Top Ten

January 30, 2009

uCalgary considers merging arts faculties

The University of Calgary is looking at merging 4 arts-related faculties into one super faculty. uCalgary president Harvey Weingarten says the proposal does not mean budget cuts, but is an "exercise in improving the academic work of the university." He says the present system in which interrelated programs are in separate buildings frustrates some students, which, Weingarten suspects, may lead to missed enrolment targets and a high attrition rate among first-year students. A decision on the proposed amalgamation is expected this spring. Calgary Herald

McMaster student missing

Police in Hamilton are worried about a missing McMaster University student, who was last seen by his roommates Sunday evening. Police say 20-year-old Jeffrey Renaud may be depressed and has had recent problems with his studies. The third-year engineering student was attending class infrequently. Meanwhile, the parents of a Kwantlen Polytechnic University student, missing since mid-November, are pleading with the public to help find their son. Hamilton Spectator | Surrey Now

$5-million deficit at Laurentian

Laurentian University faces a $5.3-million deficit this year, and its annual budget shortfall could top $14 million in 3 years if drastic measures aren't taken. Given a $7.7-million cut to the university's budget last year, job and program cuts may be inevitable, says Laurentian president Robert Bourgeois in a letter to staff and students. "The cuts will be difficult and the choices at times painful." Laurentian's budget-balancing also entails revenue increases. The school plans a 4% tuition increase for next fall, and will launch an aggressive recruitment campaign, with Francophone students being a particular target. North Bay Nugget

CBU seeks punishment of StFX coach for alleged attack

Cape Breton University is seeking disciplinary action from Atlantic University Sport against a St. Francis Xavier University's assistant men's basketball coach for allegedly striking a teenaged timekeeper -- a CBU student -- in the face in the final seconds of heated game last Wednesday evening. The alleged attack led to a confrontation between both teams, and the coach was escorted from the gym. CBU president John Harker, who was present at the game, calls the incident "totally unacceptable." National Post | Halifax Chronicle-Herald | CBC

New principal at Queen's

Queen's University has appointed Daniel Robert Woolf, a Queen's alumnus whose son attends the university, as its newest principal. Woolf is said to be "perfectly positioned to ensure Queen's meets the challenges ahead in this critical time in Canadian post-secondary education." Woolf says he has "a real vested interest in making this the best place it can possibly be." Currently serving as the University of Alberta's dean of arts, Woolf will succeed interim principal Tom Williams, who took on the position after former principal Karen Hitchcock resigned last spring amid criticism about her potential re-appointment. Queen's News Release | Globe and Mail | Kingston Whig-Standard | Edmonton Journal

Coast Capital Savings donates $1-million to Kwantlen

Last Thursday, Kwantlen Polytechnic University was awarded a $1-million donation from Coast Capital Savings, making it the largest single monetary gift the school has ever received. In return, Coast Capital Savings will be given naming rights to all 4 of Kwantlen's libraries, including the new state-of-the-art library at the university's Surrey campus. Kwantlen News Release | Vancouver Sun

Satellite campuses offer sustainability to small towns

In order to cope with major shifts in local economies, towns across Canada are partnering with post-secondary institutions to trigger change. Bringing PSE to smaller communities offers them social, economic, and environmental sustainability. In the case of Lakehead University, whose campus in Orillia is set to be the first one built to LEED platinum standards, the satellite will sustain Lakehead by attracting new applicants, and sustain Orillia by avoiding brain drain. Corporate Knights

uToronto launches new website, recruitment portal

Last Thursday, the University of Toronto unveiled its redesigned website. Touting the university as the provider of "Canada's answers to the world's questions," the easy-to-navigate homepage features a large graphic banner linking to information about faculty, learning opportunities, student life, and research. The site links to uToronto's new "Can You?" microsite, which includes small graphics reading, for example, "You can change brains with video games" and "You can solve world issues with music." Accompanying paragraphs describe specific research projects and include links to researcher profiles and departments. uToronto News | uToronto website | Can You?

Economic downturn force reevaluation of college education

The global economic downturn's impact on the job market is forcing some graduates to reconsider the value of their college degree, observes Walt Gardner in the Christian Science Monitor. There is a difference between learning for the sake of learning and learning relevant to making a living. Not intended to be trade schools, colleges are designed to develop the skills essential to lifelong learning. Gardner writes that society is entering "a new era in which old assumptions about education and prosperity no longer apply." Christian Science Monitor

Stanford offers "Facebook for Parents" course

A Stanford University researcher and his sister, a mother of 8, will teach a free, non-credit course at the institution called "Facebook for Parents." The course is meant to help parents understand how the social networking site works so they feel comfortable enough to use it themselves. The pair have created a website and an online newsletter as resources for parents of young Facebook users. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) | Facebook for Parents