Top Ten

November 2, 2009

McMaster teaching, research assistants go on strike

Approximately 2,700 teaching and research assistants at McMaster University went on strike yesterday after rejecting a "best offer" package from the university over the weekend. Striking employees have set up picket lines outside the university. While classes are continuing as usual, some tutorials and labs have been cancelled. CUPE 3906 News | Hamilton Spectator

Postscript: Nov 11, 2009
Teaching and research assistants at McMaster University have gone back to work after voting 58% in favour of accepting the university's "best offer" contract. All tutorials and labs are expected to run on their normal schedules by mid-week this week, once a return-to-work protocol has been finalized. McMaster Daily News | Hamilton Spectator

Fanshawe to punish students involved in weekend melee

Fanshawe College president Howard Rundle warns that any students implicated in this weekend's street riot and violent clash with police near the college will face academic sanctions, up to and including suspensions and expulsion. According to media reports, a student party on Thurman Circle got out of hand and a crowd of about 500 individuals pelted police with beer bottles, overturned cars, smashed windows, and damaged property. In all, 22 people were charged. Rundle says that he expects to receive information from police this week about who was charged and that will serve as a starting point for Fanshawe officials to apply an updated student code of conduct. London Free Press

Foreign students pump over $6 billion into Canadian economy

According to recent report commissioned by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, international students contributed $6.5 billion to the Canadian economy in 2008. The report also credits international study in the country with creating more than 83,000 jobs and generating over $291 million in revenue. The report states that there were 178,227 foreign students in Canada in 2008, and those figures are expected to rise this year as the country boosts its marketing efforts. The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade currently spends about $2 million to promote Canada as a study destination, but the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada would like the government to increase international-recruitment spending to $20 million. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access) | Read the full report

Graduate enrolment up 9% at uSask

According to the University of Saskatchewan's annual enrolment report, for the first time since 2003, more students are attending the institution this year than the year before -- a positive sign considering the declining high-school student population in Saskatchewan and increased competition with other post-secondary schools. Undergraduate enrolment is up by 1.19%, while graduate enrolment has risen by nearly 9%. uSask has now achieved the 2003 Enrolment Plan's goal of 2,500 students by 2010, and is making good progress towards its long-term goal of seeing graduate students account for 15% of total student enrolment. uSask On Campus News | Read the enrolment report

Nipissing professors approve strike mandate

Last week, faculty at Nipissing University voted 95.8% in favour of a strike mandate. The university's faculty association is bargaining for an academic workload that ensures student-centred teaching and research is maintained, and a working environment conducive to recruiting and retaining qualified professors. Faculty also want to ensure that full-time positions are maintained. The association and Nipissing will be in a legal strike/lockout position by November 9, but the association has not made a final decision on a deadline for negotiations. North Bay Nugget

Postscript: Nov 10, 2009
Following a negotiation session on Sunday, Nipissing University and its full-time faculty reached a tentative settlement. The settlement is expected to be ratified over the coming weeks. Nipissing News Release


uToronto top Canadian institution in global ranking

The University of Toronto has been chosen as the top Canadian university in Shanghai Jiao Tong University's 2009 Academic Ranking of World Universities. uToronto placed 27th overall. UBC, McGill, and McMaster each made the top 100 worldwide. In total, 22 Canadian universities are listed in the top 500 universities. uToronto News | 2009 Academic Rankings of World Universities

Study finds probability of "re-employment" increases as education levels rise

According to a working paper by researchers at the University of British Columbia and York University, the chanced of "re-employment" -- finding work after a period of unemployment -- increases by 27% if you have completed high school. The probability of finding employment again rises as education levels increase. The study shows that every additional year of school boosts the chance of re-employment by 2% to 3%. The paper's findings validate decisions by thousands of Canadians returning to school. Full-time enrolment at universities rose by 38,000 students this fall, and enrolment at Ontario colleges is up by 7%. Globe and Mail | Read the working paper

Lethbridge College launches YouTube contest

Lethbridge College has launched a video contest called "Zoom in to Win," in which students, alumni, and staff are invited to produce 3-minute videos on "a slice of your college or daily life" and upload them to YouTube. Students and alumni can win $500 in the Judges' Choice category, or $250 in the People's Choice category. College employees can win $250 in the staff-only category. Contest participants must submit their videos by November 30, and the winners will be announced December 15. Zoom in to Win

Study uncovers free swapping of academic journals

In an examination of an unnamed website aimed specifically at medical professionals and students, a new study has found that thousands of people were obtaining non-open-access materials for free. In a 6-month period, almost 5,500 articles were exchanged, costing journals about $700,000 in that time. The report states that during the study period, the site's 127,626 registered users put in requests for 6,587 journals, and there was an 83% success rate in finding an article. While the study does not focus on the ethical implications, it does note that "the site displays activities by medical students, teachers, and practicing professionals that are ethically dubious." The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access) | Read the report

Declining youth cohort a threat to Japanese private institutions

With the number of 18-year-olds on the decline in Japan, the enrolment crisis at the country's private universities has reached "ridiculous" proportions. Government figures show 47% of Japan's 550 private 4-year universities are falling below their government-set recruitment targets, and more than 40% are reportedly in debt. Worst-case scenarios predict that a third of the country's private universities could go bankrupt or merge within the next decade. Japan has so far taken a laissez-faire approach to the matter by refusing to either rescue troubled institutions or shut them down. Some in Japan's private-university sector blame the enrolment crisis on free-market fundamentalism. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)