Top Ten

June 17, 2010

uToronto student unions to provide services despite G20 closure

University of Toronto’s student unions announced Thursday that despite the University’s refusal to reverse its decision to shut down the downtown St. George campus during the G20 summit, student groups will continue to provide services and advocacy for students and the campus community. Earlier this week, students and faculty submitted an open letter to the University, arguing that the shutdown "contradicts the purpose of the university, reinforces harmful stereotypes of protesters, legitimizes police repression and violence and does not reflect the wishes of students, staff and faculty." During the summit, students will be barred from residences, exams will be postponed, parking garages will be closed, and meetings and events will be cancelled.  National Post  |  CNW Newswire 

South African universities provide services, accommodation for FIFA

As football fever sweeps across South Africa and the world, South African universities are contributing to the event through a number of initiatives, such as accommodation for teams and fans, access to sports facilities, exhibitions and soccer events. The University of Pretoria and North-West University are housing Argentina (ranked #7) and Spain (ranked #2), respectively. Universities that failed to win a bid to host a team are offering accommodation for tourists and fans. Universities are also conducting research related to the World Cup, including a study of all medical and injury conditions that afflict players during the competition. The universities also reorganized their academic schedules to ensure that staff and students are able to participate in and enjoy the soccer action.  University World News 

Waterloo Warriors football players allowed to transfer

Canadian Interuniversity Sport announced Wednesday it will allow members of the suspended Waterloo Warriors football team to transfer to another team without facing any penalities. According to CIS rules, transfer students are normally required to sit out a season before being allowed to play. Some parents fear, however, that allowing players to transfer will result in the "death knell of the program" and are recommending that the University "either solve the issue and let the kids play now, or the mass exodus starts Monday." A lawsuit to overturn the decision also seems unlikely. Richard McLaren, a law professor at the University of Western Ontario, notes that the players have no obvious lawsuit, as there was no contract in place.  Daily Gleaner  |  National Post 

uWaterloo football Warriors may sue

University of Waterloo Warriors football captains who tested clean for steroids were to hold a news conference today in an effort to overturn the year-long suspension imposed by the University on Monday. They will be proposing that the university place the team on probation instead, and conduct tests on the players throughout the 2010 season. Failure to reach an agreement could result in legal action against the university. The players have reportedly received hundreds of emails and phone calls of support, and money has "poured in" from alumni and others to fund a legal battle. Warrior players are also seeking advice on how to transfer to other schools, in the event that transferring is their only option to play CIS football.  Globe and Mail 

NWCC president moving to Red River College

Red River College announced yesterday that Stephanie Forsyth has been appointed the institution's new president and CEO, starting September 27. (She replaces Jeff Zabudsky, who left earlier this year for Sheridan College). Forsyth will come to RRC from Northwest Community College in BC, where she has served as president for 10 years. Prior to NWCC, she worked at Selkirk College, Vancouver Community College, Malaspina University College, and Capilano College. According to BCLocalNews.com, Forsyth has resigned from NWCC once before, in February 2009, when she was offered the presidency at Vancouver Community College, but she reversed her decision shortly thereafter. Forsyth, whose ancestry is Blackfoot and who is an adopted member of the Tsimshian Nation, says she is excited by RRC’s growing applied research program in sustainable technology, capital expansion plans, and focus on Aboriginal education. She has woven indigenous knowledge and traditions into the NWCC culture, and initiated an ambitious plan to make NWCC carbon-neutral.  Red River College News  |  Winnipeg Free Press  |  BC Local News 

CHEC challenges CAUT definition of academic freedom

In response to an ongoing investigation being conducted by the Canadian Association of University Teachers into whether or not Canadian Christian universities are abiding by accepted rules of academic freedom, the Christian Higher Education Canada (CHEC) advisory group is holding a conference. CHEC plans to invite groups from the PSE sector to engage in a dialogue on the meaning of the terms "university" and "academic freedom." CAUT investigations have already released one report on Trinity Western University, which concluded that TWU's policy to have professors sign a Statement of Faith affirming Christian beliefs places "unwarranted and unacceptable constraints on academic freedom."  Macleans Online  |  University World News 

Canadian undergrads speculate about life in 2040

A recent survey of 1,581 undergrads at 19 universities has found that young people anticipate greater global change than change to Canada itself. Almost all agreed that by 2040, Alberta and Quebec would still be part of Canada, and that universal healthcare and pension plans would still exist. About two-thirds anticipate that the polar ice caps will have melted, a nuclear war will have taken place, a human will have been successfully cloned, artificial intelligence will exist, and that China will be the world’s leading superpower. At the same time, most do not expect cures for cancer or AIDS, or peace in the Middle East, in the next 30 years. Overall, the students see the Economy (43%), Healthcare (34%) and the Environment (23%) as the top issues facing Canada today.  MyCanEd News Release (PDF) 

Carleton students, administrators reach Frosh Week compromise

In response to an outcry by students regarding the decision by administration to take over Frosh Week activities, Carleton University has announced that it will once again partner with students for this year's Frosh Week, with a few caveats. While students will ultimately be responsible for coordinating volunteer and social events, the administration will focus on organizing activities designed to assist students in adapting to the university. Suzanne Blanchard, Associate Vice-President, has stated that the administration's decision was not influenced by the student outcry, but rather that they had planned to work in consultation with the student body from the beginning.  The Varsity (Student News, citing the Charlatan

Co-op students secure prestigious jobs, higher salaries

Two University of Waterloo researchers have conducted the first and largest study of co-op students, using StatsCan’s YITS (Youth in Transition Survey) data. Tracking 10,000 students from 2000-2006, it appears that co-op programs aid accessibility for lower-income students, and attract more females in college and males in university. University co-op students appear to be more studious and serious, and are more likely to be studying engineering, applied and physical sciences, or mathematics. College co-op students, on the other hand, are more likely in the fine and applied arts, or the humanities. After graduation, university co-op grads were earning 15% more than their peers, and were in more “prestigious” positions.  IEC Hamilton 

Study examines student drinking habits

A new US study published in open access journal BioMed Central, examines the drinking habits of 143 college students. On average, students had 7 "drinking days" in their first month of college, and averaged 7.4 drinks per drinking day. Drinking was actually higher in August than in September -- before starting college. Students with higher grades in high school tended to drink less when they arrived at PSE, as did female students. Predictably, the drinking habits of roommates influenced participant drinking habits as well. The "age of first intoxication" was a very strong predictor, and possibly an opportunity for early intervention.  Toronto Sun 

Another irreverent campaign from Camosun College

We’ve told you before about Camosun’s cheeky “next step” campaign in 2008, or their “scratch-and-sniff” website last April Fool’s day. Now, Camosun is displaying its distinctive personality in a series of silent video spots airing on monitors in high school hallways. The bright green animations declare that Camosun College is “now Bieber free,” “nearly Zombie free,” has “40% more Ninjas,” and is “Batman underwater fighting a shark with a lightsabre awesome!” David Sovka, Associate Director College & Community Relations, explains that the spots play to Camosun’s cornerstone values, “being ‘real’ and deeply rooted in community.” The videos are available on the MyCamosun YouTube channel, where you can also watch student submissions to the “MyCamosun” contestMyCamosun channel 

CCAE Awards honour marketing excellence

Earlier this week, the 2010 CCAE Prix D'Excellence awards were announced for 30 categories in PSE marketing. Memorial and McGill were the top winners, receiving 12 and 10 awards, respectively, followed by McMaster with 8. Notable gold winners include MUN (Best Student Recruitment Program for "Rant Like Rick"), BCIT (Best E-Innovation in Institutional Advancement for "BCIT presents 3 blog nights"), and uSherbrooke (Best Institutional Homepage).  Top viewbooks were UPEI, NAIT and MUN (in that order), and best websites were uSherbrooke, uVic, and NAIT.  Congrats to all our friends and clients who won!   MUN News Release  |  List of Recipients (PDF)

New rules pending for US for-profit education

The US Department of Education is scheduled to release stricter rules for for-profit academic institutions, aimed at protecting students and safeguarding taxpayers’ investment in federal student aid. The rules would hold for-profits accountable for ensuring graduates are prepared for gainful employment, that students are well informed and well served, and that the more than $20 billion received by these institutions in student financial aid is being well spent. The strongest sanction would see federal student financial assistance eliminated for programs whose graduates are expected to carry a high student-loan debt relative to their expected earnings. The majority of regulations, including one regarding a stricter ban on incentive compensation for college recruiters, will be announced on Friday, but the "gainful employment" issue has been postponed.  The Chronicle of Higher Ed

AASHE releases annual higher education sustainability report

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education has released its Annual Review of Sustainability in Higher Education. The report provides an overview of the broadening and deepening commitment to campus sustainability across North America. Canadian PSE institutions mentioned in the report include Dalhousie University, Acadia University and Trent University for their involvement in the "One Million Acts of Green" program, which aims to mobilize Canadians to perform one million acts of green collectively. Simon Fraser University is noted for its business students' involvement in assessing and comparing the sustainability initiatives at SFU, UBC and uVic. York University is cited for its partnership with the World Green Building Council to develop an international education program in green building design.  AASHE News Release  |  Report Digest (PDF) 

Wal-mart, American Public University form alliance

Wal-Mart has partnered with American Public University (APU), a private web-based university, to provide Wal-Mart's 1.4 million workers in the US with access to online education. While Wal-Mart has been praised by adult-learning leaders, critics wonder how low-paid workers will be able to afford the cost of a degree, and why Wal-Mart selected a private institution instead of a cheaper, community-college option. Wal-Mart and APU plan to to count on-the-job training and experience as academic credit toward its degree, leading Janet K. Poley, president of the American Distance Education Consortium, to suggest that the arrangement could leave Wal-Mart employees with a "nontransferable coupon."  The Chronicle of Higher Education

BP funds ecological research in the Gulf of Mexico

As part of its pledge to contribute $500 million to the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, British Petroleum announced Tuesday three grants totalling $25 million for research on ecological issues around the environmental disaster caused by their drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico. Louisiana State University will receive $5 million, the Florida Institute of Oceanography at the University of South Florida will receive $10 million, and the Northern Gulf Institute, a consortium led by Mississippi State University will receive $10 million.  Inside Higher Ed  |  BP News Release 

"Dumbed-down" degrees for foreign students in Australia

According to evidence gathered in secret by an Ombudsman-led investigation, foreign students enrolled at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology are cheating and receiving special treatment in order to ensure receipt of their degrees. Foreign students who failed tests at RMIT were allegedly being allowed to rewrite the exams until they passed. The investigation also revealed that an international student was allowed to graduate from RMIT despite attending classes drunk, missing lectures, failing exams, abusing staff and students, and sparking sex assault accusations. RMIT currently has 26,000 international students who bring in almost $204 million a year.  Herald Sun 

Indian students perceive easy work visas for Canada

SPP, the Student Partners Program, is the new buzzword among Indian PSE applicants considering Canada, says Mel Broitman of the Canadian University Application Centre, in an online opinion piece. Designed to help the Canadian visa office address the problems of high visa refusal rates in areas such as the Punjab, the SPP puts responsibility on select Canadian community colleges to sign off on a list of accountability in terms of how they admit and invite students to Canada. Although not a guarantee of visa approval, he says education agents in India are promoting SPP as if "it's a magic carpet ride to Canada." This perceived guarantee may have led to an increase in the number of Indian students applying to Canadian community colleges, and has some recruiters wondering "how many students applying under SPP [will] actually convert to registrants and how many [will] arrive only to request a refund."  Higher-Edge 

Open-source Kuali software losing partners

Kuali Foundation, a group of colleges in the US and abroad who have pooled resources to develop open-source ERP systems to compete with corporate offerings, has lost two partners in recent months. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Florida State University have both withdrawn, largely due to budget constraints. (Partners committed $150,000-$500,000 annually.)  MIT will continue to act as a member of the Kuali Foundation and participate in Kuali Coeus, which focuses on research-administration software.  The Kuali community includes Brock University, UBC, and the University of Toronto.   The Chronicle of Higher Education  |  Kuali 

A whole new meaning to “Animal House”

About a dozen US colleges and universities, including MIT and SUNY Canton, have begun establishing “pet-friendly dorms” in which students don’t have to settle for stuffed animals for stress relief. Stephens College, a women's institution in Missouri, is renovating a dorm dubbed “Pet Central” to accommodate 30 incoming freshmen and their pets, and to include a ground-floor kennel staffed by work-study students. Stephens College hopes that the new pet-friendly policy will help students make a smoother transition to higher education. Eckerd College even allows snakes, provided they are “less than six feet long and nonvenomous.”  New York Times  |  Boston Globe  |  Inside Higher Ed