Top Ten

August 4, 2010

uToronto faculty association to file grievance over ArtSci academic plan

With regard to the University of Toronto arts and science faculty's academic plan, the university's faculty association (UTFA) believes "the consultation part of the process" should have occurred well before any changes were announced. By way of protest, lawyers at UTFA are drafting an association grievance, which is expected to be filed in late August or early September. UTFA will ask that the approval process for the academic plan be suspended until the grievance is settled. The grievance's goals are to substantially improve and widen consultation on the academic plan, to restore collegial relations and trust between UTFA members and administration, and to negotiate a protocol for program changes in the future that will better protect uToronto's reputation, and, by extension, the scholarly reputation of association members. UTFA Information Report

UVic served with temporary injunction on rabbit cull

The BC Supreme Court has served the University of Victoria with a temporary injunction stopping the institution from trapping or culling feral rabbits on campus as part of the university's feral rabbit management plan. The Victoria Times-Colonist reports that UVic staff and legal advisers met Tuesday to consider options after a rabbit activist handed over background documents used to obtain a temporary injunction last Friday. In a statement, UVic says it will continue to work with community organizations trying to get permits to relocate rabbits from campus. Victoria Times-Colonist | Canadian Press

UBC staff disciplined for accessing porn on campus computers

13 unionized University of British Columbia employees were recently disciplined for receiving, viewing, and distributing sexually explicit material on university computers. A UBC spokesman says university officials conducted an investigation and the offending employees, who are not faculty or academic members, were disciplined promptly. The penalties range from disciplinary letters to 10-day suspensions without pay. None of the staff members were fired and all are back at work. Vancouver Sun | CBC

Ottawa invests $11 million to attract top research talent to southern Ontario

The federal government announced last week an $11-million investment in 2 programs administered by MITACS Inc., a national research network connecting Canadian businesses and organizations with the next generation of skilled workers. With this investment, MITACS' Elevate program will support 160 internships and individual training programs for PhD graduates and post-doctoral fellows in southern Ontario. This program will help skilled workers gain applied business and scientific management knowledge in the private sector. The Globalink internship program will bring 50 of the top third-year undergraduate students from Indian Institutes of Technology to the region for research internships, professional skills training, and exposure to southern Ontario's top industrial innovators. FedDev Ontario News Release

Enrolment boom expected at VIU

Vancouver Island University is anticipating a 14% increase in enrolment across all campuses this fall, which is expected to create long waiting lists for the most popular courses. The student surge comes at a time when VIU has had to trim $4.7 million to balance its budget, cutting costs though staff and course section reductions. While some students are worried about completing their programs due to waiting lists, VIU is taking measures to limit the impact rising enrolment will have. A university spokeswoman says VIU is working on a planning process that examines how best to maximize capacity in programs. Nanaimo Daily News

More uCalgary med students choosing family medicine

The University of Calgary's medical school is starting to see more students specialize in family medicine. In 2007, just over 18% of the total graduating medical class were from the family medicine department, well below the national average of 33%. Today, 24% of medical graduates are set to become family physicians. Officials hope that by 2013, 50% of all students graduating will choose family medicine. About 40 of uCalgary's 51 family medicine graduates who have completed or are in the process of finishing their residences plan to practice in the province, where hundreds of family doctors are needed in both urban and rural areas. Calgary Herald

New Lakehead president's plan for university

In an interview with, Brian Stevenson, the new president and vice-chancellor of Lakehead University, says there is great potential at Lakehead to internationalize the institution by bringing more foreign students to campus, sending students abroad, and developing partnerships with other nations. Stevenson plans to promote the Orillia campus more in order to connect with the Toronto region and southern Ontario. He says Lakehead needs to continue to increase the number of Aboriginal students at the university by reaching out more and creating more scholarships and programs.

Canada needs to improve graduate education opportunities, says next Governor General

On the subject of higher education, outgoing University of Waterloo president and Governor General-designate David Johnston says where Canada is still lacking is education at the master's and PhD levels. Due to a lack of opportunity, too many Canadian students have to go to the US for master's and doctoral degrees. Johnston says the shortage of post-graduate opportunities is the single biggest reason this country does not have as a good a research capacity in private business. Canada suffers from a chronic shortage of skilled, highly educated, innovative workers. "We just have to do better," Johnston says, noting the answer is not one master strategy, but multiple small solutions, such as MITACS Inc.'s Globalink program. He supports the Ontario government's plan to raise the province's PSE attainment rate from 62% to 70%. If Canada can meet its goal, Johnston says, "that would rank amongst the highest in the world." Waterloo Region Record

Increased enrolment good for students and society, says uOttawa president

In response to a recent Ottawa Citizen editorial on university overcrowding in Ontario, University of Ottawa president Allan Rock states that increased enrolment is good news, not bad. The editorial suggests the BA is of little value, but studies in the arts and humanities are known to develop the capacity for critical thinking, a decided advantage in any field, writes Rock. There is also the huge economic advantage higher education confers upon graduates, Rock states, pointing to a 2009 report on the strong market value of a degree. PSE participation holds advantages for Ontario and Canada, he says, referring to a projection that 70% of future jobs in Ontario will require PSE. The best remedy for the crowded campus, Rock states, is to build the space needed. Accommodating increased numbers of students will remain a challenge in Ontario, and more funding will be needed to help meet it, "but education is never a waste of time or money." Ottawa Citizen

McMaster big winner in 2010 CAUBO Quality and Productivity Awards

McMaster University is the national winner in the 2010 Canadian Association of University Business Officers (CAUBO) Quality and Productivity Awards, taking the top prize for its Certificate in Advanced Leadership & Management. McMaster is also the Ontario regional winner for its project aimed at increasing recyclability of waste products on campus. The university earned an honourable mention for adding a "pay now" option to student accounts. Rounding out second and third place are the University of Saskatchewan (for its economic scenario analysis) and McGill University (for the restructuring of its HR department). Other regional winners include Simon Fraser University, École Polytechnique de Montréal, and Saint Mary's University. The University of Alberta and York University each received an honourable mention. List of 2010 CAUBO Quality and Productivity Awards