Top Ten

February 6, 2009

$26 million for Saskatchewan campus upgrades

Last Thursday, the Saskatchewan government announced a $26.4-million investment in infrastructure upgrades at 4 provincial post-secondary institutions. SIAST will receive $7.85 million for renovations at its Wascana and Woodland campuses. Great Plains College, St. Peter's College, and SIIT are also receiving funding. Saskatchewan News Release

Humber shuts down Canadian Plastics Training Centre

Humber College announced last Thursday that it is closing its Canadian Plastics Training Centre because of the economic downturn's impact on the plastics industry, which in turn has affected the number of applications to Humber's plastics processing training program. Interest in the program has been on a steady decline in the last 3 years. The closure signals a trend in plastics training. NAIT and BCIT cut similar programs in recent years, and a Quebec CEGEP is expected to terminate its plastics program this year. Humber News Release

Site finalized for uCalgary downtown campus

Last Wednesday, the University of Calgary's board of governors approved the location for the school's new downtown campus, which will "quickly become the intellectual and cultural centre, and meeting place of Calgary." The 127,000-square-foot building will be renovated to meet LEED standards. The campus is expected to offer continuing education, executive education, and professional development programs. The campus will welcome its first students in September 2010. UToday | Calgary Herald

Holland College opens Adult Education Centre

On Tuesday, Holland College will host an open house for its new Adult Education Centre in Montague PEI. The new centre features spacious classrooms, a computer lab, and an office for The Employment Journey, a publication focusing on issues relating to career planning and job searching. Centre staff hope the new facility will encourage people in the region to enrol in classes to upgrade their high school credits or earn their GED. Holland College News Release

Facebook group protests SSHRC focus on business students

A Facebook group is taking the Conservative government to task for the federal budget stating that "scholarships granted by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council will be focussed on business-related degrees." The group's creator strongly questions "the assumption that grad students in the humanities and social sciences who know how to communicate, analyse, and think creatively are worth less to the Canadian economy than MBAs." The group encourages members to write to the prime minister, local MPs, opposition leaders, and university leaders about the matter. Stop the feds from earmarking SSHRC funds for business grads only! | Budget 2009

Indian student recruitment a priority for uAlberta

University of Alberta president Indira Samarasekera says a major priority for the school is to attract more students and scholars from India, one of the world's most competitive recruitment markets, given that half of the country's one-billion population is under 25. The move would boost the university's international presence, and provide Alberta with connections to top young minds. On a recent trip to India, Samarasekera promoted Alberta's strengths in nanotechnology, oil and agriculture, as well as the university's new chair in ancient Indian history. Edmonton Journal

MacEwan ponders university status

Although Grant MacEwan College has not been actively pursuing university status, it is not entirely opposed to the name change, now that proposed amendments to the Post-Secondary Learning Act would allow the school and Mount Royal College to be known as universities. A MacEwan spokesman says regardless of whatever name is chosen, the college will continue to brand itself with the one-word identifier -- MacEwan. Edmonton Journal

Trent runs interactive virtual tour

We've recently noticed that Trent University has a virtual campus tour. The interactive tour begins with a world map zooming in on Peterborough and Oshawa. Students guide visitors through various aspects of the university, such as studies, quality of education, athletics, and campus life. The page includes photo albums and a campus map on which visitors can click various points to bring up location descriptions. Trent Virtual Tour 

Postcript:  Jun 3, 2009
The International Association of Business Communicators has honoured Trent University's virtual campus tour with a 2009 Gold Quill Award of Merit. The interactive tour also earned a bronze award in the 2009 Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education Prix D'Excellence. Since its launch in March 2008, the virtual tour has had more than 85,000 hits. Trent News Release

"Gradshare" offers peer mentoring to graduate students

Billed as "a question-and-answer site for research-oriented graduate students," "Gradshare," a new online community, is designed to offer peer mentoring to graduate students looking for answers to questions they are uncomfortable asking, or unable to ask, their advisors. The site's membership is restricted to those with college e-mail accounts, and students of institutions partnering with Gradshare can access material uploaded by their schools. The site's developers will not charge students or schools, and plan to keep Gradshare free of advertising. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) | Gradshare

Postscript: Mar 27, 2009
Memorial University is the first Canadian institution to participate in Gradshare. The program is being administered through MUN's School of Graduate Studies and the library. The dean of the School of Graduate Studies says signing up for Gradshare signals the university's desire to offer cutting-edge and unique services to its graduate students. MUN News Release


Leeds U apologizes for tossing out student's lizard dung collection

UK-based Leeds University has apologized to a doctoral student after his 7-year collection of lizard dung was thrown out by cleaners at his lab at the university. The PhD student had collected the dung in the Philippines while studying the rare butaan lizard, and the material was meant to be part of his research. The student has rejected the university's monetary compensation and plans to take Leeds U to court. BBC | Associated Press