Top Ten

December 4, 2008

NB must lower tuition costs to retain youth

According to a new report from the New Brunswick Advisory Council on Youth, the provincial government must lower PSE tuition costs, boost job training, and improve entertainment offerings if it wishes to keep youth in the province. The report also calls for improved access to second-language training and a simplified student loan application process. The report stems from recommendations produced at a youth forum held earlier this year, and from ideas gathered from a youth tour of 15 communities across NB. Saint John Telegraph-Journal | Read the full report

Former Queen's manager stripped of teaching credentials

The Ontario College of Teachers has revoked the teaching credentials of David Alan Ditchfield, a former manager of the e-learning hub at Queen's University's education faculty, for professional misconduct after he was convicted of luring a 13-year-old girl online for sex. Ditchfield was arrested in 2004 following a 4-month police investigation. Some Internet conversations originated from his office at the university. Ditchfield was sentenced to 18 months of house arrest and 3 years probation. He is banned from using online chat rooms, and his name will appear on a sex-offender registry for 10 years. Kingston Whig-Standard

uOttawa student club denied funding for "Zionist" event

The University of Ottawa Public Interest Research Group denied funding to the Jewish student club Hillel to host a speech last month because of the group's "relationship to apartheid Israel," according an e-mail Hillel received from OPIRG. Hillel did not receive a response to their funding request prior to a talk on interfaith schooling for Jewish, Muslim, and Christian children. Hillel's president says the group was singled out for its values. National Post's Barbara Kay says OPIRG is "guilty of anti-Semitism" and that uOttawa president Allan Rock -- a former Justice Minister and UN Ambassador -- should do something about it. Ottawa Citizen | National Post

UVic student charged with sexual assault at residence

A University of Victoria student has been charged with sexually assaulting another student in a campus residence over the weekend after an 18-year-old female woke up to find a strange man in her bed. Police say the students aren't known to each other and live in separate dormitories on campus. 18-year-old Jonathan Aftergood has been charged with break and enter and sexual assault. He will be allowed back on campus to write his final exams under security escort. UVic has begun a process to bar Aftergood from the school, effectively expelling him. Victoria Times-Colonist

Lakehead student union forbids clubs from expressing "negative" messages

According to new amendments to the constitution of Lakehead University's student union, student groups must have "positive" campaigns, refrain from producing material deemed offensive, and not impose views on individuals outside the club without consent. For example, a club can set up a booth during club days but cannot approach a student with material. The student union's president said the new rules are intended to foster a more civil environment in which students respect each other. National Post

uToronto warns no money will come from endowments next year

The University of Toronto is alerting faculty and staff not to expect any money from its endowment funds in April because of investment losses due to the market turmoil. The endowments were expected to generate $62 million in income next year, but the reserve is now gone, according to a recent university memo. Without funding from endowments, departments will have to look for savings elsewhere to pay the salaries of faculty in endowed posts. The memo asks deans to carefully examine planned hires, as well as evaluate spending on research accounts and travel. uToronto Economic Update | Globe and Mail

Journal retracts uManitoba study over questions of fraud

High-profile science journal Nature is retracting a study published by University of Manitoba researchers out of concerns the research is not valid. A group of plant scientists uncovered a receptor for the major hormone linked to a plant's response to environmental stress, and their findings were published in Nature in January 2006. Concerns emerged this summer when New Zealand researchers could not replicate the study's findings. The lead researcher from uManitoba wrote a retraction letter to appear in the December issue, and would not comment on what went wrong. uManitoba officials say they haven't ruled out the possibility of academic fraud. Winnipeg Free Press

uToronto Robarts Library receives $10-million donation

University of Toronto alumni Russell and Katherine Morrison announced Tuesday a $10-million gift towards the $40-million renovation of the University of Toronto's Robarts Library, which is set to begin next year. The renovation is expected to take 3 years to complete, followed by the construction of a new $34-million wing. uToronto News | Globe and Mail

Lockdown at Centennial College

Centennial College's Carlaw Campus was locked down Wednesday evening as Toronto police searched for a man believed to be armed with a gun. Police started looking for 2 suspects following the report of an attempted robbery near the campus. One suspect is now in custody, while the other is still at large. The lockdown was lifted about 30 minutes after the incident. Toronto Star | CP24

Conestoga College opens Career Centre

On Monday, Conestoga College officially opened the Conestoga Career Centre at its Doon campus in Kitchener Ontario. The facility provides centralized access to services such as career advisement, labour market information, and basic skills upgrading opportunities. The centre will also serve as the college's focal point for the Ontario government's Second Career program, which provides re-education opportunities for those who have been laid off or injured at work. The college plans to add similar centres at its other campuses across SW Ontario. Conestoga News Release

Georgian College reaches campaign goal for Muskoka campus

Georgian College has achieved its goal of raising $2.5 million to support a new location for its Muskoka campus in Bracebridge Ontario. The college met the target following a recent $1.7-million gift from an anonymous donor, making it the largest single monetary donation in the school's history. An immediate goal for the campus is to receive support for the awards and scholarships program. The college's "Power of Education" fundraising campaign has raised $8.5 million so far. Georgian College News Release

Confederation College launches sustainability project

On Tuesday, Confederation College unveiled its Integrated Renewable Solutions project, a multimillion-dollar initiative to bring the college closer to its goal of becoming carbon neutral. The project features a biomass plant that will provide carbon-neutral energy by burning gasified waste wood. The plant will also include a solar thermal wall to heat water, photovoltaic cells to generate solar power, and a "green" roof. Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal

Ottawa donates land for Algonquin College expansion

The City of Ottawa has approved the transfer of a tract of city-owned land to Algonquin College to house the school's Centre for Construction Trades and Building Sciences. The centre, slated to open September 2011, will provide the college with space to expand its trades-training program. Algonquin's expansion is part of Ottawa's Centrepoint Town Centre development, which entails an integration of Algonquin facilities into the city's rapid transit network. Daily Commercial News

Continuing education programs adapt to diverse market

Continuing education has undergone a big shift in the last decade and a half that reflects Canada's growing diversity. At Concordia University's Centre for Continuing Education, 80% of clientele come from Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America. One reason CE programs attract new immigrants is the offer of language instruction and quick training for the labour market. CE is also gearing towards online learning. For example, 20% of clientele at Concordia's department are taking courses online. CE departments are creating more full-time programs, which is driven in part by the nature of government funding for programs. Montreal Gazette

NS grads with disabilities find jobs at same rate as peers

A new study from the Nova Scotia government has found that provincial PSE graduates with disabilities are securing work at a rate equal to their peers. The report found that in 2007, 81% of graduates with disabilities were working, while another 7% were about to start a job. By comparison, 89% of people ages 25 to 49 with PSE were employed in the same year. The study also found the salaries of graduates with disabilities are about the same as those of their peers. NS News Release | Canadian Press | Read the full report

A case for a public/private undergraduate education system

With Canada's public universities investing more and more resources into competing with one another for undergraduate students, they are acting more like corporations in the business of education, observes William Wolfe-Wylie in Monday's Toronto Sun. As such, embracing both the public and private models of education would be the next step in ensuring all Canadians have access to practical and reasonably-priced education. The existing infrastructure of large universities makes them well suited to become low-tuition, high-volume institutions. Smaller schools well adapted to offer personalized education would continue to do so without government-imposed tuition fee and budgetary restrictions. Toronto Sun

Investment in university infrastructure can stimulate economy

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada recommends that the federal government include funding for university infrastructure as part of a national strategy to stimulate the economy. Addressing the estimated $5-billion backlog in deferred maintenance would allow for immediate stimulus in many communities. AUCC says that a university infrastructure initiative would contribute to long-term economic and environmental goals by constructing "green" and smart facilities to educate the qualified individuals needed as the country emerges from the economic downturn. AUCC News Release

NAIT showcases student blogs

We've just noticed that the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology has a page on its website dedicated to 4 student bloggers. Recent posts cover the preparation for final exams and an immigration information session for international students. Another blog, written by a NAIT prospective student advisor, offers an inside glimpse into what is going on at the institution, as well as information on programs and applications. NAIT Blogs

MIT creates version of school website for smartphones

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has designed a version of its website specifically for Internet-capable cellphones. While MIT is not the only American school to create a mobile version of its site (Texas-based Abilene Christian University, which gave all first-year students iPhones or iPod Touches, has one), it plans to make the code for the site open-source, meaning that other colleges can adapt it for their own websites. MIT Mobile Web | The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

Aboriginal concentration lowers academic outcome

Aboriginal students tend to perform poorly in schools in which there is a large concentration of such students, according to a new study by the C.D. Howe Institute on the difference in academic performance between Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals in the BC public-school system. Overall, just 64% of Aboriginal students in Grades 4 and 7 met or surpassed expectation on standardized tests, compared to 78% of their non-Aboriginal peers. The study found many school districts performed better than expected, and senior administrators in these districts tend to place a high value on Aboriginal education. Globe and Mail | Vancouver Sun | Read the full report