Top Ten

November 25, 2008

Financial transparency urged at UBC

The University of British Columbia's finance department has been asked to be more transparent following the loss of $38 million in university investments. Although the BC Investment Management Corporation decided investments in non-bank sponsored "asset-backed commercial paper" (ABCP) were unsuitable, it was revealed in January that UBC had invested over $130 million in ABCP, which took a major hit due to the US subprime mortgage crisis. UBC's treasurer says all ABCP investments are "frozen" as the fund is restructured. The university is being criticized for being "less than candid" about the investment and its plans for its endowment during the market downturn. Vancouver Province | The Ubyssey (student newspaper)

uVic names new science building for $11-million gift

On Monday, the University of Victoria officially opened its new climate-change research building. The $67-million facility will be known as the Bob Wright Centre, Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Building, named after sportfishing entrepreneur Bob Wright, who contributed $10 million towards construction of the building and $1 million for scholarships. The centre features a rooftop observatory, where a telescope will be installed in late 2009. The building also has space for the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling Analysis -- a division of Environment Canada that focuses on climate-change research. BC News Release | Victoria Times-Colonist

Arbitrator rules on uOttawa access to faculty documents

Last month, an arbitrator upheld the Association of Professors of the University of Ottawa's objection to the university's directive to academic staff to release their records and files. In November 2006, uOttawa advised faculty that they had to provide printed or electronic copies of all their documents, including e-mail, that referenced a certain professor or graduate student as part of a freedom of information request the university received. The association said such documents were not under the university's custody, and the principal exception was for administrative-related records. The arbitrator agreed. CAUT Bulletin

Windsor Park staff criticize Algoma U for cuts

The union representing workers at the Algoma University-owned retirement residence Windsor Park accuse the university of giving employees the "Third World treatment" following staff and service cuts at the retirement home. CUPE says Algoma is not acting responsibly, and claims the school is reducing hours in order to maximize the $3-million worth of land and businesses, including Windsor Park, that was donated to the university in 2005. In a statement, an Algoma official says there have been no layoffs at the residence and none are planned. CUPE News Release | Soo News | Sault Star

Security a priority in VIU master plan

One priority outlined in Vancouver Island University's forthcoming master plan is campus safety and security. While there has not been a major police incident at the school in recent years, prevention awareness has become more relevant. VIU has constant on-site security and a number of safety and awareness initiatives, and is now exploring further options to inform students quicker of emergencies, such as an alert system. Nanaimo Daily News

Enrolment boom in distance education

The cooling economy and dearth of job prospects are contributing to the rise in enrolment in distance-learning programs, whether they be offered online or through regular mail. Memorial University has reported a 13% increase in collective distance education registrations since last year. At Athabasca University, which is primarily a distance-education institution, graduate registration jumped 5.6% between the 2003/04 and 2007/08 school years. An Athabasca spokesperson says the school notices that enrolment goes up when the economy falters and more people are unemployed. Metro News

Globe and Mail publishes "Report on Engineering Schools"

On Monday, the Globe and Mail published a series of articles on engineering schools. Nuclear and automotive engineering are popular disciplines, resulting in a wealth of career opportunities. Co-op programs prepare students for the real world and expose them to the latest technology. In recent weeks, the Globe has run special sections on community colleges and business schools.

Lakehead announces "Do Something" contest winners


Lakehead University has announced the high school grand prize winners in its "Do Something" contest, launched last fall to coincide with its award-winning "Do Something" ad campaign. The contests challenged high schools and individual students to take action on pressing local and global issues. 4 Ontario high schools -- located in Goderich, Barrie, Elliot Lake, and Owen Sound -- won for initiatives such as clothing drives, HIV/AIDS research fundraisers, and energy-efficiency projects. Prizes include a start-up "green" library and "Do Something" t-shirts. Do Something Now

Dal updates recruitment portal

Dalhousie University has revised its "Discover the Unexpected" recruitment microsite. The updated site extends the "unexpected" to experiences, rather than just course offerings. The portal features video profiles of over 20 students and professors, which visitors can access by clicking on the head shots of each profiled individual. There is also a general video that highlights campus life, the local community, and student-teacher interaction. The site includes a link to an online virtual campus tour. Discover the Unexpected

Will e-mail forwarding services become a trend on campuses?

ReadWriteWeb thinks so. Starting next fall, Boston College will not issue e-mail accounts to incoming students. Instead, first-year students will receive an address that will forward messages to their already established inboxes. One reason for this is that students have formed digital identities before reaching college. One caveat in e-mail forwarding services is that students may forget to notify their institutions if they switch personal e-mail servers. However, such a plan may be ideal for smaller schools looking to reduce IT infrastructure and support costs. ReadWriteWeb