Top Ten

May 25, 2010

Lambton College settles dispute over dismantled sculpture

Lambton College has reached an out-of-court deal with the family of the late Canadian sculptor Haydn Davies, resolving a $1.2-million lawsuit filed in 2006 by Davies against the college for razing one of his most famous outdoor works. The settlement marks the end of a dispute dating back to June 2005, when Lambton ordered the demolition of Homage, arguing the work deteriorated to the point where "it was no longer safe." Earlier, college officials had agreed to at least suspend the demolition to allow the Davies family to visit the site and make a determination, but officials failed to reach the outside contractor hired for the removal in time to halt the action. In his original suit, Davies argued that Lambton violated his moral rights under the Copyright Act and breached its obligation to maintain the work. The college is returning the remaining pieces of the destroyed sculpture to the Davies family. Globe and Mail

Aboriginal leaders oppose Nipissing honorary degree for former Ontario premier

Several Aboriginal leaders say former Ontario premier Mike Harris is not worthy of an honorary degree from Nipissing University. National Chief Shawn Atleo, also to receive an honorary degree from Nipissing next month, said last Friday that he would decline the honour if Harris was honoured as well. On Monday, Atleo agreed to deliver his convocation speech at least one day before Harris and as long as he is not in the company of the former premier. The Union of Ontario Indians states Harris "doesn't deserve titles or tributes of any kind" and denounces his treatment of Aboriginal people in the province, pointing to the death of protester Dudley George, the removal of land-tax provisions, and cutbacks to social programs. Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee says Harris does not deserve another honour: being the namesake of Nipissing's new $25-million Learning Library shared with Canadore College. Nipissing First Nation Chief Marianna Couchie says her community will withdraw financial support from the library if it is named after Harris. Anishinabek Nation News Release | National Post

uToronto to close during G20 summit

The University of Toronto has decided to shut down for the G20 summit next month. Staff and students will be banned from the downtown campus from June 24 to 27 after organizers moved the official protest site to Queen's Park from Trinity Bellwoods Park. No classes are scheduled for the Thursday and Friday prior to the summit, but exams previously scheduled for those days will be moved. Students living in residences near Queen's Park will be forced to move to other dormitories before and during the summit. Globe and Mail

High cost of med school may affect Canadians' health, study finds

According to an article published in the journal Medical Education, the high cost of medical school in Canada may have a negative impact on medical student diversity and the health of Canadians. Research led by a University of Alberta medical student reveals that most medical students come from wealthy families, and few come from rural areas. The president of the Canadian Federation of Medical Students says medical students from rural areas and low-income families are more likely to practice in rural communities and serve low-income patients, respectively -- areas where physicians are needed. The study's findings come at a time when medical school tuition fees continue to rise, approaching $20,000 annually at some schools. Medical students who graduate with large debt may be less likely to practice in specialities like family medicine or geriatrics, says the federation's president, who notes that "allowing tuition fees to influence the make-up of medical school classes is unfair to prospective students and will likely have a significant negative impact on the health of Canadians." CFMS News Release

Saskatchewan invests $2 million to increase apprenticeship training opportunities

More apprentices will receive training as a result of a $1.95-million increase to the Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission. The budget increase includes $400,000 for a targeted initiative to increase Aboriginal participation and success in apprenticeship training in Saskatchewan. The province has experienced an unprecedented demand for skilled workers, with the number of registered apprentices rising to over 9,000, up from 5,400 just 4 year earlier. Available apprenticeship training seats total 5,869 this year, an increase of over 2,000 from 2 years ago. Saskatchewan is investing nearly $20 million in apprenticeship training in the 2010-11 budget. Saskatchewan News Release

Program overhaul planned at Algonquin College

Last week, Algonquin College released a draft report identifying programs and services the school believes need to be added, expanded, maintained, revised, and phased out in an effort to better meet the demands of current and prospective students. The report outlines 51 new courses set to be introduced, 27 existing programs to be expanded, and 23 programs to be phased out. Stakeholders are invited to provide their feedback on the report through on-campus consultations and online forums. Algonquin will prepare a final report on the program additions, expansions, and phase-outs by late August. Ottawa Citizen | Ottawa Sun | Read the report

UC Berkeley criticized over planned DNA test of freshmen

Despite criticisms, the University of California, Berkeley will not drop its plan to ask incoming first-year and transfer students to submit a DNA sample to be analyzed for 3 genes that have to do with the metabolism of food and beverages. Although university officials say the assignment is completely optional and anonymous, the Council for Responsible Genetics calls the project "woefully naïve." In a letter to UC Berkeley administrators, the council says the test results have "the risk of increasingly being used out of context in ways that are contrary to the interests of the individual, perhaps even discriminatory and certainly privacy invasive." The council and the Centre for Genetics Society issued calls for the university to cancel the program. Inside Higher Ed | Associated Press

Michigan prof develops student engagement software

An atmospheric science professor at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor is the creator of Lecture Tools, a system that lets students use their computers during classes to pose questions anonymously, mark up lecture slides, and answer questions posed by the professor in real time. In a study the system's developer based on a survey of about 200 students he instructed, 78% said that laptops with the interactive technology made them more engaged in class overall. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access) | Lecture Tools

College students prefer printed textbooks over digital format

According to a new study from the US-based National Association of College Stores, 74% of college students prefer to use a printed textbook when taking a class. 53% of respondents were unsure about purchasing digital textbooks or would not consider purchasing them even if they were available. The report's findings are not surprising, says one researcher. "Every new innovation takes time before the mainstream population embraces it." NACS News Release

Google Voice gives priority invites to college students

On its blog, Google Voice states that it has heard that "college students in particular really appreciate getting their voicemail sent to their email, sending free text messages and reading voicemail transcriptions rather than listening to messages (especially handy while in class)." Google announced earlier this month it will be giving Google Voice invites to students, who must provide an e-mail address ending in .edu to get the invite. The service, currently only available in the US, provides a new phone number, forwards a subscriber's other phones to that number, and sends mail to one place. Google Voice Blog