Top Ten

February 23, 2009

$120 million for 134 research chairs

The federal government announced yesterday a $120.4-million investment in 134 new or renewed Canada Research Chairs at 37 universities across Canada. The funding includes $6.6 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation for research infrastructure to facilitate the work of 42 of the chairholders. CRC News Release | List of recipients

US academics in Canada not looking to return to America

Despite cuts to federal research funding in Canada and billions poised for research in US president Barack Obama's economic stimulus package -- all sparking fears of a national brain drain -- US academics interviewed by University Affairs say they and their colleagues who came to Canada during George W. Bush's presidency are not considering returning to America. They say Obama's election hasn't changed anything. "The key issue is not who is president, but are there good jobs available?" The devaluation of endowment funds and state budget cuts as a result of the economic downturn has led to hiring freezes at private and public institutions in the US. University Affairs

Canada to admit more international students

On Friday, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced that Canada will "substantially increase" the number of international students it admits this year. He says that Canada is looking at Asian countries, particularly India, for prospective students, noting that Australian recruits 10 times more Indian students than Canada does. Kenney says universities are pressing for the increase, because foreign students are "a source of revenue," given that they pay the highest tuition fees. Toronto Star

Foreign student charged for attacking Dal exchange student at residence

A 19-year-old male student from Saudi Arabia appeared in court on Friday on charges of assaulting a 24-year-old Japanese exchange student attending Dalhousie University in the women's washroom of the Halifax YMCA international student residence last Tuesday evening. Soon after the attack began, the woman broke free and starting screaming. Other students rushed out to help and caught up to the attacker, holding him until police arrived. Khalid Khulaif Alhardbi will return to court on Wednesday. Halifax Chronicle-Herald | CBC

International students at UBC worried after recent kidnapping

Shaken by the recent kidnapping of an 18-year-old University of British Columbia student from China, whose alleged captors reportedly demanded a large ransom from his family, several foreign students studying at the institution say they will take more precautions to ensure their safety. A UBC doctoral student, also from China, plans to hold a meeting with other Chinese students to discuss security concerns. A student from Sri Lanka says there are often misconceptions about foreign students. "People assume we come in with a lot of money, but that's not always the case." CBC

CUPE Ontario passes motion to boycott Israeli universities

Delegates at a CUPE Ontario conference over the weekend voted in favour of a resolution calling for a boycott of Israeli universities in light of the attacks on Gaza. A previous version of the motion had called for Ontario universities to ban Israeli academics. Drawing anger from Jewish groups, the motion has been characterized as "bigoted and discriminatory and anti-Jewish." Toronto Star | CanWest News Service | CBC

$8-million budget shortfall at Trent signals hiring, salary freeze

In order to address a projected $7.8-million budget shortfall, Trent University has announced an immediate salary freeze for all senior and middle management within the extended management group going into the next fiscal year. A hiring freeze has also been implemented, and no new positions will be filled without the president's approval. In 2008-09, Trent faced a $10.5-million operating deficit, resulting in 54 full-time positions being eliminated. University staff are invited to attend a meeting this Thursday to receive a briefing on the school's financial challenges. Peterborough Examiner

Conestoga seeks extra funds from Cambridge for campus project

Last evening, Conestoga College president John Tibbits asked Cambridge city council for more direct financial support for the school's $50-million expansion into the city. "We want more than a pat on the back." In October, Cambridge sold 54 acres of land it had purchased 5 years ago to Conestoga. Last summer, the Ontario government committed $21 million to the project. With new funding coming from the federal government, Tibbits would like to add another 60,000 square feet to the first phase of the project, and have construction begin this summer. Kitchener-Waterloo Record

Athabasca U research program focuses on mobile learning

A research team from Athabasca University is studying how to use mobile devices such as cell phones and PDAs to deliver courses and instructional material to Albertans in remote places and those who are unable to attend classrooms. The team is also looking at how to use the information mobile devices contain to personalize and adapt learning content for each student. The research is being funded by the Alberta government, industry, Athabasca U, and through private donations. Alberta News Release | Calgary Sun

UNB student builds iPhone application

Jason Brennan, a third-year computer science student at the University of New Brunswick, has developed an iPhone application called "Keener," designed to help high-school and university students keep on top of their course work and academic standing. The application keeps a schedule of exams and assignments. Users can enter their marks into the program, which will calculate a tally of marks over the semester, as well as perform weighted grading. Brennan has been working on another application involving the iPhone's accelerometer, which senses movement. Saint John Telegraph-Journal