Top Ten

November 11, 2009

uToronto student group seeks apology over blackface Halloween costumes

The University of Toronto's Black Students' Association is demanding public apologies from organizers of a Halloween party after a costume prize was given to 5 students who dressed up as members of the Jamaican bobsled team using brown makeup. The group says the costumes perpetuate blackface, and BSA's president says using blackface as a costume is wrong in any context. The group is asking student party organizers from 3 of uToronto's colleges to publish apologies in their colleges' newspapers. Globe and Mail | Torontoist

Okanagan College opens $28-million learning centre

On Monday, Okanagan College held an opening ceremony for its $28-million Centre for Learning at its Kelowna campus. The 6,360-square-metre facility provides for 21 classrooms with seating for 757 students, an expanded library, a digital media shop, a professional development centre for instructors and staff, student services, and food services. BC News Release

Trent seeks municipal support for sports complex project

Trent University has asked the City of Peterborough to contribute $1 million to the $18-million renovation and expansion of its sports complex. The centre would give Peterborough its third community athletics facility as envisioned through the Vision 2010 planning exercise. A study found the centre could draw approximately 2,500 members from the community outside of the university. Last month, Trent launched a $4-million fundraising campaign for the project. Peterborough Examiner

OUSA presents higher-education plan to Ontario government

On Tuesday, the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance submitted to the provincial government its recommendations for a new long-term plan for PSE. The 40-page submission, titled Ontario: A Province of Knowledge, focuses on 3 key priorities: student financial aid, student success, and tuition. Recommendations outlined in the report include the province fulfilling a promise to provide students with an interest-free year before they must start repaying their student loans, mandating institutions to develop early warning systems to proactively identify and assist students who may need greater support, and regulating all tuition, including that of international students. The report is available online on OUSA's redesigned website. OUSA News Release | Read the full report

Majority of international students in Canada satisfied

Although almost half of international students studying at Canadian post-secondary institutions admit Canada was not their top choice among study-abroad options, 9 out of 10 students would recommend the country as a study destination, according to survey results presented by the Canadian Bureau for International Education at its annual conference this week. The vast majority of students surveyed reported high satisfaction with their choice of school, and praised resources such as libraries and computer facilities. 80% said their courses exceeded expectations, and nearly half reported they maintained an A average. 54% of university and 71% of college students plan to work in Canada once they finish school, and over half plan to apply for permanent residency following graduation. One criticism students reported was that Canadian PSE was too expensive. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

International enrolment at US grad schools holds steady

According to a new study from the US-based Council of Graduate Schools, the number of foreign first-time students at American graduate schools is flat this year, following 4 consecutive years of growth. Enrolments of graduate students from China continue to surge, and gains from the Middle East and Turkey are much larger than they have been in recent years. Meanwhile, figures from India and South Korea are down. The council's director of research and policy analysis cites competition as one reason some nations are sending fewer grad students to the US. Countries such as India and China have seen an expansion in graduate education offerings, and other Western nations like Canada and Britain are wooing foreign students. Inside Higher Ed | Read the full report

Alberta offers high school students more choices for math programs

Alberta's education department is changing the way math is delivered in high schools, eliminating pure math and giving students entering high school more choices. Starting next year, Grade 10 students will be able to choose a course meant for those planning to pursue a college or university education, one for those heading to the trades or straight into the workforce, and a basic math program that includes skills such as chequebook balancing. In Grades 11 and 12, students on the PSE track can choose a course designed for university science students, one for arts students, and one for those bound for trades and technical institutions. The changes take into consideration what students in other provinces are learning in math classes prior to going on to PSE. Edmonton Journal | CBC

Survey finds mothers deeply involved in children's educational lives

Nearly three-quarters of women in American households planning for college say it's very important for their children to obtain a college degree, a new survey from Keeping College Within Reach has found. 36% of surveyed women indicated that the responsibility for the overall college planning and saving process is primarily their own, while 56% share this duty with a spouse or partner. Over half of women agreed that not paying for college would be "a failure of me as a parent." The survey found that women are more likely than men to strongly agree that a college education is particularly important for a woman's ability to achieve financial security. Read the full report

uWaterloo releases annual performance indicators

According to the University of Waterloo's 2009 Annual Performance Indicators report, as of 2008-09, graduate students accounted for 12.8% of the university's total student population, and international students made up 24% of graduate and 9% of undergraduate students. uWaterloo's Sixth Decade plan promises that grad student enrolment will represent 25% of total students, and foreign students will account for 30% of graduate and 20% of undergraduate enrolment by 2017. Among first-year students in September 2008, the report states, 12% came from Toronto, 21% from the rest of the GTA, and 13% from Kitchener-Waterloo. The university received $41.6 million from the 3 federal granting councils last year. uWaterloo Daily Bulletin | Read the full report

Penn State requires Second Life duty of online advisers

Academic advisers at Pennsylvania State University's online campus are now required to be available for meetings with students in Second Life, a virtual world, every week. All advisers must cover at least 2 hours a week. The social-networks adviser for the Penn State World Campus says there hasn't been much resistance to the new requirement, just adjustment to the technology. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)