Top Ten

July 19, 2010

UBC application to dismiss human rights complaint rejected

The BC Human Rights Tribunal has denied the University of British Columbia's application to dismiss a complaint of discrimination on the basis of mental disability against the university. A chartered accountant employed by UBC claims he became ill after a sharp rise in work load and job stress. After seeking medical help, the complainant states, he went on sick leave and was diagnosed with major depression. His employment was terminated in February 2009, a decision that was later reversed. The complainant alleges UBC discriminated against him, in part, by failing to compensate him for overtime, initially terminating his employment during the sick leave, and failing to address his developing illness. The accountant remains off work on long-term disability. UBC disputes the complainant's allegations. Georgia Straight

NB pledges $10 million for PSE in Miramichi

The New Brunswick government announced Friday a $9-million investment in a new multi-purpose wing at New Brunswick Community College's Miramichi campus that will accommodate various trades programs. The province is also committing $1 million over 4 years through an agreement with St. Thomas University to cover ongoing expenses as the institution strengthens its presence in Miramichi. STU will target its programming to adult and Aboriginal learners, as well as to local students who can benefit from the first-year Study at Home program. NB News Release | STU News Release

uCalgary discloses new president's salary

Promising more transparency under the leadership of Elizabeth Cannon, the University of Calgary's board of governors has posted the new president's contract online. On July 1, Cannon succeeded Harvey Weingarten, whose contract -- including a $4.75-million pension that was not finalized for 7 years -- was subject to a scathing reprimand from the former Alberta auditor general. Cannon's contract was signed March 23 and later posted on uCalgary's wesbite, in a sign the institution is taking measures to avoid the fiasco surrounding the management of Weingartern's financials. According to her contract, Cannon will receive a base salary of $430,000 this year, and is eligible for up to $86,000 in performance bonuses. Calgary Herald | Read the contract

College infrastructure fund among ACCC's recommendations for digital economy strategy

In its submission to the Digital Economy Consultation, the Association of Canadian Community Colleges recommends the federal government create a college infrastructure and equipment fund adequate to secure the supply of advanced skills needed to support the digital economy. ACCC also recommends that Ottawa increase research and development funding by 5%, enhance copyright legislation to facilitate the reproduction of materials for colleges, and allot resources to ensure that digital learning is accessible to disadvantaged groups. Inside ACCC | Read the submission

UVic to remove on-campus army huts for athletics facility

The University of Victoria is scrapping 2 army huts left over from World War II to clear the way for a new athletics facility. One hut was taken down yesterday, while another is slated for removal in the fall. The huts were part of the Gordon Head Military Camp, which housed an armoury, living quarters, and several other buildings when it opened in 1940. Another 9 huts remain at UVic's Gordon Head campus, and are mostly used for storage. A UVic spokeswoman says these huts will likely be demolished once they are no longer needed. Victoria Times-Colonist

Ottawa invests in bridge training programs at Manitoba PSE institutions

On Friday, the federal government announced it will provide Manitoba's advanced education department with over $1.2 million for its project titled Partnerships for Labour Market-Driven Bridge Programs in Manitoba's Post-Secondary Institutions. Under the program, several provincial departments and agencies work with college and universities to pilot bridge-to-work programs to help internationally trained newcomers gain access to the education, training, and work experience they need to prepare for licensing exams and to find work related to their previous education and training. HRSDC News Release

Why young alumni might not give

A new survey of 700 alumni in the US finds that younger alumni are more likely than older generations to cite a number of barriers to donating to their alma maters. Among the top reasons young alumni said they were disinclined to donate were perceptions that the institution does not need the money and that it hadn't done enough to connect with them outside of asking for money. 80% of young alumni surveyed felt they have paid enough already in tuition to consider giving, or giving more, to their alma maters. To better engage young alumni, experts suggest reaching out to them through social media or by adjusting fundraising messages. On the matter of cost, some colleges are trying to show that the tuition students paid was much less than the actual cost of an education. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

How to approach international fundraising

At CASE's Summit for Advancement Leaders, which wraps up today, one session focused on international fundraising, where the general theme was that such activity needs to be organized, and cannot be left to the individual connections of various campus divisions. Panellists said it was important for those with international fundraising experience to be involved in working with prospective donors that do not fit neatly in an international-domestic dichotomy, such as foreign companies with major American operations. Good guidance is needed on ethics issues, with philanthropic traditions varying widely from nation to nation. For example, donors may not receive the same tax deductions associated with big gifts in the US and may expect something tangible in return. Inside Higher Ed

BP offers contracts to Gulf researchers for legal defence

The Press-Register reports that BP tried to hire the entire marine sciences department at the University of South Alabama to help with its defence against spill litigation. The university turned down the contract, as it would have barred the scientists from publishing their research, sharing it with other scientists, or speaking about data they collect for at least the next 3 years. Scientists from other institutions around the Gulf Coast -- Louisiana State University, University of Southern Mississippi, and Texas A&M -- have reportedly accepted contracts, according to academic officials. Some scientists told the paper that colleagues who signed on with BP have since been informed by US officials that they will lose government funding for ongoing research efforts not related to the spill. Press-Register

Twitter users in US highly active online, survey finds

New consumer insights data reveals that American adults who use Twitter are more active online than the average Internet user. The survey found that Twitter users are 506% more likely than other Internet users to write a blog, 451% more likely to upload video, and 314% more likely to post a comment or review. The survey also shows Twitter users to be more socially and politically active -- 141% more likely to be an active member of an activist group, and 103% more likely to have attended a protest or rally in the past year. Twitter users are also 142% more likely to be involved in environmental groups or causes. BizReport