Top Ten

November 9, 2010

Former uToronto students sue university after melee with campus police

2 former University of Toronto students who were charged in connection to an on-campus demonstration in March 2008 have launched a lawsuit against the university, campus police, uToronto president David Naylor, and several other administrators. The pair allege they took no active part in the altercation between students and campus police, but the university targeted them because they were student leaders and that authorities needlessly prolonged the legal procedures that would lead to the charges being stayed by a judge. "The University of Toronto, and its staff members who have been unfairly targeted by the plaintiffs, will be defending the claim vigorously," the institution says in a written statement. Globe and Mail

STU investigates whether student died after attending hazing party

St. Thomas University is investigating claims that a student who was found dead in Fredericton apartment building the morning of October 24 was involved in a hazing party. A report in a campus newspaper claims Andrew Bartlett, a rookie member of the university's volleyball team, was at a party the night before where new players were hazed by the veterans. STU president Dennis Cochrane has appointed the dean of students and registrar and the university's athletic director to determine whether the allegations are true. Cochrane expects a report into the matter to be completed within 2 to 3 weeks, the same time frame needed for Fredericton Police to complete their investigation into Bartlett's death. CBC

Debate continues over Ontario's new international student scholarship program

Politicians, students, and the media are divided over the Ontario government's new Ontario Trillium Scholarships, intended for international doctoral students. The province's Progressive Conservative party has launched a petition calling on Premier Dalton McGuinty to cancel the program and invest the fund allocated to those scholarships in Ontario students instead. An editorial in the Toronto Star says the scholarship plan "not only gives our universities an academic advantage on campus, it will also serve as an overseas marketing tool and an investment in future tuition revenues and economic growth that will pay dividends for Ontario." Meanwhile, a Barrie Examiner editorial questions why there is taxpayer money available to international students before there is funding available for Ontario students. The Canadian Federation of Students welcomes the increased financial support for foreign students. Ontario PC website | Globe and Mail | Toronto Star | Barrie Examiner | Windsor Star | CFS News Release

Province should stay out of contract talks, say Mount Allison faculty

Mount Allison University's faculty association says the New Brunswick government should stay out of collective bargaining talks between the university and its professors. The association's president says the PSE minister's decision to appoint a conciliation board to revive failing discussions "is a waste of time and money." Labour negotiations between Mount Allison and the faculty association have to this point failed with both parties remaining far apart, says the association's president. Negotiations have been ongoing since late May, and the former contract ended on June 30. Telegraph-Journal

uCalgary facing $47.5-million deficit

There is a $47.5-million deficit looming at the University of Calgary, but the institution says the short-term future is not as grim as it looks and measures have already been taken to address the shortfall that was project for 2013-14 in the university's business plan. For example, uCalgary introduced this fall a non-academic fee of $450 per student that is expected to generate $4 million this year and $12 million in 2012-13, when students stop receiving partial rebates on the fee. As of last week, the university's endowment fund had rebounded from a steep decline during the economic downturn to hit a record high of $422 million after a 30% increase in value over the last year. Calgary Herald

Facilitating transfer process could improve PSE access, says HEQCO report

If increased university participation by under-represented groups is a priority, states a new Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario report, streamlining transfer opportunities from college and university would be an effective method and would build the Ontario government's Open Ontario plan to improve student mobility. The report says a provincial body tasked with overseeing the co-ordination of and transfer between colleges and universities would improve system-wide accountability and reduce student confusion through clear, accessible, and consistent information about the transfer process. Report summary | Read the full report

Tensions surface at McMaster over George Galloway's visit

The McMaster Jewish Students Association is opposed to the upcoming campus visit by former British MP George Galloway, who had been banned from entering Canada last year due to his financial support to Palestinian group Hamas, which the federal government considers a terrorist organization. The association's director says the event conflicts with a university-brokered agreement called the McMaster Peace Initiative, whose signatories committed to keeping debate free, open, and in a respectful, academic tone. The director says her group will not be taking any action against the talk, but there is an overall feeling of disappointment among Jewish students. The co-president of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights, one of the campus groups organizing the event, says the purpose of Galloway's talk is to foster dialogue. Hamilton Spectator

McGill TA association decries removal of union drive posters

The Association of Graduate Students Employed at McGill, which represents teaching assistants and examination invigilators at the university, is angry that posters promoting a drive to unionize the contractual positions of course lecturers have been taken down repeatedly. The group contends the move violates freedom of expression and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. The posters were placed on the doors of staff sympathetic to the cause and on bulletin boards where the association says it is allowed to post union news. McGill's associate vice-principal of human resources says the decision to remove the posters has to do with the association not following the rules. "Posters have to be signed and approved. We have limited space, and this group simply didn't follow the rules." Montreal Gazette

Conference Board report examines impact of Ontario colleges' applied research

According to a new study from the Conference Board of Canada, Ontario colleges are making positive contributions to the economy, business, and individuals by stimulating applied research and development and advancing much-needed innovation. Of the 29 business-college collaborations studied, almost all have led to the development of a new or improved good, service, or process. For students, taking part in applied research projects provides industry-relevant experience, improved technical and employability skills, and entrepreneurship skills. The study observes there is an opportunity to achieve much more by further investing in Ontario colleges. According to an economic impact model undertaken by the Conference Board, boosting federal and provincial spending on R&D and directing it to colleges ($93 million) would boost Ontario's economy by nearly $150 million (constant dollars) and create 2,600 jobs between 2011 and 2014. Conference Board of Canada News Release | Read the report

VIU students face housing crunch

Growing enrolment levels at Vancouver Island University have greatly boosted demand for the 386 on-campus housing units and many students are left scrambling to find accommodation. About 20 students are staying in a hotel as part of an arrangement established by the school in order to accommodate international students. VIU's master plan projects the institution will have an additional 1,000 on-campus housing units, including some accommodations for visitors. If there continues to be demand as VIU grows, the university will look at additional units. The private sector has begun to notice the demand for student housing. There are 2 projects that could be built within the next few years, providing more than 100 rental units geared toward students. Nanaimo Daily News

Camosun completes 3 KIP-funded projects

Camosun College celebrated Friday the completion of 3 of its Knowledge Infrastructure Program projects. At the Lansdowne campus, an antiquated 1914 gymnasium in the Young Building was converted into a modern fitness centre and weight room. The campus's new Alan Batey Library and Learning Commons features an electronic classroom, additional computer workstations, DVD/media view rooms, a seminar classroom, and a lounge area. The renovated Interurban Campus Centre Library and Learning Commons includes group break-out areas, computer classrooms, laptop-supported study carrels, and one-stop shopping for student learning and support services. BC News Release

Atlantic universities release first common data set

Members of the Association of Atlantic Universities have completed their first-ever collaboration on publishing a common set of measures in order to provide students, their parents, and other interested parties with more accessible information about university operations and outcomes. The Atlantic Common University Data Set allows users to access and compare data based on common definitions and displayed in a similar format. Most of the data refers to the 2009-10 school year, while information about tuition and fees is provided for the current academic year. AAU website | Atlantic Common University Data Set

Canadian universities invest in India-specific initiatives

The Canadian universities whose presidents are participating in a week-long mission to India announced yesterday funding for a series of India-specific initiatives valued at over $4 million. The centrepiece of the package is the Globalink Canada-India Graduate Fellowship Program, which will provide up to 51 awards valued at more than $3.5 million for India students who have participated in the MITACS Globalink program in 2010, an initiative that brings Indian undergraduates to Canada for summer research internships. McMaster, SFU, uToronto, UBC, uOttawa, UVic, uWaterloo, and UWO are providing funding for these new graduate fellowships. The additional investments come in the form of India-specific initiatives by participating universities including new scholarship programs for Indian students from UBC, OCAD University, Queen's, uRegina, Royal Roads U, SMU, VIU, and WLU, as well as funding for institutional partnerships for uSask and uManitoba. AUCC News Release

NIC opens Aboriginal gathering place

Last Thursday, North Island College celebrated the opening of its new Aboriginal gathering place at the Port Alberni campus. The gathering place is a traditional west coast style open-sided structure supported by cedar logs harvested in partnership with the Hupacasath and Tseshaht First Nations. The facility will be used for ceremonies, celebrations, classes, and will be a resource for NIC and the community. The gathering place is one of 27 being built at public PSE institutions across BC through a $13.6-million investment from the provincial government. BC News Release

Globe publishes special report on business education

Yesterday's Globe and Mail featured a special section on MBA schools. The report's articles cover advice from admissions officers on MBA school applications, the debate on whether business schools are female-friendly, the latest research coming out of business schools, and early-morning MBA programs. The special section also features interviews with a Toronto Argonauts player enrolled at York U's Schulich School of Business and the dean of the Hong Kong campus of UWO's Richard Ivey School of Business. Report on MBA Schools

Report finds BC pilot program helping youth prepare for PSE

Yesterday the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation released an interim report on the BC AVID Pilot Project, showing that a Canadian version of a US college-preparatory program is helping BC high school students get ready for higher education. The report observes that offering students the BC AVID program as an elective course in high school enhanced their education experience in the following ways: they were instructed in, and made more use of, a range of strategies and techniques intended to support rigorous study, and they were more likely to be enrolled in courses that are university prerequisites. The report also reveals an initial achievement "dip" whereby students offered the program typically experience lower marks in Grades 9 and 10 than they would have otherwise. However, the dip did not lead to more students failing their courses. By Grade 11, the students had recovered their grades and were less likely to fail their courses. SRDC News | Executive Summary | Read the full report

COTR completes expansion of Kootenay Centre

Students at College of the Rockies' Cranbrook campus have a new and improved place to study and learn following the completion of the $12.74-million expansion and renovation of Kootenay Centre. The new upper-level addition and renovate area is now the central hub for student services and provides an improved entrance to the campus. The new lower-level addition includes study areas, faculty offices, and 7 new classrooms. BC News Release

Nunavik school board planning college-level program for Inuit youth

The Kativik School Board is working toward a Nunavik version of Nunavut Sivuniksavut, an Ottawa-based college-level program for Inuit students. The Nunavik program, which could open its doors in fall 2012, will be based in Montreal because students have identified that they benefit from the independence gained in being away from home, says the school board's academic adviser. Founded in 1985, Nunavut Sivuniksavut offers students courses on land claims, Inuit history, contemporary issues, politics, and the Inuktitut language. The program is affiliated with Algonquin College. Nunatsiaq News

uWindsor signs agreement with Henan University

The University of Windsor signed a memorandum of agreement Friday at Henan University in China, strengthening uWindsor's commitment to internationalization. The agreement offers potential opportunities such as a scholar exchange, collaborative research for advanced graduate fellow and professional staff, and the promotion of joint projects for the identification of automotive-related executive training for Chinese professionals and government officials through uWindsor's Odette School of Business. This memorandum of agreement is the first in a series uWindsor will be signing in the next few years. uWindsor News Release

Record enrolment at Lambton College

Lambton College reports that it has reached a second year of record first-year enrolment. Despite a declining population of high school graduates, enrolment at the institution has risen from 2,400 to over 3,300 since 2006, with more than half of students coming from outside Sarnia. Lambton is also seeing record enrolment at its Skilled Trades Training Centre, which now trains more than 600 apprentices locally. Lambton News Release

MUN business faculty receives national accreditation

Memorial University's faculty of business administration has been accredited by the Canadian Institute of Management. The accreditation means the faculty's undergraduate degree programs automatically meet the academic requirement portion of the Certified in Management professional designation. The faculty's dean says the accreditation gives students an added incentive to choose one of the faculty's undergraduate degree programs. MUN News Release

1/3 of Canadian teens interested in pursuing science at PSE level

According a new survey, 37% of responding Canadian teenagers between the ages of 16 and 18 are interested in taking a science course at the post-secondary level, and these are teens who are currently enrolled in at least one high school science course. 82% of teens surveyed recognize that studying science opens many different career options and 84% believe that if fewer students pursue science it will have an impact on our society long-term. Teens perceive people working in science-related professions as intelligent (81%) and serious (54%), but just 4% think they are "cool." Amgen Canada News Release

uOttawa launches prospective graduate student microsite

The University of Ottawa has developed a prospective graduate student portal, whose primary goal is to provide information about the university's graduate studies programs, campus life, and the resources both on and off campus. The microsite features an events listing for education fairs, scholarship and award information, and links to Facebook and Twitter accounts. Discover uOttawa

Confucius Institute opens at SMU

A Confucius Institute opened at Saint Mary's University last Monday, making it the eighth such Institute in Canada. The establishment of the Institute is the culmination of more than 20 years of co-operation and academic and research exchange between SMU and Xiamen University. Confucius Institutes promote Chinese language, arts, culture, and history, as well as support the local teaching of the Chinese language. To date, there are nearly 300 Institutes around the world, encompassing over 50 countries. SMU News Release

International graduate enrolment in US up 3%

According to a new report from the US-based Council of Graduate Schools, the number of new foreign students in American graduate schools increased 3% in 2010 over last year, which had no growth from the year before. Continuing a trend of recent years, the numbers from China are up 20%, while figures from India and South Korea are down. By field of study, the largest gains in first-year enrolments of international graduate students are in physical and earth sciences (up 9%), followed by arts and humanities (up 5%). The only disciplinary group showing a decline is education, which is down 7%. Inside Higher Ed | The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

McMaster med school introduces online test to evaluate applicants

As part of its applicant selection process, McMaster University's medical school has implemented a new tool called "CASPer," the Computer-based Assessment for Sampling Personal characteristics. All applicants must complete the test, which is divided into 12 five-minute long sections. 8 of the sections include video clips presenting applicants with "situational challenges," and the remaining 4 involve "self-descriptive questions." On its website, the med school states that compared to the autobiographical sketch, the online evaluation is "significantly more reliable, predicts much more validly for subsequent performance, and requires less applicant time." Maclean's OnCampus

Tuition at 100 US colleges surpasses $50K

100 colleges and universities in the US are charging $50,000 or more for tuition, fees, room, and board in 2010-11, up from 58 institutions the year before, according to a Chronicle of Higher Education analysis of College Board data. This year marks the first time a public institution has made the list -- the University of California at Berkeley is charging out-of-state residents $50,649 for tuition, fees, room, and board. Many students at the most-expensive schools are paying significantly less than the full, published prices, thanks to financial aid. The College Board estimates that the average net price for tuition and other fees at private, 4-year colleges has fallen slightly from the level 5 years ago, when adjusted for inflation, to $21,020 this year. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

MHC launches new website

We've recently noticed that Medicine Hat College has redesigned its website. Dominating the homepage is a large, rotating graphic banner linking to information for future students, current students, international students, alumni, employees, parents and supporters, and counsellors. The homepage has a section dedicated to first-year student Ryan Carlson, the "face" of MHC, who is documenting his college experience through a blog and self-produced videos. The homepage also includes links to MHC's Facebook page, Twitter account, YouTube channel, and Flickr gallery. MHC website

Kno tablet a "digital textbook platform"

California-based Kno, Inc. has announced its flagship product - the Kno. The device is 2 large touchscreens joined by a hinge that specifically targets the education sector. The company refers to the Kno as a "digital textbook platform" and has partnered with several publishers to develop content for the device in a beta program that will kick off at major US post-secondary institutions this fall. Based on Linux, the Know also boats support for Adobe Flash, something that is not included on Apple's iPad. Mashable | The Kno - Tablet Textbook

Trent environmental program receives national accreditation

Trent University's Bachelor of Science in Environmental and Resource Science is the first university program to be officially accredited to the National Standard of Environmental Programs in Canada by the Canadian Environment Accreditation Commission of the Environmental Careers Organization Canada. The program's chairman hopes the accreditation is a way for Trent's reputation to expand outside of other academic programs in terms of industry and students. Trent News Release | Peterborough Examiner

Free e-books available on iTunes U

Apple announced Friday that the University of Oxford, Rice University, and the Open University have all added digital books to the lectures and other materials traditionally available on iTunes U. Oxford's free e-book contributions include Shakespeare's entire First Folio. The Open University added 100 interactive books, with another 200 to come by the end of the year. Rice University published 18 of the most popular textbooks from Connexions, its open-education project. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

BCIT runs social media campaign for BIG Info session

In the week-long run-up to its semi-annual BIG Info session, which takes place today, the British Columbia Institute of Technology has answered potential students' questions directly using YouTube videos and social media. Individuals who submit questions to be answered by current students have the chance to win a $1,000 tuition credit. Pre-registration for the BIG Info session has hit an all-time high, surpassing last year's record numbers. BCIT BIG Info session blog

College students continue to prefer printed books, survey finds

According to a new survey by the US-based National Association of College Stores, 76% of responding college students would pick a printed book over an e-textbook if the choice was left entirely up to them. About 13% of respondents said they had bought an e-book in the past 3 months, and most of those said they did so because a digital edition was required by their instructor. Only 8% of those surveyed own an e-reader device such as Kindle or Sony Reader. The iPhone was listed as the most popular device for electronic reading. NACS News Release | The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

Nearly 2/3 of college students have mobile Web device

According to a new study, 62.7% of US undergraduate students surveyed have an Internet-capable handheld device, compared to 83.3% who had a laptop and 45.9% with a desktop PC. Ownership of mobile Web devices rose by more than 11 percentage points between 2009 and spring 2010, with the number of students planning to purchase such a product in the next year holding steady. The devices have also begun to play a bigger role in students' lives. In 2009, fewer than half of students surveyed who owned an Internet-capable handheld device said they used it at least one a weekly, with less than a third reporting daily use. By 2010, 42.6% reported using the devices every day and two-thirds did so at least weekly. eMarketer