Top Ten

November 4, 2010

uWaterloo faculty association blames lack of policy for Balsillie School affair

The University of Waterloo's faculty association says a lack of good policy at the institution was part of the problem with the controversial dismissal of Ramesh Thakur, the former director of the Balsillie School of International Affairs. The association says there were no policies to show how to evaluate and review Thakur, who was terminated in May. A memo states the faculty association "has for some time been concerned about the proliferation of schools, institutes, centres and so on that are not academic units but all of which have 'directors'" that are not covered by university policies. A Canadian Association of University Teachers investigation concluded that Thakur was unjustly fired. Waterloo Region Record

Quebec university infrastructure increasingly financed by operating budgets, says FQPPU

The Fédération québécoise des professeures et professeurs d'université (FQPPU) reports that in Quebec universities, funding to maintain buildings and grounds and for new acquisitions increasingly comes out of funds meant to support teaching and research. Between 1997 and 2007, FQPPU states, the percentage of real property financing from operating funds rose from 26% to 45%. The organization says it is clear that the funding allocated by the province for university space lags far behind inflation and the growth in student enrolments. FQPPU recommends the province mandate an Estates General to draw up a master plan for Quebec university development, safeguard university autonomy over their own operating budgets, and re-examine the competitive practices among university establishments. FQPPU News Release

uWinnipeg introduces Department of Indigenous Studies

The University of Winnipeg announced Tuesday its senate has voted to create a Department of Indigenous Studies, effective immediately. Since 2003, the institution has offered an Aboriginal Governance program, which has now grown to warrant departmental status. The department will offer a Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous Studies and a Master of Arts in Indigenous Governance. The department will also provide support to the new Master's in Development Practice - Indigenous Development when it starts classes in September 2011. uWinnipeg News Release

Algonquin College opens recording studio classroom

Students in Algonquin College's Music Industry Arts program now have a facility to learn using modern-digital and vintage-analog equipment to ensure they graduate well-prepared to operate various studios around the world. The new recording studio classroom comprises a large 2-storey recording floor, 2 isolation booths, a large control room with seats for 15 students, and a separate machine room. Algonquin College News Release

New Q Centre launched at uCalgary

New to the University of Calgary's MacEwan Student Centre is Q, the first space dedicated to serving the university's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and queer community. Q's program co-ordindator says the centre is designed as a welcoming place for students to receive information or hang out, and will be run by a group of student volunteers trained to offer peer support. Q was created by uCalgary's student union after several student groups lobbied for a place to hang out and support one another. UToday | Calgary Herald

15 university presidents take part in mission to India

On Monday, the largest delegation of Canadian university presidents ever to travel abroad will begin a 7-day mission to India. The mission is organized by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and includes 15 university presidents from across the country. Over the course of 7 days, the presidents will participate in a series of targeted meetings with Indian educators, government officials, and business leaders. During the mission, the university presidents will foster the development of innovative research and co-operation agreements with Indian institutions, raise the profile of Canada's PSE "brand" in India, better understand the implications of India's new Foreign Education Providers Bill, and attract more Indian students to Canada. AUCC News Release

York U signs MOU with Beihang University

Last Friday, York University signed a memorandum of understanding with China's Beihang University. The MOU allows for the exchange of students and faculty across disciplines and offers collaborative opportunities for better research, teaching, and faculty development. York U's science and engineering dean notes that in the next decade, there will be a significant increase in opportunities for York U students to take part in experiential education activity, both domestically and internationally, as a component of their degree program. Y-File

Choice of major, veteran status affect students' college experiences, NSSE finds

According to this year's National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), students' choices of major influence the way they learn and interact with professors. The report explores what it calls educationally purposeful activities and high-impact practices, observing that they vary significantly by area of study. For example, business-administration students do more class presentations and group projects but are less likely to discuss career plans with professors than students in biology, English, and psychology. The survey also examines the experiences of veterans, who perceive lower levels of campus support than non-veterans, and interact less often with faculty members. NSSE News Release | The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access) | Read the report

University tuition in UK could triple

In the UK government's response to the Browne Review of higher education fees and finance, Britain's universities and science minister announced Wednesday that from 2012, universities will be able to charge tuition fees of up to £9,000, nearly triple the rate at some institutions. However, the government is also imposing a lower "threshold" fee level of £6,000, above which universities would face greater scrutiny to show they are making efforts to recruit disadvantaged students who might not be able to afford the tuition increase. Last month, the UK government announced that funding for higher education would be cut by 40% over 4 years. Times Higher Education | The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

Internet users spending more time on social media than on e-mail

A new survey of Internet users around the world found in September 2010 that on average, users spent 4.6 hours on social networking sites, compared to 4.4 hours on e-mail, the most common Internet activity. Nearly three-quarters of respondents checked their e-mail every day, compared to less than half who headed to social networks with the same frequency. Another report observes that growth in social profile maintenance worldwide has continued, with over 61% of frequent Internet users globally having a profile on a social networking site. eMarketer