Top Ten

April 21, 2010

$15-million gift boosts SAIT's Trades and Technology Complex fundraising campaign

Yesterday the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology was presented with a $15-million gift from Enerflex Systems founder John Aldred and his wife Cheryl for the school's $75-million "Promising Futures" fundraising campaign in support of the Trades and Technology Complex currently under construction. The largest of 3 buildings in the complex will be named the Aldred Centre in recognition of the gift, the largest personal donation ever given to a community college or polytechnic institution in Canada. SAIT News Release

NS cuts StFX nursing school budget by over $5 million

We mentioned in yesterday's Top Ten that the Nova Scotia government reduced funding for Dalhousie University's medical school by $2.5 million. The province's health department budget also did not include an expected $5.3 million for St. Francis Xavier University's nursing school. StFX's vice-president of finance says the money was supposed to fulfil the last year of a 3-year agreement between the department and the school. The nursing school also received a block grant from the education department, and the money for the nursing program is now supposed to be taken out of that grant. The VP says the funding loss "would have a potentially devastating impact on us. It would impact not just potentially the nursing program, but the whole university." StFX has asked the heath department to restore the funding. Halifax Chronicle-Herald

Diplomas at risk as Windsor city union refuses work placement program

St. Clair College is searching for new work placement hosts for some of its business program students after the City of Windsor announced it could not get an agreement with the union representing city workers to continue intern programs that had operated for over 20 years. The president of CUPE Local 543 says the union is opposing the student work placement program due to layoffs affecting union members. St. Clair's vice-president academic says if students do not get the practical component of their course curriculum mandated by the Ontario government, "we won't let them graduate." Windsor Star

Fired FNUC CFO returns to university

Fired from his position in December, Murray Westerlund returned to his job as chief financial officer at First Nations University of Canada on Monday, hired back by the institution's new president. Westerlund was terminated late last year after he raised concerns about the school's operations, focusing on the misuse of funds and inappropriate expenses. Westerlund sued for wrongful dismissal, which he says has been settled. He says morale at FNUC seems to be positive, even though its future remains uncertain. Regina Leader-Post

Douglas College eligible for SSHRC funding

BC-based Douglas College announced yesterday it is now eligible to administer research funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. The college's humanities and social sciences dean says the SSHRC funding eligibility will enable the institution to continue to attract and retain the best instructors and program personnel. In January, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada added the college to its list of approved institutions. Douglas College News

Concordia responds to neighbours' complaints over construction at Loyola campus

Following complaints about truck traffic and a lack of safety as a new research facility is being built at Concordia University's Loyola campus, the university has made some tweaks in the operation. Concordia has spoken to the contractor about heavy trucks lumbering along quiet residential streets and the chaos caused by dump trucks backing into the construction site. A flagman will become a permanent fixture to stop traffic when the trucks are manoeuvring into place on the site. A Concordia spokesperson responded to an unsigned letter from some "concerned citizens" and says the school looked into the complaints and dealt with the issues it could control. Montreal Gazette

Wilkes U's "Colonel Coalition" welcomes unsuspecting incoming students

On Saturday, Pennsylvania-based Wilkes University put its mascot, '"the Colonel," and 30 of its students on a bus heading to 5 towns in the state. At each destination, members of this surprise greeting committee -- the "Colonel Coalition" -- swarmed an unsuspecting high-school senior committed to attending the institution in the fall, waving yellow rally towels and signs saying "Welcome to Wilkes" and "Fall 2010." The bus trip was the brainstorm of Wilkes U and a Philadelphia marketing company that helped the university develop a marketing campaign in 2007 that involved putting up personalized billboards near the homes of 6 accepted applicants who were still undecided about Wilkes U. The school, which filmed the visits, plans to send videos of the trip to the 5 students and encourage them to share the clips online. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

Study finds online goal setting improves university grades

New psychology research from the University of Toronto and New York-based St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Centre finds that online goal setting helps struggling university students improve their grades and stay in school. Researchers created an online goal-setting program that helps individuals imagine their desired future 3 to 5 years down the line and to plan for the future. Students who completed the program raised their GPAs by 30% and were much less likely to drop courses or quit university altogether. uToronto News

Some US institutions struggle with iPad connectivity issues

The iPad is having difficulty being accepted at George Washington University and Princeton University due to network stability issues, and Cornell University is also experiencing connectivity problems with the device and is concerned about bandwidth overload. Such problems could be a blow to Apple, which has gone after the post-secondary market by showcasing the iPad's portability and availability of electronic books. Many school networks are accepting the device without problems, and some institutions are even embracing the iPad. For example, Pennsylvania-based Seton Hill University has promised free iPads and MacBooks to all first-year students next fall. Wall Street Journal

Young people care about privacy as do older generations, US study finds

New research from the US observes that young adults generally care as much about privacy as older Americans. For example, 86% of those surveyed believe that anyone who posts a photo or video of them online should get their permission first, even if the photo was taken in public. Among young adults aged 18 to 24, 84% agreed, compared to 90% among those 45 to 54. Despite growing up in the digital age, young people know little about their rights to online privacy, the study found. Young adults seem more confident than their older peers that the government would protect them, even though US privacy laws offer few such safeguards. Associated Press