Top Ten

April 1, 2010

York U officials ordered to answer questions on alleged pro-Israel bias

The Ontario Superior Court has ordered 2 top administrators at York University to answer sensitive questions about an alleged pro-Israel bias shared by members of a key governing body. The order obligates former York U president Lorna Marsden and York University Foundation chairman Paul Marcus to answer specific questions posed by lawyers representing York U professor David Noble, who has sued the administrators for defamation. A lawyer for Noble said Marsden and Marcus have so far refused to answer questions about lobbying and the political beliefs of board members. Globe and Mail

Faculty at BC's new universities worry senates will affect labour relations

In December, administrators at BC's new special-purpose teaching universities -- Kwantlen Polytechnic University, University of the Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island University, Capilano University, and Emily Carr University of Art + Design -- informed their faculty that they now believe, based on legal advice, that the institutions' senates -- formed when their new university statuses were conferred by amendments to the University Act 2 years ago -- might be able to unilaterally strike down agreed-upon provisions in existing collective agreements. Some faculty at these institutions worry the creation of the senates may lead to tumbling labour relations. The president of Emily Carr's faculty association says "this represents management trying to increase management rights and reduce collegiality," while his counterpart at VIU says the new claims about senate powers to veto contracts could well be a "strikable issue." The Tyee

uWaterloo football player investigated for steroids possession

The University of Waterloo has banned a student athlete from campus pending legal proceedings as the football player is being investigated by police for the possession of steroids and human growth hormones. uWaterloo's athletics department stated last Wednesday that the university remains deeply concerned about these developments, and has requested testing of its varsity football team. uWaterloo Daily Bulletin | Waterloo Region Record

Campuses celebrate April Fool's

In honour of April Fool's Day last Thursday, Camosun College's homepage featured several comical stories, including one on dozens of University of Victoria-dwelling rabbits "transferring" to the college. One Camosun employee remarks that "Camosun costs less, has smaller class sizes with great instructors, plus the university was going to remove their...bits. Nobody likes that." McGill University reported that the McGill Babcock tie went missing after posing for pictures with tourists at the Hockey Hall of Fame, sparking a police investigation and daytime vigils. The Saskatoon Star-Phoenix ran a story about a group of University of Saskatchewan researchers, led by professor "Avril Primeaux," who developed technology to capture dream sequences and play them back on standard television screens. McGill Reporter | Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

Graduate recruitment a priority for Concordia

At an open meeting last Monday on Concordia University's academic landscape, the institution's provost focused on the importance of recruiting and retaining top new faculty and students, particularly graduate students, and the various measures in place to meet that challenge. The provost spoke of $1 million that had been relocated from other budgetary priorities to attract graduate students across all 4 faculties. The provost states that enrolment growth remained steady, and the university's programs continue to be a draw for students locally and from elsewhere. Concordia Journal

Durham College introduces global classroom

Durham College will launch its first-ever global classroom today when it links up with a college classroom in India for a session of one of its general education elective courses, Short History of the World. Durham students will be joined by 16 students from Mahindra United World College for a real-time class focusing on issues of human progress and the limits of the planet. The global classroom will eventually be a permanent fixture on the course instructor's website, to be launched in early May. The website will host, record, and post additional global classes in order to attract other universities and colleges to this twin-class format. Durham College News Release

STU signs First Nations governance education MOU

Last Tuesday, St. Thomas University signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Centre for First Nations Governance (NCFNG) to enhance governance-related education and programming opportunities for Aboriginal organizations and First Nations. The MOU establishes a framework to develop and deliver governance programs in public administration fundamentals, processes, and effectiveness, and to offer Aboriginal administrators the training and methods required to support their local and regional governance aspirations. This is the first MOU the NCFNG has signed with a post-secondary school in Atlantic Canada. STU News Release | Daily Gleaner

Cambrian hires private security firm for residences

Cambrian College has hired a private security company due to serious incidents at student residences. Several weekends ago, there was a crowd of 100 students and visitors partying in the courtyard and townhouses. Security officials and local police were called in to control the scene, and one student was hospitalized due to excessive alcohol consumption. According to a December 2009 review, 60% of security incidents at Cambrian occur at the residences. Sudbury Star

Dealing with the omitted after admissions-decision day

A recent "Head Count" blog entry from the Chronicle of Higher Education focuses on the University of Virginia's admissions office and the first business day after decisions went out, which was all about dealing with the omitted. Of the nearly 500 calls the office received that day, one mother had asked whether her child had been denied admission because of the family's surname, which was Indian. More than one caller said they knew of an admitted student who was less qualified than their children, who were rejected. Difficult conversations are nothing new to U. of Virginia admissions officials -- one time a young woman who was on the waiting list showed up in the admissions office with several family members, who sat down and began to wail. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

Disadvantaged students more likely to benefit from attending college, study finds

A new paper from the US suggests that students who are least likely to attend college gain the strongest economic benefits from obtaining a degree. The study reports that the college wage premium -- the average wage differential between high-school and college graduates -- appears to be strongest for people from socio-economic groups that are least likely to go to college in the first place. Drawing data from a pair of longitudinal surveys, the paper found that men and women with the lowest college-going propensities earned 30% and 40% more, respectively, after finishing college than their non-college peers from the ages of 29 and 32, while men and women with the highest college-going propensities earned wages 10% and 25% higher, respectively, than their non-college counterparts at those ages. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)