Top Ten

January 13, 2011

UCN president reportedly pushed out over opposition to mandatory Aboriginal course

Sources interviewed by the Winnipeg Free Press say University College of the North denied Aboriginal president Denise Henning a second 5-year term because she was opposed to a mandatory native awareness program that promoted "white guilt", and also for her dispute with the elder-in-residence over her hiring of 2 non-Aboriginal senior administrators. Northern Manitobans worry the fledgling institution could suffer from the secrecy and mystery over the governing council's decision not to renew Henning's contract. Northwest Community College announced this week it has hired Henning as its next president. Winnipeg Free Press

Report reviews literature on Aboriginal students' transitions to PSE

Given the importance of an educated Aboriginal population, the Canadian Education Statistics Council sponsored a literature review to identify key research findings relating to the challenges facing Aboriginal people as they transition from their K-12 years to PSE. The review observes the barriers to completing PSE for Aboriginal people are widely recognized and acknowledged, but persist. This persistence reflects a combination of factors, such as deeply ingrained philosophical approaches about PSE. In taking action to improve PSE outcomes, the report states, solutions must reflect and respond to differences between and within First Nations, Métis, and Inuit populations. The review says more data, research, and evaluation are needed to have a better understanding of the efficacy of various approaches being used to improve Aboriginal PSE outcomes. Read the report

Study examines francophones', allophones' motivations for attending English CÉGEPs

A new study on the reasons which push Quebec francophones and allophones (individuals whose mother tongue is neither English nor French) to study at an English CÉGEP identifies 3 types of factors guiding students' choice of CÉGEP: cultural, personal, and prospective. Among cultural factors, speaking English at home, and, in the case of allophones, not having a parent originating from a Romance-language country, increases the chances of choosing an English CÉGEP. As for personal preferences, the language of instruction is a dominant factor among students who choose an English college, while program availability is more critical for those who choose a French college. The study finds the vast majority of students at English CÉGEPs intend to work in English or pursue university studies in English. The study comes amid a debate in Quebec about whether to extend the province's language laws to CÉGEPs. Centrale de syndicats du Québec News Release (in French) | Canadian Press | Report (in French)

Majority of Nova Scotians support lowering tuition fees, poll finds

In a poll conducted for the Nova Scotia Post-Secondary Education Coalition, 83% of responding Nova Scotians support reducing tuition fees and 88% think higher education should be a high or very high priority for the provincial government. Over two-thirds of respondents believe tuition fees in the province are too high. Nearly a third reported that in the past year, they or a family member did not attend PSE because it would mean taking on too much debt. Two-thirds of respondents feel government funding should make a larger portion of university funding, and close to 60% are willing to pay higher taxes in order to improve affordability at NS universities. CFS News Release | Polling results

WLU football players subjected to unannounced drug test

Officials from the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) were at Wilfrid Laurier University Wednesday to collect blood and urine samples from 65 of the 90 football players in attendance for a mandatory meeting. WLU's athletic director says none of the players either refused to be tested or acknowledged using a banned substance. Canadian Interuniversity Sport officials, with help from CCES, vowed to boost testing efforts following last year's doping scandal at the University of Waterloo, which led to the one-year suspension of the institution's football program. It could be weeks before results from the WLU test are revealed. WLU News Release | Globe and Mail

Humber awaits provincial funding for Orangeville campus

In 2006, the Town of Orangeville donated 28 acres of land to Humber College to build a campus serving an anticipated 2,000 full-time students. Construction has been delayed several times, as Humber struggles to secure provincial funding for the campus. The college has not yet heard anything from the Ontario government on its most recent request for funding. The college has no intention "whatsoever to drag anything out," says the director of the Orangeville campus. There are 2 issues to be tackled, he says -- building a student population of about 450 to 600 students and receiving government funding. Orangeville Banner

uAlberta considers planning school

The University of Alberta is studying the possibility of introducing a civic planning program to its academic offerings. While no decisions have been made yet, municipal officials and industry professionals support the idea, saying a planning school would elevate the discussion of urban planning issues and ultimately improve Edmonton's livability. The absence of both planning and architecture programs at uAlberta means fewer planning and architecture professionals are attracted to Edmonton, which in turn means less understanding of the city's needs, says one local architect. See Magazine

UVic aims for rabbit-free campus

After years of dealing with rabbits on campus, the University of Victoria is now looking at going rabbit-free. The institution's feral rabbit management plan, released last June, envisaged no rabbits outside the ring road and about 200 rabbits in a tightly controlled zone within it. With most of the original population of feral rabbits already trapped and taken to sanctuaries, the plan is being revised. A no-rabbit rule should discourage anyone from dumping unwanted pets on campus, says UVic's director of facilities management, as any rabbits would be removed to be euthanized because there would be no permits in place to take them to sanctuaries. Victoria Times-Colonist

Blackboard expands into student services with acquisition of Presidium

On Wednesday, Blackboard Inc. announced the launch of a new student services offering with the acquisition of Presidium Inc., which provides outsourced call centres and consulting services in areas such as admissions and financial aid, and also runs IT help desks for many institutions. Blackboard paid $53 million to acquire the company, which was founded in 2003 by former Blackboard employees. Presidium's offerings will remain the same in the short term under the new name Blackboard Student Services. Blackboard News Release | The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

Marketing professionals deem "social media" most overused catchphrase

In a Canadian survey of advertising and marketing executives, respondents ranked "social media/social networking" as the most annoying industry buzzword. Among the top 10 are "synergy," "innovative/innovation," "extra value/value added," "going green," "free," "ROI/return on investment," "culture change," "think out of the box," and "interactive." The study is based on 250 interviews with marketing executives from companies with 100 or more employees and advertising executives from agencies with 20 or more employees. The Creative Group News Release