Top Ten

June 19, 2009

$993 million for Quebec campus infrastructure

On Friday, the federal and Quebec governments announced the first wave of more than $993 million in joint infrastructure funding for over 200 shovel-ready projects at post-secondary institutions across Quebec. One of the selected projects is a $3.1-million investment at the Université du Québec en Outaouais to establish the Temperate Deciduous Forest Institute of Science. As funding from the Knowledge Infrastructure Program is announced, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada updates its interactive map with detailed information about investments made to its member institutions. Industry Canada News Release | AUCC map

Former Carleton student attacked on campus sues university

A former Carleton University student who was assaulted inside a campus residence 6 years ago is suing the university for failing to protect his safety. In September 2003, David Skidmore, then a first-year student, was reportedly punched, kicked, and knocked unconscious by 2 other students who lived off campus. Skidmore alleges that Carleton failed to provide a "reasonably safe" residence, to "employ adequate security," and to foresee the violent tendencies of his attackers. In its statement of defence, Carleton insists that campus security was more than adequate. The university claims Skidmore was intoxicated the night of the attack, and that he instigated the fight. Maclean's

Court rules against uToronto professor's use of peer-grading system

An Ontario court has upheld a previous ruling that found that University of Toronto psychology professor Steve Joordens' use of a peer-marking system violated the collective agreement for the university's teaching assistants and sessional instructors. The union representing these instructors filed a grievance against uToronto when it found out Joordens was using specially designed software with which students would grade and comment on each other's work. Joordens, who introduced the system when there was no money to hire TAs to do extra marking, hopes to continue to use the software in a manner acceptable under the union's collective agreement. National Post

McMaster faces possible $50-million budget shortfall

While McMaster University had been able to balance its budget for the 2009-10 fiscal year, the school could face deficits in the $50-million range in 2010-11 and 2011-12 unless there are significant changes in income and spending in 2010 and beyond. In a memo to McMaster's president, the university's finance committee chairman says he is "very concerned about the financial health of the university." The new budget absorbs about $20 million in inflationary increases through measures such as deferred spending, hiring delays and freezes, and drawing from reserves. Hamilton Spectator

FNUC letter to CAUT tries to "rewrite history"

In his letter to the Canadian Association of University Teachers, the First Nations University of Canada's board chair bases his request for CAUT to remove its censure of the university on the Supreme Court of Canada's rejection of an appeal regarding a case about a faculty member's academic freedom. The board chair argues that last month's court ruling "supports our claim that our governance structure has worked very well." In response, CAUT executive James Turk says the chair's letter "rewrites this whole history" of governance issues and ignores the association's concerns. Turk states the governance structure was not the issue in the court case, and CAUT will not lift its censure until FNUC addresses its ongoing governance problems.

Canadian PSE institutions need to do more to promote bilingualism

According to a new parliamentary committee report, Canada's universities and colleges must do more to ensure their graduates are bilingual to help fill positions with the federal government. The committee is concerned that institutions, especially anglophone ones, do not comprehend the great need for bilingual staff in the federal public service. Among the committee's 11 recommendations is for Ottawa to develop a recruitment strategy that sends a "clear message" to anglophone schools about the needs of the federal public service. The report notes Ottawa cannot tell institutions what to do, because they are not part of its jurisdiction and the government must respect their academic freedom. CBC | Read the full report

CNA launches new logo


On Friday, College of the North Atlantic unveiled its new logo, which features the letters "N" and "A" depicted as a pair of overlapping waves with the college's name below. CNA's president says the new logo, which was created in-house, complements the brand the school has been developing, and positions the college to prospective students and employees as a "modern, forward thinking institution." CNA News Release

Lakehead re-opens renovated pool

Lakehead University held a ribbon-cutting ceremony last Thursday for its swimming pool, which underwent a 10-month-long renovation. The 3-stage renovation project started last August following a "Save the Pool" campaign led by the university's student union. In a student referendum last April, 77% of voters approved a $15-per-semester fee to cover the $2.5-million budgeted to upgrade the facility's pool, change rooms, and reception area. Lakehead News Release

Update on Sault College "campus rebuild"

Last Thursday, Sault College's president updated the school's board of governors on the process to build a $26-million, 100,000-square-foot addition to the college, which will serve as a new entrance. The project, which recently received $16 million in funding from the Knowledge Infrastructure Program, is part of Sault College's proposed $45-million "campus rebuild." The new addition will contain "much-needed" classrooms, partly to replace classroom space lost when the college demolishes 2 of its wings. Plans for the new entrance include a large aquarium that could be maintained by students. Sault Star

Winners announced in RBC Student Do-Over Video Challenge

Last Thursday, the Royal Bank of Canada named the 3 winners in its Student Do-Over Video Challenge, following a public vote on the 10 finalists. The contest had asked participants to describe in their submissions what they would have done differently if they could go back to their first year of PSE. The winning entries feature a doctoral student in chemistry discussing his passion for art, 2 young women singing about the consequences of buying useless textbooks, and humorous visuals reflecting a young woman's do-over list. The 3 winners will receive $10,000 each. RBC Student Do-Over Video Challenge