Top Ten

May 16, 2008

Acadia's "Tides are Turning" campaign surpasses $50-million goal

Last Friday, Acadia University announced pledges have topped the $52-million mark in its "Tides are Turning" capital campaign. Launched in October 2006 with a goal of $50 million, the campaign has been the university's most ambitious and broad-based. Almost two-thirds of all campaign donors are Acadia alumni. The campaign priorities include enhancements to financial aid and student life, redevelopment of West campus, endowments to the K.C. Irving Environment Trust, and development of the Learning Commons. Acadia U News Release 

McGill purchases Anglican Diocesan Theological College

McGill University has bought the Anglican Diocesan Theological College for an undisclosed amount. Given the church's declining influence in Montreal and that Anglicans represent less than 1% of the city's population, the college can no longer afford to maintain the century-old neo-Gothic building. However, the college will lease the north wing of the building, known as the Principal's Lodge, from McGill, convert it into a seminary and continue to use St. Luke's chapel in the building's south wing, which it will share with the university as a multi-purpose teaching facility. Montreal Gazette

Dal plans to sell apartment-style residence

Dalhousie University is one step closer to selling Fenwick Towers, its 33-storey, apartment-style residence which houses more than 400 students. The building will be up for sale in the coming weeks, and the university still hasn't decided where to house Fenwick's current residents after the 2008-09 school year. A university spokesman says the main problem with the building is its location, a 15-minute walk from campus -- but others suggest the reason for the sale is Fenwick's "outdated and shabby condition." The Coast

MSVU halts IT admissions

Mount Saint Vincent University has stopped accepting applications for its Information Technology program, despite the fact that high-tech employers in Nova Scotia are clamoring for more workers. The move signals a possible phase-out of the program, which offers a Bachelor of Applied Arts degree in IT, as well as diplomas and certificates in the field. Enrolment in MSVU's IT program dropped from 27 in 2006 to 10 in 2007. Only 5 students completed the application process for the upcoming school year. Declining enrolments in IT programs is a problem for many Canadian universities, in spite of the demand for IT workers. Halifax Chronicle-Herald

NAIT, GPRC, Northern Lakes College work together in NW Alberta

3 Alberta colleges have developed a new approach to delivering PSE programming, including apprenticeship and trades training, for students in northwest Alberta. Board governors from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, Grande Prairie Regional College and Northern Lakes College met with the province's Advanced Education minister on Wednesday to clarify stewardship roles and program delivery in the area. NLC will be responsible for strategic and long-term planning over the northern part of the region, while GPRC will cover the southern part. NAIT will continue to deliver programming in the area through brokerage agreements with the two other colleges. Alberta News Release 

CFS may change rules for membership referenda

Maclean's Joey Coleman observes that next weekend, the Canadian Federation of Students will vote on bylaw amendments to give its national staff power to set membership referendum dates, expand the referendum oversight committee's responsibilities, and raise the quorum from 5% of the student body to 10%. The CFS is currently challenging votes from two student unions in favour of leaving the federation. Coleman says the bylaw amendments may result in more student unions leaving, making the CFS "its own worst enemy." By comparison, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations and the Canadian University Press are experiencing strong growth with an "easy in, easy out" membership policy. CFS says the story is false and misrepresents the facts. Maclean's OnCampus

"Bright future" for private sector role in global PSE

As Apollo Group announced plans for Meritus University in Fredericton, the CEO of Laureate Education told a forum on private education in Washington he envisions a "bright future" for the private sector in international PSE. Demand for higher education among 18- to 24-year-olds is growing by 10% a year, drawing ever more institutions into the market seeking to meet the demand that countries' governments cannot. But would-be providers of private PSE should be accountable, operate at government standards and perform well. Inside Higher Ed

uWashington plans world's largest environmental college

The University of Washington plans to create what it calls the largest environmental college in the world, to open as early as Fall 2009. The proposed $60-million College of the Environment would merge 6 existing departments and schools -- Forestry, Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, Atmospheric Sciences, Earth and Space Sciences, Marine Affairs and Oceanography. The college would create a new program -- Environment, Society and Culture -- and have the ability to grant degrees at the undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral level. Seattle Times 

uIowa to monitor student athletes' Facebook profiles

The University of Iowa has approved a new social networking policy and guiding principles for student athletes in their use of the sites. The school's athletics department will perform random check of sites like Facebook and MySpace, to crack down on athletes who "inappropriately represent" the university. The policy cautions students about what they post on their profiles, which are, if not private, easily accessible by reporters, parents, coaches, recruiters and fans. Students are subject to punishment if their profiles are found to contain inappropriate images, sexual content, underage drinking or illegal drug use. Daily Iowan (student newspaper)

Blackboard launches Facebook application

On Wednesday, course management giant Blackboard released a new Facebook application called Blackboard Sync. The application replicates the functionality of Blackboard sites, where students can download course materials, post to message boards, upload assignments and check grades. The purpose of the application is to bring Blackboard's services where students already are, and to capitalize on the social networking site's popularity and collaboration capabilities. For privacy and security reasons, the application will not pull academic data from Blackboard onto a user's Facebook page. Instead, it will notify users of updates on course material or grades. Inside Higher Ed | The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) | Blackboard Sync Facebook application