Top Ten

December 17, 2008

Edmonton student residence evacuated over carbon monoxide leak

About 40 students living in St. John's Institute, a private residence just off the University of Alberta campus, evacuated the building Tuesday evening following the discovery of a carbon monoxide leak originating from the residence's boiler room. Workers had been fixing the boiler over the past few days. One student was taken to hospital after he reported symptoms similar to carbon monoxide poisoning. The residence was ventilated and students were allowed back inside. Edmonton Journal | Canadian Press

EnCana donation to uCalgary questioned

An environmentalist is suspicious of a recent $1-million donation from EnCana Corp. to create a research chair in the University of Calgary's environmental design faculty, when a 3-member federal panel -- including a professor from the faculty -- is set to decide on an energy application by the oil and gas company. An EnCana spokeswoman says to suggest the donation for the chair, whose creation had been talked about by EnCana for over a year, would influence the panel's decision is "an attack on the University of Calgary's integrity." Earlier this year, an internal audit at uCalgary found that over $500,000 donated to 2 research accounts were directed to anti-Kyoto election ads. CBC

FNUC wins appeal in academic freedom case

The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal has overturned the decision of a Queen's Bench judge and an arbitration board regarding the allegation of infringement of academic freedom at the First Nations University of Canada. Blair Stonechild claimed FNUC violated his academic freedom after he was removed as keynote speaker at a university symposium in the spring of 2005. The appeal court said the Queen's Bench judge and the arbitration board erred in ruling that Stonechild's academic freedom was violated. Saskatoon Star-Phoenix | CBC

High River considers potential for satellite campuses

The Town of High River, located in southern Alberta, is looking into the possibility of having more post-secondary institutions set up satellite campuses in the town. High River is already the home of a Bow Valley College site. Pitches have been sent to the Alberta College of Art and Design and Olds College. To market itself as an ideal location for a satellite campus, the town will likely highlight favourable tax rates, vacant property, labour availability, and proximity to Calgary. High River Times

Enrolment boom at NL trade schools

Enrolment growth at trade schools in Newfoundland and Labrador is being attributed to the impact of the economic downturn on work at Alberta oilsands. Academy Canada is reporting an enrolment increase of 20% over last year. 75% of students in the school's steamfitter shop are apprentices who recently returned from work camps in Alberta because of job loss. The College of the North Atlantic is also expecting growth in the 20% range. Trade schools are now struggling to find enough instructors to meet the demand. CBC

uSask dean concerned over province's therapist shortage

The University of Saskatchewan's dean of medicine is "extremely distressed" by the province's serious shortage of occupational and speech therapists. The dean hopes Saskatchewan's first class of such therapists will start training in 2012, when the E-wing of uSask's Academic Health Sciences Centre is expected to open. Saskatchewan is currently the only province west of the Maritimes without a dedicated education and research program in occupational therapy. The Saskatchewan Society of Occupational Therapists is working with uSask's College of Medicine on a proposal for a new MSc in Occupational Therapy. Regina Leader-Post

uSask students, faculty protest change of hours to arts building

A number of University of Saskatchewan students and faculty are criticizing the school's decision to have the Arts building -- the last 24-hours facility on campus -- closed between 11 pm and 7 am. Students say access to 24-hour services is necessary if they cannot afford computers, Internet access, or printers. One professor says removing 24-hours services will have "a detrimental effect on a university culture that prides itself on working late." A uSask official says student safety is the reason for the change, and that students present in the building before closing will be allowed to stay. Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

BC urged to protect PSE funding during economic downturn

The BC government must protect, and even expand, higher education in order to cope in times of economic uncertainty, observes BC Colleges president Jim Reed in a guest column in Victoria News. Doing so will ensure a skilled and job-ready workforce is available when the economy recovers. Protection means more than just seat capacity, writes Reed. The government must make college accessible to the unemployed to make themselves job-ready instead of chasing non-existent job opportunities. Victoria News

MUN seeks new music composition for convocation

In honour of its 100th convocation, Memorial University is asking alumni and present or former Newfoundland and Labrador residents to submit a proposal for a new piece of ceremonial music. The composition must be able to be extended or abbreviated, and written in 3 arrangements. The commission for the selected piece includes a $7,000 award, with costs for the preparation of the composition paid additionally. MUN's music faculty director says he would like to see other Canadian universities offer the same opportunity to alumni. St. John's Telegram

Men genetically prone to poor impulse control less likely to go to college

According to a new US study, young men who carry a common form of a gene linked to poor impulse control are less likely to attend college. However, the study found that a strong social environment can counteract that genetic risk. If a boy with this genetic risk goes to a high-quality high school, or has well-educated parents who speak frequently with teachers about his performance and join parent-teachers associations, the negative effect of the gene diminishes or disappears. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)