Top Ten

June 3, 2010

Long-term core funding needed for FNUC

While they welcome the federal government's pledge of up to an additional $4 million in funding for the First Nations University of Canada, both the Canadian Federation of Students and the Canadian Association of University Teachers stress the need for a commitment on long-term core funding for the institution to ensure its survival. "No university can survive short-term project funding, which makes it impossible for the institution, faculty and students to plan ahead," says James Turk, executive director of CAUT. Turk says he is disappointed that despite the new funding, significant layoffs will still be taking place at FNUC. CAUT News | CFS News Release

Canadian students have poor financial aid literacy, report finds

A "shocking" lack of financial aid literacy exists among students, according to a new report based on a survey of Canadian university students. Results show that 75% of respondents, including 54% of upper-year government loan recipients, failed the financial aid literacy test posed in the survey. The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations says the report supports its previous claim that Canada's student financial aid system is far too complex, and shows a severe lack of financial aid literacy that needs to be addressed. The report is the final of 3 derived from the "Canadian Student Survey," conducted in the fall term of the 2009-10 school year. Previous reports revealed concerns among students about being able to pay for university and pay off debts. CASA News Release | OUSA News Release | Read the report

Fanshawe denied federal funding for Woodstock expansion

Fanshawe College has been denied funding through the federal government's Community Adjustment Fund for the proposed $14-million expansion of the college's Woodstock campus. Fanshawe and the City of Woodstock have each already committed $1 million to the project, while the municipality has also invested $1.25 million in property and facilities through a land and building transfer. While the rejection is a hindrance, Fanshawe president Howard Rundle says college officials remain "optimistic" about other funding opportunities. Woodstock Sentinel-Review

uWaterloo president gives mid-course review of Sixth Decade Plan

At Tuesday's meeting of the University of Waterloo's board of governors, university president David Johnston gave "an early mid-course review" of the institution's Sixth Decade Plan, declaring that progress is "good" on most counts. Weaknesses have been identified in student support services and student engagement, and the weakest part of the plan, Johnston noted, relates to fundraising and income source diversification. Goals that are near or have already been reached include raising graduate enrolment and expanding alumni programs. Johnston boasted that uWaterloo's "well-rounded graduates" are "our proudest accomplishment." uWaterloo Daily Bulletin

TRU appoints new president

Thompson Rivers University announced Wednesday that Dr. Alan Shaver has been appointed the institution's new president and vice-chancellor, starting December 1. Shaver will come to TRU from Dalhousie University, where he is currently the vice-president academic and provost. A graduate of Carleton University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Shaver served as dean of science at McGill University from 1995 to 2005. TRU News

Student, faculty groups criticize copyright legislation

Legislation tabled Wednesday to amend the Copyright Act will undermine the ability of students and instructors to access and make use of copyrighted works, argue the CFS and CAUT. Both groups take aim at the bill for prohibiting the circumventing of digital encryption, meaning that material that is in electronic format and digitally encrypted cannot be copied for any reason, including educational or research purposes. The CFS and CAUT say the bill will make it even more difficult for post-secondary teachers and students to access and use copyrighted material for teaching and learning. Industry Canada News Release | CFS News Release | CAUT News

Labour shortage projected for energy sector

The oil and gas industry will feel the pinch of another labour shortage next year, according to the Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada's Supply/Demand Analysis 2009-2020 report. More than 100,000 workers will be needed over the next decade to support new oil and gas activity and replace retiring workers, the report projects. Of these workers, approximately 65,000 will be in the industry's core occupations, such as engineers, trades, operators, and field workers. While the energy sector is still in recovery and stabilizing this year, workers will be needed in core occupations in 2011, and across the industry as a whole in 2012, when labour supply falls short of employment requirements. Petroleum HR Council News Release | Calgary Herald | Read the report

Attitude significant factor in student retention

"The simple message here is, Attitude matters," says the co-author of a paper revealing that students' enrolment patterns at the researchers' institution, the University of Maryland, were strongly predicted by how they answered a survey question on their attitude toward the university in the eighth week of their first semester. If students' attitude toward the school at that early date was positive, they tended to stay; if it was strongly negative, they tended to leave. In response to the finding, a U. of Maryland committee on retention plans to encourage faculty and residence advisors to have conversations with first-year students about their perceptions about the institution. In cases in which students strongly dislike the university, the committee would like to know exactly why. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access) | Read the report

UCL student fined for creating student-flirting site

A University College London student who founded a student-flirting website has been fined £300 by the British university for bringing it into disrepute. The student took down FitFinder under pressure from UCL authorities, who were concerned the site was distracting students from their studies. Staff claim to have been contacted by a number of other institutions unhappy about the site, which combines Facebook and Twitter to allow students to exchange flirtatious messages on campus. The student was told that his degree results would be withheld if he did not pay the fine. The student has vowed to resume FitFinder as soon as the safety of his degree is guaranteed. Times of London

Book links helicopter parenting to social status

In her new book, Parenting Out of Control: Anxious Parents in Uncertain Times, Margaret K. Nelson observes a strong correlation between parental involvement and social class. When it comes to the college-admission process, the children of the elite, among which "parenting out of control" dominates, have access to resources such as SAT tutoring and private college coaches, privileges that make significant differences in access to elite institutions. Nelson's research suggests that the content of contact between students and their parents differs between the children of the professional class and less privileged students. More privileged students are more likely to get parental input on homework and editorial assistance on papers, Nelson says. Inside Higher Ed