Top Ten

February 18, 2011

uWaterloo police investigate anti-female actions at institution

University of Waterloo police are conducting a criminal investigation into anti-female posters put over student election campaign signs of female candidates, and offensive fraudulent e-mails sent across campus that were pretending to be from uWaterloo president Feridun Hamdullahpur. In response to the fake e-mail, which refers to the posters, Hamdullahpur says "this kind of behaviour in our community is rare and unacceptable, and one I know our faculty, staff and students don't support." He notes the fake e-mail was sent from a Gmail account, and stresses that all communication from the president's office will come from a uWaterloo account. The Federation of Students and the UW Women's Centre held a discussion panel Friday afternoon to address the issue. uWaterloo Daily Bulletin (February 17) | uWaterloo Daily Bulletin (February 18) | Waterloo Region Record | CTV

Former WLU manager admits to scamming university out of $30,000

On Thursday, a former manager of Wilfrid Laurier University's One Card system pleaded guilty to theft over $5,000 after using bogus on-campus debit cards to scam the institution out of $30,000. Initially detected by another employee in the One Card office, the scam triggered an audit that cost WLU more than $100,000 before police were called in. The court heard that the former manager used his access and knowledge of the system to create 9 cards under fictitious names, including those of comic book characters. The judge in the case suggested "full compensation to the university" would be a key factor in the former employee's favour if it has been made by the time he returns to court for sentencing in June. Waterloo Region Record

Employers oppose discontinuation of machinist program at NSCC Halifax

Following word that Nova Scotia Community College will discontinue the machinist program in Halifax, some potential employers are frustrated that machinist training will in future be available only at NSCC's Pictou and Kentville campuses. One employer says those campuses are too far from Halifax-Dartmouth for students to commute to classes, and that most machinist graduates from those campuses are interested only in working in their home communities. NSCC's dean of trades and technology says the college has an overcapacity of machinist training space in Pictou and Kentville, and will use the space made available at the Halifax campus for new high-tech programs that are in demand by prospective students. Halifax Chronicle-Herald

Environmental students ignoring fieldwork, says uManitoba prof

"I don't think (environmental students) can possibly be true environmental scientists without having the background in environmental work outdoors," says a University of Manitoba biologist and former director of the Delta Marsh Field Station, whose operations were cut back in 2009. His comments come at a time when enrolment in environmental studies at uManitoba "is rocketing." The professor says students lacking fieldwork are not prepared when they graduate, which opens up future environmental leaders "to charges of hypocrisy and could promote an overly idealistic view of nature." The dean of uManitoba's environment faculty disagrees that students are doing less fieldwork, suggesting that it may appear that way because the types of fieldwork are much more diverse than a decade ago. Winnipeg Free Press

$2.75-million grant expands environmental law teaching, research at UVic

A new agreement between the University of Victoria and the Quadra Island-based Tula Foundation provides $2.75 million to UVic's law faculty to support teaching and research in environmental law and sustainability. Under the agreement, the foundation will continue to support the university's Environmental Law Centre, and will also support a new environmental law and sustainability program that will expand the law faculty's teaching and research in this area. UVic has also signed an affiliation agreement with the Tula Foundation's Haikai Beach Institute to develop future research and teaching opportunities for students. UVic News Release

Enrolment at SIAST rises 30% in 4 years

The Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology reports that enrolment across all campuses was up 9.3% in the last full school year, and up 29.9% over 4 years. Apprenticeship training and basic education have experienced the greatest growth, but all areas show healthy increases in demand. Certificate and diploma programming, which accounts for the largest student segment, grew 5.7% over the previous year, and 13.9% over 4 years. SIAST News Release

Kwantlen president moving to MacEwan

Grant MacEwan University's board of governors announced Friday that David Atkinson will be the Edmonton-based institution's next president, effective July 1. Atkinson will come to MacEwan from Kwantlen Polytechnic University, where he has served as president since 2008. Atkinson led Kwantlen, whose profile is very similar to MacEwan's, through its transformation from a university college to a university (MacEwan went from a college to a university in 2009). Atkinson began his academic career at the University of Lethbridge, served as the dean of arts and science at the University of Saskatchewan, and moved on to Brock University and Carleton University as president. MacEwan News

Dal researchers explore students' outcomes from different post-high school pathways

In a project involving interviews with employed 20-something Canadians about the different paths they took after high school, Dalhousie University researchers found that many of the students who choose to work or travel first entered university with more specific goals, wasted less money, and found a real calling. Many students who lacked clear plans latched onto a job or career plan they liked. Among high-achieving students who went straight to university, some ended up trapped in programs or headed toward careers they did not like. The researchers identified 3 personality types in students and the paths they take from high school to university: navigators (they decide what they want to be early and go straight to university); explorers (they try different jobs or programs before settling on one); and drifters (they appear to have no idea what they want to do). Globe and Mail (gap year) | Globe and Mail (student personality type)

Applied research expanding at Canadian colleges

According to a new report from the Association of Canadian Community Colleges, from 2008-09 to 2009-10, the number of research centres and laboratories at colleges rose 40% from 140 to 196, a 172% increase since 2006 when only 72 were identified. 83 institutions have a dedicated applied research division, a 24% increase from 2008-09. Private-sector funding has grown more than 10-fold since 2005, and remained stable between 2008-09 and 2009-10 in spite of the downturn. The private sector invested $45 million in applied research at colleges in 2009-10, up from $4 million in 2005. ACCC News Release | Read the report | Fact Sheet

Decline in Chinese students in Australia reflects state of Chinese-Australian relations

The Australian suggests the alarming decline in the number of Chinese students studying in Australia is "a symptom of a deterioration of Australia's engagement with China." The paper points out that after 8 months in office, Prime Minister Julia Gillard has yet to visit the Asian nation, "or even engage with China in any meaningful way." While the "unfolding disaster" in Australia's PSE sector has yet to fully play out, a leading Beijing education agent says it is not just revenues at stake. "The decrease in student numbers will lead to reduction of influence in China," he says. "It's not just an issue of making money but spreading the reputation of your country." The Australian