Top Ten

March 24, 2009

$4 billion for educational infrastructure in Ontario

On Monday, the Ontario government announced a $32.5-billion investment in provincial infrastructure over the next 2 years. Of that, $4 billion will go towards educational infrastructure. The Council of Ontario Universities welcomes the news, noting that the investment will enhance the knowledge infrastructure of the economy, as well as provide a boost to local job creation. Ontario News Release | COU News Release

CUPE claims pressure from UoGuelph to reopen contracts

CUPE Ontario president Sid Ryan says that in order to address financial challenges at the University of Guelph, school administrators have told union leaders to open up collective agreements or face the university shutting down in 2010. "It seems the University of Guelph is taking a page out of the Chrysler playbook by blackmailing employees and threatening closure if they don't open up collective agreements and give concessions." UoGuelph president Alastair Summerlee says there are no plans to close the university and no request has been made to reopen contracts. CUPE News Release | Ottawa Citizen | Toronto Sun

$6-million budget shortfall projected at UNB

In a memo issued to University of New Brunswick faculty and staff, president John McLaughlin states that with the latest provincial budget and the recession expected to persist, the 2009-10 budget is assumed to have a shortfall of at least $6 million. Should conditions continue into the medium-term, UNB anticipates a $14-million shortfall in 2011-12, resulting in a 3-year total shortfall of over $30 million. At the end of 2008, the university's endowment and long-term trust accounts investment pool dropped nearly 17%  in value. Units and departments are encouraged to explore all possible cost savings. UNB News Release

BC to introduce new bylaws regarding private PSE institutions

In June, the BC government will introduce changes to Private Career-Training Institutions Agency bylaws. Under the new rules, students defrauded by questionable private institutions will be entitled to tuition refunds. The schools will have to meet basic standards in designing curriculum, hiring instructors, and providing resources. A comprehensive process has been established to address student complaints. The majority of bylaw revisions are in direct response to amendments to the Private Career Training Institutions Act. Vancouver Sun | PCTIA Bylaws

UBC reopens renovated energy-efficient facility

On Monday, the University of British Columbia celebrated the reopening of the renovated, $19-million Freidman Building, an energy-efficient, state-of-the-art facility that houses the department of physical therapy and the school of audiology and speech sciences. The upgraded facility is part of the $120-million UBC Renew project, which will see the renovation of over 36,500 square metres of space at the university by the end of 2010. BC News Release

Queen's unveils plans for new performing arts centre

On Monday evening, Queen's University revealed the design for its new performing arts centre, which will include a 550-seat, purpose-built concert hall, a small studio theatre, rehearsal rooms, an art gallery, and office space. The new building would feature walls of stone and glass, and space for bike paths and outdoor cafés are incorporated into the design. Kingston Whig-Standard

Ryerson announces winners in "RU Ryerson?" video contest

On Monday, Ryerson University announced the top 3 entries to its "RU Ryerson?" video contest, which challenged students to produce 3-minute videos highlighting student life and the community around them. First place went to 3 students from the School of Radio and Television Arts, whose entry showcased diversity at the university. The winning videos are available on YouTube. Ryerson News | Ryerson YouTube channel

MUN launches new recruitment portal

Memorial University recently unveiled its new "Become a Student" microsite for prospective undergraduate and graduate students. On the undergraduate part of the site, 5 campus ambassadors appear in videos to discuss money, programs, living in St. John's, the campus, and student experience in the style of comedian Rick Mercer. The graduate portion of the site, titled "Graduate programs that are on the edge. (Literally.)," provides an overview of programs, fees, research, and location. The site includes profiles of professors and graduate students. MUN is promoting the portal through a multi-media campaign running in Atlantic Canada, Ontario, and Alberta. Become a Student

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US colleges must do more to assist new students

According to the latest Survey of Entering Student Engagement (SENSE), many incoming students at American community colleges do not take advantage of valuable resources because they are not aware of them, and the report argues the schools need to do a better job of personally assisting new students. 29% of students did not know their college offered academic advising, while 27% were not aware of financial aid counselling at their school. While 80% reported they "felt welcome" when they first arrived on campus, 76% said there was not a "specific person" designated to them from whom they could seek assistance. The report recommends schools adopt personalized advising programs, matching students with mentors earlier. Inside Higher Ed | The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) | Read the full report

MIT provides free access to its research articles

Last week, faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology voted in favour of making their scholarly articles available to the public for free and open access online. Under the new policy, faculty grant the institution nonexclusive permission to distribute their articles through its free online repository, and both faculty and MIT have the right to use and share the articles for any non-profit purpose. Since 2001, MIT has made lecture notes and other course material available on the Internet for free. MIT News | CBC