Top Ten

January 21, 2009

Canadian student loan debt exceeds $13 billion

Student loan debt in Canada surpassed the $13-billion mark yesterday, according to the Canadian Federation of Students' debt counter. The figure does not include provincial student loan debt or personal debt. The CFS reports that student loans owed to the federal government increase by $1.2 million a day. Nearly 360,000 students required federal loans this academic year. CFS News Release | CanWest News Service

CAUT urges PM to allow US academic to enter Canada

In an open letter written to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Canadian Association of University Teachers condemns border officers' refusal to allow Dr. William Ayers, an American education professor, into Canada. The letter states that denying Ayers entry shows Harper's government has "little regard for academic freedom." CAUT is calling for an immediate public investigation into the matter, and if the University of Toronto, at which Ayers was scheduled to speak, should ever invite him again, he should be allowed to enter Canada. CAUT News | Read the letter

Ontario premier appoints mediator in York strike

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has appointed the province's top mediator to "bang some heads" in order to end the strike by York University teaching assistants and contract faculty. McGuinty has not set a deadline for the mediator to resolve the impasse, and will not introduce back-to-work legislation. 63% of CUPE 3903 members who cast ballots in a government-supervised vote this week rejected the latest offer from the university. York is preparing to further extend the academic year, which may mean cancelling the summer term. York News Release | Toronto Star

WLU grad school applications up 19%

Like other universities across Canada, Wilfrid Laurier University is reporting a spike in graduate school applications. The institution has received nearly 19% more grad school applications than it had last year. Nearby University of Waterloo also expects to see an increase. Both schools plan to expand their number of graduate students. In uWaterloo's case, the increase will be in areas that are in dire need in Canadian society. Kitchener-Waterloo Record

Concordia unveils draft strategic plan

Last week, Concordia University released a draft of its new strategic plan, now open to comments from the university community. The 5-year plan outlines 3 key areas: strengthening Concordia's reputation for high-quality academic work; fostering a rich and rewarding student experience to make the school a university of choice; and producing globally-aware graduates by committing to community engagement and social responsibility. The plan will be presented to Concordia's board of governors for approval in June. A Strategic Plan for Concordia University: 2009-2014

uAlberta new member of Worldwide Universities Network

The University of Alberta has accepted an invitation to join the Worldwide Universities Network, a group of 18 leading research universities designed to foster international research and teaching collaborations. WUN will offer uAlberta opportunities to increase graduate student and researcher mobility, a key step in boosting the university's international engagement. uAlberta joins the University of Toronto as the only Canadian institutions part of WUN. uAlberta ExpressNews

NorQuest opens Health Education Centre

On Tuesday, Edmonton-based NorQuest College opened its new Health Education Centre, which will allow the school to expand its practical-nurse diploma program to graduate 800 nurses a year. The centre features simulation suites equipped with synthetic patients, giving students an opportunity for hands-on training. Edmonton Journal

uMoncton to renovate hockey arena

The Université de Moncton announced Tuesday that it will renovate the J.-Louis-Lévesque Arena. "Simply worn out," the 43-year-old hockey arena will be brought up to modern standards. uMoncton and the J.-Louis-Lévesque Foundation are committing a combined $3-million for the project. The renovation will be complete in October. Times and Transcript

Pleas made to preserve Dunlap Observatory site

On Tuesday, the Ontario Conservation Review Board heard statements from the public on why the David Dunlap Observatory, which the University of Toronto sold for $70 million last summer, and its surrounding lands should be awarded heritage designation. Some referred to the site's scientific contributions, while others expressed concern over the possible loss of an ecologically significant area. "The lands should be a living centre, not a token of remembrance of another subdivision." Toronto Star

SIAST launches new website

The Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology has unveiled a redesigned website. The easy-to-navigate homepage feature a search engine for users to look up program offerings. The site links to the school's "myChoice" prospective student portal, which, in addition to listing recruitment events and course information, acts like a social network in that prospective students can connect with one another. The redesigned site also links to the new "SIAST Careers" microsite, which features employee testimonials describing the benefits of working at the institution. SIAST website