Top Ten

February 8, 2010

Ottawa to discontinue funding to FNUC

Federal Indian Affairs and Northern Development Minister Chuck Strahl announced yesterday that after assessing the long-term sustainability of the First Nations University of Canada, his department will not renew its current funding to the institution, effective March 31. The decision follows the Saskatchewan government's move to end its funding to FNUC, which will take effect April 1. Strahl has instructed INAC officials to work with their Saskatchewan counterparts, the Universities of Regina and Saskatchewan, and other stakeholders to find practical solutions to help FNUC students and faculty in coming weeks. INAC News Release

Postscript: Feb 10, 2010
The Canadian Association of University Teachers condemns Indian and Northern Affairs Canada's decision to end its funding to the First Nations University of Canada and urges the department to "reverse this destructive decision." The funding cut follows the dissolution of FNUC's board of governors and indication by the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations to implement recommendations of an all-chiefs' task force, a move long called for by CAUT and the Saskatchewan government. CAUT executive director James Turk says if the decision is not reversed, the government is shutting the doors of FNUC at the same time that positive change is finally underway. CAUT News

BC reduces capital allowance for NWCC

BC-based Northwest Community College's annual capital allowance will be reduced by 74%, according to a community update from college president Stephanie Forsyth. "This is a significant reduction for a college that is struggling to maintain 40-year-old buildings." Instead of a fund of $824,696, NWCC's annual capital allowance for 2010-11 has been reduced to $214,297. This cutback follows last summer's reduction of more than $200,000. The College of New Caledonia will see its annual capital allowance and operating grant funding reduced next year, resulting in over $1 million in cuts. NWCC President's Update to the College Community (page 3 of PDF)

Anti-racism training, more minority staff among Ryerson task force recommendations

According to a year-long probe into racism at Ryerson University, some visible minority students feel harassed and excluded, professors don't always address offensive comments made in class, and some minority staff report a "chilly climate" on campus. Commissioned by Ryerson following a string of racist incidents in 2008, the report -- developed by a task force comprising students, staff, and community members -- recommends immediate anti-racism training for senior staff, setting and enforcing targets for hiring minorities, more courses on diversity, and a Census Day to gather race-based statistics on staff and students so Ryerson can track whether equity is improving. Toronto Star

Enrolment boom at NIC

North Island College reports that January registrations at the institution are up 19% compared to figures from the same time last year, while the number of students has risen by 13%. Enrolment has increased at each of NIC's campuses, with particularly strong growth at the Campbell River campus, where registrations are up 30%, and at the Comox Valley location, which experienced a 13% increase in registrations. NIC News Release

TVO reveals 10 finalists in Best Lecturer competition

TVO announced yesterday the 10 finalists in this year's Big Ideas Best Lecturer Competition. Queen's, uToronto, and York have 2 contenders each, and Laurentian at Georgian College, Ryerson, UOIT, and uOttawa are each represented by one professor. Starting March 6, viewers across Ontario can watch the finalists deliver their lectures. The voting period to determine the overall winner closes on April 11, and the winner will be announced on April 17. TVO News Release

uSask breaks ground for new student residence

Yesterday marked the start of construction of the University of Saskatchewan's new student residence, a project in which the province has invested $15 million. The $35.9-million residence will accommodate 400 students, and construction is slated for completion in 2011. The residence is being built in uSask's College Quarter. The university's board of governors recently approved a master plan for the College Quarter, which encompasses about 145 acres and could eventually include retail space, educational buildings, green spaces, and recreational facilities. uSask News Release

Mohawk College opens transportation centre

Last Friday, Mohawk College officially opened the new $4.45-million Gerald Marshall Centre for Transportation at the Mohawk STARRT Institute in Stoney Creek. Over 400 apprentices will train annually at the centre in the commercial vehicle and transportation industry. The 2-storey facility will be the new and expanded home for the college's Truck and Coach Apprentice, Truck and Trailer Apprentice, and Pre-Apprentice Truck and Coach programs. Mohawk Matters blog

Trent names "YouTrent" contest winners

Trent announced last Thursday the winners of the first-ever YouTrent Video Contest, which challenged students to produce videos demonstrating the positive and unique aspects of the student experience at the university. A fourth-year student picked up one of two $1,000 prizes for his entry on the university's small-town feel. A pair of third-year students earned the other prize for their video featuring animation of Internet search results on student life and opportunities at Trent. Watch the winning videos

UOIT develops online tool to help students improve math, writing skills

Last August, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology launched an interactive website providing information and resources to help students improve their post-secondary math and writing skills. The site -- -- features a virtual campus users tour to access course refreshers and tutorials, assistance for first-time users, and noolNews delivered via Twitter. Students can register with nool to share tips and suggestions, review their search history, and connect with specialists. Brock University has an online tutorial called Essay-Zone to teach students how to write a post-secondary-level essay. UOIT News Release | nool

Social networks, SMS eroding students' English proficiency, educators say

Communication tools such as social networks and cellphone texting are being blamed for an increase in the proportion of post-secondary students with poor English proficiency. At Simon Fraser University, where one in 10 new students are not qualified to take the mandatory writing courses needed for graduation, professors and administrators report emoticons and little abbreviations appearing in assignments and letters of academic appeal. One SFU English professor blames the bad grammar he sees on little to no grammar instruction in lower schools, a sentiment shared by the managing director of the University of Waterloo's English language proficiency exam. The failure rate of this exam has jumped from 25% to 30% in recent years. Canadian Press