Top Ten

December 15, 2008

Holders of bogus degrees get caught

Following up on its investigation into a fake degree scam, the Toronto Star reported in Saturday's issue on a recent probe uncovering at least 220 Canadians -- including a manager in the registrar's office at Algonquin College -- with bogus academic credentials. The Star obtained a list of Canadians who purchased phony degrees from a now-defunct US diploma mill. The list names a third-year York University law student as having paid for an undergraduate degree and transcript. While some on the list admitted to the Star that the degrees were fake, others claimed they had submitted course work or thought they were awarded real degrees for life experience. Toronto Star

uAlberta predicts $100-million loss from endowment funds

By the end of the fiscal year in March 2009, the University of Alberta's endowments are projected to have lost $100 million, while interest earnings are expected to be less than half of initial expectations. Scholarships and bursaries may be affected, but the university hopes to protect them as they are key to attracting and retaining students. uAlberta is currently preparing next year's budget and speaking with all faculty deans about expenditures. Edmonton Journal

$60 million for NB university infrastructure

Last week we reported that New Brunswick's $661-million capital budget earmarked funds for new construction and upgrades to the New Brunswick Community College network. $60 million is being allocated to the province's universities for infrastructure improvements during the next 2 years. The funds will be distributed among the universities based on each school's share of the province's operational grant. NB News Release

UNB campuses should be complementary, not competitive

An editorial published in Monday's Saint John Telegraph-Journal observes that Saint Johners want reassurance that a new model of governance negotiated between University of New Brunswick's Fredericton and Saint John campuses, as recommended in a new report, is going to be handled properly. The editorial calls the campuses' current relationship "pathetic," citing inequitable funding, open competition for students, and poor infrastructure planning. "Both campuses and the university as a whole should be stronger -- no longer competitive, but complementary." Saint John Telegraph-Journal

$45 million to attract world-class researchers

Last Friday, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation announced a $45-million investment under its Leaders Opportunity Fund to provide infrastructure to attract researchers to Canadian institutions. The funding for state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment at 44 universities will kickstart 251 research projects in areas ranging from the environment to communications technologies. Industry Minister Tony Clement says "advances in science and technology are essential to strengthen the competitiveness of Canada's economy." CFI News Release

Research funding a dilemma for independent scholars

For Canadian independent scholars, not being affiliated with an institution makes it difficult to take advantage of most public funding agencies, such as SHRCC and NSERC. Some independent scholars interviewed by University Affairs take issue with the "near monopoly on scholarship" by universities. The Canadian Academy of Independent Scholars has created a number of modest grants to support independent research. CAIS's president will be meeting with Wikimedia's founders, hoping that new media will bring recognition to the value of the contributions of independent scholars. University Affairs

Sault College students to vote on boosting athletic centre fee

Late next month, students at Sault College will vote on whether or not to increase their contributions to a new athletics and student life centre. The referendum will ask students to boost the fee by $25 in each of the next 3 years, and by $8 in the fourth year. By 2012, the fee would go up to $100 per student. Currently, students are paying $17 as part of their tuition fees. Sault Star

PSE gender gap continues to rise

According to a new report from the OECD, women will account for an average of 59% of PSE students across the developed world by 2025. In Canada, there could be almost twice as many female students as male. In 2005, 58% of PSE students in Canada were female, and that number is expected to rise to 64% by 2025. The report states that in 2005, 55% of students in the 30 OECD nations were women, but by 2025, 10 countries would have student bodies that were 60% or more female. University World News | View the OECD report

Online marketing efforts challenging for grad schools

A new survey of marketing professionals for US graduate schools indicates a conflict between where dollars are being spent and where qualified leads are being generated, reflecting confusion around graduate school marketing. 55% of respondents said online marketing generates the majority of their qualified applicant leads, while less than 20% earmark over 40% of marketing dollars towards online efforts. 54% said they do not participate in pay-per-click marketing, and just 3% of those who do check it daily. 60% said they were novices in search engine marketing. Marketwire

Study finds disconnect between Facebook privacy and popularity

According to new research from a pair of University of Guelph PhD students, 76% of undergraduates say it's important to control who sees their information on Facebook, but the site's social context and the desire to be popular often draws young users to share more personal information than they would anywhere else. The vast majority of those surveyed posted their birthday, e-mail address, and relationship status on their profiles, while home addresses and phone numbers were least likely to be listed. While revealing too much may be a safety risk, too much privacy can be socially limiting. CanWest News Service