Top Ten

July 8, 2009

CUPE offers solutions to avoid job cuts at UoGuelph

At its meeting Tuesday with University of Guelph administrators, the union representing sessional lecturers and teaching assistants at the institution presented 14 remedies to mitigate the negative impact on union members. CUPE Local 3913 is trying to save 130 teaching positions from being cut, and is set to take its cause to a local MPP. A UoGuelph spokesperson says the university's contingent of such instructors is based on need. As a result of several cuts this year to low-enrolment programs, UoGuelph notified the union it would be eliminating the teaching positions. Guelph Mercury

Anti-Semitic material found in York washroom

Last Thursday, anti-Semitic material was found in a Scott Library bathroom at York University. On Monday, an office window of Hillel, a Jewish student organization at York, was smashed in a "deliberate act of vandalism," but reports from Toronto police and university administration ruled out hate as a motive for the property damage. York Federation of Students' president says learning that this incident was not motivated by anti-Semitism is "of great relief to York students." CFS News Release | Add/Read Comments

Wooden birds stolen from uVic totem pole

Oak Bay police are investigating the theft of 2 carved wooden birds recently snatched from the top of a 20-metre-high totem pole at the University of Victoria. The director of the uVic Art Collection says scratches and damage on the rest of the pole suggest the thief climbed the pole to take the birds, which are made out of cedar and stand about one-metre high. The damage to the pole will cost uVic thousands of dollars to repair. Victoria Times-Colonist

Ontario invests in instructional equipment at Georgian College

The Ontario government announced Monday a $1.6-million investment in instructional equipment and learning resources for Georgian College students. Part of the funds will go towards a new blast chiller, a special freezer that cools food quickly to prevent bacterial growth, for use by culinary students. The money is part of a $40-million fund designated for the renewal and upgrading of facilities for students. Ontario News Release | Georgian College News

More NB universities discontinuing credit card payments for tuition

St. Thomas University is the latest university in New Brunswick to discontinue credit card options for tuition and residence fee payments. The University of New Brunswick made a similar announcement last year, while Mount Allison University has never accepted credit card payments for tuition and board. As of this fall, the Université de Moncton will be the only public university in NB to allow credit card payments for such fees. Atlantic Baptist University, which is private, has introduced a policy in which students wanting to pay tuition and board with credit cards will pick up 2% of the transaction costs. Times and Transcript

CNA launches bridging program for Aboriginal students

This September, College of the North Atlantic's Happy Valley-Goose Bay campus will ease the transition of Aboriginal students into PSE with a new bridging program. The 9-month pilot program has a capacity for 16 students, who will take personal skills courses such as time management and scheduling, and customary math and sciences courses. Participating students will earn 4 Comprehensive Arts & Sciences (CAS) course credits, and later can transition into CAS. The bridging program is one of 3 initiatives at the campus aimed at assisting Aboriginal students; CNA is also introducing an Aboriginal Resource Centre and Aboriginal Leadership Program. CNA News Release

uCalgary graduate first person to receive honorary degree in space

Canadian Space Agency astronaut and University of Calgary alumnus Robert Thirsk made history yesterday when he became the first person to receive an honorary degree while orbiting the Earth. He received an honorary law degree from uCalgary via live downlink between the university and the International Space Station, where Thirsk has been since May 27. He is the first Canadian to undertake a long-duration space flight over the course of 6 months. uCalgary News | CBC

NWCC launches redesigned website

On Monday, BC-based Northwest Community College unveiled a new website. On the left-hand side of the website is a box called "Student Success" that features brief profiles of and testimonials from current students and graduates. The redesigned homepage includes flashing graphics promoting several college programs. NWCC website

Broad family ties to institution can influence giving

Based on data on alumni from a selective research university, a new study from the US has found that those with broad family ties to their alma mater are more likely to give to it. Alumni were 13% more likely to donate if one of their children attended the school. The likelihood of alumni making gifts went up 7.4% if a niece or nephew attended, and 4% with the attendance of a son- or daughter-in-law. The study found that alumni with older relatives enrolled at their alma mater were not more likely to donate, suggesting that families bond with colleges for reasons unrelated to legacy preferences. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) | Read the working paper

India boosts higher-education budget by 40%

The Indian government announced Monday that it has raised its higher-education budget to over $3 billion, an increase of 40%, for 2009-10. The government is allotting an extra $435-million to the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology and the National Institutes of Technology, while over $170 million is being set aside to open 16 central universities in states lacking one. India is also introducing interest-free loans for disadvantaged students to take technical and professional courses. While some academics in the country are praising the budget increases, others are criticizing the government for giving special treatment to the institutes of technology. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)