Top Ten

April 24, 2009

Finalists named in $200-million CERC competition

Last Thursday, the federal government announced the finalists in the first phase of the inaugural competition for the $200-million Canada Excellence Research Chairs program. Introduced last September, the program is designed to attract some of the world's top researchers. Up to 20 successful chairholders will receive $10 million each over 7 years to establish ambitious research programs at national universities. The universities invited to Phase 2 of the competition are Dal, McGill, McMaster, Queen's, UBC, UWO, uLaval, uSherbrooke, uQuebec à Trois-Rivièrs, uAlberta, uCalgary, uManitoba, uOttawa, UPEI, uSask, uToronto, and uWaterloo. CERC News Release | Phase 1 Competition Results | Ottawa Citizen

Tough financial times at Queen's

In an update on the economic situation at Queen's University, principal Tom Williams reported that the institution's endowments are projected to have lost $152 million by the end of the month, while the pooled investment fund has declined by $51 million. Despite campus-wide cutbacks and spending freezes, Queen's faces a projected $33-million deficit by 2011. Williams expressed disappointment in the lack of progress regarding compensation savings, noting that if there is no agreement resulting in a reduced wage bill, layoffs may be unavoidable starting in 2010-11. Update on the Financial Challenges at Queen's | Kingston Whig-Standard

Manitoba to allow colleges to offer bachelors degrees

The Manitoba government introduced last Thursday proposed amendments to the Colleges Act and the College universitarie de Saint Boniface Act that would give provincial colleges the ability to offer 4-year bachelors degrees. The province also announced $250,000 in funding to support the development of a degree in construction management to be offered at Red River College. Manitoba News Release | Red River College News Release | Winnipeg Free Press

"We don't want to be the best kept secret anymore"

Over the next couple of months, the University of Regina will begin rolling out its new marketing strategy -- including a new logo and identifiable slogans -- aimed at boosting its profile provincially, nationally, and worldwide. The strategy will focus on what differentiates uRegina from other institutions across Canada. A survey of university stakeholders found that uRegina's key strengths are its experiential-learning-focused environment, interdisciplinary programming, and community outreach programming. Regina Leader-Post

Fanshawe closes Strathroy location

Fanshawe College has shut down its satellite campus in Strathroy because of a lack of activity at the location for a number of months, although the closure is not absolute. The local chamber of commerce is trying to keep the college in Strathroy. The chamber is surveying local businesses about what types of programs that would benefit the community and what they would like to see happen at the college. A Fanshawe official says if there were adequate suggestions for the college to remain involved in the community, then it would maintain a presence in Strathroy. 105.7 myFM

Assiniboine opens culinary theatre

Last Thursday, Assiniboine Community College, located in Brandon Manitoba, opened a new culinary theatre. Housed in the college's Manitoba Institute of Culinary Arts, the 45-seat theatre will be used by students in the 2-year culinary arts and 2-year media production programs as a teaching studio to present cooking demonstrations, as well as a practice lab for producing culinary broadcast segments. The theatre will also serve as a venue for visiting celebrity chefs for special events at the institute. Assiniboine News Release

Residents, merchants upset over Concordia's "greening" plan

Over 250 people living or working near Mackay Street in Montreal have signed a petition trying to halt a project by Concordia University to set up green space along the street with a stage for student use during the summer. The project would eliminate 45 parking spaces, resulting in a expected $200,000 loss in parking-meter revenue. Those in the area are also worried about the prospect of a summer of student partying on the street. A Concordia spokeswoman says the plan is very flexible, and the university can figure out a way to green the street without losing parking spots. Montreal Gazette

Lambton students seek better access to campus

Students at Lambton College are calling for better walkways and more handicapped parking to make it easier to get in and out of the campus. The incoming student council president says both the Wellington Street entrance, where there are no sidewalks, and a student-made path cutting through a grassy section are not safe. A sidewalk cost assessment is currently being conducted, and an answer should be ready in 3 weeks. College officials are monitoring use of the school's 25 handicapped parking spaces to see if there is a need for additional temporary parking. Sarnia Observer

Racial diversity lacking in US graduate schools

According to a new report from the US-based Council of Graduate Schools, racial diversity in graduate schools does not reflect that of the nation. The report observes that African-American and Hispanic students continue to be underrepresented in graduate study, particularly in science and engineering, where each group makes up less than 10% of graduate students, and less than 5% of new PhDs. To reverse this trend, the report recommends expanded fellowships, traineeships, and loan-forgiveness programs. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) | Read the report

Blackboard wants import of Desire2Learn products blocked

In its ongoing legal battle against Desire2Learn, course-management software giant BlackBoard Inc. has called for an investigation by the US International Trade Commission and asked that it ultimately block the import of D2L's products because of alleged patent infringement. Within 30 days after the filing of such a request, the commission will decide whether to proceed with an investigation. Blackboard is also launching a patent-infringement lawsuit against D2L in a Canadian court. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)