Top Ten

July 21, 2009

NSERC distributes $150 million to support Canadian students, researchers

Yesterday the federal government announced a $150-million investment from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council for grants, scholarships, and fellowships for students and researchers across the country. The funding is provided through 5 established programs of NSERC. Over 6,000 researchers and students in Canada are receiving these funds. NSERC News Release

Laurentian attempting to lock out staff, says union

The president of Laurentian University Staff Union claims the school intends to resolve its financial difficulties by locking out some 250 staff members, as the university requested a no board report from the Ontario government after talks between both sides broke off last week. A Laurentian official denies the university is planning a lockout, and says just because Laurentian is in a lockout position does not mean it has to move forward on it. Should a resolution not be reached, a lockout or strike could occur as early as August 10. Sudbury Star | Northern Life | Northern Ontario Business

Toronto strike jeopardizes construction at city campuses

The month-long strike by Toronto city workers has meant the absence of officials to issue construction permits, putting at risk deadlines and funding for infrastructure projects at local colleges and universities. The University of Toronto, Centennial College, and York University are concerned about losing Knowledge Infrastructure Program funding for their respective projects as the program requires a completion date of March 2011. Last week, uToronto wrote to Toronto Mayor David Miller urging him to move its projects forward. Miller announced yesterday a partial resumption of the building permit granting process to ease the backlog of applications. Globe and Mail | National Post | 680 News

Ontario makes additional investment in St. Clair College construction centre

Earlier this month, the Ontario government announced a $4.25-million investment in St. Clair College's Centre for Construction Innovation and Production. The funding follows a $5-million contribution the province made 5 years ago for the facility. The 30,000-square-foot centre, to open in September, will expand the college's ability to offer courses in industrial training, applied technology, and skilled trades. St. Clair College News

Fewer apprenticeship spots expected at Alberta colleges

For the first time in 5 years, the number of apprenticeship seats at Alberta institutions is slated to decrease year-over-year. For 2009-10, colleges are anticipating 1,900 fewer spots for students compared to last year. The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology is projected to absorb most of the decrease with 10% fewer apprenticeship seats. The decline is tied to mounting layoffs, especially in the construction sector, as a result of the recession. Although student interest has not waned during the downturn, fewer employers are willing to spend money to hire and mentor trainees, which some fear will worsen an expected skilled worker shortage. Calgary Herald

620 uWaterloo students involved in discipline cases last year

According to a report from the University of Waterloo's committee on student appeals, 617 undergraduate and 3 graduate students were involved in discipline cases over the course of the 2007-08 academic year. Of the undergraduate cases, 523 were classified as "cheating" and 74 fell under "plagiarism." There were 12 cases of "misrepresentation" and 8 under the heading of "harassment, unethical behaviour, non-academic misconduct." While just over half of the cheating cases involved first-year students, plagiarism incidents were more evenly distributed through all 4 years. uWaterloo Daily Bulletin

Okanagan College provides assistance to residents affected by fires

Okanagan College's Kelowna campus is offering 44 beds to residents forced to evacuate their homes due to the West Kelowna fires. Libraries at the Kelowna and Penticton campuses will be open to affected individuals in need of Internet access and computer terminals. Parking at the college will be free for those using the school's services. Okanagan College News Release

SPC unveils new website


Heads-Up: Jul 20, 2009
We've recently noticed that the hompage of St. Peter's College, an affiliate of the University of Saskatchewan, is dominated by a time counter counting down to midnight tonight. There's no indication on the website of what the countdown signifies, but SPC has piqued our curiosity. We'll let you know what happens in Wednesday's edition of the Top Ten!

On Monday, we gave you a heads-up about St. Peter's College's homepage being dominated by a time counter counting down to 12 am Tuesday. Now all is revealed -- SPC has launched a redesigned website. The homepage features a flashing graphic banner showcasing shots of the campus and of students, as well as archived photos. Below the banner is a "Did you know?" section listing bits of trivia. On the right-hand side are graphics of Post-It Notes displaying links to tour requests, events, weather and highway alerts, and webmail. SPC website

How US institutions are solidifying the "summer melt"

To minimize "summer melt" -- the phenomenon of admitted students who submit deposits but do not show up -- a number of American schools are getting creative in engaging expected incoming students. Admissions counsellors at Wisconsin-based Lawrence University have been e-mailing quirky surveys to admitted students, with the results being posted on the school's admissions blog. Indiana-based Wabash College's state alumni association sent "Class of 2013" T-shirts to all incoming students, encouraging them to send pictures of themselves donning the shirts to be posted on the college's website. Some schools have "anti-melt" events or committees. "Recruitment does not stop at the point of deposit -- it never has." The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) | Admissions @ Lawrence | Wabash College -- Class of 2013

Study finds Millennials overestimate knowledge of computer applications

A North Carolina Central University study evaluating undergraduates' knowledge of basic computer software found a disconnect between students' perception of their ability to perform certain tasks and what they could actually do. For example, nearly 70% of students tested believed they had an average skill level with regards to Microsoft Excel, but could not perform most of the basic, moderate, or advanced tasks. The researchers recommend further assessment of undergraduates' computer-skill levels, or else students will enter the workforce unprepared. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) | Read the study