Top Ten

January 19, 2011

Expelled Concordia student sues university again

The Canadian University Press reports that a former Concordia University student, who once filed a $15-million lawsuit against the institution, is suing the school again. Ashraf Azar, who was expelled in 2004 on grounds of plagiarism, is asking the Quebec Superior Court to order Concordia to grant him a new disciplinary hearing on the plagiarism charges that got him expelled in the first place. In a statement of claim, Azar says he was suspended from Concordia at the time the accusation of plagiarism arose, "due to what can only be seen as discriminatory motivated 'errors' [emphasis in the original] committed by his professors with respect to his grades" and that he was not enrolled in the class in question. A hearing is set for today. CUP Newswire

Georgian College seeks $10 million more for health and wellness facility

Georgian College is asking the Ontario government for another $10 million for its new health and wellness building. As college president Brian Tamblyn showed Training, Colleges and Universities Minister John Milloy how the facility is progressing Tuesday, he asked the province to top up the $20 million it has already invested in the project. Tamblyn says Georgian needs $12 million more to finish off the building, which is due to open in September. The college's Power of Education campaign would be asked to raise an additional $2 million to reach the new $12 million needed.

$1-million gift to uSask supports horse health centre expansion

The University of Saskatchewan is recognizing Heather Ryan and her husband L. David Dubé for their $1.2-million contribution toward the expansion of its veterinary college's existing equine performance centre by naming the facility the Ryan/Dubé Equine Performance Centre. The $2.8-million project will add 10,600 square feet to the centre, as well as vital resources to the vet school's equine education, clinical, and research programs. Construction will begin next month. uSask News Release | Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

Work-integrated learning preparing students for changing labour market, study finds

Work-integrated learning (WIL) such as co-operative education, apprenticeships, and internships can help Ontario post-secondary students respond to rapid change in the Ontario labour market, according a report prepared by Academica Group and commissioned by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. In the first phase of a study of institutional and employer attitudes toward WIL, both groups view it as an important part of the student experience, preparing students to enter the labour market with relevant, transferable, and marketable skills. They cite career preparation and improved employment prospects as the top motivating factor for students. Among PSE institutions surveyed, strengthening linkages with community and enhancing institutional reputation are the most significant benefits of WIL, while for employers the key attributes are access to highly motivated and creative students and improved productivity. Research summary | Read the report

Inaugural NBCC president's vision for network

The first-ever president and CEO of New Brunswick Community College, Marilyn Luscombe says there are many new opportunities now that NBCC operates independently from the provincial government, such as the ability to create new community partnerships, access funding sources available to independent colleges, and access more federal funding. As the "voice of the college network," Luscombe notes the importance of being responsive to each of NBCC's 6 campuses as they all have different socio-economic profiles. Other priorities include attracting international students, increasing the number of Aboriginal students, and keeping students in PSE, even if that means finding them more suitable homes at a university in NB. Times & Transcript

NB students worry cuts to financial assistance may come

PSE students in New Brunswick are hopeful that financial assistance programs will be spared as the province searches for savings. Last week, the province's finance minister announced $42.9 million in spending reductions for the fiscal year, including nearly $3.2 million out of the post-secondary education department's budget for the Repayment Assistance Plan. As a result, the future of programs such as the Timely Completion Benefit and tuition rebate is not certain. A spokeswoman for the PSE department says it is looking for another 2% reduction for next year. Daily Gleaner

uAlberta student union proposes fall reading week

The University of Alberta's student union is proposing a week-long fall reading break to match the break offered in February. Should students get a November break, the start date of the fall term would move to the Wednesday before Labour Day, potentially pushing it back in August, to maintain 13 weeks of instruction per semester. The student union's president says the break would give students a chance to de-stress and seek academic help, hopefully helping with retention as well. The issue will be put to a student vote in March. If approved, the plan will be presented to uAlberta's general faculties council. The earliest a November break could be added to the calendar would be fall 2012. Edmonton Journal

Carleton uses Ravens mascot in Aboriginal student recruitment campaign

Carleton University is drawing on its Ravens sports mascot in its latest campaign to attract First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students. An employee of Carleton's Centre for Aboriginal Culture and Education who oversees the campaign says recruiters try to reach young people, even those still in intermediate grades, to show them what's possible. Carleton's efforts to serve its Aboriginal student population, estimated at over 200, have grown in recent years. One of the university's Aboriginal-oriented initiatives is the Aboriginal Enriched Support Program, a first-year, full-time program meant for students who may have the potential to excel at university but do not meet traditional entrance requirements. Ottawa Citizen

International applications to Swedish institutions drop after fee introduction

Applications from international students to Swedish universities have plummeted following the introduction of tuition fees, according to application figures for the fall term released Tuesday. Monday marked the last day that international students could apply to study at Swedish institutions for the fall 2011 term, the first which non-European Economic Area and non-Swiss students will be required to pay tuition fees. The number of applicants for master's programs dropped 73% compared to last year, while applications to international courses fell 86%. An official with the Swedish Agency for Higher Education Services says the drop was expected. The Local

Wikipedia focuses on ways to enhance student learning

After celebrating its tenth year of operation, Wikipedia is making efforts to involve academics more closely in its process. The latest is a new plan to develop an "open educational resource platform" that will gather tools about teaching with Wikipedia in the classroom. The education programs manager for Wikimedia, Wikipedia's parent company, says the goal is to get students to understand how to use and critically evaluate Wikipedia articles and then learn how to contribute to make those articles better. This academic year, Wikimedia launched the national Public Policy Initiative to recruit professors who would like their students to add content to the online encyclopedia as part of the curriculum. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)