Top Ten

November 19, 2010

Seneca aviation instructor, students die in plane crash

A Seneca College flight instructor and 2 students on a training flight were killed when their single-engine plane crashed north of Pickering last Thursday evening. Around 7 pm, Durham police received a call from Pearson International Airport about a flight with which they had lost radio contact. The plane had been on its way back to Buttonville Airport when it lost contact with air traffic control. A police helicopter searched the area and found the downed plane in a farmer's field. The 3 victims, a male instructor and 2 students, one male and the other female, were believed to have been killed instantly. Out of respect, Seneca has cancelled its Seneca Week activities scheduled for this week. Seneca News | Toronto Star | Canadian Press

uManitoba releases official statements on PhD matter

On its website, the University of Manitoba has published its side of the story regarding its dispute with a suspended math professor over the institution's decision to award a doctoral student a PhD, despite the student having twice failed a comprehensive exam. According to uManitoba, the student aced 2 of his 3 crucial exams, wrote an exemplary thesis, and is a scholar with an above-normal number of publications. After failing the third exam, the student was told he had to withdraw from the program, but he appealed, providing documentation from a qualified psychologist maintaining the student suffered from severe, disabling exam anxiety. Under the Manitoba Human Rights Code, uManitoba was obligated to accommodate this disability. Following broad consultation with those involved with the student, the university's graduate studies dean concurred the student need not retake the third exam. uManitoba states the suspended professor has never taught the student, nor was he the student's adviser. Official statements on PhD matter | Winnipeg Free Press

Foreign-trained physicians face discrimination in accessing residency positions in Quebec, report finds

According to an investigation by the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse, foreign-trained doctors are subject to a discriminatory treatment based on their ethnic origin in the course of the admission process leading to postdoctoral training in Quebec. Throughout the whole process, the Commission states, international medical graduates face several obstacles that disproportionately disadvantage and exclude them from medical schools in Quebec. The Commission's president is calling on all stakeholders involved in the admission process, particularly the medical schools, to revise the selection procedures and criteria which discriminate against foreign-trained doctors. In response to the investigation, the Conference of Rectors and Principals of Quebec Universities states provincial medical schools evaluate residency candidates, whether domestically or foreign trained, on the basis of competency and capability of succeeding in the program, and do not discriminate based on ethnic origin. CDPDJ News Release | CREPUQ News Release (in French)

Financial rewards for good grades have modest effects, study finds

A new study commissioned by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario observes that offering students cash in an effort to improve their marks in college or university may be more expensive than it is effective. The study involved first- and second-year students receiving financial aid in 2008-09 at the University of Toronto Scarborough. For each one-semester course, participants received $100 for obtaining a grade average of 70%, and $20 for each percentage point above a 70% grade. The findings show the financial incentives had a modest positive effect on grades, and had very small positive effects in the subsequent year, after the rewards ended. However, the researchers note, the effects were stronger for those students who had a better understanding of how the financial reward program worked. HEQCO News Release | Read the report

Nunavut Arctic College opens trades training centre

Nunavut Arctic College staff and students and local leaders gathered in Rankin Inlet last Tuesday to celebrate the opening of the institution's Nunavut Trades Training Centre. The $23-million centre was built to support a made-in-Nunavut supply of trades people to be employed in local communities and mining operations. The 20,000-square-foot facility can accommodate over 100 students between its classrooms, computer lab, 4 furnished workshop labs, lounges, and resources library. Nunatsiaq News

UQTR supports Drummondville campus project

The City of Drummondville has received official support from the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières to examine the financial feasibility of building a campus in Drummondville, which could open in 2013. Areas being considered for initial academic training at the campus include education, administration, computer science, social work, nursing, and engineering. The campus could accommodate about 1,000 full-time equivalent students in the next 5 years. UQTR News Release (in French) | Le Nouvelliste (in French)

Shell, oil sands partners donate $2 million to Keyano College

Last Thursday, Shell Energy Canada and its Athabasca Oil Sands Project (AOSP) partners, Marathon Oil Canada and Chevron Canada, announced a pledge of over $2 million in long-term support for education programs and new initiatives at Alberta's Keyano College. The gift is the largest single donation Shell and its AOSP partners have made in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. The funds are being directed toward establishing projects and programs, as well as new capital initiatives, including the Shell Safety Induction Centre, the Oil Sands Power and Process Engineering Lab, and a new campus in Fort Chipewyan. Keyano College News

Award recognizes NOSM's approach to medical education

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine is the recipient of the national 2010 IPAC/Deloitte Public Sector Leadership Award, earning gold in the education category. The award recognizes NOSM for the leadership it has demonstrated in developing a bold new approach to medical education. "This approach, which was the creation of a medical school founded on a distinctive model of distributed, community engaged learning, is designed to ensure success in responding to the health needs of the geographically, socially and culturally diverse Northern Ontario communities," NOSM states. Ryerson University and Memorial University picked up silver and bronze, respectively, in the education category. NOSM News Release

Columbia U "Social Experiment" pays students to talk to campus strangers

Last week, New York-based Columbia University launched a game called "The Social Experiment" to encourage students who don't know one another to talk to each other, with the incentive of possibly winning $500. To play the game, students must find others who hold passwords, which can only be revealed if the "prompt" word is said during conversation. The 10 students who collect the most passwords would win $500 each. The aim of the game is to get more students to mingle with each other in the process of foraging for passwords. While Columbia U has declined to comment on the motives behind the contest, the media has speculated the experiment is meant to counteract the mobile media culture saturating college campuses, where students are more likely to be buried in their handheld devices than poised to greet passers-by. Inside Higher Ed | Maclean's OnCampus

Disadvantaged youth more likely to drop out, be young parents, live in poverty

According to a 30-year study conducted by researchers at Concordia University and the University of Ottawa, disadvantaged kids are more likely to drop out of high school, become young parents, and raise their own children in poverty. Of the participants who had become parents, 22.6% of mothers and 22.5% of fathers had not completed their secondary education by age 25, 40% of females and 28% of males were poor, and, on average, 35% of households were considered poor. The study found that childhood aggression and withdrawal resulted in lower school achievement. Both girls and boys who experienced academic difficulties were at greater risk for dropping out of school. Girls who failed to complete high school were at increased risk for entering motherhood at a young age and to parent in poverty, while aggressive boys were found to be at greater risk to be young parents of children who would be raised in the absence of one biological parent. Concordia News Release