Top Ten

July 22, 2010

Ontario urges universities to agree to wage freeze

The Ontario government is calling on provincial universities to keep collective bargaining pay hikes frozen at 0% for 2 years. With the province battling a $19.7-billion deficit, Ontario's university sector now worries the government will not provide it with enough to fund enrolment growth needs. In its 2010-11 budget, Ontario committed to opening 20,000 new spaces at post-secondary institutions. Campus labour groups are mulling their options, and campus leaders, too, are trying to sort out the implications of the government's request. Canadian Association of University Teachers executive director James Turk says province-wide bargaining would make it difficult for Ontario universities to attract and retain faculty. Globe and Mail | Toronto Star

CFS criticizes withdrawal of funding for youth, student surveys

The federal government recently announced its intention to cancel funding for the Youth in Transition Survey, National Longitudinal Survey on Children and Youth, and the National Apprenticeship Survey, a move the Canadian Federation of Students argues will make it all but impossible to make informed education policy. "The government's misguided assault on student-focused research will leave policy makers shooting in the dark," says CFS's national chairperson. Without the information provided by these surveys, the CFS states, policy makers will not be able to determine what is working or identify necessary changes to make students in Canada internationally competitive. CFS News Release

Canada global leader in degree attainment among young adults

According to a new report from the College Board, Canada is now the world leader in higher education among young adults, with 55.8% of 25- to 34-year-olds holding a post-secondary degree as of 2007, the year of the latest international ranking. The US has dropped from first to 12th place in the share of young adults with an associate degree or higher. When older adults are added to the equation, the Russian Federation leads with 54% of 25- to 64-year-olds with a post-secondary degree in 2007, followed by Canada with 48.3%. The US places sixth with 40.3%. Washington Post | Read the report

New location for uWaterloo Stratford site

Plans to build the University of Waterloo's Stratford campus on a parcel of land in the northeast corner of the St. Patrick Street parking lot have changed. At a meeting last week, Stratford city council declared another piece of land, known as Block 2, surplus to sell to uWaterloo for $1. Block 2 is west of the land originally proposed for the development, overlapping about 18 metres. The new location will see uWaterloo constructing on land boarded by St. Patrick and Cooper streets. City officials say the new location is better for servicing, building orientation, future expansion, and site planning. Stratford Gazette

Ryerson considers acquiring crumbling hotel

Ryerson University might be willing to purchase the deteriorating Empress Hotel from its current owners, who are now battling with the City of Toronto over whether they can demolish the 122-year-old landmark. Ryerson's director of public affairs says "we are always interested in exploring opportunities to buy land in our precinct," and "if the price were right, we might well be interested in it." Such a purchase would need the approval of the university's board of directors, and the current owners would have to be interested in selling. Toronto Sun

Rise in applications drives entry requirements up slightly at UVic

It's a bit tougher this year for prospective first-year students to qualify for admission to the University of Victoria, reports a local radio station. Applications are up over last year, which means the cut-off will be higher, perhaps requiring a 75% average for students coming directly out of high school, up from the low 70s last year. Undergraduate applications to the university are up about 2.5%, while graduate applications have risen by 7%. UVic's law school has seen a whopping 30% increase in applications. CFAX 1070

MUN grad studies school wins award for admissions practices

The Canadian Association for Graduate Studies and the Educational Testing Service has honoured Memorial University's School of Graduate Studies for its contribution in graduation admissions practices. The school won the inaugural CAGS/ETS Award for Excellence and Innovation in Graduate Admission for its submission “Lean, Green and Mean: Memorial University’s Cost-Effective and Environmentally Responsible Approach to Graduate Student Recruitment.” By keeping the browsing, potential student applicant in mind, the grad studies school was able to determine what it takes to draw a roaming candidate into the school's microsite and what it takes to keep them there. The school's dean says a collaborative and focused approach to recruiting grad students was the driving force behind the recognition. MUN News

How grantmakers can promote college success

In a new brief, Grantmakers for Education, a US-based membership organization for philanthropies that support improved education outcomes for students from early childhood through PSE, states that education philanthropy must now shift its sights from college access to success by providing support to ensure post-secondary students graduate. The brief cites several barriers that need addressing in order to drive a dramatic increase in PSE success. These include inadequate academic preparation at the K-12 level, a general lack of emphasis on completion, and arcane financial aid policies and procedures. Areas of action on the part of grantmakers, as outlined in the brief, include supporting efforts to align K-12 coursework will skills and subject knowledge needed for PSE success, investing in financial education models that reach students early, and supporting the expansion of new models for student services. Read the brief

"Study like a scholar, scholar"

Brigham Young University's Harold B. Lee Library recently produced a promotion video parodying the popular "Smell like a man, man" Old Spice commercial. (The Globe and Mail's Simon Houpt wrote that Old Spice's 2-day campaign of personalized short videos "felt like a watershed moment in the history of social media"). The library's student-driven Multimedia Production Unit shot the video in one day in June, and posted the final product online on July 15. Since then, the video has garnered over 1.4 million views on YouTube. The "man your grades could be like" tells scholars they could have grades like his by studying like him -- at the library. "Did you know that 8 out of 5 dentists say that studying in the library is 6 bajillion times more effective than studying in your shower?" The "New Spice" blog features a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the video, production stills, and links to media coverage. Brigham Young U News Release | New Spice (promo video blog) | Globe and Mail

Facebook reaches half-billion users

On Wednesday, Facebook reported that it now has over 500 million users worldwide. In celebration of the milestone, the social networking site has created an application called "Facebook Stories" to document the impact Facebook has had on peoples' lives. According to, the site has over 15.7 million users in Canada, nearly half of the country's population. The latest figures show that the top 3 nations for Facebook users are the US, the UK, and Indonesia. CBC | Facebook blog