Top Ten

January 26, 2010

uWindsor considers partnership with private PSE to recruit, teach foreign students

We mentioned in Monday's Top Ten that Dalhousie University is pursuing a partnership with a for-profit education company to recruit and teach international students. The Windsor Star reports that the University of Windsor is considering a similar agreement with Australian-based Study Group International. If the partnership is approved, the company would recruit foreign students and provide them with first-year instruction at a centre on uWindsor's campus. If the students pass, the university would automatically accept them into second year. A spokesman with the Canadian Association of University Teachers calls the outsourcing trend among universities "disturbing," stating that in the end "it will tarnish their brand name." Windsor Star

Ottawa distributes $17 million for research projects in Nova Scotia

The federal government announced Monday $16.7 million from the Atlantic Innovation Fund to support 7 R&D projects in Nova Scotia. The Nova Scotia Agricultural College will receive $2.4 million over 5 years for research into the prevention of needle loss in balsam fir Christmas trees. The Brain Repair Centre at Dalhousie University will receive $1.8 million over 5 years for research into cognitive impairment. ACOA News Release

Queen's students propose fee to bolster university operating budget

2 Queen's University undergraduate students are proposing a $70 optional fee to go towards the school's operating budget in light of the university's projected $8.3-million operating deficit for 2009-10. One of the students, a trustee with the Alma Mater Society, believes contributing to the operating budget would make a difference in the quality of education at Queen's. Based on the students' calculations, Queen's would accumulate more than $1 million in 3 years if half of its undergraduate students paid the fee. The fee's proponents are holding off on proposing the issue in an upcoming student referendum, as a small survey suggested students are not all that aware about the proposal. Queen's Journal (student newspaper)

E-mail phishing attacks at York, Concordia

York and Concordia Universities have alerted their respective campus communities of recent phishing scams. In both cases, fraudulent messages have been sent to university e-mail accounts asking recipients to reply with personal information. York reports a small number of people have responded to these messages, resulting in their e-mail accounts being taken over and used to send spam e-mail. Both York and Concordia stress that they will never send notifications asking for passwords or personal information. Y-File | Concordia News

Brock opens new extension of education faculty building

Last Thursday, Brock University officially opened the 20,000-square-foot extension of Robert S. K. Welch Hall, which has been home to the institution's education faculty for the past 40 years. The $8.5-million addition includes 2 faculty meeting rooms, a teaching assistants' office, a graduate student computer lab/suite, and 62 faculty offices. Brock News Release

Aboriginal Student Centre opens at UBC-O

Last Friday, the University of British Columbia--Okanagan celebrated the official opening of the new Aboriginal Student Centre. Located within UBC-O's university centre complex, the 256-square-metre facility features a cultural commons area and student lounge. The centre will host student gatherings, meetings, cultural activities and celebrations, and foster interaction with Aboriginal elders. The BC government is investing $13.6 million to create gathering places that reflect Aboriginal culture at the province's public post-secondary institutions. BC News Release

SLC seeks municipal support for Cornwall campus revitalization project

Officials at St. Lawrence College have asked the City of Cornwall to contribute $1 million towards the $14.5-million revitalization project at the college's Cornwall campus. The school and its foundation hope to raise $4.5 million for the project, which received $10 million in government funding. In their pitch to city council Monday night, St. Lawrence officials said the project will result in state-of-the-art learning environments and ensure student success in the future. They also pointed to the "priceless" economic impact of the Cornwall campus -- its staff and students generate an estimated $22 million in annual economic spin-offs. Cornwall Standard-Freeholder

Postscript: Feb 25, 2010
On Monday, the City of Cornwall approved St. Lawrence's request for $1 million in municipal funding to support the $14.5-million revitalization of the college's Cornwall campus. The money will be funded from the tax base over a 10-year period, with $100,000 being contributed annually. A local counties council recently turned down a similar funding request. Cornwall Standard-Freeholder

McMaster creates school of labour studies

McMaster University announced yesterday it is expanding its labour studies program into a school of labour studies, making it the first school of its kind in Canada. There are currently 1,400 students in McMaster's first-year labour studies classes, part of the social sciences faculty. Some will go on to specific undergraduate degrees in labour studies, while others will pursue masters degrees. The school hopes to offer a PhD program in the future. The creation of the new school stems from an external review of McMaster's undergraduate programs in 2008, which described labour studies as a "high-quality, innovative and community-rooted" program that deserved higher status. Hamilton Spectator

Trend in US colleges sending out fast-track applications

The New York Times reports that over 100 colleges and universities in the US are using direct mail to increase their applicant pools. Schools are sending thousands of "express" applications to high school seniors that waive application fees and required essays, assure quick admission decisions, and already have students' names and other information filled in. The proliferation of short-cut applications has some guidance counsellors worried students will apply because the process is free, instead of thinking the school is the best fit for them. There is also concern students receiving these applications will be lulled into believing they have been pre-approved for admission. New York Times

Gender gap in US enrolment stabilizing, report finds

According to a report released yesterday by the American Council on Education, the distribution of enrolment and undergraduate degrees by gender in the US has remained consistent since about 2000, with men accounting for 43% of enrolment and earning 43% of bachelor's degrees. Enrolment gaps continue to widen between Hispanic men and women. The percentage of male Hispanics students, age 24 or younger, enrolled in undergraduate programs fell from 45% in 1999 to 42% in 2007. The study's author suggests the low education attainment rates among Hispanics born outside the US compared to their American-born peers is a probable cause for the enrolment disparity. ACE News Release | Inside Higher Ed | The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)