Top Ten

February 3, 2011

UTM names health sciences complex for $12-million donation

The University of Toronto Mississauga announced yesterday it has received a $12-million gift from retired lawyer and philanthropist Terrence Donnelly, whose donation to help build a new health sciences complex at UTM is the largest gift ever made to the campus. In recognition of the donation, UTM has named the facility the Terrence Donnelly Health Sciences Complex. Donnelly met -- and trumped -- a public challenge issued by Mississauga businessman Carlo Fidani, who called on others to step forward and match the $10-million gift he made to the complex last May. uToronto News |

Timmins pushes for English university campus

Officials in Timmins are pursuing the realization of an English-language university campus or presence in the northern Ontario city. The Timmins Economic Development Corporation (TEDC) has already approached universities asking for their interest in a university presence in the city, and it has received some positive feedback. Timmins is suggesting a number of options, which could include a satellite campus or classes held within an existing facility. The TEDC, which intends to present a business plan to the Ontario government later this year, will survey Timmins high schools from the 2 English-language school boards in the coming weeks, following up on a recent survey of the community at large, in which respondents identified a lack of local opportunities to gain higher education. Timmins Daily News

PSE students with disabilities face significant financial challenges, study finds

According to a new study commissioned by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, PSE students with registered disabilities face significant financial burdens and several other obstacles that can affect their ability to successfully complete their education. Almost half of all student participants in the study expected to graduate with a total debt of over $20,000, and 81% were concerned about the amount of debt they will incur by the time they complete their education. Close to 40% were altering their PSE pursuits because of educational debt or financial barriers. The study observes that students with disabilities take longer to complete their education, and also face unique challenges in finding employment and balancing the demands of work and school. The study calls for changes to government financial aid programs for students with disabilities, concentrating more on grants than loans and extending financial assistance timelines as well as funding eligibility. HEQCO News Release | Read the study

COU lays out priorities for next Ontario budget

In its pre-budget submission to the Ontario government, the Council of Ontario Universities' recommendations focus on making sure provincial universities have the capacity to provide students with an education they need and want and, in doing so, to ensure the province has a highly educated workforce to compete on an international scale. COU's recommendations include planning and funding to support the steady growth in student enrolment, enhancements in quality so institutions can provide students with the necessary skills and experience needed in a changing work environment, and expanded learning options through online education and new credit transfer systems within the PSE sector. COU News Release | Read the pre-budget submission

Concordia releases consultation draft of academic plan

Concordia University will hold consultations over the next few weeks on its draft academic plan, whose objectives cover research and creative activity, academic programs, student success, experiential learning, and administrative support. The document makes note of a sixth objective, known for now as "Objective X," whose focus and set actions may be identified by reviewers of the draft academic plan. In a video introducing the document, Concordia's provost invites people to help define this objective by telling the university "what really brilliant idea we've overlooked." Office of the Provost website | Read the draft academic plan

Brock part-time instructors, TAs vote in favour of strike mandate

In a vote late last month, part-time instructors and teaching assistants at Brock University voted 80% in favour of a strike mandate. The union representing the instructors and TAs is seeking higher wages, more hours for staff, improved benefits, and a prohibition on eliminating seminars, which are run by the union's members. The union claims Brock has been largely negligent with regard to the bargaining process, and because of the slow progress, it filed for conciliation in December. Currently in negotiations with 5 unions, Brock states that while all have requested conciliation, "no strike deadlines have been set up at this time." Maclean's OnCampus | CUP Newswire

Montreal school board considers adding Grade 12 to some schools

With many Montreal Island CÉGEPs experiencing a space crunch, the Lester B. Pearson School Board thinks it can help address the situation by adding Grade 12 to some of its schools. "With so many children unable to get into an English CÉGEP, there could be real need for this," says the chairman of the board, which already offers Grade 12 in its international program at a Pierrefonds high school. The chairman says he envisions the board's Grade 12 as helping students meet the eligibility requirements for a 4-year university program. Although the idea is still being studied, the board would like to launch as least one new Grade 12 next year. Montreal Gazette

Designed to minimize disruptions, York U exam venue pilot project a success

In December, for the first time, nearly 12,500 lucky York University students wrote exams in Toronto's Rexall Centre -- lucky in part because there were no bomb threats, false fire alarms, or other disruptions. Holding 20 exams in the Rexcall Centre was part of a pilot project designed to minimize the kinds of disruptions that plague institutions during exam times and that cost so much financially and emotionally. The pilot was so successful that York U will continue to schedule final exams at the Rexall Centre throughout 2011, and the pilot will extend into 2012 to give time to develop protocols and integrate faculty and student feedback. Y-File

UVic student union can hold CFS membership referendum, court rules

The BC Supreme Court issued a decision this week that allows the University of Victoria Students' Society to hold a referendum on whether to retain membership in the Canadian Federation of Students. The court case came after a disputed petition was circulated asking that a vote on the matter be allowed. The society's chairman says a referendum could be held within the next 2 months. According to the student leader,13 student societies submitted petitions last year regarding referendums on CFS membership. Victoria Times-Colonist | Read the court decision

Concordia study examines physiological impacts of homophobia among youth

New research from Concordia University observes that young adults who are lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) are at far greater risk for severe mental health problems that their heterosexual peers. The study found that individuals who experienced more LGB-related stress -- arguments about sexual identity, bullying, or discrimination -- had higher "internalized homophobia" (negative feelings about oneself because of one's sexual identity) and showed increased production of the stress hormone cortisol compared to peers in more positive environments. LGB youth who displayed more internalized homophobia and abnormal cortisol activity also experienced increased symptoms of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. Suicide rates are up to 14 times higher among LBG high school and college students compared to their heterosexual peers, the study's lead researcher says. Concordia News