Top Ten

November 19, 2008

"Dialogue facilitators" at Queen's

Queen's University has hired 6 students to work as "dialogue facilitators" in residences to step in when they hear offensive language, as well as encourage discussions about social issues. Believed to be the first program of its kind in Canada, the Intergroup Dialogue Program in Residence is part of a growing effort at Queen's to embrace diversity. The program has drawn criticism from the Queen's Journal, a student newspaper, which published an editorial calling the initiative a "lackluster" attempt to deal with social issues that could potentially create hostility among students. Globe and Mail | National Post | Queen's Gazette | Queen's Journal (student newspaper)

Postscript: Nov 25, 2008
The Intergroup Dialogue Program in Residence at Queen's University has drawn criticism in the media. Editorials in papers across Canada have labelled the program as "thought control" and make references to Big Brother and the KGB. Columns raise issues of censorship, political correctness, and the stifling of open debate on university campuses. In a letter to the Globe and Mail, a Queen's professor expresses embarrassment over the program. National Post | Victoria Times-Colonist | Winnipeg Sun | Vancouver Province | Ottawa Citizen | Globe and Mail | I spy, with my little ear

York student charged with Facebook threat

Police in Toronto have charged a York University student for posting a death threat on Facebook. Police say the accused made threats against York staff and university property in relation to the ongoing strike. A message was posted on the Facebook group York Victims on November 8 stating: "If I am not compensated I will cause damage. Serious damage. Yes this is a threat." The message was removed later that day. 21-year-old Danny Esmaili has been charged with threatening death. Toronto Star

GlaxoSmithKline donates $1 million to uManitoba

Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline Inc. announced yesterday a $1-million donation to the University of Manitoba to set up an endowment fund to establish a research chair in the immunobiology of infectious disease. The creation of the chair is part of the GlaxoSmithKline Pathfinders Fund for Leaders in Canadian Health Science Research, a $22-million program to encourage health science research and foster innovation in Canadian medical schools. uManitoba News Release

Concordia president's vision for the university

Judith Woodsworth, who was installed as Concordia University's first female president on Monday, says the university needs to boost its national profile. In order to get beyond being known as "the second English university in Montreal," the school must bolster academic standards while highlighting "signature" programs like film, fine arts, and engineering. Woodsworth says that because Montreal is a "happening city," recruiters for the city's universities have that factor working for them. Montreal Gazette

uAlberta's plans for south campus extension

The University of Alberta held an open house Tuesday evening where administrators revealed their "initial thinking" for the development of university-owned farmland into a new south campus. The plan calls for a low-density campus with wide green spaces and trails alongside a mix of academic buildings, residences, sports venues, and services. The first phase will focus on the northern half of the site near the South Campus LRT station. Some area residents are cautious about the plan. "The university has not had a good track record dealing with communities bordering its campus." uAlberta South Campus Sector Plan | Edmonton Journal

Study finds Quebec faculty are content with jobs

Over 77% of Quebec professors are "highly satisfied" with their work, according to a new study titled Enquête sur le corps profressoral québecois. 58% of professors aged 61 or older were "very highly satisfied," compared to 23% of faculty aged 35 and under. The report also found 49% had seriously considered leaving their jobs, 39% of whom said they had thought about leaving academia all together. When asked to identify the difficulties faced by Quebec universities, respondents cited the governing of universities the most. University Affairs

Students take action against bottled water

On Monday, students from 8 universities took part in a day of action against bottled water on campus. Lakehead University Student Union's sustainability commissioner says students should not be buying water on campus as Thunder Bay has some of the cleanest drinking water in the country. Students at Queen's University organized a panel discussion with 3 professors on the environmental impact of bottled water. A number of university departments and student groups are starting to ban bottled water. A study released in September found there is a noticeable lack of drinking fountains on campuses. Kingston Whig-Standard | Thunder Bay Source

Mohawk College students to vote on levy for athletic centre

The student union at Mohawk College is running a 3-day online referendum about whether to introduce a $75 levy next fall to pay for a new recreation centre. The $15-million to $18-million facility at the Fennell campus would open in September 2011, and feature a fitness and weight room, an indoor track, and a rock-climbing wall. Supporters of the centre say it will promote healthy living in the college community, while those who oppose it say students should not be footing the bill for a new gym, especially when core learning facilities are in greater need of upgrades. Hamilton Spectator

Saskatchewan eases permanent residence application for grads

On Tuesday, the Saskatchewan government announced changes to the student category of the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program to align with the national Post-Graduation Work Permit Program. Under the new regulation, international graduates of Canadian post-secondary institutions can apply for permanent residency through SINP after 6 months of work experience in Saskatchewan that does not have to be related to their field of study. Earlier this year, the federal and Newfoundland and Labrador governments introduced new immigration classes to ease permanent resident applications for foreign students. Saskatchewan News Release

6 Canadian university presidents to visit India

Next week, 6 Canadian university presidents will travel to India to participate in a higher education summit sponsored by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and India's Ministry of Human Resource Development. The meeting is part of a collaborative effort between the 2 countries to increase the international experience of their PSE students. Representatives from Canada will showcase Canadian PSE and encourage research partnerships and exchange programs. The presidents attending the summit are from uWaterloo, SFU, uManitoba, Royal Roads U, Thompson Rivers U, and UFV. AUCC News Release