Top Ten

November 18, 2010

York U threatens rabbi with lawsuit over anti-Galloway e-mail

This week, York University threatened a Toronto rabbi with legal action if he continued to spread "defamatory" remarks about the university's president and did not stop encouraging non-students to protest controversial former British MP George Galloway's speech on campus Tuesday night. Last week, Rabbi Aaron Hoch sent an e-mail to 700 people on his community mailing last week informing them about Galloway's speech and asking them to "take part in protesting this outrage." In a letter to Rabbi Hoch, York U's legal counsel asked that he "remove (the message) from your web site and to direct your supporters to cease and desist the distribution of the poster." The rabbi says there was no such "poster," and that the e-mail went viral and was posted to community forums. The trigger of the university's letter was Rabbi Hoch's accusation that York U president Mamdouh Shoukri was being anti-Semitic, comments the letter calls "untrue" and harmful to the president's reputation. National Post

AAU backs UPEI in dispute with province over degree legislation

The Association of Atlantic Universities is siding with the University of Prince Edward Island in a dispute with the PEI government, which will introduce an act to allow other post-secondary institutions in the province to grant degrees. The AAU has written to PEI's advanced learning minister with its concerns. Dalhousie University president Tom Traves asked why the province feels the need to risk the reputation of quality institutions that already exist in PEI. A Holland College official says he welcomes new PSE institutions as long as they offer different programs. The college does not have any immediate plans to start offering degrees; its sole focus is expanding its diploma programs. CBC

uOttawa TAs vote for strike mandate

At a meeting Monday, members of CUPE Local 2626, which represents teaching assistants, research assistants, correctors, and lab monitors, voted to give their bargaining committee the tool to negotiate a fair agreement. Nearly 120 members showed up at the meeting, and over 81% voted in favour of a strike mandate. The union and employer's representatives met yesterday with the help of a conciliator in hopes that a third, objective party might assist with reaching a fair contract. CUPE News Release

NAIT considers cutting 9 programs

Earlier this year, the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology's academic council voted against cutting 13 programs. 9 of those programs are back on the chopping block for the 2011-12 academic year. The main issue is whether or not there is industry and student demand for the programs. NAIT has been holding consultations for all 9 programs to get input from students, instructors, and people working in the respective industries. NAIT's provost says there are still a number of steps needed to be taken before a final decision is made by Alberta's advanced education minister. Global News

UWO senate approves enrolment planning strategy

At a meeting last week, the University of Western Ontario's senate approved a Strategy for Enrolment Planning, under which the university will maintain the current minimum entrance requirement for first-year admission at 83% mid-year grade and 81% final grade. By the end of the upcoming 4-year planning period, UWO will try to increase its first-year international enrolment. Other recommendations for the strategy include continuing to monitor the entrance requirement gap between UWO and the Ontario average, with the objective of maintaining the current gap, and watching the incremental growth of the overall first-year class size in order to ensure the undergraduate class does not grow beyong what UWO can accommodate through its buildings and infrastructure. Western News (page 3 of PDF)

NSERC summit focuses on increasing women's participation in science, engineering

On Tuesday, NSERC hosted a summit that brought leaders from academia and the private sector together with policy makers and students to identify best practices and develop innovative solutions for attracting and retaining women to careers in science and engineering. A report presented at the summit summarizes reasons for the under-representation of women in science and engineering, including stereotypes, women's lower level of self-confidence in math, girls' lack of academic preparation for a science major or career, girl's poor attitude toward science, and lack of social encouragement to pursue these fields. Possible measures identified to increase the number of women enrolled in science and engineering include mentoring programs, positive role models, exposure to professional engineering experiences, adding more women to engineering faculties, and providing a better understanding of what engineers do. NSERC Events | Read the report

CCSSE a promising student engagement measure for Ontario colleges

Developed and used in the US, the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) can be an effective tool to measure student engagement in Ontario's colleges, states a new study commissioned by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. The report shows that 2 of the 5 benchmarks -- Active and Collaborative Learning and Academic Challenge -- predict students' performance in college. Students who responded that they frequently participated in activities related to these benchmarks had better grades and completed more courses that those who did these things less frequently or not at all. Humber College participated in the CCSSE in the winter 2009 term. It is the first and only Ontario college and the third Canadian college to take part in the survey since its launch in 2001. Report summary | Read the full report

NLC appoints new president

The board of governors at BC-based Northern Lights College announced Wednesday that Laurie Rancourt has been selected as the fourth president of the institution. Rancourt will join NLC after holding several senior administrative positions over a 15-year career at Collège Boréal, where she is currently the vice-president of corporate services. Prior to joining Boréal, Rancourt taught at Cambrian College. Rancourt will succeed Jean Valgardson, who will retire early next year. Rancourt's first day as president of NLC will be February 21, 2011. NLC News Release

$3-million gift creates chair in medical education at McGill

Some prominent McGill University supporters and The Molson Foundation have made a combined $3-million donation to the university to create the Richard and Sylvia Cruess Chair in Medical Education, named in honour of Drs. Richard and Sylvia Cruess, who are based at McGill's Centre for Medical Education. The chair will be awarded to a scholar who will reinforce the university's ability to educate talented clinicians and researchers, and who will influence the development of innovative medical curricula and teaching methods around the world. McGill News Release

Manitoba proposes increasing compulsory school age to 18

Manitoba's education minister announced yesterday the province will propose legislation requiring all young Manitobans to continue pursuing their education or training until they reach 18. Currently, students in Manitoba are required to be in school until the age of 16. Current penalties related to children under the age of 16 who are not in school would be strengthened. The education minister says she will consult widely with stakeholders about how the changes would be implemented. Alberta is considering raising its compulsory school age from 16 to 17. Manitoba News Release