Top Ten

April 23, 2008

Green projects at Canadian universities

Yesterday, in honour of Earth Day, the Globe & Mail summarized a range of environmental research projects underway at Canadian universities: from dramatic changes in soil composition (McGill), a tree-ring research network (uWinnipeg), and the relationship between mussels and the coast (StFX), to ways to incorporate non-recycled waste glass into fired clay bricks (McMaster), canola-based biodiesel fuel for buses (uSask), and genetically-modified crops to grow in harsh climates (UWO). Globe and Mail

Canada eases foreign student visas, while US doubles fees

The federal government has introduced new rules to work permits for international students who study at Canadian PSE institutions. Under the new guidelines, students will no longer need a job offer to apply for a work visa, and will also be allowed to remain in Canada for up to three years. Meanwhile, in the US, the Department of Homeland Security proposed doubling student visa fees to $200. The additional funds will go toward the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, which tracks foreign students and exchange visitors in the US. Globe and Mail | Government of Canada News Release | Inside Higher Ed | The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

BC announces "Kwantlen Polytechnic University"

Following the UFV announcement on Monday, BC Premier Gordon Campbell announced yesterday that Kwantlen University College will be redesignated Kwantlen Polytechnic University, pending amendments to BC's Universities Act. "As a polytechnic university, Kwantlen will be better positioned to serve the fast-growing segment of the population with higher education needs that are increasingly career-focused." Kwantlen will build on its international reputation in key areas of specialization and excellence including: trades and technology; community health studies, which includes a unique bachelor of psychiatric nursing program; the Institute for Sustainable Horticulture; and applied design programs. BC media release | Kwantlen media release 

uCalgary postpones two final exams after threat

The University of Calgary postponed final exams yesterday for more than 500 students due to concerns over an off-campus shooting at a student's home. An altercation at a downtown nightclub on the weekend led to shots being fired at the student's home. The student asked to have his Monday exam deferred because he was concerned about his safety. The school then decided to postpone Monday's exams to May 1 as a precaution. CBC

McGill fires 72 TAs, sessionals due to strike

McGill University has fired 72 teaching assistants from exam supervisor positions, jobs that are outside the striking TA union. The school has also fired sessional instructors belonging to the same union. McGill's AVP of Human Resources says the school is "simply following the letter of the Quebec labour code," which prohibits an employer from using the services of an employee belonging to a bargaining unit that is on strike or in lockout. The Montreal Gazette says McGill is "playing hardball." (McGill was recently found in violation of the labour code when professors without managerial status were taking on the workload of striking TAs.) Montreal Gazette

Red Deer College launches "college is better" campaign

Alberta's Red Deer College has launched their first multi-channel recruitment advertising campaign. With wry headlines like "Playing scratch and win tickets isn't a career path," the campaign features the tagline, "Dreams are good. College is better." The campaign, which is targeting Calgary and Edmonton markets, stresses a positive difference between college and university: seats still open at RDC for fall classes while other institutions are reaching capacity, and credit-card payment options, while many universities are rejecting credit card payments. RDC News Release

Employment comes sooner for applied grads in BC

Results from the BC College and Institute Student Outcomes Survey (CISO) shows 85% of applied program graduates were employed at the time of the survey, compared to just 64% of arts and sciences graduates. Students who studied arts and science were more likely to pursue further studies. 95% of respondents said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their education. CISO is conducted annually province-wide, and asks former students to rate their education and report on further studies or employment experiences. Maclean's OnCampus | Methodology

MBA students not finding idealism in job market

A new report from the Aspen Institute Centre for Business Education finds a growing number of US business students are looking at companies which strive to make a difference, but finding recruiters aren't nearly as interested in social and environmental issues. 50% of students felt recruiters placed emphasis on a candidate's personal integrity, while just 7% thought their understanding of social and political issues mattered to recruiters. 83% of students said they expected to be asked on occasion to do something in business that went against their values, but only 45% said they would voice their objections. Women in MBA programs were more likely to care about having a positive impact than their male counterparts, and one-third of students indicated that a company's environmental record would influence where they would apply for jobs.  The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

Facebook application helps students research graduate schools

US News & World Report created a Facebook application called Gradzilla, which is designed to help students research graduate programs in the US. Gradzilla uses data based on US News' grad school rankings. The application offers a search engine, polls, access to school rankings, school information, and interaction with schools' profiles. US News & World Report | Gradzilla on Facebook Platform

Fair-weather friends in US college admissions offices

Just what students need to confirm their worst fears about arbitrary admissions policies: new research finds that the odds of students getting into a college are affected by the weather on the day their applications are being reviewed. The study, published in the Journal of Behavioral Decision, examined over 680 college applications and judged recommendations based on weather by the dates on the applications. According to the study, applications reviewed on the sunniest days were more than 10% likelier to be accepted, and pleasant weather prompted reviewers to place less merit on academic achievement. Boston Globe