Top Ten

December 16, 2008

Saskatchewan to establish innovation agency

In an effort to enhance Saskatchewan's competitiveness and productivity, the province introduced late last month The Innovation Saskatchewan Act. Once established, Innovation Saskatchewan will serve as a special operating agency to foster an innovation-driven economy by co-ordinating and supporting research activities in the province. Saskatchewan News Release

Striking York TAs stage sit-in outside president's office

On Monday afternoon, dozens of striking York University teaching assistants and contract faculty gathered outside president Mamdouh Shoukri's office, calling on him to get involved in ending the strike. The protesters said they would not leave until Shoukri makes a written promise to hold a public forum about the strike in the first week of January. A York spokesperson said Shoukri was not in his office, and that the protesters were violating the Ontario Labour Relations Act by demonstrating on "private property." CUPE News Release | Toronto Star | CBC

uWaterloo Stratford campus will go ahead

A new University of Waterloo digital media campus for Stratford Ontario will go forward as planned, with or without a $10-million contribution from the federal government. With no official commitment from Ottawa, the project's budget has been cut from $30-million to $25-million. Ontario and Stratford have already committed $10 million each, while the city, with the help of uWaterloo, will raise the last $5-million through a fundraising campaign. The campus will open in September 2009. Canadian Press

Waterloo seeks cash to save WLU pool

The City of Waterloo is looking at its budget to determine if there are funds to help keep Wilfrid Laurier University's Olympic-length pool open. However, no cash will come before the end of the month, when the pool is expected to close as the university failed to raise enough funds needed to repair the aging pool. Instead, council will receive a staff report on funding options at the end of January. As the pool is used by the community at large, some residents are criticizing the city for not acting sooner. Kitchener-Waterloo Record

Aboriginal students concerned over PSSSP review

Several thousand Aboriginal students have turned to Facebook and created an online petition concerning a federal review of the Post-Secondary Student Support Program. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada is considering transferring the PSSSP from individual Aboriginal bands to a third party, such as Canada Student Loans. Not all students are against the review. A First Nations University of Canada student union executive says handing the program over to a third-party provider would be one way for INAC to keep its 2% cap on PSE funding. Regina Leader-Post | Stop INACS Proposal to Cut First Nations Student Financial Assistance!!! | Online Petition

uMoncton sees growth in English student enrolment

Between 2003 and 2008, the number of French-immersion high school graduates enrolling at the Université de Moncton quadrupled, jumping from 11 to 40. In recent years, the university has been marketing itself more to immersion students. uMoncton hopes to have English students represent 5% of its population by 2011, up from 1% at the present time. To ensure there are no language barriers, immersion students entering uMoncton go through a "bridge year" in which they receive extra support, such as a dedicated French class. Times and Transcript

UOIT continues quest for a new name

The University of Ontario Institute of Technology is still in search of a new name, despite a plan to make a suggestion on it by December 11. UOIT's president says it has been difficult reaching a consensus around a new name. While renaming the school will be a "million-dollar effort," UOIT could lose its reputation and revenue by keeping its existing title, which impacts recruitment efforts and causes confusion for its target audience. Potential names presented to focus groups include Central Ontario University, University of Oshawa, and Technology University of Ontario. Durham Region News

Oshawa withdraws controversial housing report

Oshawa city council has temporarily withdrawn a controversial report on the city's student housing situation, stating new information has come to light that may affect the report's recommendations. The report proposes an "exit strategy" whereby students living in rental homes near the Durham College/UOIT campus move into "purpose built" student housing over the next 4 years. If the recommendations are implemented, landlords may face financial ruin, while students could pay more in rent, say both groups, who also observe the recommendations are a far departure from council's original vision -- a student rental bylaw. "This new approach seems very draconian and very one-sided." Durham Region News

College students earn better marks in late-day classes

A new study by 2 US economists has found that college students earn higher grades in courses that are scheduled later in the day. According to the report, each hour after 8 am that a class starts, students' average grades are 0.024 points higher on the GPA scale. The researchers say the most likely reason for this is sheer exhaustion. The report also found that throughout the day, especially in early-morning courses, the more times a class meets a week, the higher become students' grades. Overall, though, the time-of-day effect is stronger than the frequency effect. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

College-search portals are "the anti-glossy brochure"

Prospective students are starting to ditch glossy college viewbooks in favour of college-search websites -- a mix of social networking pages and traditional guides. Campus Explorer predicts users' chances of being accepted into a certain school, while Unigo is a compilation of student-generated reviews of US schools. Through college "matchmaking" sites, institutions are able to reach prospects they otherwise wouldn't through traditional marketing. The growing popularity of college-search sites may be contributing to the rise in "stealth applicants." Boston Globe