Top Ten

March 4, 2009

UWO urged to defer capital projects before considering layoffs

At a town hall-style meeting on Tuesday, over 500 University of Western Ontario employees and students took aim at administration and its plan to address a shortfall predicted to hit $41 million by 2011. Several speakers at the meeting said that instead of looking at layoffs, the university should defer capital projects and borrow money. "Let's protect the human capital before the bricks and mortar capital." Others were critical of the university's investment practices; the school has seen significant losses in both its endowed and non-endowed funds. Units at the university are being asked to trim their budgets by 5.5% in each of the next 2 years. UWO Budget Update | London Free Press

Financial challenges at uCalgary

In a memo sent to University of Calgary staff this week, president Harvey Weingarten outlines a number of factors contributing to budget challenges, including the endowment fund shrinking by $78 million, uncertainty surrounding provincial operating grants, and increasing utility costs. Expecting to end the current fiscal year in a deficit position, uCalgary hopes to raise more revenue through additional enrolment. While the school won't impose a hiring freeze, new hiring will occur only in the "most compelling of cases." Calgary Herald

RDC reassures donors of safe investments

Red Deer College is reassuring its donors that their investments are safe despite the devaluation of the school's endowment fund. Although the fund dropped over 15% in value in 12 months, it has had a 3.2% interest return over the last 5 years. The $15 million RDC has so far raised in its capital campaign is also unaffected by the economic downturn. Red Deer Advocate

uToronto criticized for allowing Israeli Apartheid Week lecture

About 20 protestors outside a University of Toronto building that was the setting for an Israeli Apartheid Week lecture denounced the university for allowing the talk. "The fact that a Canadian university would allow this to happen goes against the charter of the university." Meanwhile, the president of the York University chapter of Jewish student group Hillel says intimidation of Jewish students at York has continued since an incident last month, and that it's odd York administration has not openly denounced the anti-Israeli protestors. Toronto Star

McMaster introduces Peace Initiative for Palestinian, Israeli student groups

A number of Muslim and Jewish student groups at McMaster University have signed onto the McMaster Peace Initiative committing to create an environment of mutual understanding and to promote peaceful co-existence. The Peace Initiative was developed in response to events last year surrounding Israeli Apartheid Week. The groups agree that if incidents of hate or intimidation, property damage, or physical violence occur, then a response will be issued to condemn the act. McMaster Daily News | Hamilton Spectator

Missing McMaster student not a student at all

Last month we reported on the disappearance of 20-year-old Jeff Renaud, an engineering student at McMaster University. It turns out that Renaud was not a university student; he did not register for his third year at the school last spring. Renaud had kept up the pretense that he was still attending school by appearing to go to class and work on assignments. One of his roommates now suspects Renaud failed his second year. Hamilton police are concerned about the young man's state of mind. Windsor Star

UBC research impact on computer science highest in Canada has chosen the University of British Columbia as having the highest impact research-wise on the field of computer science. The website's ranking is based on an analysis on the average citations per paper among Canadian universities that published 50 or more papers in computer science and engineering journals between 2003 and 2007. In that time, UBC published 137 papers. Rounding out the Top 5 universities are uToronto, UWO, McGill, and Carleton.

Podcast lectures at uSask

A pilot project at the University of Saskatchewan in which class lectures are recorded as audio files has received positive responses. A study conducted at the end of the pilot found that nearly 98% of students used the podcasts when they had missed classes. 90% said the availability of podcasts had no affect on whether on not they attend a class. Several faculty noted they used the podcasts to study their teaching style and listen to their teaching voice. So far 26 classes are using podcasting. uSask On Campus News

What would happen if university tuition were abolished?

In the opinion of CBC columnist Heather Mallick, it would rid the PSE system of a mess. Universities would accept only those with a realistic chance of success, class sizes would shrink, grade inflation would become pointless, and dumbing down would be terminated. A university degree would be considered a "gleaming thing," as opposed to something basic that now needs to be topped off with a post-graduate degree to attract any attention. Mallick suggests that the higher education field is overcrowded and should be thinned out. CBC

uPhoenix students focus of new ad campaign

15 students and graduates of the University of Phoenix are the faces of the for-profit institution's new advertising campaign. The multi-media "I am a Phoenix" campaign includes video from students "who've overcome personal challenges to rise up and earn their degrees." Those profiled include a single dad who served in Iraq, an immigrant new to Canada, and several first-generation students. Videos are available on a microsite and on YouTube. I am a Phoenix | uPhoenix YouTube Channel