Top Ten

August 17, 2010

NOSM staff go on strike

Over 150 clerical, administrative, and technical staff at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine walked off the job Monday after contract talks with NOSM broke down over the weekend. OPSEU reports that picket lines have gone up at the school's main campuses at Lakehead and Laurentian Universities. The union states that outstanding issues include hours of work, overtime, sick leaves, family leaves, and wages. NOSM says measures have been taken to ensure that all of its scheduled education programs will continue. NOSM News Release | OPSEU News Release

Postscript:  Oct 5, 2010
Talks held last week between the Northern Ontario School of Medicine and the institution's OPSEU Staff Unit have resulted in a tentative settlement of a first collective agreement between both parties. The deal is subject to ratification by union members, and approval by NOSM's board of directors. The approximately 150 members of the OPSEU Staff Unit went on strike in mid-August, with outstanding issues including hours of work, overtime, sick leaves, family leaves, and wages. NOSM News Release

Postscript: Oct 15, 2010
Striking administrative, clerical, and technical workers at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine have voted 76.8% against a tentative contract deal reached earlier this month. Turnout for the vote was 94% at NOSM campuses at Laurentian and Lakehead Universities. Pickets resumed Wednesday at those campuses. The workers have been on strike since August 16. OPSEU News Release | NOSM News Release

Schulich donation names Nipissing/Canadore Learning Library after Mike Harris

On Monday, Nipissing University and Canadore College celebrated a $1.5-million donation from philanthropist Seymour Schulich, whose gift to the Learning Library capital campaign will see the facility named the Harris Learning Library after former Ontario premier Mike Harris. Rumours that the Learning Library would be named after Harris resulted in divided opinion among students and the community. In June, teacher unions threatened to boycott student teachers from Nipissing over the university awarding Harris an honorary degree. Nipissing/Canadore News Release | National Post

AUCC outlines priorities for 2011 federal budget

In its pre-budget brief, AUCC makes several recommendations in the areas of innovation, university experience, and university access. The organization recommends the federal government continue investments in university research through tri-council's core budgets and programs; continue to invest in new masters and PhD scholarships (domestic and international); invest in an international recruitment strategy that puts Canada on par with other countries; advance Canada's India strategy and higher education co-operation with other nations; and work with the university sector, Aboriginal groups, and other stakeholders to invest in programs and services that will help more Aboriginal students graduate from university. Read the pre-budget submission

University district planned for UFV Abbotsford campus

The University of the Fraser Valley and the City of Abbotsford have started collaborating on developing a U-District surrounding the Abbotsford campus. UFV VP External Robert Buchan says adding student residences, technology-based business, recreation facilities, services, and retail outlets in the surrounding area would add to the university's ambience and ability to recruit and retain students and faculty. UFV would like to increase the number of student beds available so the campus could transform from a commuter school into a destination school. If UFV acquired some parcels of land available to the south and another to the east across McKenzie Road, the lands could be used as athletic fields, which the campus doesn't have, or for agricultural programs. Abbotsford News

Trend in Canadian universities authenticating students' learning outside classroom

In recent years, a number of universities across Canada have adopted co-curricular transcripts, which give official sanction to a student's involvement in campus activities or volunteer work (recent adoptees include the University of Windsor and Acadia University). Université Laval and the Université de Sherbrooke recently developed online self-assessment tools students can use to understand their own knowledge, values, and strengths. Like the co-curricular records, these Web-based tools rely on a certain amount of reflection by students about their activities, which is seen as fostering learning. University officials across Canada say that such documentation is a response to changes in the labour market, and to changes in the behaviour and expectations of the students themselves. University Affairs

Algonquin College's family health team bid gets support from city councillors

A pair of Ottawa city councillors will ask the municipality to write to the Ontario government requesting it approve Algonquin College's application to become home to one of the province's newest Family Health Teams. With a growing student population at the college and large number of seniors in the wards they represent, the councillors say, Algonquin offers an ideal location for a family health clinic. College president Robert Gillett says with their support, the 2 councillors "recognize the need for increased and improved healthcare for students, seniors, and the entire Centrepointe community." Algonquin College News Release | Ottawa Citizen

3/4 of PSE students say part-time work will affect grades

In a new poll, 57% of Canadian PSE students say they plan to work during the academic year in order to help pay the bills. 77% of students believe working part-time during school will impact their grades, while 60% expect to graduate with debt and 74% do not use a budget. Two-thirds of students surveyed feel that worrying about money will have an impact on their grades. Respondents who say they will work during school plan to rely on their summer savings (49%), scholarships and bursaries (40%), and their parents (39%) to support themselves. RBC News Release

STU launches new website

We've recently noticed that St. Thomas University has redesigned its website, whose homepage is dominated by large, rotating graphic banner highlighting recent institutional news. On the Future Students page, accessible through the tabs near the top of the homepage, visitors can read about the newest members of STU's recruitment team, whose profiles touch on their decisions to attend and experience at the university (all of the new recruiters are from the Class of 2010). The Future Students page includes links to student- and university-produced videos in which members of the STU community share their experiences and stories. STU website

What the Class of 2014 knows

Yesterday Wisconsin's Beloit College released its annual Mindset List for this fall's crop of first-year students -- the Class of 2014. These students were generally born in 1992, and, according to the list, they "have emerged as a post-email generation for whom the digital world is routine and technology is just too slow." For these students, DNA fingerprinting and maps of the human genome have always existed, Nirvana is on the classic oldies station, and, one way or another, "It's the economy, stupid" and always has been. Beloit College Mindset List

US News changes methodology for annual college rankings

Yesterday US News & World Report released its Best Colleges 2011 rankings. Harvard University remains on top, breaking free from last year's tie with Princeton University, which fell to second. US News tweaked its methodology this year, lowering the weight for its much-criticized "academic reputation" measure from 25% to 22.5% (for national universities and liberal-arts colleges only). Ratings by surveyed high-school counsellors accounted for a third of this measure, while ratings by college administrators made up the remainder. US News gave the extra 2.5 percentage points to the "graduation rate performance" measure. The magazine might add "yield" back into the rankings, a measure removed in 2003 amid criticisms the rankings had driven institutions to become obsessed with yield. US News & World Report | Inside Higher Ed | The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)