Top Ten

May 29, 2008

Ryerson renames nursing school for $5 million gift

Ryerson University announced last Thursday it will name its School of Nursing in honour of Daphne Cockwell in recognition of her family's ongoing support of the university and its Master Plan. The Cockwell family has made lifetime contributions of $11.5 million to Ryerson, including a new gift of $5 million towards a new facility for the nursing school, which will be renamed the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing. This is the first nursing school in Canada to be named after a nurse. Ryerson News

uMontreal launches innovative news webcasts

Today, the Université de Montréal claims it has become the first university in Canada to webcast its campus news. "Forum en clips" (named for the campus newspaper, Forum) will produce a steady stream of 3-minute reports on campus life, researchers and academics, to be accessible on the uMontreal website, YouTube and iTunesU. The new approach is expected to appeal to younger users and prospective students. (Thanks to Philippe Beauregard and his team for the late-night scoop!)  Forum en clips | iTunesU.uMontreal | uMontreal media release

OCAD launches mural contest with Michener Institute

The Ontario College of Art and Design is partnering with the Michener Institute of Applied Health Sciences in launching a mural contest, for a grand prize of $1,500. Third-year, fourth-year and graduating OCAD students are invited to submit proposals to create a mural/multi-media design in honour of the institute's 50th anniversary. The design will be featured on the Elm St. side of the building. The deadline for the proposals is June 16. OCAD News | Michener News

DRR not meeting loan borrowers' needs

Coalition for Student Loan Fairness co-founder Julian Benedict argues the federal government's loan remission program, Debt Reduction in Repayment, is not effectively meeting the needs of loan borrowers facing financial crisis. 45% of borrowers who applied for DRR were declined in 2007. Since 2001, only 2 out of 18,000 borrowers have received $20,000 or more in debt relief. More people are being declined every year -- 329 people received between $4000 and $5000 in 2005, compared to 170 in 2007. Maclean's OnCampus

uCalgary credit card policy highlights bigger problem

Calgary Herald blogger Kris Kotarski says the protest of University of Calgary' students over the school's new no-credit card policy should tell us something about the current state of student finances -- the fact that credit cards are a necessity in paying tuition and fees signifies shortcomings in the student loan system. He notes credit cards are "a necessary bridge between tuition deadlines and available funds." Kotarski says the short-term solution to students' desperation is to keep the credit card payment option, while revisiting the government loan system in the long run. Q Blog

uVic professor criticizes free Mandarin courses in BC

University of Victoria professor Dennis Pilon says BC's accepting an offer from China to fund high-school level Mandarin courses in the province leaves it open to political pressure from China. He says accepting funding from foreign governments for things wanted or needed in BC would interfere with citizens' rights to hold the province accountable. BC's Education Minister says the funding agreement is simply a gift from one Olympic host to another, and the free courses are an effort to strengthen ties between the trading and cultural partners. Maclean's OnCampus

Barrie residents concerned about student housing plan

Residents in northeast Barrie are raising concerns about a townhouse development proposal that could add 376 college students to the area. East-end Barrie residents have complained about Georgian students regarding traffic, parking, noise and littering. To deal with these concerns, the city has introduced specific bylaws and housing standards, as well as an increased police presence in the area where students live. The developer says professional property management will be available to address any on-site issues, and fences and natural barriers will surround the townhouses. Barrie Examiner

McMaster to make rare books publicly available

McMaster University Library is teaming up with US companies Kirtas Technologies and to make rare books available to the public. Starting this fall, the library will be using scanning technology from Kirtas to digitize rare, out-of-print books in its collections. The files will be available on the Internet, through the library, and for sale on The library also hopes to earn revenue through the print-on-demand service offered by McMaster Daily News | Campus Technology

Graduation gap exists for first-generation students, despite preparation

A new study from the US College Board finds first-generation PSE students are less likely than their peers to earn degrees, despite any high school preparation. First-generation students enrolling in 4-year colleges had a graduation rate of nearly 45%, compared to 59% for their peers. First-generation students were less likely to enter a second year at 2-year institutions. When factoring in highly rigorous course work at high schools, high SAT scores and 4.0 GPAs, first-generation students were still less likely to obtain a degree than their peers. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

Researchers raise concerns over student engagement surveys

Cornell University researchers argue that results from student engagement surveys are not very reliable. The researchers set up the study after noticing that response rates to surveys of Cornell students decreased, while reported levels of satisfaction increased. Women with high GPAs were most likely to respond to these surveys, while black male students, international students and members of fraternities and sororities were not. One of the study's authors says the results show a need to keep the results of student surveys in context, and to avoid sweeping comparisons to other schools. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) | Read the full report