Top Ten

August 14, 2008

McGill professor killed in Afghanistan

McGill University professor Jacqueline Kirk was among 3 female foreign aid workers killed in an ambush in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday. Kirk, who had recently been appointed an adjunct professor at McGill's faculty of education, was working in Afghanistan as an education-programs adviser for the International Rescue Committee. In a statement, McGill expressed condolences to Kirk's family, including her husband Andy, also a professor at the university. McGill News Release | CanWest News Service

$10 billion in PSE research and development spending

Research and development spending in the PSE sector in the 2006/2007 fiscal year totalled over $9.6 billion, according to new Statistics Canada data. Natural sciences -- excluding health sciences -- and engineering accounted for 41% of the total. PSE institutions themselves were the most significant contributors, investing more than $4.4 billion. The federal government was the second largest contributor, funding $2.5 billion. Statistics Canada

uToronto to house Canada's fastest supercomputer

On Thursday, the University of Toronto and IBM announced that the university's SciNet Consortium will acquire Canada's most powerful supercomputer. Performing 360 trillion calculations per second, the supercomputer will allow researchers working in fields such as aerospace and chemical physics to create more complex problems to solve. The datacentre will be built at a facility just north of Toronto, and is expected to be fully operational by next summer. uToronto News | CanWest News Service

Postscript: Jun 19, 2009
The University of Toronto's newest supercomputer -- the fastest of its kind in Canada -- went online yesterday. The $50-million machine can perform over 300 trillion calculations per second. While a small part of the IMB System x iDataPlex server has been operating since late last year in a warehouse north of Toronto, yesterday was the first time the supercomputer's full power was "unleashed." Globe and Mail

"Whistler U" proposal renewed

A group of landowners and educators are renewing their proposal to bring a private university to Whistler BC. The idea for "Whistler U" was first pitched 2 years ago after the owners of the Alpha Creek lands were looking to do something with the 77-acre property. Proponents of the institution have been working with University Canada West, a BC-based private university, to establish a satellite campus in the resort town. Whistler's mayor rejected the idea in 2006 out of concern that development on the land would endanger nearby wetland. Squamish Chief | Whistler U

NL government to meet with MUN's Board of Regents

In a statement released on Wednesday, Memorial University's board of regents announced it has agreed to meet with the Newfoundland and Labrador government to discuss issues surrounding university autonomy. The board held a special meeting on Tuesday to pass a number of resolutions relating to autonomy, as expressed in another statement released last week. The board also expressed its support of MUN's presidential search committee. MUN News | Western Star | Canadian Press

UBC student union denounces Bill 34

The University of British Columbia's Alma Mater Society is voicing its opposition against the province's recently passed University Amendment Act -- Bill 34 -- which removed the right of BC universities' alumni to elect chancellors. Instead, a university's board of governors will make the appointment following a nomination from the alumni association and consultation with the senate. The AMS says the change will further disconnect alumni from the UBC community, and sets up a path for the university to become an institution in which students have very minimal say. The Ubyssey (student paper) | Editorial | Bill 34

NB urged to lower student debt

In an open letter to New Brunswick's PSE minister, the president of the University of Moncton's student federation takes the government to task for ignoring students' input in the province's report on PSE transformation. Students proposed reducing the province's student debt load -- one of the highest in the country. The rejection of the solution is disappointing, notes the president, since the premier had announced student debt levels would be lowered. With the province's future on the line, the government should reconsider the students' proposal. Daily Gleaner

Redeemer unveils new Royals logo

Redeemer University College's athletic department revealed the redesign of its Royals logo yesterday. The new logo features a red lion's head, replacing the long-time logo incorporating a king's crown. The logo is already popping up around Redeemer's campus and on apparel. Redeemer News

Forbes enters US college ranking business

Forbes is challenging US News & World Report's monopoly on American college ranking by establishing its own annual list, releasing the inaugural report on Wednesday. Half of the methodology used in the rankings is based on student evaluations from and the number of alumni listed in Who's Who in America. The other half focuses on student debt upon graduation, graduation rates, and the number of professors awarded prestigious honours, such as a Nobel Prize. In Forbes' rankings, well-endowed, small liberal arts colleges fare well. Forbes | Inside Higher Ed

Replace the BA with certification

Substituting certifications for degrees would result in equal opportunities in education and in the job market, argues Charles Murray in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal. A certification exam would provide prospective employers with evidence of applicants' competence, whereas the BA signals nothing more that a candidate's intellectual capability and perseverance. A certification model would provide opportunities to those who couldn't or weren't interested in attending college, remove the stigma of not having a BA, and give credence to graduates of online education programs, which today still have little credibility among US employers. Wall Street Journal