Top Ten

November 6, 2008

York TAs, contract faculty go on strike

Classes were cancelled at York University yesterday as teaching assistants, graduate assistants, and contract faculty have gone on strike. The major issues that led up to the strike include wages and job security. The union representing the staff rejected York's offer of a 9.25% raise over 3 years because it is not in line with increases in the cost of living. This is the third instructor-related strike since the beginning of the fall term; professors at the University of Windsor and Brandon University were on strike earlier this fall. Y-File | National Post | Globe and Mail | Toronto Star

Algonquin College capital campaign surpasses $1-million mark

Pledges for Algonquin College's capital campaign has exceeded $1 million. The $2.5-million campaign, which launched in March, is one step in the process towards a $32-million state-of-the-art facility along Pembroke's waterfront. The college has requested $26 million in funding from the Ontario government for the project. The Pembroke location would feature leading-edge classrooms, labs, recreational facilities, and green space. Daily Observer

Saskatchewan students oppose lift of tuition freeze

Student leaders in Saskatchewan appeared at the provincial legislature on Wednesday to oppose the government's plan to lift the ongoing university tuition freeze, introduced by the former NDP government in 2005. The Saskatchewan Party, currently in power, announced in this year's budget it would continue the freeze for another year, but now plans to end the freeze in favour of a "tuition management strategy." Student leaders say that with the province's economic boom, it makes sense for the government to invest more in PSE. Regina Leader-Post

The unanticipated challenges of internationalization

In the latest issue of Academic Matters, University of Toronto professor Jane Knight explores recent trends in internationalization in terms of PSE and the resulting unanticipated challenges. As the appetite for international education and foreign credentials rises, so do issues regarding foreign degree mills and rogue for-profit providers. In some cases, international joint programs resulting in double degrees may be nothing more than double-counting a set of credits, which may be construed as academic fraud should course requirements for 2 full degrees not be completed. Academic Matters

"A seat isn't the same as a student"

In a column in the Tyee, University of the Fraser Valley professor Fiona McQuarrie criticizes the BC government's promise of "creating 25,000 new student spaces." McQuarrie argues it's misleading to say providing money to create seats is the same as making sure students are able to fill them. McQuarrie points to an auditor-general report on BC's PSE expansion plan, which concluded that it was poorly conceived. McQuarrie hopes someone will ask tough questions about where the seats are going, whether they are being properly funded, and how many students are actually filling them. The Tyee

uAlberta closes Office of Human Rights

According to the Gateway, a student newspaper, the University of Alberta has permanently closed its Office of Human Rights, a service that offered confidential advisory and support to students, faculty, and staff regarding harassment, discrimination, and employment inequity. The responsibilities of the office have been moved to Internal Audit Services. The decision to close the office is being met with concerns by many campus groups, who say they weren't consulted on the matter or informed of the reason for the office's closure. The Gateway (student newspaper)

CNA raises bar with new Facebook launch

The College of the North Atlantic has launched an official Facebook page -- and has clearly taken our team's best practices to heart! Melissa Cheater, our resident social media blogger, plans to dig deeper into this page, which is definitely best in class. Among several other very advanced marketing approaches, CNA has put Facebook's various HTML and RSS feed widgets to work very effectively, resulting in a content-rich, low-maintenance information and marketing tool. As always, if you have any thoughts or questions in this area, Melissa would love to hear from you (melissa@academicagroup.com or 519-433-8302 ext. 226). CNA News Release | CNA Facebook Page | Melissa’s Blog

Globe and Mail hosts Virtual University Fair

On Thursday, the Globe and Mail hosted a virtual university fair online, in which 15 universities participated. Each school had a booth with links and representatives were available for a one-one-one chat. The fair featured audio webinars, as well as a documents page centralizing information offered from all participating exhibitors. If you missed the fair, check out Ken's blog. Last month, Maclean's ran a virtual college and university fair. GlobeCampus Virtual University Fair

Reports raise concerns over research based on student surveys

2 papers being presented at the annual Association for the Study of Higher Education this week conclude that many students paint a distorted picture when surveyed about their own academic success, which may potentially skewer researchers' findings should they use such self-reported data. One study comparing SAT scores students reported earning and what they actually earned found many cases of students incorrectly reporting their scores, most often by inflating them. Another study found that students claimed to be better critical thinkers than what their performance tests suggested. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

UK schools worry Obama win may affect international recruitment

Barack Obama's win of the US presidential election on Tuesday could affect British universities (and Canadian ones, as well) in recruiting foreign students. UK institutions have benefited from the negative perception of the US since 9/11 and the tightening of visa requirements thereafter. Obama's win would "without doubt" make the US a more attractive destination for education, and British schools would need to raise their services standards to compete for students. Britain's tougher rules on international students may also serve as a barrier in recruiting. The Guardian