Top Ten

October 14, 2010

Judge sides with students in uCalgary Facebook case

An Alberta Court of Queen's Bench judge has ruled that the University of Calgary infringed upon the charter rights of identical twin brothers when it sanctioned them for non-academic misconduct for criticizing their professor on a Facebook page over 2 years ago. Keith and Steven Pridgen were placed on probation in 2008 for comments made starting in November 2007 on a Facebook page titled "I no longer fear Hell, I took a course with Aruna Mitra." The judge rejected uCalgary's argument that defamatory statements made by a student about a faculty member must necessarily constitute non-academic misconduct. Calgary Herald

Concordia suspends professor over "unfounded allegations"

Concordia University has suspended a philosophy professor from his teaching position due to "unfounded allegations" concerning the integrity and truthfulness of university administration, as well as for his repeated references to engineering professor Valery Fabrikant, who fatally shot 4 faculty members in August 1992. The Montreal Gazette reports that Vesselin Petkov has been running a vigorous e-mail campaign against Concordia, describing himself as the victim of "academic mobbing," or bullying, by colleagues. The university states Petkov's behaviour "is inappropriate and is perceived as threatening by some members of the Concordia community." The professor has filed a grievance against the suspension. Montreal Gazette

Enrolment rises at Booth

Recently designated as a university college, Winnipeg's Booth University College has had 73 new students enter the institution this fall, believed to be a record at the school. This has increased the student body size by 26%, from 101 to 127 campus-based students. In addition to these students, 350 distance education students are currently studying at Booth through on-campus intensives and distance ed courses. 30% of campus students are enrolled in at least one distance ed course. Additionally, students in 32 different nations are studying online in Booth courses. Dean's Blog

UNBC, Harvard tie for top AASHE award for sustainability projects

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) has recognized the University of Northern British Columbia's bioenergy project with the "Best Campus Case Study" award in AASHE's 2010 Campus and Student Sustainability Awards. UNBC shares the top award with Harvard University. Branded as "Canada's Green University," UNBC has launched a contest inviting current and prospective students to share on the university's Facebook page how they live the green life. The 10 entries that receive the most "likes" by the November 5 deadline will receive a green gift bundle from UNBC's bookstore, and the top prize is $1,000. AASHE News Release | UNBC News Release | Gold For Green Facebook contest

NWCC names interim president

Northwest Community College's board of governors has appointed Cathay Sousa, the institution's vice-president of finance and administration, to the position of interim president of NWCC. Sousa will remain in the interim role until a permanent candidate is selected. Sousa succeeds Stephanie Forsyth, who is now president and CEO of Red River College. It is hoped a new NWCC president will be chosen by January. NWCC News Release

Students, instructors differ widely over language abilities, study finds

According to a new study from the University of Victoria, PSE students with English as an additional language and their instructors may agree on what's important when it comes to language skills for an academic life, but they differ dramatically when it comes to assessing those skills. For example, only 12% of undergraduates in the study indicated they need help developing their ability to organize writing in order to express major and supporting ideas, while 64% of instructors reported that their students need help. The study's author found that students and instructors also differ significantly over which skills need development. UVic Media Tips

Canadian nominees announced in annual vegan-friendly campus contest

Peta2 has revealed the 16 Canadian universities competing for the title of the country's most vegan-friendly campus in the organization's annual contest. Among the contenders this year is McMaster University, which won the contest last year. The other institutions vying for this year's title are Mount Allison, Concordia, McGill, Queen's, Trent, York U, Ryerson, uToronto, UoGuelph, uWaterloo, Brock, UWO, SFU, UBC, and UVic. Voting for the first round ends October 22, and the winners will be announced November 19. Peta2 2010 Most Vegan-Friendly College Contest

UWO information and media studies faculty launches new website

The University of Western Ontario's Faculty of Information and Media Studies (FIMS) has redesigned its website to help inform students, faculty, staff, and alumni and recruit new students. The updated site features variations of the FIMS logo, which are designed specifically to represent each academic program. On the left-hand site of the site's main page, visitors will find colourful boxes linking to the faculty's undergraduate and graduate programs. The website features new sections for prospective students and alumni, and a newly-designed directory and course information section. Western News | FIMS website

Education shares drop as Apollo Group reports enrolment declines

US for-profit education stocks tumbled Thursday after Apollo Group Inc., parent company of the University of Phoenix, withdrew its 2011 outlook because of declining enrolment and increased regulatory pressure on the for-profit education industry. The company's new student enrolments fell 10% between June and August, and enrolment in the first quarter of the 2011 fiscal year may drop more than 40% over the same time last year. The company says it will be 2012 before it sees any growth in new student numbers. Apollo Group News Release | Reuters | Bloomberg BusinessWeek | Forbes

Duke reacts to graduate's sexual exploit "thesis"

A recent Duke University graduate's PowerPoint presentation on her sexual liaisons with 13 student-athletes -- apparently created as a private joke -- has gone viral, leaving Duke students to find their university again in the middle of sex-related scandal, and renewing concern about the power of the Internet to wreak havoc and tarnish images. "It makes me ashamed that the Duke name is attached to what she's done," one student tells the New York Times. In 2006, a woman falsely accused 3 players on Duke's men's lacrosse team of raping her at a party where she was to perform as a stripper; the charges against the players were dropped a year later. 7 of the 13 athletes the graduate wrote about were -- or still are -- on the lacrosse team. A Duke official wonders if the "thesis" would have attracted as much attention if the individuals identified were not athletes. New York Times