Top Ten

January 7, 2009

Reaction to CUPE Ontario's proposed ban on Israeli academics

A recommendation by CUPE Ontario to ban Israeli academics due to an attack on a Gaza university is generating controversy. Academics interviewed by the Ottawa Citizen say the proposal is "unfair and inconsistent" but not anti-Semitic. A uOttawa professor says a boycott would violate academic freedom. The Canadian Association of University Teachers condemns the attack on Gaza, but does not support the union's proposal. The president of CUPE Ontario's comparison of Israel's actions in Gaza to "what the Nazis did" is being characterized as "offensive" and "nasty and bigoted rhetoric." Ottawa Citizen | Toronto Star | Globe and Mail | National Post | CAUT News Release

Postscript: Jan 9, 2009
On Wednesday, CUPE Ontario president Sid Ryan apologized for comparing Israel's attacks on Gaza to "what the Nazis did." Ryan said the comparison was "hurtful and completely beyond the pale." Meanwhile, University of Western Ontario president Paul Davenport says the university does not support CUPE Ontario's proposed boycott of Israeli academics. CUPE News Release | National Post | Globe and Mail | CTV | London Free Press

COU calls for infrastructure spending

The Council of Ontario Universities is echoing the call by the Association of Canadian Community Colleges and the Association and Universities and Colleges of Canada for government investment in PSE infrastructure. COU is asking the Ontario government for $270 million in one-time relief to project jobs at universities, as well $500 million for infrastructure renewal. COU is seeking an additional $2-billion over the next 2 years for new construction. The backlog of deferred maintenance at Ontario universities adds up to $1.6 billion. CanWest News Service | COU 2009 Provincial Pre-Budget Submission

CASA urges Ottawa to make PSE priority in budget

In its pre-budget submission, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations recommends the federal government invest $1.5 billion in deferred maintenance at the nation's institutions. Other recommendations include a one-time, earmarked transfer to the provinces for PSE and temporary targeted grants. CASA is also calling for a 3-month extension to the interest relief period for Canada Student Loans. CASA News Release | CASA Pre-Budget Submission

York students criticize administration's silence on strike

York University students calling for an end to the ongoing strike by teaching assistants and contract faculty are irked by the administration's silence. "It angers me that I can talk to union leaders any time, but the York administration hasn't been in the public eye -- they just send out a lot of press releases." York recently issued a statement saying it will not comment on current negotiations with CUPE 3903. 20 individuals remain camped outside president Mamdouh Shoukri's office, demanding he answer questions about the strike. Toronto Star | Toronto Sun

CBU may sell Picasso sketchbook

Cape Breton University is considering selling a Pablo Picasso sketchbook, one of the most valued pieces in its permanent collection. The sketchbook was donated to the university in 1996 by an anonymous donor, and those who facilitated the donation are supportive of the school's decision should it choose to sell. If the sketchbook is sold, the proceeds would go towards the operation of the university's art gallery. Because the sketchbook is seldom shown, CBU officials believe it would be better placed where the public would have more access to the piece. Cape Breton Post | Halifax Chronicle-Herald | CBC

Postscript:  Jul 10, 2009
Cape Breton University has decided that it will not sell a Pablo Picasso sketchbook that is part of its permanent collection. A CBU official says the vision for the galleries includes the yellowed sketchbook, which contains pencil and ink drawings Picasso made during his teens. Staff have been talking with other art galleries in Canada about holding joint shows of the piece. Halifax Chronicle-Herald

uCalgary opens Acute Knee Injury Clinic

On Monday, the University of Calgary's Sports Medicine Centre announced the opening of the Acute Knee Injury Clinic, designed to reduce waiting list times and assist more patients in receiving appropriate care when they need it. Rather than receiving a referral from a family physician, patients can book an appointment online, then will be assessed to determine the most appropriate course of treatment. uCalgary News | Calgary Sun

Regulating the practice of international recruiting agents

The American International Recruitment Council is a new non-profit organization dedicated to developing standards for commission-based foreign student recruitment, an industry often seen as shaky. In favour of the use of recruiting agents, AIRC is exploring a voluntary accreditation program, which may entail background checks, a council-created professional development curriculum, and a certification fee. Critics of the practice question whether the agent model best serves the interests of prospective foreign students. Inside Higher Ed

2 more weeks until the OCUFA Conference

Academic Group's Ken Steele will be attending the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) Conference, running January 23 and 24 in Toronto. The theme of the conference is "Accounting or Accountability in Higher Education?" The conference is designed to reflect on both the theory and practice of accountability in higher education and consider what a truly accountable system could look like. Ken will be participating in a panel discussion, "Student Surveys and Accountability," exploring the impact of NSSE, CUSC, CGPSS, and other surveys on institutional accountability. Registration is still open. OCUFA 2009 Conference

China works to make employment post-graduation a priority

Yesterday, the Chinese government warned university graduates that they face a "grim" job market due to the global economic downturn. The country has laid out broad policies to help graduates struggling to find employment. Graduates are encouraged to seek work in the countryside and at small firms. University dropouts in serious hardship will be offered aid, although the type of assistance has not been disclosed. About a million students who graduated in 2008 had not found work by the end of the year. Reuters

New Year's resolutions for social media marketing

The blog Beyond Banner offers 10 resolutions to help create an effective social marketing plan in 2009. Resolutions include becoming an active participant in social Web communities, offering relevant content and value to the discussion, and resisting the urge to control. Marketers are encouraged to work with bloggers and contemplate mobile marketing opportunities. Beyond Banner