to school if they do drop out: 43% of women returning to PSE, compared to 33% of men.  Women who left school due to personal reasons were 30% more likely to return.  The likelihood of continuing to PSE was a factor in returning to high school for both men and women.  CTV | Statistics Canada (with thanks to Dale Kirby at Memorial University)

US News asks counsellors, presidents for advice on rankings

US News & World Report may be including high school counsellors' opinions in next year's college rankings.  Surveys were sent to 1,600 high school counselling offices.  US News is also asking college presidents to identify "up and coming" colleges, and opening the doors for suggestions on the weighting system used in the rankings.  After a year of push-back from liberal arts colleges in particular, it looks like the controversial national rankings will be taking the advice of educators for next year's issue.  Some high school counsellors, though, plan to boycott the survey.  Inside Higher Ed