Top Ten

March 17, 2010

uManitoba freezes executive, administrative academic salaries

On Tuesday, the University of Manitoba's board of governors approved a recommendation to provide a 0% salary increase for 2010 to members of the executive group and senior administrative academic group. The move is designed to help uManitoba achieve a balanced budget for 2010. The university has instituted a vacancy management program for faculty and staff in which many positions are not being filled. Faculties and administrative units have been asked to plan for up to a 5% reduction in budgets. uManitoba News Release

uWaterloo provost calls for 3.5% budget cut

The University of Waterloo is looking at a 3.5% budget reduction for the fiscal year starting in 6 weeks -- a reduction that will not require job or program cuts, according to the institution's provost, who recently presented the draft 2010 budget to the senate finance committee. The cut is not quite "across the board," as some items, such as student aid, library materials, and utility bills, are not subject to the reduction. However, both academic and non-academic departments have to find 3.5% to cut from their budgets. There are uncertainties around key parts of the budget, as operating grants and tuition fees -- 2 major components of uWaterloo's revenue -- are under the Ontario government's control. uWaterloo Daily Bulletin

BC takes former UVic student to court over $20,000 loan

Late last month, the BC government filed notice in small claims court against a former University of Victoria law student, claiming he owes nearly 20,000 for unpaid student loans. The government says Kent Daniel Glowinski had entered into BC student loan agreements with the student loan bureau 5 times, borrowing close to $14,600 between January 2002 and April 2004. In June 2004, Glowinski filed for bankruptcy and did not pay back the loan. BC does not allow bankruptcy as a defence against student-loan indebtedness. Since it filed the notice, Glowinski has filed numerous applications, one of which includes a claim he never had a loan. Victoria Times-Colonist

UPEI appeals ruling on mandatory retirement policy

The University of Prince Edward Island will ask the provincial Supreme Court to review a recent decision by a human rights commission that ruled the school's mandatory retirement policy is discriminatory. A UPEI spokesperson says the policy, introduced 15 years ago, was implemented through agreement and has been the basis of consistent practice. The spokesperson says the proposed elimination of the policy would have a significant impact on UPEI's overall financial situation, and affect the regular and orderly renewal of faculty and academic programming. Charlottetown Guardian | CBC

uCalgary warns clinic patients of possible information breach

The University of Calgary has alerted 5,000 patients of its Sunridge Medical Clinic of a potential breach of their personal health information after several computer viruses infected one of the clinic's computers. uCalgary says the viruses may have allowed unauthorized third parties to remotely access the information, which includes patient demographics, health insurance, and Alberta Health Care numbers. The university says there is no evidence suggesting the affected information was used for unauthorized purposes, but patients are asked to look out for activity indicating misuse of their identities. Calgary Herald

More Manitoba students applying for student loans

The Manitoba chapter of the Canadian Federation of Students reports that statistics provided by Manitoba Student Aid show that provincial student loan applications increased by 7% between 2008 and 2009, with over 11,177 students applying for loans last year. Student debt in Manitoba sits at an average of $19,000, and the figure represents only provincial public student loans. The chapter's chairperson says the province's budget, to be announced next Tuesday, provides the government an important opportunity to address issues of student debt. CFS-Manitoba News Release

International, out-of-region students can help Atlantic Canada thrive

Faced with an aging population and a shortage of skilled workers, Atlantic Canada need not only look outside the region for a solution, but also within its universities, where foreign and out-of-region students could help build a sustainable economy in the region, argues a new policy paper from the Association of Atlantic Universities. "The potential is staggering," the paper observes, as over 7,000 full-time "visa" students attend university in the region, and about 10,000 out-of-region students enrol at Atlantic Canadian universities every year. It is fortunate governments understand these issues, the paper notes, pointing to Nova Scotia's new marketing campaign to attract more students to its universities. Read the policy paper

Acadia signs MOU with Beijing Normal U

Acadia University and Beijing Normal University, Zhuhai Campus, recently signed a memorandum of understanding to promote educational and academic exchanges between the schools. Under the initial 5-year agreement, both universities will foster direct contact, educational, and research co-operation between students, faculty, staff, departments, and research institutes. Acadia News

Study finds college students use Wikipedia early and frequently

According to a report published in First Monday, an online peer-reviewed journal, over half of college students frequently or always consult Wikipedia for course-related research. The most common reason students cited for using the online encyclopedia was to obtain background information or a summary about a topic and to get started with research. Students were more likely to use Wikipedia at the very start or near the start of research than at the end. The survey found that students majoring in architecture, engineering, or science were more likely to use Wikipedia. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access) | Read the report

Professors ask wired students to temporarily kick tech habits

A growing group of instructors in the US are giving their students the "toughest college test": go without Facebook, cell phones, or the Internet for certain amounts of time. For example, a University of Minnesota professor recently challenged her public relations class to go 5 days without media or gadgets that didn't exist before 1984. Out of the 43 students in the class, just a handful made it even 3 days without new technology. Among those who didn't, one student said, "My mother thought I died."  Minneapolis Star Tribune