Top Ten

March 15, 2010

Researcher barred from NSERC grants over alleged misuse

CanWest News Service reports that NSERC has barred a University of Calgary engineer from funding indefinitely due to allegations of plagiarism and misuse of funds while working at the University of Alberta. While NSERC will not name the accused scientist, CanWest News Service identifies him as Daniel Kwok, who, according to federal government documents obtained through an access-to-information request, spent as much as $150,000 on purchases that seemed "inconsistent" with his research grant proposals during his posting at uAlberta. In 2005, Kwok left Edmonton amid misconduct investigations for a new job at uCalgary, which was not told of the controversy at his previous posting. Meanwhile, Ottawa has been pushing NSERC to release the names of scientists who fudge research results, plagiarize reports, or misspend grant money. uCalgary officials have warned faculty the sch ool could have its tri-council funding eligibility suspended or terminated over grant accounting issues. CanWest News Service (Kwok) | CanWest News Service (NSERC)

VIU to cut jobs to balance budget

Vancouver Island University (formerly Malaspina University-College) is looking at cutting positions and tweaking courses to make up for a provincial funding shortfall in its 2010-11 budget. VIU will receive a $50.5-million grant from the BC government this year, slightly less than in 2009, to help with its $110-million operating budget, which has grown by 2%. A university spokeswoman says there will be staff reductions, with "under a dozen" jobs likely to be affected. Other options being considered include amalgamating courses not completedly filled into fewer sections and reducing material purchases. Nanaimo Daily News

Concordia student seeks to sue university to void expulsion

A Concordia University engineering student has gone to court to overturn the university's decision to expel him for allegedly forging a professor's signature to sign out a piece of equipment for a class project. The student has asked the Quebec Superior Court for a safeguard order to temporarily halt the expulsion in order for him to complete his courses and graduate. Claiming he was not given a fair hearing, the student is also seeking the right to sue Concordia for $100,000. Montreal Gazette

Former St. Clair student claims college did little to stop bullying

A former student at St. Clair College's Thames campus in Chatham has filed a human rights complaint against the college over alleged bullying. The student, who dropped out before last Christmas, says she feels the college did not do enough to stop the harassment she claims she was subjected to by her classmates in the esthetician program. Students in the program that were interviewed by the Chatham Daily News deny the former student's allegations. Chatham Daily News

Cooking instructor, student injured at NBCC training restaurant

A cooking instructor and student are recovering from injuries sustained during a mishap last Wednesday at the New Brunswick Community College's St. Andrews campus. The accident occurred while the instructor refilled a flambé pan with methyl hydrate fuel in the service area of the campus's teaching restaurant. The campus's principal says the fuel was somehow ignited, causing a few seconds of heat and some flames. Fire extinguishers quickly put out the flames, but the incident disrupted the evening training for students and night out for the diners. Telegraph-Journal

Trimester system suggested for uAlberta

In an article published in yesterday's Edmonton Journal, a pair of retired University of Alberta business professors propose the institution reorganize its teaching and related activities from a 2-semester to a trimester, with the academic year organized into 3 equal, 13-week periods. Ross Denham and Allan Warrack cite facilities utilization, accessibility, quality of education, and research productivity as reasons underlying the case for a trimester. The pair write that "this is a proactive suggestion in a time of financial retrenchment" that would better serve the university and the public. Edmonton Journal

Accolades for Ryerson interior design school in Azure magazine

Ryerson University's School of Interior Design is named with Parsons the New School for Design in New York City and Rhode Island School of Design in Providence as the top 3 interior design schools in the world in Azure magazine's special 25th anniversary issue. In its guide "to the best design schools worldwide," the magazine states that "Ryerson dominates the discussion about the best interior design school in Canada, and graduates are equipped with the necessary technical skills to hit the ground running when they leave school." Ryerson News

Contact North has strong socio-economic impact on region, report finds

According to a new study assessing the socio-economic impact of Contact North, a distance education and training network in northern Ontario, the network generates between $9.7 million and $16.1 million in economic activity in the region. The report notes that Contact North supports job creation throughout northern Ontario with an estimated total employment of 146 to 243 full-time jobs. Other impacts observed in the report are that Contact North boosts economic performance, supports long-term growth potential, and generates additional tuition revenues and registrations for post-secondary institutions in northern Ontario. Contact North News Release | Read the report

Interest in offering 3-year degrees surges in US

More American institutions are introducing 3-year bachelor's degrees in order to reduce college costs and better serve students, reports Inside Higher Ed. Within the last month, 5 institutions -- 2 in partnership -- have all introduced formal 3-year programs to begin this fall. Despite rising interest in and introduction of such programs, there are critics who argue that students may miss out on key experiences, and wonder whether many students will be able to complete their degrees in 3 years. Inside Higher Ed

India tables bill on foreign university operation

The Indian government has approved a plan allowing foreign universities to establish campuses and offer degrees in the country. India's education minister calls the legislation "a milestone which will enhance choices, and increase competition and benchmark quality." The bill, which needs to be ratified by parliament, has been opposed by some political parties who believe it will benefit only elite Indians with poorer students unable to afford high fees. BBC