Top Ten

January 26, 2009

Class-action lawsuit launched against York

A Toronto-based law firm has filed a class-action lawsuit against York University on behalf of the school's students, claiming that the students are entitled to a tuition refund, as well as damages for losses they have suffered due to the strike, which may end this week. A lawyer with Juroviesky and Ricci LLP says the suit is "the only practical option students have for immediate relief and the possibility to salvage their academic track." According to the law firm, no other statement of claim has been filed against York regarding this matter. Juroviesky and Ricci LLP News Release | York Took My Money | Toronto Star

Tension among "permatemps" spells trouble for universities

The York strike underscores growing strife among "permatemp" professors -- part-time or contract instructors who often perform tasks not done by tenured faculty -- that is signalling an oncoming crisis for universities. The tension stems from universities' overextension mandate-wise, and redistribution of labour to take pressure off their budgets. The growing "permatemp" workforce may be contributing to some dissatisfaction among students about their education. Rather than holding universities hostage, some experts say the part-timer should consider another profession. National Post

uOttawa set to construct $90-million building this summer

In July, the University of Ottawa is expected to begin construction of a new 15-storey social sciences building -- the centrepiece project of the school's 5-year capital improvement plan. uOttawa is aiming for a LEED Gold rating for the $90-million facility, which will feature green roofs and internal vertical "biofilter walls" with plants filtering the air and removing contaminants. Ottawa Business Journal

Lambton College eyes federal funding for $26-million expansion

Should new infrastructure funding be announced in the federal budget, Lambton College will move ahead with a $26-million expansion project, which entails a new building for health and public safety programs, an expansion of the Skilled Trades Training Centre, and a physical education and fitness wing. Last week, the Association of Canadian Community Colleges released a list of 120 "ready-to-go" infrastructure projects requiring government funding. Sarnia Observer

FSIN says PSSSP changes could affect Saskatchewan economy

The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations says possible changes to the Post-Secondary Student Support Program, currently under federal review, would have a "great economic impact in Saskatchewan and its institutions." Reports suggest PSSSP administration may be transferred from Aboriginal bands to a third party, such as Canada Student Loans. "It's not fair to us if this program is taken away." A FSIN vice-chief says that as far as he knows, no First Nations leaders are participating in the review, and they should be included. Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

"Cybermentor" inspires girls to pursue science, engineering

An Alberta-wide initiative to encourage girls to pursue careers in science and engineering has gone high-tech with the launch of "Cybermentor," an online social community in which girls ages 11 to 18 are matched with female scientists and engineers. Enrolment in engineering and science programs worldwide is on the decline, especially among girls; however, recruitment efforts in Alberta have been successful. Nearly a quarter of engineering students at the University of Calgary are female. uCalgary News | Calgary Herald | Cybermentor 

Medicine Hat College campaign identifies roadblocks to PSE

Medicine Hat College has launched an interactive campaign designed to identify barriers to pursuing PSE. The college's "Yes You Can" website asks members of the community to share their reasons for not being able to attend college, and school staff will explore options to get around those obstacles and provide individual responses to participants. The campaign is meant to dispel myths about PSE, which is a priority for the college. Yes You Can

Free global online university in the works

Taking a cue from the open teaching movement, Israeli entrepreneur Shai Reshef plans to launch the first worldwide, tuition-free online university this fall. "The University of the People" will start off small with a maximum 300 students studying either business administration or computer science. Reshef hopes enrolment will grow to 10,000 over 5 years. Although some question the logistics of Reshef's plan, he says he hasn't "found even one person who says it's a bad idea." New York Times

PSE-oriented bookmarking site criticized for restriction

"Brainify" is a new social bookmarking site specifically for higher education. The site sets itself apart from general bookmarking sites like Delicious in that membership is restricted to those with a college e-mail address. Critics say limiting membership defeats the purpose of social-bookmarking, and excludes those not traditionally considered part of academia. Brainify's creator says he wants to fine-tune the site's functions for students and professors before considering expanding membership, or else Brainify's quality would be compromised. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access) | Brainify