Top Ten

June 4, 2010

York completes fundraising campaign with $207 million raised

Last Thursday, York University celebrated the completion of "York to the Power of 50," the largest fundraising initiative in the institution's history. York raised $207 million, exceeding the campaign's $200-million goal. Over 30,000 donors contributed to the campaign, and 44 gifts of $1 million or greater were received. While the main component of the campaign was major giving, the York University Foundation received pledges of $12 million in planned gifts such as bequest intentions in wills and garnered support from over 2,400 York faculty, staff, and retirees through the Family Campaign. York News Release

Alberta distributes $43 million in health research awards

Alberta Innovates, a provincial agency, announced last Thursday $43 million in funding to support 37 health researchers across Alberta. The awards, 34 of which are 7 years in length, are among the richest health research awards in Canada. University of Alberta researchers won 19 of the 37 grants for a total investment of more than $20 million. Alberta Innovates News Release | Edmonton Journal

NSERC distributes $32 million to support science, engineering grads

Science and Technology Minister Gary Goodyear announced Friday that through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada's Collaborative Research and Training Experience Program, 20 projects will receive $32 million over 6 years to help science and engineering graduates update their skills to make a successful transition to the workplace. At Dalhousie University, for example, one project will train civil engineering students in the management of water, while another will focus on the development of lithium-ion batteries used in cell phones and laptops. NSERC News Release

ACC, RRC staff to hold strike vote

Instructors and support staff at Assiniboine Community College and Red River College will participate in a strike vote this week after 36 bargaining sessions were unable to resolve a year-long contract dispute. The president of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union says union members at the colleges are frustrated by the delay, and feel they have no other option than to hold a strike vote. The union has claimed the employers are bargaining in bad faith. Staff will vote June 7 to 10, with a decision announced by June 11. Winnipeg Free Press

External PR help for new uCalgary president questioned

The University of Calgary has hired an outside public relations firm to help engineering dean Dr. Elizabeth Cannon transition into her new role as the institution's president -- a decision some are questioning, especially as uCalgary faces a $14.3-million shortfall. The student union president says she is very concerned about the firm's hiring, the mystery around its total costs, and how it will affect students. A spokesman for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation questions why additional communication work needed to be contracted out when uCalgary's media relations teams has 24 employees. A uCalgary spokesman says the communications department needed the extra support following the departure of the vice-president of external relations in March. The president of uCalgary's faculty association says the hiring may be justified in light of the VP's departure; "however, given the financial situation the university is in right now, it needs to be very careful about taking on any such costs." Calgary Herald

Retired law prof calls legal education in Canada "corrupt beyond repair"

In a paper published last fall in the journal Interchange, retired University of Western Ontario law professor Robert Martin compares Canadian law faculties to "psychotic kindergartens" populated by "a horde of illiterate, ignorant cretins." In his article, Martin singles out the University of Toronto's law faculty, which, in deregulating tuition, "pattern(ed) itself after a Wal-Mart outlet." The retired prof's solution is to close every law school, offer the buildings to the homeless, and use law textbooks as kindling. Academics contacted by Maclean's declined to comment on Martin's paper, suggesting that to do so would give it a veneer of credibility. Maclean's OnCampus | Read the article

$1-million endowment funds Catholic Studies chair at STMU

The Catholic Women's League announced last Thursday a $1.2-million endowment for a permanent chair for Catholic Studies at Calgary-based St. Mary's University College. The first of its kind in western Canada and the first endowed chair in STMU's history, the CWL Chair for Catholic Studies will be a source of intellectual leadership for the institution and for the broader Catholic and local communities through an annual public lecture, guest lectures, invited presentations, and regular publications. STMU News Release

SC Johnson Canada invests in WLU Brantford campus

Last Thursday, SC Johnson Canada announced a $1-million donation to Wilfrid Laurier University's Brantford campus to support the development of a business program and the proposed construction of an athletics-recreation facility in partnership with the YMCA. The donation will be used to renovate the former CIBC building in Brantford and transform it into a multi-use facility to house the anticipated business program. In recognition of the gift, the building will be called the SC Johnson Building. WLU News Release

Education groups welcome copyright reforms

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations are pleased new legislation to amend the Copyright Act includes the expansion of fair dealing to include the category of "education." AUCC also welcomes educational amendments that will allow the presentation of films in classrooms and the recording of lessons that students can access at the time of their choosing. Like the Canadian Association of University Teachers and the Canadian Federation of Students, AUCC is also concerned about the prohibition against circumventing digital encryption. The Copyright Consortium of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada supports the legislation as it allows students and educators " to have fair and reasonable access to publicly available Internet materials in their educational pursuits." AUCC News Release | CMEC News Release | CASA News Release

Canadian institutions take part in textbook rental program

This September, Carleton University will introduce a textbook rental program, with 200 titles in the university bookstore to be available for students to rent for up to 55% off the retail price. Carleton's bookstore is operated by Follett of Canada, which will also offer the rental program at Humber College, St. Clair College, and the University of Winnipeg. The University of Toronto Bookstore recently launched a textbook rental pilot project, with titles renting for about 40% off the new purchase prices. Ottawa Citizen