Top Ten

February 12, 2009

Pro-Israeli York student receives threatening phone call

The York Regional Police hate crime unit is investigating a menacing phone call received last week by a York University student known to be "involved in pro-Israeli political social clubs" at the school. The caller threatened to harm both the student and his family. Police would not confirm earlier reports that the caller threatened to rape and murder the student's family members. National Post

UWO budget update signals several cuts, potential layoffs

In its campus-wide budget update, the University of Western Ontario asks faculties and departments to cut more from their budgets due to the economic downturn. Layoffs may be necessary, and "only mission-critical positions will be approved." UWO, which has seen significant losses in both its endowment and non-endowment funds, will postpone some capital projects, as well as temporarily withdraw $6 million set aside to match any Canada Foundation for Innovation awards. Western News | UWO Budget Update | Letter to UWO Employees

Queen's drops dialogue facilitator program

On Wednesday, Queen's University announced it has terminated its controversial Intergroup Dialogue Program in Residence, following the recommendation of a 3-person panel assigned to review the program. The group also recommends that alternative measures be explored to confront diversity issues in residences. The university "remains firmly committed to eliminating intolerance and to advancing a climate of inclusiveness throughout the institution." Queen's News Release | Globe and Mail | National Post

Lethbridge College seeks federal funding for residence project

Lethbridge College is asking the federal government to provide funding for new student housing. This academic year, the college had to turn away hundreds of students seeking residence spots because of a lack of affordable off-campus housing. A college official says the school wants to be able to accommodate individuals interested in returning to school due to the cooling economy. A 105-bed residence project is being planned and will soon be presented to the college's board. Lethbridge Herald

Federal government offers York students more loan funding

The Canadian government announced Wednesday that additional student loan funding will be made available to York University students to cover the costs of an extended school year as a result of the 12-week strike. The funding will be available through integrated Canada-Ontario Student Loans. York is launching a number of initiatives, including a $5-million bursary program, to help out students financially. Canada News Release | York News Release

York faculty petitions striking TAs to accept offer

Nearly 300 current and retired York University faculty have signed a petition urging striking teaching assistants and contract staff to vote "yes" on the latest offer from the university. The petition deems the offer "fair and reasonable," and says a lengthy strike would further damage York's academic reputation. Meanwhile, the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities may make adjustments to OSAP to help York students if their school year is extended. Toronto Star | Globe and Mail | Toronto Sun

Many Atlantic Canada students take nonlinear PSE path

Many PSE students studying in the Atlantic provinces do not remain at the same institution before graduating, according to a new Statistics Canada study. Of the 33% of university students aged 17 to 20 enrolled in the fall of either 2002 or 2003 who left within 2 years, 25% switched to another school, while another 25% subsequently returned. The dropout rate decreased to 18% when switchers and returning students were removed from the count. Nearly 35% of college students dropped out in the same period, but the dropout rate fell to about 29% when switchers and returning students were factored in. Statistics Canada

CMSF project works to improve graduation rates of Ontario college students

The Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation is working with Confederation, Mohawk, and Seneca Colleges on a pilot project designed to provide a new method of delivering support services to help students complete their studies. The Foundations for Success project will track 3,100 students admitted to the 3 colleges until this fall. Each participant will be paired with an advisor who will assess the student's needs and challenges, then direct them to the appropriate services. CMSF News

McMaster reopens renovated planetarium

Last evening, McMaster University held a grand re-opening for the William J. McCallion Planetarium, which had been closed for over a year while undergoing renovations. The upgraded facility features theatre-style seating and a $25,000 digital projection system. With the new technology, the planetarium can display real-time simulation of celestial movements, the view of the night sky from other planets, and objects such as meteor showers that were beyond the capacity of previous projectors. McMaster Daily News | Hamilton Spectator

MSVU to add a second "Link"

Mount Saint Vincent University announced Tuesday that it will add another "Link" -- a popular student hangout -- that will connect the communications centre to the new Teaching, Learning and Research Centre. In honour of a donation from RBC, the old and new Links will be know as the RBC North Link and RBC West Link. Construction on the new Link and research centre, expected to cost $16 million, will begin sometime next year. MSVU also announced it has reached nearly $10 million in its $16-million "Building Tomorrow Together" campaign. Halifax Chronicle-Herald

uOttawa students call for better snow removal system

30 University of Ottawa students held a rally Wednesday urging administration to adopt a better snow removal system on campus to improve accessibility. A uOttawa student union executive related stories of wheelchair-bound students getting stuck in snow between buildings or unable to leave residences because of uncleared snow, resulting in missed classes or exams. The issue was first raised 2 years ago and "we've never seen any real changes." The demonstrating students presented administration with a snow shovel bearing the uOttawa logo. Metro Ottawa

UWO offers retirement incentives

In order to meet budget constraints without having to resort to many layoffs, the University of Western Ontario is offering voluntary retirement incentives to eligible staff and faculty. As a result of significant losses to its endowed and non-endowed funds, UWO announced last month that all faculties and departments would have to cut more from their budgets, only necessary hirings would be approved, and some capital projects would be postponed. Western News

Brescia launches new recruitment portal

We've just noticed that Brescia University College, affiliated with the University of Western Ontario, has a new prospective student microsite. Visitors to the portal can click on the colourful graphic near the top of the page to take a photo tour of the campus. Touting Brescia as "one of Canada's most supportive campus environments," the site highlights residence life, small class sizes, and scholarship opportunities. The portal features profiles of alumnae and current students. MyBrescia

uCalgary halts art history admissions

The University of Calgary will not be admitting students to its art history program this fall as the program's sustainability undergoes review. Although art history courses will still be available to first-year students and those majoring in the field will still be able to complete their degree, any new students wanting to apply to major in art history must wait until the review is complete. A spokeswoman with uCalgary's fine arts faculty says the move does not reflect a scaling back of fine arts, nor is it related to discussion about merging the university's 4 arts faculties. Calgary Herald

CFI named one of Top 50 Best Small and Medium Employers in Canada

The Canada Foundation for Innovation ranked 15th in this year's survey of the Top 50 Best Small and Medium Employers in Canada. This is the third time in 5 years the Ottawa-based corporation has earned a spot on the list. Described as employing "creative and devoted people" who strive for excellence, CFI provides research infrastructure funding to colleges, universities, research hospitals, and non-profit research institutions. CFI News Release | 2009 Top 50 Best Small and Medium Employers in Canada

Vanier College bans card playing on campus

Last month, Vanier College, a CEGEP in St. Laurent Quebec, issued a ban on card playing in an effort to address on-campus gambling. "We're banning a distraction and we hope it will encourage kids to attend classes." So far, students found playing cards are simply being told to stop. Montreal Gazette

uPhoenix sued over loan payback policy

In a lawsuit against the University of Phoenix and its parent company, Apollo Group Inc., 3 former students at the for-profit institution accuse it of paying off the federal loans of students who have withdrawn from the school, then seeking to collect owed tuition fees directly from those students. The suing students allege uPhoenix is trying to strengthen its default rating through this practice. The university says its refund policies are compliant with federal student-aid rules, based on a review by the US Department of Education. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

4 Canadian universities win CASE Communication Awards

After reading yesterday's story about the Canadian winners of CASE's Accolades Awards, a Top Ten subscriber reminded us of the 2009 winners of CASE's District I Communications Awards. Dalhousie University picked up a gold, silver, and bronze. Memorial University earned a gold, bronze, and 2 honorable mentions. McGill University took a silver and a bronze, and the University of New Brunswick received a gold. The 4 universities will be presented with their awards at the CASE District I Conference next month in Boston. 2009 CASE District I Awards

Social network use by US adults quadruples

Between 2005 and 2008, the percentage of Americans ages 18 and above with a profile on a social networking site grew from 8% to 35%, according to a new study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Because adults make up a larger portion of the US population than do teens, the 35% represents a larger number of users than the 65% of teens on social networks. 89% of adults on social networks use their profile to keep in touch with friends. 60% restrict their profile access so that only friends can see it. Pew Internet Memo | ClickZ | Read the full report

Rap video promotes UK education to Indian youth

The British High Commission in New Delhi has produced a rap video as part of a campaign to encourage Indian students to consider the UK as an education destination. The video educates youth on making a proper visa application by urging students to seek out British Council-certified agents, as well as warning them about slick salesmen who give phony advice. The pair of young rappers in the video sing "Let's go, let's get a UK visa. Forget the rest 'cause this is so much easier!" YouTube