Top Ten

July 29, 2010

Canadian schools urged to provide water-safety training to foreign students

The Lifesaving Society of BC says institutions involved with international students need to ensure water-safety education is part of their orientation. The call comes after a 23-year-old student from Korea on a summer study tour at Okanagan College nearly drowned last Friday. Earlier this month, a 17-year-old Chinese student going to school in North Vancouver drowned, while an 18-year-old Acadia University student from Kenya drowned in May. A spokesperson for Okanagan College says new water safety guidelines for international students will be introduced as a result of the accident. CBC | The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

Proposed closure of uToronto's Centre for Comparative Literature "academic vandalism"

The proposed closure of the University of Toronto's Centre for Comparative Literature has sparked an international campaign in protest, with scholars from all over Canada, the US, and Europe writing letters pleading with uToronto to reconsider folding the centre into a proposed new School of Languages and Literature. The vice-president of the American Comparative Literature Association writes that "as the premiere institution in Canada, and as the leader among Commonwealth universities, Toronto cannot afford to send the message that the Centre for Comparative Literature is slated for disestablishment." A dean at the University of Central Lancashire writes that the centre is "well regarded" in Britain and calls the decision to close it "academic vandalism." Maclean's OnCampus

Kwantlen student union may sue over new credit card policy

Kwantlen Polytechnic University's student union is considering legal action against the institution after Kwantlen announced it would no longer accept credit cards for tuition payments from domestic students. Some students say the payment restriction puts them in a bind, and, in some cases, unable to continue their studies at Kwantlen. The student union's director of academic affairs is planning to meet with Kwantlen administration to get the problem sorted out. He has taken the issue to a lawyer, who told him the new payment rules violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the BC Human Rights Code because international students will still be allowed to pay their tuition by credit card. The student union executive says he would rather negotiate than litigate, but would take the matter to court if the issue is not resolved. Surrey Leader

UoGuelph research park prepares for expansion

Earthmovers have moved onto a large tract of land owned by the University of Guelph, grading it in preparation for the development of a new section of UoGuelph's research park. The university's director of real estate says the south section of the park is full and there is interest from several enterprises to lease sections of the new lands. Proposed tenants are in line with the agribusiness, bio-tech, and manufacturing theme that has been established at the research park. Guelph Mercury

uWindsor to open advancement office in Toronto

A law firm with offices in both Windsor and Toronto has donated space at the Toronto location to the University of Windsor to set up an advancement office. A partner at the law firm, also a member of uWindsor's board of governors, co-ordinated the donation of the space. With several uWindsor law alumni at the firm, "we thought this would be an excellent way to give back to the University of Windsor community," the board member says. The project also drew a $180,000 contribution over 3 years from the alumni association to support alumni engagement in Toronto and in other key cities and regions across Canada. The association's president says the Toronto office will enhance efforts in student recruitment and fundraising. uWindsor Daily News | Windsor Star

uMoncton to study feasibility of football program

Université de Moncton president Yvon Fontaine has stuck a committee that will complete a feasibility study into the institution starting a football program. Major issues the committee will analyze include the financial resources required to operate a potential football team and the recruitment of prospective players. The committee expects to decide sometime this fall or by the end of the year whether it will proceed with starting a football program. uMoncton's executive director of university relations says the addition of the team would raise the university's profile, and "would be something for the alumni to be proud of and support." Times & Transcript

Colleges not doing enough to curb student drinking, US study finds

American colleges are not doing enough to limit student access to alcohol, according to a new study from the University of Minnesota. The study's author says a survey of 351 college administrators revealed there was "very little action" on recommendations from a 2002 report from the US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism's college drinking task force. According to the survey, over 22% of college administrators were unaware of the recommendations. Administrators need to do more work with communities to develop policies to reduce excess drinking among students, such as monitoring illegal sales of alcohol, according to the study's author. USA Today

Barnes & Noble to offer free e-textbook application

In August, bookseller Barnes & Noble will launch NOOKstudy, a free software application dubbed the "ultimate study tool," allowing students to manage all of their digital content -- e-textbooks, class materials, and notes -- on whatever computing device they prefer to use. The app also performs downloads of textbooks and academic and trade titles offered by Barnes & Noble's website. NOOKstudy lets students view multiple books and sources at once, offers access to complementary content such as toolsets and reference materials, and allows users to highlight and take notes that are searchable and customizable. Barnes & Noble News Release | Campus Technology | NOOKstudy

Trend in US biz schools incorporating social media into curriculum

A number of American business schools are adding courses on social media to their MBA curricula, heeding the corporate call for social-network-savvy employees. With business schools having seen a drop in graduate placement rates in recent years, social media courses are one way of preparing students for careers in a promising field, says a professor at Boston College's management school, where "Social Media & Web 2.0 for Managers" will be offered this fall. One expert tells BusinessWeek that companies want to hire MBA graduates with social media skills because tapping into online networks can be an effective way to learn brand sentiment, identify new opportunities, and improve customer service. BusinessWeek

New Facebook application allows users to pose questions to community

On Wednesday, Facebook introduced a beta product that lets users pose questions to the social network's community. With this new application, called "Facebook Questions," users can get a broader set of answers and learn valuable information from people knowledgeable on a range of topics, says Facebook's blog. Users can ask a question to the community by clicking the "Ask Question" button at the top of the homepage. Questions can be tagged with a specific topic in order to show them to the most relevant people. All questions and answers posted using the application are public and visible to everyone on the Internet, the blog states. Users wanting to ask a question to friends or specific members of their network can still pose it as a status update. Facebook blog