Top Ten

May 13, 2008

uSask to house transportation engineering centre

The Saskatchewan government announced on Saturday it will partner with the University of Saskatchewan to position the province as a North American leader in the application of new highway and road construction technologies. The Saskatchewan Centre of Excellence for Transportation and Infrastructure, to be housed within uSask's College of Engineering, will be a research and training hub unique in Western Canada. The Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure will contribute up to $1 million initially toward applied research and specialized training programs through the centre, which will serve as a "living laboratory." Saskatchewan News Release

New guides on student privacy and safety in development

In the wake of Nadia Kajouji's suicide, BC and Ontario privacy commissioners are creating support materials to help campus counsellors recognize when a student's personal safety trumps privacy concerns. In a joint statement issued last Friday, commissioners David Loukidelis and Ann Cavoukian reiterated that personal information can be disclosed in emergency situations, such as the risk of suicide. Loukidelis says the support material will include a set of FAQs, scenarios, tips, and case studies to assist counsellors in making judgments about privacy and safety. The materials will most likely be ready in a few months. Ottawa Citizen | Information and Privacy Commissioner News Release

BC offers more support to students with disabilities

Last Friday, BC's Advanced Education Ministry announced it will enhance PSE access for students with permanent disabilities, by providing $12 million over 6 years. A ministry disability coordinator will ensure better alignment of programs and services for students with disabilities. The Assistance Program for Students with Permanent Disabilities, which offers financial assistance, will be expanded to include students studying at private institutions in BC. A $6.6-million Supplemental Bursary program for disabled students will help with educational costs. BC News Release

NSCC and Acadia launch joint Geomatics MSc

Nova Scotia Community College and Acadia University have joined forces to create the Joint Masters of Science in Applied Geomatics, which will give graduates with Advanced Diplomas from the NSCC's Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS) the opportunity to pursue either a thesis or coursework track at Acadia. Students accepted into the program will be required to complete an additional year of residency at Acadia, as well as a thesis or major research project supervised by faculty from both schools. NSCC News Release

NSCAD close to getting Master of Film program

The Nova Scotia College of Art and Design's Board of Governors have approved a proposal for a new Master of Film program, which has been forwarded to the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission for review. The program, offered over 22 months, will combine directing, writing and producing with technical training and studies in film history and theory. NSCAD News

CEO says smart education choices better for economy

Retired EnCana CEO Gwyn Morgan argues in Monday's Globe & Mail that recent StatsCan data proves PSE institutions should allocate more resources to teaching in-demand job skills. In 2001, 128,400 students were in enrolled in engineering, applied sciences and health care, compared to 316,500 in arts, humanities and social sciences -- which he calls low-paying, "unmarketable" programs. Morgan laments the growing shortage of skilled trade workers, because the students best suited to these fields are being lured away by universities. Globe & Mail

Postscript: May 22, 2008

In an unpublished letter to the Globe and Mail, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada's president Claire Morris writes there are great opportunities in the so-called "unmarketable" fields of social sciences, fine arts and humanities. Recent Census data reveals one-fifth of such graduates work in business, finance and administrative positions, and graduates from a wide variety of fields have achieved management status. Morris also says jobs for university graduates, no matter what discipline, are growing faster than for those without degrees. AUCC Resources

High school dean sues over fake Facebook profile

An Indiana high school dean and a Roman Catholic archdiocese are filing a lawsuit against a still-unidentified perpetrator who sent inappropriate messages to students through a Facebook profile registered in the dean's name. The fraudulent page was removed from the site last month, and a judge has ordered Facebook to turn over information to identify the user. A similar incident has happened in Canada: last week, a Manitoba teen was charged with impersonating one of his teachers on Facebook. Indianapolis Star

Commercial publisher buys Harvard alumni magazine

Manhattan Media, a small New York publisher, has bought "02138", a magazine for Harvard alumni, from Atlantic Media. The magazine was founded in 2006 as independent competition for the Harvard's official alumni publication. The new owners hope to expand the magazine into social networking and event sponsorship, and then add similar operations to other Ivy League schools. New York Times

Alabama campus security guard makes false report

Usually it's students facing final exams unprepared who are most likely to cause a bomb scare on campus. But last Friday, a security guard at Samford University in Alabama fabricated a story about an armed intruder which led to a campus lockdown. Apparently the guard resented not being allowed to carry a gun, and being forced to travel the campus in a golf cart. The school's president issued a statement that "appropriate disciplinary measures are being taken." Birmingham News

Women really love their blogs

According to the 2008 Social Media Study, over 36 million women participate in the blogosphere weekly. Over 15 million are publishing at least one post weekly, while over 21 million are reading and/or posting comments to blogs. Blog readers and writers alike are primarily motivated "just for the fun of it." The study found women are very passionate about the blogosphere: respondents said they would rather give up their PDAs (50%), iPods (42%), alcohol (55%) or even chocolate (20%) than give up the world of blogs. BizReport | Read the full report