Top Ten

April 3, 2009

$85 million for Arctic research infrastructure

Last week, the federal government announced 20 recipients of an $85-million fund to upgrade key Arctic research facilities. Projects include $11 million for a new building to house the Nunavut Research Institute in Iqaluit, $8 million for environmental and safety upgrades to the Université Laval-led Centre d'études nordiques, and nearly $5 million for the construction of a new multi-purpose facility for the Nunavik Research Centre. Canada News Release | Nunatsiaq News

Controversial uOttawa prof fired

Last Thursday, University of Ottawa physics professor Denis Rancourt received a letter from the university's science dean informing him of the board of governors' decision to dismiss him. The tenured professor was suspended from the university late last year over a grading dispute. uOttawa administrators had concerns that Rancourt's actions would impact the credibility of students' academic achievement. Rancourt plans to grieve his dismissal. A group of uOttawa students are suing the university over the matter. Guelph Mercury

UWO economics chair resigns in protest of layoffs

When officials with the University of Western Ontario's social sciences faculty asked Nathan Sussman, chair of the economics department, to identify staff to be laid off, he responded by resigning his post. "I decided not to be the one who pulls the trigger...and enacts policies I feel are unnecessary." Sussman also criticized the university for tumbling into a $41-million budget shortfall, calling the school's investment strategy "risky." A UWO official says the criticism is unfair, noting that the university's "investment committee" and its strategy have averaged annual returns of 7.8% in the last 2 decades. London Free Press

uManitoba football stadium to be ready by 2011

Last Thursday, the Manitoba and federal governments announced a deal in which media mogul David Asper will take ownership of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Asper will commit $100 million to build a new 30,000-seat stadium for the team at the University of Manitoba, and the stadium is slated to open in time for the 2011 CFL season. The province and Ottawa are contributing a total of $35 million to the project. uManitoba News Release | Globe and Mail | Winnipeg Free Press | Canadian Press | CBC | CTV

BC doubles nursing spaces at post-secondary institutions

Since 2001, the BC government has doubled the number of public PSE spaces for nursing degrees, diplomas, and certificates. In the last 8 years, the province has funded over 4,000 new spaces -- including an additional 287 spots outlined in the latest budget -- and introduced 24 new nursing programs. BC is now funding 57 nursing programs at the province's public post-secondary schools, including 16 4-year BSc in nursing degree programs, and 2 accelerated BSN programs. BC News Release

Western Canada urged to do more to boost educational attainment

In order to address the large high-school drop-out rate and low PSE enrolment in Western Canada, the 4 western provinces should join forces to set and work towards a higher graduation target for the region, according to a new report from the Canada West Foundation. The problem is particularly dire in Saskatchewan and Manitoba because of their expansive rural areas and large Aboriginal populations. The report suggests the provinces offer a system of loan forgiveness for those living in rural and remote communities who must transfer to cities to further their education. CWF News Release | Vancouver Sun

SMU wins recruitment advertising awards

Saint Mary's University's "Where will you go?" recruitment campaign, launched in 2007, has garnered 5 medals in the 24th annual Admissions Advertising Awards. The campaign earned gold in the Television Advertising and Outdoor Transit/Billboard categories, a silver in the Newspaper category, and bronze in the Radio Advertising and Poster sections. Other Canadian winners include Concordia University, which picked up a bronze in the Direct Mail category, and SAIT, which earned a gold in the Poster section and a bronze for its "Further Your Passion" microsite. SMU News Release | SMU "I Want" theatre spot

UNB announces winners in "U Shoot for the Loot" video contest

Last week, the University of New Brunswick named the grand prize winners of its "U Shoot for the Loot" contest in which current students were asked to create videos illustrating their experience at the university. Brandon Ingraham of the Fredericton campus won for his technologically innovative video about a typical day at school, and Greg Knudson of the Saint John campus won for his short feature capturing campus life. The winners will receive a $2,500 tuition voucher and a $250 pizza party. U Shoot for the Loot

Harvard to offer Web-exclusive catalogues, handbooks

After this semester, Harvard University will no longer print its course catalogues, student and faculty handbooks, and the Q guide, all of which will be available exclusively on the Internet. The move, which had been considered for several years, will save the university tens of thousands of dollars. The online system will be much more dynamic. For example, students will be able access data not offered in hard copies of the Q guide, which contains the results of annual course evaluations. Harvard Crimson

Blackboard launches another lawsuit against Desire2Learn

As the appeals process in the long-running dispute between course-management companies Blackboard Inc and Desire2 Learn begins, the former has filed a new patent-infringement lawsuit against the latter. Blackboard maintains a revised version of D2L's software still violates its patent. D2L responded by offering $1 million to an education-related charity if Blackboard agreed to drop the lawsuits. While Blackboard declined the offer, it says it will settle the cases if D2L agrees to pay a licensing fee to use the company's technology. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) | Desire2Learn website