Top Ten

November 12, 2010

uWindsor rejects law dean candidate's allegations of racism

In response to a human rights complaint of racism and sexism in its search for a new law school dean, the University of Windsor says the failed candidate and law professor who launched the complaint has a reputation for being vindictive and vengeful, and that she "lacked sufficient scholarly gravitas." uWindsor also contradicts the professor's claim she was the best of 2 failed short-list candidates. According to the university's response, the dean search committee received mostly negative feedback about the professor, including views that she was "a disruptive and divisive force" and would condemn the law school to "years of acrimony, division and dysfunction." In September, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario ruled it would not stop the search or appoint the professor as dean, although it maintained it has the power to do so. National Post

WLU students, faculty decry police surveillance at on-campus talk

42 Wilfrid Laurier University students, faculty, and staff have signed a letter of protest, sent to Ontario's training, colleges, and universities minister, after undercover police officers secretly recorded an on-campus panel discussion, hosted by the social work faculty, and used the recording to send a man to jail. One of the panellists is a G20 protester who is charged with several counts of conspiracy. As a condition of bail, he had been ordered to stay away from public demonstrations. After the protester spoke at WLU and Ryerson University, police arrested him and he was jailed for several weeks. In their letter, the WLU signatories state they are concerned the man's participation was construed as involvement in a demonstration, and they are "alarmed that our university was implicated in further silencing and criminalizing one of our guest speakers." Waterloo Region Record

Canadore responds to article on student visa fraud

In response to its mention in a Toronto Star article about an Indian immigration consultant alleged to have tricked thousands of families into believing he could guarantee their children a visa to study in Canada, Canadore College states it has not been contacted by any governing body regarding fraudulent documentation of foreign student applications. As per college policy, all international students must complete a stringent academic-based application process before being accepted into a program. Should a student be granted admission, Canadore says, it is the student's responsibility to present the admission documentation to the Canadian Embassy, High Commission, or Consulate of the home country to apply for a visa and student permit. The college says it is not engaged in the process of issuing student visas, nor is it involved in determining the financial solvency of students to study in Canada. Canadore News Release

uMoncton considers program cuts

As it faces declining enrolments and less money, the Université de Moncton is considering cutting some programs. A report the university's senate received last month says any program that does not graduate on average at least 3 students should be reviewed. Programs to be reviewed include linguistics, chemistry, sociology, and philosophy. Even if many programs only graduate 3 students, says a uMoncton official, they may still be important to the institution either because of what they offer to the francophone community or because many of the first- and second-year courses have hundreds of students taking requirements for other programs. uMoncton is the only PSE institution in New Brunswick to see a decline in enrolment from 2009-10. CBC

Research more valued than teaching among university professors, report finds

A study commissioned by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario found that more than 70% of university professors surveyed believe research has a bigger payoff than teaching in enhancing reputation, respect of peers, and access to funds. While nearly 96% of respondents say teaching is important or very important to their professional practice, fewer (61%) believe that teaching is important or very important to their institution in judging their accomplishments. UoGuleph News Release | Report summary | Read the full report

University officials dismiss Maclean's rankings

A day before Maclean's released its latest University Rankings, University of Manitoba president David Barnard sent an e-mail to his entire staff urging them not to let the university's priorities and goals "be set by those outside the institution." No matter where uManitoba was ranked, Barnard wrote, the result was only "food for thought" and a "yard stick" for comparing universities. At the University of Saskatchewan, officials say that once students arrive on campus, they will have a better impression than the one offered by Maclean's. Cape Breton University says its position in the rankings is not a reflection of the vibrant and progressive university as it is known. The university's provost says parents and students have to look beyond university rankings to make informed decisions about PSE. Postmedia News | Saskatoon Star-Phoenix | CBU News

NIC to establish alumni association

North Island College is poised to launch an alumni association, and is asking former students to provide input on how the association should be structured. The college has set up an alumni advisory committee on which graduates can serve and participate in the project. A NIC spokeswoman says the alumni association would enable the institution to keep track of its graduates and offer them a chance to share their experiences in the real world with current students. The idea for an alumni association took root 2 years ago when a college staff committee came up with a possible framework for the association. NIC is one of the few remaining colleges in BC to form an alumni association. NIC News Release | Comox Valley Echo

NLC building wind turbine

Wind Turbine Maintenance Technician students at Northern Lights College will soon have a hands-on training facility available on-site at the school's Dawson Creek campus. The nacelle, blades, and internal mechanisms of a wind turbine were unloaded earlier this month, and will be constructed on the campus early next year. Once in place, the equipment will provide a training tower for use by students enrolled in the Wind Turbine program, which is the only one of its kind in BC. NLC News Release

US report identifies internal barriers to online education expansion

According to the second annual Managing Online Education study, a survey of 183 non-profit colleges in the US, the biggest factors holding back the expansion of online programs are lack of instructors and support personnel (61%) and budget cuts (56%). 67% reported having expansion plans hindered by "[s]tudent demand for online courses which exceeds capacity to provide these courses." Online programs will still keep growing, as 96% of respondents said they expected their schools would expand their online offerings over the next 3 years. The growth appears to be slowing slightly, though. Over the past 3 years, 27% of colleges saw their online programs grow by 20% or more, and only 13% predict that level of growth over the next 3 years. Inside Higher Ed

UK universities will opt for highest tuition fees possible, report predicts

The British government's recently announced plan for changing how higher education is financed envisions an average tuition rate of £6,000 at most universities, with a few charging what the government calls an "absolute limit" of £9,000. However, most universities will, in fact, end up charging the higher rate, predicts a new report from the Higher Education Policy Institute. "Those that have struggled to recruit students will initially be more cautious, but, within a few years, we believe that almost all universities will charge the maximum £9,000 fee," say the report, adding that "charging lower fees risks being identified as a low-quality or low-prestige institution." The tuition hike proposal has sparked protests in the UK. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)