Top Ten

December 8, 2009

Quebec to discontinue funding for Orthodox Jewish colleges

Quebec has decided to cut off provincial funding for 3 Montreal institutions for Orthodox Jewish students that have been operating in tandem with Cégep Marie-Victorin since 1985. Quebec's education minister says funding for the schools will end next year because the province "cannot accept" that schools with religious restrictions be funded with public money. Teachers at the Jewish colleges are hired and paid through the CÉGEP, and Orthodox students study the same curriculum as their CÉGEP peers. Men and women are segregated in some of the institutions' classes, and the schools close for Jewish holidays. The academic co-ordinator at the Torah Vocational Institute says the 3 schools plan to seek private CÉGEP permits. Montreal Gazette | CBC

Alberta distributes $44 million for university research projects

The Alberta government announced Monday nearly $44 million from the Alberta Science and Research Investments Program for research projects at Athabasca U, uAlberta, uCalgary, and uLethbridge. For 2009, the program provides up to 40% of total project costs to 18 initiatives in priority areas of bioindustries, energy and the environment, and health. The projects will also receive $66 million from other sources, such as the federal government and private-sector partners. Since 2000, the program has awarded over $169 million to more than 100 research projects. Alberta News Release

uManitoba receives over $8 million for health-care project in India

At the official opening of the Centre for Global Public Health at the University of Manitoba's Bannatyne campus on Monday, university president David Barnard announced a $8.4-million donation from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to promote maternal, neonatal, and child health interventions in underserved populations in rural India. This project will provide support to India's National Rural Health Mission in Karnataka state, and will run through to September 2014. In additional to ongoing work on HIV/AIDS prevention, the centre will focus on critical public health issues such as other infectious diseases, maternal and child health, and emerging, non-communicable disease epidemics. uManitoba News | Winnipeg Free Press

R&D spending in Canada to reach $30 billion

Statistics Canada reports that total spending on research and development in the country is expected to amount to $29.9 billion by the end of this year. This is an anticipated 1.2% increase over last year, according to preliminary data collected to-date for 2007. Spending by the business enterprise sector is expected to rise 1% to $16.1 billion, representing 54% of the total R&D expenditures. The PSE sector continues to rank in second place, with spending anticipated to reach $10.4 billion, accounting for 35% of the total. In terms of R&D funding, the business enterprise sector is expected provide $14.2 billion, while the federal government anticipates an R&D funding total of $5.7 billion. Statistics Canada

TWU eyes nearby rural land for expansion

BC-based Trinity Western University has applied to remove 16 acres of land from the Agricultural Land Reserve to clear the way for a campus expansion. According to the application, a 3.3 acre parcel is to be used for dormitory housing, and a larger segment of 4.6 to 5.7 acres is to be used for grad housing and programs, a "centre of excellence," and a research park. A number of parcels are to remain within the reserve, listed as agricultural and environmental research areas, demonstration programs, and "outdoor classrooms" and parkland. Langley Advance

TVO reveals 20 finalists in Best Lecturer competition

TVO has announced the top 20 nominees in its 2010 Big Ideas Best Lecturer Competition. The University of Toronto and Queen's University each have 3 nominees at their school, followed by Carleton University, York University, and Ryerson University with 2 contending professors each. The other schools represented among the top 20 are UOIT, Trent, uOttawa, Laurentian at Georgian College, Brock, Centennial, Durham College, and Seneca. TVO Best Lecturer Competition

uAlberta medical, dental students required to take stress counselling

Following the suicide of a second-year University of Alberta dentistry student in 2002, the school's faculty of medicine and dentistry has made it mandatory for students to meet with a faculty adviser to make sure stress does not overwhelm them. Advisers are asked to keep records, assessing how many students had significant personal, emotional, or financial problems that need follow-up. In the program's first year, 27 out of 202 students needed significant follow-up help, and advisers estimated that 22 of those would never have asked for help. Reactions from students are generally positive, says the program's leader, who notes depression is twice as common in medical students as in the general population. Edmonton Journal

Sheridan College opens Centre for Social Innovation

Last Friday marked the grand opening of the Centre for Social Innovation at Sheridan College's Davis campus in Brampton. The 69,800-square-foot building features classrooms and specialized labs, including a "moot court" for the paralegal program, a new early childhood education lab, and counselling lab for social service worker programs. Nearly half of the facility is taken up by a 3-storey Library Learning Commons, which incorporates the library, 240 desktop computers, 400 laptop access points, and both quiet and communal study areas. Sheridan News Release

Queen's students present strategy on improving town-gown relations

Yesterday graduate students at Queen's University's School of Urban and Regional Planning presented their report on how to improve housing and town-gown relationships in neighbourhoods near the university. The students studied 9 university cities in Canada and the US, including Syracuse, New York, where students and residents engage in activities such as tree-planting and barbecues to improve neighbourhood relations. Fostering that kind of relationship in Kingston is among the recommendations listed in the report. Other recommendations include establishing a permanent town-gown committee; the city and/or Queen's purchasing ailing residential properties, rehabilitating them, and selling them back to responsible landowners; and Queen's building new forms of student housing, such as smaller residences, apartments, row houses, and mixed-use buildings. Kingston Whig-Standard

uOttawa launches open-access program

The University of Ottawa announced yesterday it is the first university in Canada to adopt a comprehensive open-access program that supports free and unrestricted access to scholarly research. uOttawa's program includes a commitment to make the institution's scholarly publications available online at no charge; an author fund to help researchers defray open-access fees charged by publishers; a fund to support the creation of digital educational material organized as courses and available to everyone online for free; support for the University of Ottawa Press's commitment to publishing a collection of open-access books; and a grant to advance research on the open-access movement. uOttawa is also the first university in the country to join the Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity. uOttawa News Release