Top Ten

November 27, 2008

Hawking to join Perimeter Institute

Acclaimed scientist and Cambridge University professor Stephen Hawking has accepted a position as a distinguished research chair at the Waterloo-based Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. Hawking will make his first visit to Waterloo this summer. He is expected to stay for 6 weeks and make the trip every year. Hawking says he hopes his appointment will foster a strong partnership between Perimeter and Cambridge's Centre for Theoretical Cosmology. Perimeter Institute News Release | Globe and Mail | CanWest News Service | CBC

uWindsor urged to boost college transfer credits

University of Windsor professor Shelagh Towson is asking the university to make it easier for college graduates enrolling at the school to transfer their credits. Towson, who heads the Ontario government's Smoothtrack program, says it is in uWindsor's best interest to boost transfer credits so it won't have to compete with institutions across the river in Michigan. Colleges and universities should negotiate agreements to facilitate transfers, resulting in the evaluations of individual programs. Towson says such a process could begin by having the school's senate study the issue. Windsor Star

Revised uWaterloo campus plan set for approval

The modification of the University of Waterloo's 16-year-old master plan will be sent to the school's board of governors for approval in February. The plan was revised because it appears construction on campus has been encroaching on internal open spaces in recent years. Adding new facilities around the edges will result in less surface parking space. The plan places more emphasis on the "pedestrian spine" that runs north-south through the centre of the campus. uWaterloo Daily Bulletin | uWaterloo Campus Plan

Quebec parties respond to CREPUQ letter

The 5 main political parties in Quebec have responded to the Conference of Rectors and Principals of Quebec Universities' inquiry about their respective PSE platforms. Each party made commitments to improve PSE access, respect institutional autonomy while ensuring high levels of accountability, and increase university funding. However, none of the parties made promises to close the gap between funding for Quebec universities and that for schools in the rest of Canada. CREPUQ News Release | Where the parties stand (in French)

SFU professor to lead HIV/AIDS research network

Simon Fraser University professor Robert Hogg will head the Canadian Observational Cohort, a network of 31 HIV/AIDS clinicians and researchers in BC, Ontario, and Quebec to study the effectiveness of antiretroviral therapy across the nation. Funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the network will also examine different trends in treatments, provincial access to medications, and what causes people to stay on the drugs or to discontinue them. SFU News Release | Vancouver Sun

uCalgary opens new wellness centre

On Wednesday, the University of Calgary officially opened its SU Wellness Centre, which centralizes the health and support services available on campus. The centre offers a walk-in clinic, massage therapy, counselling services, multi-faith chaplain's support, and academic success workshops. The centre will also be home to a dental service facility. The opening coincided with the uCalgary student union's biannual Wellness Day, which provides stress-relief activities and education for students. UToday

BCIT campuses named "greenest" in Canada

All 5 campuses of the British Columbia Institute of Technology have been deemed "Canada's greenest" by Achieving Business Excellence, an international publication. BCIT's campuses are described as "living laboratories" that tackle sustainability through a collaborative approach between operations and academics. The school aims to become carbon-neutral, and to achieve this goal BCIT is undertaking a comprehensive ecological footprint analysis. Another initiative is the Pacific Spirit Project, which assists faculty who are interested in incorporating sustainability concepts in their teaching. BCIT News Release | Achieving Business Excellence

Carleton encourages prospects to "question everything"

Carleton University's recruitment microsite invites prospective students to "challenge conventional thinking." A video on the portal lists questions like "should we engineer what we eat?" and "who controls the media?" "The Big Answers" provides descriptions of programs in which students would explore such questions and beyond. The site encourages visitors to submit a question and participate in a discussion forum. The portal includes links to Carleton's Facebook page, YouTube channel, and student blog site. There is also a related contest for the chance to win an iPod nano. Question Everything

Economic downturn spells trouble for niche US institutions

According to a new survey from Massachusetts-based Carnegie Communications, the economic turmoil in the US could hurt niche colleges -- women's, historically black, and Catholic -- in competing for applicants. The survey found that nearly 90% of high school students would likely apply to public 4-year institutions, while 75% said the same thing about private colleges. By comparison, 36% would apply to Catholic colleges, 11% to black schools, and 10% to women's colleges. In order to attract applicants, niche colleges should emphasize the value of programs, quality of campus life, and success of graduates. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

"Hanging out" on social networks no waste of time

A new report from the US-based MacArthur Foundation challenges the oft assertion that teenagers' time on social networks is risky or unproductive. The study found that "hanging out" online is essential for youth to gain the social and technical skills needed to fully participate in today's digitally-saturated society. The report concluded that teens are aware of the value of online activity while adults often see it as a waste of time. Teens use social networks to publicly signal the existence of relationships, express themselves creatively, and receive feedback from each other. MacArthur Foundation News Release | St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Read the white paper