Top Ten

October 2, 2009

uCalgary needs to improve executive compensation processes, says Alberta auditor-general

In a report released Friday, Alberta's auditor-general recommends the board of governors at the University of Calgary set up systems to guide all areas of compensation, including timely negotiation and completion of employment contracts for senior executive positions. The report also recommends the university improve payroll controls, PeopleSoft security, and controls over journal entries. The auditor-general recently asked uCalgary to report on the school president's pension benefits retroactively after the figures were left off the books for 6 years. Meanwhile, the university will receive help from the province to fast-track recommendations of an extensive administrative review called the Innovative Support Services Project that is designed to reduce operating costs and improve financial controls. Read the full report

uWaterloo student charged with voyeurism acquitted

A University of Waterloo student who took a picture of a young woman showering at a student residence was acquitted last Thursday after a judge ruled the accused was not warned soon enough that what he said could be used against him or given the chance to call a lawyer. Alex Kim, a fourth-year student at the time of the June 2008 incident, admitted after 45 minutes of questioning that he went to a female floor at his residence, snuck into a shower and photographed a woman using his cellphone. With the videotaped confession excluded, the charge of voyeurism against Kim was dismissed. Waterloo Region Record

New pipe trades college opens in Edmonton

The $23-million Alberta Pipe Trades College officially opened in Edmonton on Friday. Everything at the college is geared to hands-on training, including 4 20-foot indoor wells for pump installation classes, and 10,000 feet of coiled copper pipe behind the gas lab walls so students can check gas flow through different lengths and dimensions. The college's main attraction is an internal 3-storey open tower simulating a walk-up apartment, where students will learn to install everything from in-ground connections to bathroom sinks. The college is now going through the provincial accreditation process, which will allow it to receive the same per-student funding as public education facilities. Edmonton Journal

Groundbreaking for new university in Port Alberni

Over 40 government and academic officials participated in a ceremonial sod turning late last month for the new Pacific Coast University in Port Alberni BC. When completed in December 2010, the institution will offer fully accredited certificates and diplomas, as well as graduate degrees in workplace human sciences. Alberni Valley News

uToronto top Canada institution in international research ranking

The University of Toronto has placed first among Canadian universities in the SCImago Institutions Rankings, which analyzes the research performance from 2003 to 2007 of 2,000 research institutions and organizations worldwide in higher education, government, health, corporate, and other sectors. uToronto placed 12th overall, and the University of British Columbia (37), McGill University (61), and the University of Alberta (65) ranked among the top 100. 36 other Canadian post-secondary institutions made the list. uToronto News Release | SCImago Institutions Rankings

UPEI professors push for more classroom space

Some professors at the University of Prince Edward Island say the institution is facing a classroom shortage and needs another building. The situation was compounded this summer when UPEI shut down its portable-classroom centre after major structural problems were discovered. As result of the closure and increased enrolment, some classes have had to be scaled back because the available classrooms are not big enough. While university officials say there are no current plans for a new building, they acknowledge the classroom shortage and are looking for the best way to address the issue. CBC

NSCC develops master growth plan to address waiting lists

Nova Scotia Community College has developed a master growth plan in order to deal with growing waiting lists for students wanting to enrol. This academic year, 10,433 students have enrolled in certificate or diplomas at NSCC, which had turn away another 2,500 fully qualified applicants due to limited capacity -- a 25% increase over last year. A college official says the school will continue to work with funding partners to expand enrolment capacity in order to meet labour market demands. NSCC News Release

Enrolment boom at Boréal

For the fifth consecutive year, Collège Boréal is experiencing an enrolment increase. This year the increase stands at 7%, and the college is also reporting a 9% jump in continuing-education registration. Since 2005-06, Boréal has seen its post-secondary and tuition short programs enrolment grow by 22%. Boréal News Release

FNUC students rally for changes to PSSSP

Students at the First Nations University of Canada participated in an on-campus rally last Thursday to raise awareness about the treaty right to education and to ask Ottawa to lift the 2% cap on funding for the Post-Secondary Student Support Program, which is under review. Former Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations chief Perry Bellegarde said at the rally that the funding cap adversely affects First Nations, as it does not take into consideration inflation, increased tuition rates, and the cost of living. Regina Leader-Post

Gas mask bras honoured by Ig Nobels

The 2009 Ig Nobels, an annual parody of the Nobel Prizes, were announced last Thursday. Researchers from Britain won in the veterinary medicine category for showing that cows who have names give more milk than cows that are nameless. Swiss researchers picked up the peace prize for determining through experiment whether is better to be smashed over the head with a full bottle of beer or with an empty bottle. The public health prize went to American researchers who invented a brassiere that, in case of an emergency, can be quickly converted into a pair of gas masks. Associated Press | List of 2009 Ig Nobel Recipients