Top Ten

November 18, 2009

$33 million for research at McMaster

The Ontario government announced Tuesday it is investing $33 million to support over 300 McMaster University researchers involved in health, digital media, and clean energy research projects. The funding will support the development of sophisticated new biomaterials and devices, the production of a new generation of advanced solar cells that capture and convert much more of the sun's rays, and the prevention and treatment of acute intestinal infections. The investment is part of a $268-million Ontario-wide investment that will support 214 projects and over 3,300 researchers in 14 cities. Ontario News Release | McMaster Daily News | Hamilton Spectator

uManitoba to temporarily shut down Delta Marsh Field Station

After struggling financially for the last couple of years, the University of Manitoba's Delta Marsh Field Station will be shut down for the winter. The university's communications manager says the facilities at the station are badly in need of repairs, and under its current business model the station is not financially sustainable. Once a new business model is in place, the station will re-open in the spring. The news of the temporary closure came as a surprise to the half-dozen field station staff; the station's director says information about what will happen to the station is limited. The director confirms staff is being laid off. The station will suspend operations on November 30. Daily Graphic

NAIT considers 40% tuition hike

Students at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology could face a 40% tuition hike over the next 3 years, pending approval by the Alberta government and the school's senate. The increase, equivalent to about $1,700 per student per year, was proposed in in NAIT's latest business plan, and would bring the average annual tuition to $5,424. The increase would bring NAIT in line with what students pay at SAIT for the same programs. Alberta's advanced education minister says about half the post-secondary schools in the province have approached him about tuition increases, and he is open to reconsidering Alberta's current tuition cap. Edmonton Journal

Vandalism at GPRC pushes back renovation work

An incident of vandalism last month at Grande Prairie Regional College has delayed renovations to the school's fine arts wing by 3 weeks. In the early hours of October 24, someone got in and turned on a 38-millimetre water valve from a fire house cabinet, causing about $100,000 in damages. The $3.5-million renovation project will resume once GPRC receives approval from its insurance company. Grande Prairie Herald-Tribune

MUN appoints new president

Memorial University's board of regents announced yesterday the appointment of Dr. Gary Kachanoski as the university's next president and vice-chancellor. Kachanoski is currently a professor at the University of Alberta, where he served as the vice-president of research from 2001 to 2007. Kachanoski began his academic career at the University of Guelph, and has served as dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research at the University of Saskatchewan. Kachanoski will commence his new role on July 1, 2010. The search for a new president at MUN has been at the centre of controversy after it surfaced last year that then-Education Minister Joan Burke had vetoed 2 candidates. MUN News Release

BC launches Education Quality Assurance program

On Tuesday, the BC government announced a new Education Quality Assurance designation that will give PSE students better tools to make informed decisions about where they study, and promote the province as an education destination of choice. The first education brand or seal of quality in Canada, the EQA trademark will be used worldwide to promote high-quality, reputable BC post-secondary institutions. The EQA is a voluntary designation available to public and private post-secondary institutions that wish to apply. The EQA designation will be administered by the BC Council for International Education on behalf of the BC government. BC News Release | Victoria Times-Colonist

Autonomy for Grenfell a complex task

From a budgetary and organizational perspective, ensuring that Sir Wilfred Grenfell College is poised to become independent of Memorial University can be complex, says Newfoundland and Labrador Education Minister Darin King. Preparations include ensuring there is a strong marketing plan and recruitment strategy that would attract students and conferences around the world to Grenfell. The infusion of provincial cash is meant to include the creation of new positions at the college pertaining to the transition. Though he would like to see it happen sooner than later, King says there is no particular timeline set for Grenfell's enhanced autonomy to become a reality. Western Star

Champlain College students defend bilingual education

Students at Champlain College, the only English CEGEP in Quebec's Eastern Townships, say they are unhappy with the Parti Québécois's proposal to limit access to education in English. The party would like stricter language rules to force the majority of students into French colleges. One Chaplain student says a growing number of Quebec students are pursuing bilingual or English college education to improve their job prospects, and "that by prohibiting students or even anyone from learning a second language is somewhat silly." The PQ plans to discuss access to English-language CEGEPs at a party symposium this weekend. CBC

SFU launches new prospective student portal

In late September, Simon Fraser University unveiled an interactive prospective student microsite called "Solutions for the Future." Visitors to the portal can explore programs offered at SFU, read a blog, and participate in a short-essay contest to answer the question, "What does the world need?" Contestants must write a 250-word paragraph explaining how 2 or 3 programs at SFU could combine to solve a problem or play a role in what they think the future needs, submit their solution to the microsite, and encourage friends to vote on their submission. Prizes include a $2,000 tuition award, a laptop, and T-shirts. SFU Solutions for the Future

Study finds correlation between coed housing, binge drinking

A new study published in the Journal of American College Health suggests that students living in coeducational housing are much more likely to engage in binge drinking than those in all-male or all-female housing. Based on data of over 500 students at 5 colleges across the US, the study found that 42% of students in coed housing reported binge drinking on a weekly basis, compared to 18% of those in single-sex housing. The study's authors discounted the idea that student self-selection may result in those likely to binge drink opting to live in coed housing, with the rationale being that most students living in single-sex housing didn't request to do so. Inside Higher Ed