Top Ten

March 19, 2010

Ryerson faces $10-million lawsuit over academic misconduct policy

Ryerson University is being threatened with a $10-million class-action lawsuit that claims the school's academic misconduct policy denies students the right to have a lawyer present at hearings where they can be given failing grades or recommended for expulsion. The statement of claim, filed by a student who was nearly expelled for running a Facebook study group, says the current policy deprives students of an adequate defence, while causing "significant emotional and/or mental stress." If the lawsuit is certified, it could include every Ryerson student who has appeared before misconduct tribunals since March 2003 -- potentially thousands of students. The university's general counsel says the school will vigorously defend against the claims. Toronto Star

Nipissing announces Schulich School of Education

Nipissing University announced last Thursday a $15-million donation from philanthropist Seymour Schulich to the institution's faculty of education. In honour of the gift, the faculty has been renamed the Schulich School of Education. The renamed school will build on Nipissing's strong reputation for teacher education, while allowing for strategic investment and growth in 4 new areas: development and preparation in the STEM fields; approaches to enhance family and Aboriginal literacies; establishment of a Schulich Chair in Aboriginal Education; and improving achievement through continuous improvement of teaching and enhanced educational technology. Nipissing News Release

Ottawa, Manitoba contribute over $10 million to new Brandon U fitness centre

On Friday, the federal and Manitoba governments announced a joint $10.62-million contribution to a new $18.8-million fitness centre at Brandon University. The school is investing $6.3 million in the project, and the City of Brandon is pledging $1.88 million. The facility will include 2 full-scale gymnasia, an indoor walking track, an athletic therapy centre, and weight training equipment. The centre, to be located on Brandon U's campus adjacent to the existing gymnasium, will more than double the size of the current space. Office of the PM News Release | Manitoba News Release

UVic business school receives $10-million gift

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of its business faculty, the University of Victoria announced Friday a $10-million donation from Peter B. Gustavson, president and CEO of Gustavson Capital Corporation, to the faculty, making it the largest philanthropic gift ever to the business school. The donation will establish an endowment to support scholarships, professorships, research, and innovation at the faculty. The gift will also support student experiences gained through competitions, case studies, international exchanges, and help ensure the faculty remains competitive with other business schools in Canada and abroad. UVic News Release

Black Montrealers less likely to have university education

According to a new study from McGill University, black people in Montreal still lag considerably on the upper educational levels in comparison to non-black residents. One-quarter of black Montrealers between the ages of 25 and 44 are university graduates, compared to a third of non-blacks in the same age group. Even with education levels equal to or higher than those of their non-black peers, blacks earn dramatically less, the study observes. 30% of blacks with a master's degree or PhD earn $45,000 or more a year, compared to 54% of non-blacks with graduate degrees. Nearly 23% of blacks with a bachelor's degree make $45,000 or more, compared to 42% of non-blacks. Montreal Gazette | Toronto Star | CBC | CTV | Read the executive summary

UFV working to improve retention rates

When University of the Fraser Valley administrators realized they were losing 54% of first-year students every year, they knew they had to do something to improve retention. Data revealed that students were leaving because they were frustrated with their academics, or unable to continue due to their financial situation. Recognizing that many of its students were mature and working full- or part-time jobs to pay for school, UFV set out to offer more evening, weekend, and online courses. The university also created supported learning groups for first-year students, and officials are noticing an increase in GPAs and overall confidence in students. UFV's vice-president of external relations is hopeful these measures will boost retention rates, noting the university will create more bursaries and grants for students struggling financially. Mission City Record

New School of Religion at Queen's

Queen's Theological College, an affiliate of Queen's University, and the university's religious studies department have come together to establish the new Queen's School of Religion. The change recognizes increased enrolment in religious studies and the success of the MA in Religion and Modernity. Queen's is holding a ceremony tomorrow afternoon to mark the launch of the new school. Queen's News Centre

NB reports on use of Timely Completion Benefit

Over 520 graduates have taken advantage of the $5.8-million New Brunswick Timely Completion Benefit program in the first fiscal year it has been available, according to figures reported Friday by the province's PSE minister. Under the program, the province will forgive an eligible student's debt if it exceeds $26,000, as long as the student completes his or her post-secondary program within the established timeline. The minister says this measure alone will bring the average debt load of students closer to the Canadian average of $24,000. Graduates who have taken advantage of this benefit have reduced their debt load on average by over $11,000. Students have criticized the debt relief program for its time clause. NB News Release

Trent receives $1-million bequest for student bursaries

Trent University has received a $1.2-million estate gift from the late Fern Rahmel of Peterborough, whose bequest will be matched by the Ontario Trust for Student Support. At Trent's Oshawa campus, $1 million will be endowed to fund bursaries for female students over the age of 25 who have demonstrated financial need as they work towards earning a Trent degree. Another $1 million will be made available to third- and fourth-year students of proven academic ability who have demonstrated financial need, studying at either the Peterborough or Oshawa campuses. Trent News Release

MacEwan to defer pool shutdown for a year

Grant MacEwan University officials have deferred the decision to close its swimming pool for one year. The school will conduct a review on the matter, with an internal task team comprised of members of the faculty, student, and staff associations. MacEwan will use reserve funds to operate the pool until June 30, 2011. A decision to close the pool in favour of an expanded fitness facility sparked demonstrations from students, staff, and community members. Edmonton Journal