Top Ten

November 28, 2008

Universities serve as "intellectual daycare"

University of Western Ontario professor emeritus Ian Hunter writes in last Thursday's National Post that he is delighted to have escaped after 3 decades of university teaching as it appears that any discussion beyond "the consensus liberal view of the world" on campus is dangerous. Hunter says Canadian universities have become a form of daycare where students will never be upset or intellectually challenged. He cites Brock University's "Respectful Workplace and Learning Environment Policy" as an example of what he sees is the stifling of academic freedom. National Post

uCalgary poli-sci profs say university "overreacted" to anti-abortion display

In a joint column published in last Friday's Calgary Herald, a group of University of Calgary political science professors argue that the school "overreacted" in its dealings with a pro-life student group demonstrating on campus last week. Because the group would not comply with administration's request to make their displays less visible, campus police issued club members notices of trespass. The professors write that the university's mission is to encourage free thinking, not stifle it. In a statement, uCalgary maintains it did not seek to physically remove the club or its posters. Calgary Herald | CanWest News Service | uCalgary Statement

$18-million expansion for Trent sports facility

Last Thursday, Trent University announced a $17.5-million upgrade of its athletics complex. The project features a warm therapeutic pool, an expanded sports medicine centre, and a new convertible rowing and paddling tank. The plan also includes wheelchair ramps and widened doors to make the facility more accessible. Trent officials hope the expansion will make the university more attractive to prospective students. Trent Daily News | Peterborough Examiner

York law students return to class

Osgoode Hall Law School students at York University will return to class today despite the ongoing strike by teaching assistants and contract faculty. The program is resuming as it is governed by external regulations set out by the National Committee on Accreditation and the Law Society of Upper Canada. Delaying the program would also impact community legal clinics run by Osgoode students. York and the union representing the striking instructors resumed talks last Thursday. York News Release | Globe and Mail | Toronto Star

Union reprimands uSask employees who crossed picket line

4 University of Saskatchewan employees are being penalized by their union for crossing the picket line during a strike last year. In its November newsletter, CUPE Local 1975 printed the names and titles of the workers alongside the word "scab" drawn in the shape of a rat. The employees are not permitted to attend CUPE meetings or sponsored events, but must continue to pay union dues. The union wanted to impose financial sanctions, but could not do so due to outdated bylaws. The 4 workers made individual decisions to continue to work and did not participate in the union's process during the strike. Saskatchewan is the only province in Canada where union membership is the law. Saskatoon Star-Phoenix | CUPE 1975 Newsletter

Support grows for Truro arts institution

World-renowned novelist Margaret Atwood and Toronto theatre producer David Mirvish have thrown their support behind an initiative to establish a post-secondary performing arts school in Truro Nova Scotia. Spearheading the project is Truro-based actress Lenore Zann, who is hoping to receive funding to launch a feasibility study on the former Normal College building, where the proposed school may be housed. Mirvish has offered to pay for return airfare to enable Canadian artists and teachers to travel to the school to provide classes and workshops. Truro Daily News

Queen's, St. Lawrence College form technology education partnership

Queen's University and St. Lawrence College have partnered to create a one-of-a-kind initiative to address the shortfall in technology teachers for school boards across Ontario. Under the partnership, graduates from the college who have appropriate work experience in trades and technology can earn their Technological Education Diploma at Queen's Faculty of Education in 1 year. Slated to begin in January, the program is designed to help students transition from the workforce back to school on the path to become high school teachers. Queen's News Release

Herb Gray named Carleton chancellor

Former Liberal MP and deputy Prime Minister Herb Gray has been named the new chancellor of Carleton University. Gray served as an MP in Windsor between 1962 and 2002, and held several cabinet positions under former Prime Ministers Pierre Trudeau, John Turner, and Jean Chretien. He currently serves as the full-time Canadian chair of the International Joint Commission in Ottawa. In his new position, Gray is replacing former astronaut Marc Garneau, who was elected as a Liberal MP in the recent federal election. Carleton News Release | CanWest News Service | CBC

uOttawa to webcast information fair

On Thursday, the University of Ottawa will be broadcasting 2 presentations from its Information Evening and Fair on the Internet -- one in English, the other in French. This is the first time that the university is webcasting one of its annual events. The webcasts are designed to allow prospective students outside the region to receive the same quality of information as those attending events on campus. The webcasts will cover discussions on the admission process, important deadlines, and how to increase scholarship potential. uOttawa Information Evening and Fair

Will Second Life serve as a venue for academic conferences?

The virtual world of Second Life has made some inroads in higher education, and Guardian blogger Donald MacLeod wonders if there is merit in hosting academic conferences in the online realm. MacLeod attend an education conference on Second Life involving discussions with North American universities about how they use the virtual world to recruit and educate students. The upside of holding academic conferences on Second Life is that it is cheap and environmentally-friendly. Mortarboard Blog