Top Ten

January 6, 2009

AUCC urges federal government to include university infrastructure in budget

Like the Association of Canadian Community Colleges, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada says investing in PSE infrastructure is essential to stimulating the economy. In a pre-budget brief sent to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, AUCC recommends a targeted university infrastructure initiative to complement the Building Canada Fund. The association also recommends Ottawa maintain its investment in university research. AUCC News Release | Read the brief

Charges dropped in uToronto sit-in

According to The Varsity, a University of Toronto student newspaper, 9 of the 14 individuals arrested in connection to a 4-hour sit-in at a uToronto administration building last March have had the charges against them dropped, meaning no current uToronto student is in court over the sit-in. A spokesperson with the self-styled "Fight Fees 14" says the group will "continue to fight collectively," and is slated to hold a "celebratory and movement building" event later this month. The Varsity (student newspaper)

Update on McMaster Engineering Technology Building

McMaster University's $48-million Engineering Technology Building, expected to be ready for use in September, is nearing completion. The sustainable facility will feature a 2-storey garden and a "living wall" of artifacts commemorating the engineering faculty's 50-year history. The building will include a unique hall in which professors will lecture from the centre of a concrete oval rising like a leaning tube through one side of the facility. The building will house a joint technology program with Mohawk College, for which the Ontario government has committed $16.5 million. Hamilton Spectator

Carleton suspends River Building project

Carleton University has delayed plans to construct the River Building, a 5-storey, 140,000-square-foot academic building, which was scheduled to open in late 2010 or early 2011. The decision to put the project on hold stems from a $200-million drop in the value of the university's pension fund. Carleton will proceed with the construction of its $30.4-million Canal Building, set to open in September 2010. Ottawa Citizen | Ottawa Business Journal

CRIC to study policies on Canadian research misconduct

The Canadian Research Integrity Committee will conduct a study on existing policies regarding research misconduct in Canada and in 8 other nations. The purpose of the study is to better define research integrity, determine the magnitude of research misconduct in Canada, and provide options to combat the problem when it occurs. The report is expected to be complete in early April. University Affairs

The importance of online technology in PSE

In a guest column published in Tuesday's National Post, Meritus University president John Crossley describes the benefits of online technology in post-secondary and adult education -- greater collaboration among students, quick and easy delivery of learning materials, and the reduction of travel costs and time away from work. Crossley cites survey findings reflecting a growing acceptance among Canadian employers of online degrees, which, along with improved access to technology and the demand for a university-educated workforce, may drive more Canadians to explore online education. National Post

US colleges not cutting jobs in wake of economic downturn

In order to sail through the first wave of the recession, most US colleges are avoiding cuts that would affect personnel. 63% of schools have not considered layoffs, while 64% have not delayed salary increases. 5% reported implementing a total freeze on hiring faculty positions, and 7% for other staff positions. An analyst at Moody's Investors Service, which conducted the survey with the Chronicle of Higher Education, says colleges are "taking a cautious approach to planning," and will not likely feel the full brunt of the downturn until the next set of incoming students enrol in the fall. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

MLA discusses foreign language curricular reform

At the Modern Language Association's annual meeting last month, much discussion centred on reforms undertaken by foreign language departments to make such study more relevant. Used as an example, Nashville-based Vanderbilt University's Spanish department added more sections offered at different times, introduced courses in medical Spanish to attract pre-med students, and created service learning courses in which students work with Spanish-speaking immigrants. The innovation stems from the University of Southern California's termination of its free-standing German program. Inside Higher Ed

Professors, students are "threats" to campus computer systems

Last month, the Chronicle of Higher Education compiled a list of the top 10 campus computer-security risks. Among the "threats" listed are spammers, thieves, phishers, cell phones, social networks, and outsource partners. Professors are considered more careless than students when it comes to computer security. The top risk listed is malicious software. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

Stanford-developed iPhone app tracks students' location

In October, 2 Stanford University sophomores released an iPhone application they developed with friends that integrates with the school's student-registration system. The latest version of "iStanford" will include an interactive campus map with which students can track the current locations of their iPhone-toting peers, as long as they opt in to be spotted. iStanford is so popular that the developers are working with other schools to create similar applications. Over 11,000 people have downloaded iStanford so far. Time Magazine | The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)