Top Ten

May 28, 2008

UBC offers $50,000 reward for stolen art items

The theft of artwork by the late Bill Reid at the University of British Columbia's Museum of Anthropology over the weekend has prompted the university to offer $50,000 for information leading to the safe return of the items and arrest of the thieves by the end of June. At least 10 gold items were stolen from the $2-million collection, including some Inca gold necklaces. The search for the stolen art has reached the international level as the RCMP has contacted Interpol for help. UBC News Release | Vancouver Province | CBC | Maclean's OnCampus

uToronto renames architecture department for $14-million donation

Developer and businessman John Daniels and his wife Myrna announced Tuesday a $14-million donation to the University of Toronto's faculty of architecture. $9 million will fund renovations to the faculty's building, while $5 million will support scholarships, with preference going to students who, like Daniels, a graduate of the faculty, are the first in their family to attend PSE. In honour of the donation, the school will be renamed the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design. uToronto News | Globe and Mail

CFS condemns non-academic codes of conduct

In a recent meeting in Ottawa, the Canadian Federation of Students voted unanimously to condemn nearly all non-academic codes of conduct. The organization says such codes are acceptable only if a majority of students are involved in their development and if they don't penalize student groups for criticizing their school, or limit student political activity. The University of Ottawa has proposed a code which would allow the school to apply academic sanctions to non-academic actions. Student leaders have complained that the code is unnecessary because all of the potential violations are already illegal. Ottawa Citizen

Halifax needs to ensure student safety, says criminologist

A Dalhousie University criminologist says Halifax needs to take measures to ensure the safety of its university students. In a report on city violence, the criminologist recommends increased public transit at night for students to get to and from downtown, as well as the creation of a police liaison to help prevent crime against and committed by students. A survey conducted by The Halifax Student Alliance found 45% of students said they had been the victim of a crime, and 12% had been sexually assaulted downtown. Halifax Chronicle-Herald

Some universities' interest rates worse than credit card rates

In a survey of 27 Canadian universities, Maclean's OnCampus discovered some schools charge a higher rate of interest on late payments than do credit cards. The University of Northern British Columbia has the highest annualized interest rate at 26.82%, while Memorial has the lowest at 6.75%. 7 universities surveyed have interest rates of nearly 20%. Many universities charge a flat rate fee on top of interest, while others, such as uWaterloo and UWO, just apply a fee. 6 universities do not charge late fees to loan borrowers, while 7 make special exceptions. Maclean's OnCampus

BC to double training spots for physiotherapists

BC's Advanced Education Minister announced Tuesday that new provincial funding for UBC's physical therapy training program will double the number of physiotherapists educated in the province. Currently the program has 40 graduates a year. By 2011 there will be an expected 80 graduates. The province is providing over $7 million to help the university create a state-of-the art home for the program, as well as a one-time grant of $125,000 for new equipment. BC News Release

GPRC signs transfer agreement with Australia's Griffith University

Representatives from Grande Prairie Regional College and Australia's Griffith University signed a memorandum of agreement last Friday to facilitate the block transfer of students from the northwestern Alberta college into related degrees at Griffith. Through the agreement, applicants from GPRC who meet the established requirements will be eligible for admission to the Australian school, provided all other entrance criteria are met and space remains available in the related program of study. GPRC News Release

"Intellectual ability" only barrier to PSE, says Wente

Margaret Wente wonders in Saturday's Globe and Mail who's to blame for the number of students who struggle for years to complete a university degree, or who feel that their degrees are worthless when complete. She suggests the real problem is that too many kids go to university, and the biggest barrier to pursuing PSE is intellectual ability -- "a lot of kids just aren't smart enough." Wente supposes schools are lowering the bar to admit enough students, many of whom are completely unprepared for university. Globe and Mail (subscription required)

Postscript June 3 2008:

In response to Margaret Wente's column, Ken Coates (uWaterloo's Faculty of Arts dean) and Clive Keen (an education consultant formerly at UPEI) say the answer is not to reduce the number of students in university, but rather to diversify options in PSE to attract students who may not be suited for university. Universities need to offer more applied programs and find ways to attract more students into programs of high need, such as health sciences and IT. Globe and Mail

Social media strategies for recruiting mature students

This Friday, two of Academica Group's social media consultants, Chris Skinkle and Melissa Cheater, will present on "Engaging Mature Students in the Age of Facebook, YouTube and Wikipedia" at the 2008 conference of the Canadian Association for University Continuing Education (CAUCE), in London Ontario. Academica's social media team has helped more than 100 Canadian PSE institutions approach the Facebook question with SkoolPool, and will introduce its new iPSE "web video jukebox" solution at the conference. CAUCE 2008 Conference | Presentation Abstract

Google most desirable employer among MBA students

According to a poll conducted by Universum Communications, nearly one-quarter of MBA students surveyed cited Google among 5 employers they would most like to join after graduation. The search engine company is "famous for keeping employees happy" with free gourmet food, time to work on independent projects and talks with visiting authors. Women were more likely to choose companies with recognizable brand names like Apple and Starbucks, while men had more interest in finance and consulting firms like JPMorgan and General Electric. CNN