Top Ten

June 20, 2010

Hamilton aims to be hotbed for interactive digital media

McMaster University, Mohawk College, the Art Gallery of Hamilton and video game producer Silicon Knights are joining forces to create an institute for interactive digital media at McMaster Innovation Park. The $11-million project is positioned to bring together the skills and expertise to reseach, teach and create digital media technologies, and to turn the Hamilton region into an international leader in interactive digital media. The new institute is scheduled to open in 2011.  The Spectator  |  McMaster News 

College of the Rockies gains degree-granting status

College of the Rockies CEO and President Dr. Nick Rubidge announced last Wednesday  that COTR will offer a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Sustainable Business Practices, the first degree program to be offered at COTR. The four-year BBA will combine arts and sciences courses with a diploma in accounting, marketing or aboriginal financial management. The BBA degree in Sustainable Business Practices is unique to COTR and is currently not offered at any other institution, although students can also take some courses from Athabasca U and Thompson Rivers U.  Daily Townsman  |  BC Local News

Lakeland to acquire 1449 acres of adjacent land

Pending provincial approval, Alberta's Lakeland College is positioned to purchase 10 "quarters" of land near its Vermilion campus. The 900 acres of cultivated land and 500+ acres of pasture land will guarantee the continuation of Lakeland's unique student-managed farm training model, whereby students are actively involved in operating and managing livestock or crop. The land will also serve as a lab site for 220 students in the environmental sciences diploma and applied degree programs, who will be able to assess old site leases, examine the productivity of reclaimed land, study wetland plants, and test soil. Lakeland College will use unrestricted net assets to purchase the land.  Lakeland News

MUN teaching assistants get 22% raise

Following 6 months of bargaining, the new Teaching Assistants Union of Memorial University of Newfoundland (TAUMUN) has reached its first tentative deal with the university, which will see TA salaries increase by more than 20% over the next 4 years. The agreement covers a retroactive increase of 8% and 3 consecutive annual increases of 4% each, matching the provincial pattern for public sector unions. By the end of the contract, the wage of teaching assistants at MUN will be $21.15 per hour. Ratification voting was to take place Thursday and Friday. CBC News  

Balsillie School facing struggle over academic autonomy

The new Balsillie School of International Affairs, a collaboration between the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, and Jim Balsillie's private-sector think-tank the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), is still under construction but already facing governance challenges. The School has recently lured big-name scholars Thomas Homer-Dixon and Ramesh Thakur, but Thakur has just been dismissed less than halfway through his contract as the School's first director. He writes, "academic freedom is the bedrock of the university, and autonomy from outside interests (however well-meaning) is important in protecting that academic freedom.” The partnership agreement grants CIGI input into all hiring decisions, and the option to withdraw its $33 million if there are irreconcilable differences. Jim Turk, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, is concerned that "private money [is] trumping academic principle."  The School counters that because it is a partnership, "the strict rules of universities do not apply."  Globe and Mail

Northern College launches new logo

Northern College unveiled its new logo last Wednesday, which will gradually replace the logo they've been using for over 15 years. The new visual identity (visible in white only on the College website) features a bold N sitting atop stylized hills of green, orange and blue, which are intended to represent Northern College's natural environment. (The designers clearly focused first and foremost on achieving graphic simplicity for consistent technical reproduction.) College president Fred Gibbons says "the earth tones say that Northern College is a school that's rooted in its communities."  Timmins Press  |  Northern College homepage 

CFS to launch national magazine for students

The Canadian Federation of Students has announced plans to publish a national magazine focused on issues in PSE, citing the absence or minimization of student voices from the mainstream press as their rationale. The magazine will highlight “trends and changes to educational policies, issues and events that have a national scope and other issues that are of importance to the college and university system.” Current student journalists are offended, and concerned about pro-CFS bias in the new publication, and among student journalists across the country. University Affairs' Leo Charbonneau cautions that magazines are expensive and advises creating an online magazine instead. (Based on CFS's goal to influence mainstream media, a solid media relations strategy would seem more effective than producing a new niche publication.)  CUP Newswire  |  Margin Notes

US colleges enrolment growth biggest since Vietnam War

According to newly released government figures, freshman enrolment in the US increased 6% in 2008 to a record 2.6 million; the highest increase since 1968 when young adults attended college to avoid the Vietnam War draft. Almost three-quarters of the enrolment increase were minorities, particularly Hispanics, whose share of enrolment rose 15% in 2008. White enrolments have dropped to 53% at community colleges and 62% at universities.  Boston Globe 

University of Puerto Rico students declare victory

Students and administrators at the University of Puerto Rico have reached a deal that will end a two-month-long strike that shut down 10 of the system's 11 campuses. With the assistance of a court-appointed mediator, student activists agreed to end the strike in exchange for a number of concessions, most notably the agreement by the university's Board of Regents to cancel a fee that would have doubled the cost to attend the university. Nearly 65,000 students have been out of classes since April 21. There is no assurance that tuition fees will not increase next year, and planned cuts to faculty salaries may set off more conflict later this year.  University World News  |  New York Times  |  The Chronicle of Higher Ed 

Students prefer smartphones to IM, e-mail

A national study of about 500 students conducted by a researcher at Ball State University has found that college student use of smartphones has nearly doubled this year. 99.8% of students own one or more cell phones, and 49% now have smartphones (compared to just 27% last February). 97% say that they use text messages (SMS) as their main form of communication, compared to just 30% for email and 25% for instant-messaging (IM). The researcher predicts that the iPad will achieve rapid saturation among college students, and will change the way they communicate yet again. Ball State U media release  |  The Chronicle of Higher Ed