Top Ten

December 11, 2009

Canada urged to enhance model of small, undergraduate-oriented university

In a Web-exclusive commentary on the Globe and Mail's website, the presidents of Mount Allison, Bishop's U, Acadia, and StFX weigh in on the emerging debate on undergraduate education in Canada. The presidents state that students who arrive at university with a less defined career path have the most to gain from a small, primarily undergraduate university, whose priorities include first-rate teaching in small classes and a caring community that encourages students to achieve their full potential. Despite positive feedback from students who attend such a school, this model is rare in Canada, which the presidents say is because the country's university funding model is based on the number of enrolled students. While Canada needs more small universities, a funding model must be in place to sustain them. The presidents write that Canada must emerge from this debate with a model of PSE that "enhances the undergraduate experience and gives each university the freedom and resources to excel at what it does best." Globe and Mail

University presidents, researchers call for stable funding to operate research facilities

While federal and provincial governments have spent a fortune building the uVic-led NEPTUNE (launched last week), uSask's Canadian Light Source, and the Sudbury-based SNOLAB, Ottawa has balked at providing funding needed to operate and sustain these facilities. It will cost $40 million annually to keep the 3 facilities running, leaving project leaders and university presidents scrambling to secure funding. The presidents of uVic and uSask say there is a critical need for stable, predictable operating funding to keep research facilities afloat. Science and Technology Minister Gary Goodyear says the federal government welcomes input and will review recommendations from major science facilities as it prepares for its next budget. CanWest News Service

$21 million for research projects at uWaterloo, WLU

The Ontario government announced Friday $21 million for projects involving over 300 researchers at the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University. The funds will support research in areas such as urban water quality, secure communication systems, and lightweight automotive materials. The investment comes from the Ontario Research Fund, which is distributing $268 million across the province to support 214 projects and more than 3,300 researchers. Waterloo Region Record

Trend in institutions running student-oriented marketing campaigns

An article in Friday's Globe takes notice of a trend in post-secondary institutions developing ad campaigns appealing to today's prospective students by taking into consideration their mindset, targeting them where they're at, and focusing on what kind of experience they would be provided on campus. The article cites examples of several recent campaigns mentioned in the Top Ten -- King's University College's student-developed social media campaign, Centennial College's everyday-teen campaign, and Lakehead University's "I Think for Myself" campaign. Also noted is Algoma University's controversial "681 kilometres" campaign, which emphasized the distance that GTA students could put between themselves and their strict parents. Globe and Mail

ACC breaks ground for Parkland campus expansion

On Friday, Manitoba-based Assiniboine Community College held a sod-turning ceremony for the expansion of its Parkland campus in Dauphin. The $3.5-million project includes a 7,200-square-foot addition to house a nursing arts laboratory, an expanded early learning centre, and classrooms needed for community programming. The expansion will allow ACC to train an extra 30 apprentices a year, meeting the region's labour needs and honouring Manitoba's commitment to double apprenticeship opportunities in the province. Manitoba News Release

Queen's changes name of women's studies department to gender studies

Queen's University's senate has approved a proposal to change the name of the school's Department of Women's Studies to the Department of Gender Studies, effective January 1. The new name reflects an ongoing shift as traditional women's studies heads towards a multi-faceted approach that incorporates racial, gendered, and sexual diversity. The name change also reflects a push to strengthen ties between the department's undergraduate program and the new Master of Arts in Gender Studies. Queen's News Release

ESL, retention project among WLU's new revenue-generating initiatives

Wilfrid Laurier University has approved 3 projects for the $200,000 President's Innovation Seed Fund, established to support initiatives meant to generate new revenue or reduce operating costs at the university. One project will introduce ESL programming to WLU, which currently refers students needing ESL training to other institutions. Another program will aim to increase retention rates by assisting first-year faculty of arts students who are struggling academically. The third initiative, called the Brantford Advanced Summer Acceleration Program, is designed to boost the number of college transfer students recruited by WLU's Brantford campus. WLU News Release

George Brown, McGill, SFU among Canada's 25 most family-friendly employers

The December issue of Today's Parent profiles the 2010 winners of Canada's top 25 family-friendly employers, which include George Brown College, McGill University, and Simon Fraser University. One reason George Brown was chosen is that all employees begin with 3 weeks' paid vacation and 5 days off during the Christmas holidays. McGill was selected for its on-site daycare and alternative work options such as telecommuting. Simon Fraser University was chosen for offering parental leave top-up to 100% of salary for 37 weeks for new biological and adoptive parents. Today's Parent

Royal Roads U receives series of donations to Robert Bateman Centre

Victoria-based Royal Roads University announced last Thursday it has received $1.4 million in donations to its Robert Bateman Centre. This figure includes a $200,000 contribution from the Royal Bank of Canada, and gifts from 2 private individuals, who contributed $200,000 and $1 million, respectively. The Robert Bateman Centre is the current priority of the university's Legacy Campaign, which has so far raised $35.8 million. Royal Roads U News Release | Victoria Times-Colonist

"Boredat" sites shut down

The "Boredat" websites, where Ivy League students could post random thoughts anonymously, shut down last week after one of the sites came under attack from interlopers posting "racist" content. The founder of the "Boredat" sites says, dedicated to the musings of Columbia University students in the school's Butler Library, had become flooded with offensive posts. On each of the sites he created, the founder posted a message stating he does not condone hate speech or racist comments, and would only reinstate the sites if Boredat had a system to self-moderate. The emergence of campus-gossip sites has not been without controversy. JuicyCampus, perhaps the most notorious forum, shut down in February over a reported lack of revenue. Inside Higher Ed