Top Ten

July 23, 2009

$113 million for Alberta campus infrastructure

The federal and Alberta governments announced Wednesday over $113 million in joint infrastructure funding for projects at post-secondary institutions across the province. The funds follow the first round of investments announced in May for Alberta schools. Funding awarded Wednesday includes $22.5 million for the University of Alberta to renovate and renew its Chemical and Materials Engineering Building. Industry Canada News Release

BC makes $16-million cut to student-aid budget

The Vancouver Sun reports that the BC government has reduced its $116-million student-aid budget to $100 million as part of the province's bid to cut costs by nearly $2 billion over 3 years. For example, the province has eliminated debt-forgiveness programs for students unable to afford loan repayments and for those with disabilities who cannot work. There was no public announcement about the cuts, and students were notified by letter or phone. Some question BC's communication strategy for the student-aid budget cut, with one NDP MLA calling it "pretty sneaky." In March 2008, the province announced a 2.6% cut in PSE operating grants. Vancouver Sun

EI cheques prove no cause for dismissal, says fired uOttawa prof

Former University of Ottawa professor Denis Rancourt, fired earlier this year over a grading dispute, claims his first Employment Insurance payment validates his argument that there was no cause for his dismissal. Rancourt alleges uOttawa had tried to block his receiving EI payments by stating he had been dismissed with cause, and he says he was granted benefits after a Service Canada investigator found the university's position could not be upheld. Rancourt is fighting his dismissal and anticipates an arbitration hearing. Ottawa Citizen

uWaterloo rebranding process draws controversy

A National Post blogger has drawn attention to a controversy brewing at the University of Waterloo over a leaked, unofficial version of what might be the new UW marketing logo. (A large black "W" with rainbow-coloured laser-like lines running through it, the suspect logo does seem to support the institution's established branding strategy of innovation, technology, and connectedness with industry and the world.) So far, 5,000 students, alumni and stakeholders have joined a Facebook group opposed to the redesign, because they say it does not reflect "prestige" or the "degree of professionalism" they want. UW officials have met with the group's leaders, and say the group has had "a positive impact on the way in which this rebranding will be carried out." Official samples of the visual identity in context will be posted shortly, but meanwhile the students have exercised considerable creativity in developing their own mocking visuals for the new logo, and also the uWindsor visual identity. National Post | "Students and Alumni Against the New University of Waterloo Logo" Facebook group

97% of Red River College Class of 2007 working

In a survey of Red River College students who graduated in 2007, 95% of respondents said they were employed or furthering their education a year after graduation. Of those in the workforce, seeking employment, 97% found jobs. 97% of employed graduates reported working in Manitoba. Nearly 88% said they were employment in a field related to the education and training they received. More than 93% stated they were very satisfied or satisfied with their education at the college, and 93% said they would recommend their program to others. Red River College News | Read the full report

Whitby woman donates home to UOIT

87-year-old Whitby resident Stefania Dulemba is returning to her native Poland to help build a shelter there, so she has signed over early her home and property she and her late husband Alexsander willed to the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, which will use the gift for office and research space. Over the years the couple made financial donations to UOIT and Durham College. In 2006, the university named its library study hall after the Dulembas. Earlier this month, Wilfrid Laurier University was given a house to be used as a "global engagement" student residence. Durham Region News

uWinnipeg begins Spence Street renewal project

The University of Winnipeg began work this week on the Spence Street Promenade at its downtown campus, which will add green space, basketball courts, a bandstand, and an event-ready area for campus and community activities. The project will be completed by the end of this August. uWinnipeg News | Winnipeg Free Press

Maclean's probes "G5" university presidents on Canada's higher-ed system

This week, Maclean's launched a 2-part series about the challenges faced by Canada's 5 largest universities -- uAlberta, UBC, McGill, uMontréal, and uToronto. Part 1 serves as a precursor to next week's issue in which the magazine will publish remarks from the presidents of the "G5" universities about reforming Canada's university system and what it will take for these schools to be the best in the world. Topics will include the perceived "one-size-fits-all" rules and mandates applied to universities and the lack of attention to the country's innovation system. Maclean's OnCampus

TWU prof offers bonus credit to students who abstain from social media

For a 5% bonus credit, students in Trinity Western University professor Robert Doede's spring ethics class are challenged to abstain from traditional and social media and document their experiences. The "media fast" is meant to help students understand the anxiety caused by social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Out of a typical class of 35 students, Doede notes, about 12 take up the challenge, and by the end only 4 to 6 are still "media abstinent." TWU News | Metro Vancouver

Former Virginia Tech counselling director found possessing shooter's mental health records

The mental health records of Seung-Hui Cho, the student gunman behind the Virginia Tech shooting, recently resurfaced after they were found in the possession of former university counselling official Robert C. Miller, who, according to his lawyer, took the files unwittingly when he left his position over a year before the shooting. The development has angered victims' families, of whom some have already alleged that Miller withheld information about Cho. Associated Press