Top Ten

January 7, 2010

SLC prof urges colleagues to vote against strike action

William Tenant, a business professor at St. Lawrence College, has set up a website that calls on his full-time college faculty peers across Ontario to vote '"no" at next week's strike vote, because strikes are "disruptive to our students" who are "our reason for being," he says. Tenant says a strike this year could last much longer than the 3-week strike in 2006, suggesting Ontario may be reluctant to introduce back-to-work legislation. "The Ontario government is $25 billion in deficit. A number of colleges are in deficit. A strike would help their finances." So far between 20 and 30 college professors have given Tenant explicit support. Meanwhile, OPSEU has released several documents outlining reasons why faculty should vote to strike, with one primary reason being that colleges imposed terms of employment and conditions. Maclean's OnCampus |

Case of stolen tuition funds at Red River College unsolved

A theft of tuition funds from Red River College's Princess Street campus in Winnipeg last September remains unsolved. Police are investigating how someone was able to get past surveillance video and security guards to steal cash and cheques from a safe on campus. At the time of the theft it was reported that a few hundred thousand dollars may have been taken, but a college spokesman says this estimate was incorrect. Students who paid their tuition by cheque prior to the discovery of the theft were told to notify their banks to stop payment. The school's security systems and procedures have since been reviewed and revised, and an internal investigation is in progress. CBC

Court ruling allows uVic to evict graduate living on campus, university says

The University of Victoria says a recent BC Supreme Court ruling means it can evict a graduate still living in residence nearly 13 years after he graduated. In August 2008, uVic served Alkis Gerd'son, who has a disability, a one-month eviction notice, citing "default in rent" and "persistent violation of requirement to maintain enrolment status." Gerd'son's rent was paid by the BC government, but uVic applied the funds to overholding charges and not to rent. The court ruling states uVic should have been more open with Gerd'son about the charges, and concludes that after a one-year term agreement expired, a month-to-month tenancy remained in effect, dismissing uVic's bid to evict Gerd'son under the rules of the term agreement and ordering the school to pay his legal costs. A uVic official says the university will end Gerd'son's tenancy under the month-to-month agreement. Gerd'son launched a human rights complaint against uVic in December 2008, arguing the university is trying to evict him based on his disability. Victoria Times-Colonist | Read the ruling

Alberta training grant program struggles to meet demand

Post-secondary schools in Alberta are hoping for another funding boost in the next provincial budget after having to virtually halt applications for government-funded Alberta Works spaces because of overwhelming demand. Despite a 23% increse in funding in 2009, several institutions found demand for the Alberta Works program, which provides training grants to about 15,000 students annually, greatly exceeded supply. The dean of SAIT's Centre for Academic Learner Services says it had to stop accepting applicants because of the sheer demand for the number of dollars available. In Edmonton, Grant MacEwan University has had to turn away at least 500 students, and NAIT says 560 applicants have been turned away. Calgary Herald | Edmonton Journal

CMSF research paper identifies 3 PSE system models in Canada

In a new paper from the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation, a group of Quebec researchers revise a higher-education system typology for Canada first proposed in the 1986 book Canada's Community Colleges: A Critical Analysis. The typology used in the CMSF paper divides the provinces into 3 model systems: the Progressive-Choice Education System Model in Quebec, the Exclusive-Choice Education System Model in Ontario and Atlantic Canada, and the Multiple-Choice Education System Model in the 4 westernmost provinces. Memorial University's Dale Kirby writes in his blog that this typology is not as accurate today as it may have been in 1986, as it does not take into account several important changes, such as recent designations of former community colleges and university colleges as full-fledged universities in BC and Alberta. Adventures in Canadian Post-Secondary Education (Dale Kirby's blog) | Read the report

Laurentian president's vision for the new year

In a recent interview with the Sudbury Star, Laurentian University president Dominic Giroux discusses his vision for the university in 2010 -- the year the institution celebrates its 50th anniversary -- and beyond. In the interview Giroux brings up the 4 priorities Laurentian is focusing on: national recognition; being a university of choice while strengthening its regional, bilingual, and tricultural mandate; student engagement; and community responsiveness. One important area of focus will be the new architecture school, which Laurentian's board of governors approved in priniciple last June. The university needs to raise $44 million for the school, and Giroux hopes to have the money raised by next summer. Laurentian is also looking at reviewing programs that might not be sustainable, and offering more minors. Sudbury Star

NSCC discontinuing LPN course at Cumberland campus

The principal of Nova Scotia Community College's Cumberland campus is working with local health authority representatives and is willing to sit down with other industry stakeholders to develop a strategy for continuing the campus' licensed practical nursing program if there is sufficient interest. No new students were taken into the 2-year program this fall, and the program is currently not among the college's course offerings for 2010-11. Should a need for LPNs be identified, the campus would take that information to NSCC with the possibility the program could be offered again. Amherst Daily News

Online tool allows UWO students to check effects of drinking

University of Western Ontario students are being encouraged to answer questions about drinking anonymously using a new Web program that helps students assess the impact of their alcohol consumption. The tool, titled Check Your Drinking University (CYD-U), calculates the annual amount spent on alcohol, the number of alcoholic beverages consumed per year, and extra calories consumed from drinking. It also graphically illustrates a student's consumption patterns. A recent study from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health shows that online tools such as CYD-U can help change drinking behaviours, and UWO officials hope it will be a good program to promote responsible alcohol use by students. Western News | Check Your Drinking University for UWO

BC Colleges develops new website

Last month, BC Colleges launched a redesigned website that serves as a central hub for information on the province's 11 community colleges. A key component of the site is a monthly e-newsletter to inform e-mail subscribers about new developments at the colleges. Visitors to the website will come across testimonials, stories, reports, and recent articles about how BC's colleges make a difference in the lives of the province's residents. BC Colleges News Release | BC Colleges website

Lethbridge College names video contest winners

Lethbridge College announced last month the 3 winners of its "Zoom in to Win" YouTube contest. The winning video in the Judge's Pick category depicts the typical day of a multimedia production student. A video parodying the TV series Grey's Anatomy won the title of Best Employee Video. A video created by 2 multimedia production students on the do's and don'ts of college life was awarded the Viewer's Choice prize. The winning entries are available online, along with honourable mentions for Most Original Video, Best College Recruitment Video, Best Program Promotion, and Best College Video Tour. Watch the videos