Top Ten

August 10, 2010

New anti-doping measures target university football

Yesterday, the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES), Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), and the Canadian Football League (CFL) announced a series of anti-doping measures aimed at university football players. CCES will launch an independent task force on the use of performance enhancing substances in football, which will report on its findings and recommendations at a CIS-hosted Anti-Doping Symposium in November. CCES will boost the number of tests allocated to the CIS football testing program by reapportioning tests and focusing on the more at-risk periods during off-season. The CFL has agreed to provide funding for more extensive testing of top prospects from the ranks of CIS teams, and to participate in a public education program against doping. From out-of-season testing in June, CCES has confirmed 2 anti-doping rule violations -- one each at Acadia University and the University of Windsor -- and is managing one other potential violation. The organization is managing 9 cases relating to the testing of 62 University of Waterloo players, whose team has been suspended for one year. CCES News Release

Privacy commissioner takes legal action against MCAT fingerprinting

Canada's privacy commissioner has launched legal action against the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), accusing the association, which administers the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), of violating the Canadian law that governs electronic personal information. Students who take the MCAT are digitally photographed and fingerprinted to confirm their identity when they enter testing rooms. The association retains the electronic data for a decade, helping to ensure the person who shows up to attend med school was the same person who took the MCAT. It also means the fingerprints and photos of Canadian students who write the test in Canada -- even if they plan to attend med school in Canada -- could be later accessed by US authorities under the Patriot Act. The privacy commissioner is asking the Federal Court to order AAMC to develop an alternative to verifying the identity of individuals registering for the MCAT in Canada that does not involve collecting fingerprints. In 2008, the commissioner agreed with a complaint that the Law School Admission Test was violating Canadian students' right to privacy by requiring a digital thumbprint. Ottawa Citizen

uToronto full professors highest paid in Canada

In 2008-09, full professors at the University of Toronto, excluding medical/dental, earned an average $164,498, the highest average salary among full-time university teaching staff in Canada in that time period, according to a report released yesterday by Statistics Canada. Including medical/dental, the average salary among full professors at uToronto is $156,043. Full professors at the Universities of Calgary and British Columbia earned an average of $156,108 and $154,346, respectively, in 2008-09. Among the lowest-paid full professors are those at Cape Breton University ($100,170) and Trinity Western University ($83,703). Read the report

Demand for instructors' academic qualifications rises with number of degree-granting colleges

As more and more Canadian colleges offer degrees, the pressure is on for instructors to strengthen their resumés with academic qualifications in order to remain qualified as teachers, despite years or decades of experience. In Ontario, there are 6 colleges with applications before the provincial government for new or revised degree programs, including Sheridan College, where some instructors in the music theatre program have scurried to obtain their qualification just in time for the program's degree granting transformation next year. Like the population in general, college instructors need to have a higher level of post-secondary attainment, says ACCC president James Knight. "Yes, some people with great experience may, from time to time, be unhappy with this, but that's where we're heading as a society," he says, adding that colleges take pride in their faculty's achievements. Canadian Press

First-year enrolment up 20% at Bishop's U

Bishop's University reports that the entering class of 2010 is expected to be 880 students, an increase of 20% over last year's entering class. The university states its student recruitment and admissions offices have been successful at co-ordinating recruitment efforts, including more targeted recruitment visits, improved communications with prospective students, new marketing material, and significant emphasis on the campus tour program. Prospective student tours jumped by 64% over last year, according to university figures. Full-time student enrolment for this September is expected to approach 2,000, well ahead of budgetary projections set in 2009. At that time, Bishop's U's objective was to reach 2,200 full-time students -- the same student population as in 2004 -- by 2013-14. Bishop's U News Release

$9 million for nursing training for Aboriginal people in Manitoba

The Manitoba government announced Monday a new initiative that will see $9.47 million invested to provide nurse training for Aboriginal people as part of efforts to strengthen health-care delivery in northern and rural communities in the province. The Manitoba and federal governments are supporting 4 training projects that will deliver 18-month Licensed Practical Nursing training to Aboriginal participants in 6 rural and northern communities. The initiative, the province says, will provide professional workers to the high-demand health sector in areas of Manitoba where recruitment remains a challenge and where substantial numbers of Aboriginal people choose to live and work. Manitoba News Release

Kingston heritage committee approves Queen's arts centre proposal with conditions

On Monday, the City of Kingston's heritage committee approved Queen's University's $63-million plan to transform the Stella Buck building into the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, but university officials are upset with conditions attached to the project that threaten to increase costs. "We didn't have a good day," says the university's project manager after the committee set conditions that Queen's retain some elements of the building and incorporate some interior features into the final design. The main point of contention is which period in the facility's evolution is most significant and worthy of preservation. The university has identified the period when it was a brewery, while committee members say all the elements are important. The committee has sent the proposal for city council approval on August 24. Kingston Whig-Standard

Dawson College to rent classroom space from Montreal entertainment centre

Due to an influx of 300 students, Dawson College is renting additional space in the Pepsi Forum, an entertainment centre in downtown Montreal. The CÉGEP is creating 9 classrooms in the building, including 2 computer labs for students enrolled in social sciences. Dawson is one of several colleges accepting more students for the coming academic year following a recent $1-million investment from the Quebec government to deal with the space crunch at Montreal Island's crowded CÉGEPs. A Dawson spokeswoman says the top priority for the college was to find extra space that was not too far from the school. Montreal Gazette

"Ultrinsic" lets college students gamble on grades

Starting this month, a website called "Ultrinsic" will take bets on grades from students at 36 colleges across the US. A student will register for the site, upload his or her schedule, and give Ultrinsic access to official college records. The site then calculates odds based on the student's college history and any information it can gather on the difficulty of each course, the topic, and other factors. The student decides how much to bet up to a cap that begins at $25 and increases with use. Ultrinsic will pay top dollar for A grades, a little less for a B average or better, and so on. A student can bet on failing a class by buying what the site calls "grade insurance." Ultrinsic's CEO insists the site does not constitute online gambling, which is technically illegal in the US, because wagers with the site involve skill and students are betting on themselves. Huffington Post | Ultrinsic

uWaterloo provost named interim president of university

The University of Waterloo's board of governors has unanimously approved a recommendation to appoint vice-president academic and provost Feridun Hamdullahpur as the interim president of the institution. Hamdullahpur has agreed to serve as interim president effective October 1 -- when current uWaterloo president David Johnston takes over as Canada's governor general -- and until such time as the university's sixth president takes office. Hamdullahpur has been serving as uWaterloo's VP academic and provost since September 1, 2009, and is also a tenured faculty member in the department of mechanical and mechatronics engineering. uWaterloo News Release