Top Ten

March 7, 2011

uRegina, uSask presidents cautious about expanding degree granting in province

In response to the Saskatchewan government's public consultations to consider expanding degree-granting status in the province, University of Regina president Vianne Timmons says her institution could stand to lose money if provincial funding for degree programs is shared among more schools. She says uRegina is watching the matter carefully to ensure that its students are not compromised, whatever the outcome is. University of Saskatchewan president Peter MacKinnon welcomes the discussions, but says he would ask 3 questions before uSask commits: "is it in the public interest, is the quality the same, and who pays?" SIAST president Bob McCulloch says his institution does not see itself being a university, but believes Saskatchewan would be well-served by expanding degree opportunities. CTV

NB universities need provincial assistance to become more competitive, say presidents

University presidents in New Brunswick say they need assistance from the province to make their institutions more competitive. St. Thomas University president Denis Cochrane believes the government should take a leadership role and help promote STU, UNB, Mount Allison, and uMoncton. Since 1998, New Brunswick's universities have received the least provincial support in Canada, per capital, putting them at a competitive disadvantage. While the province has focused a bit more on PSE in the last few years, more needs to be done, says Mount Allison president Robert Campbell. "No university wants to be in a situation where it is holding out its hand," he says. "That's humiliating. We want to be successful." Telegraph-Journal

Concordia sets aside $3 million for tuition waivers for international grad students

Over the next 3 years, Concordia University will spend $3 million on a pilot project offering full tuition waivers to foreign students entering PhD and MFA programs at the institution. The goal of the project is hopefully to improve the quality and increase the number of international graduate students Concordia is attracting. The funds will allow the university to bring in about 35 new foreign students per year with the full tuition waiver. CUP Newswire

Liberals consider focus on education in election strategy

While the federal Liberal Party has not yet disclosed details of its "pan-Canadian learning strategy," leader Michael Ignatieff believes education is an issue that can help distinguish his party from the Conservatives. In a recent speech to the Liberal caucus, Ignatieff said Canadians need to know that his party will support them if their children need help affording PSE. Given that higher education is a provincial matter, it is not top of mind for Canadians to associate the federal government with PSE funding, says a pollster, who suggests Ignatieff's rhetoric could work if it is connected to a job strategy of some sort that would appeal to all Canadians, not just students and their parents. Postmedia News

Institutions adding more privacy, luxury to new residences

As Canadian universities expand and compete to attract out-of-province and foreign students, what students want is a top priority, meaning more privacy and amenities are being added to on-campus housing. Students who move into the University of Manitoba's New Pembina Hall this fall will have their own bedroom and bathroom. Laundry facilities in the University of Toronto Mississauga's newest residence inform students via text-message when their wash was done. Catering to students' desires has allowed residences to accommodate a more diverse student body. A McGill University architecture professor says the trend in private elements presents more opportunities for social isolation, and he stresses the need for common spaces. University Affairs

Universities take aim at wild student behaviour

Several Canadian post-secondary schools are boosting efforts to rein in destructive parties, both on and off campus. Queen's University has suspended its fall homecoming until 2014 because of safety concerns over raucous street celebrations. Some University of Toronto students lost access to their residence common room for several weeks over damage caused by belligerent revellers last month. Ryerson University officials are taking steps to discipline students following an "out of control party" in one residence that resulted in a $4,000 cleaning bill. If no one comes forward to take responsibility for the damage, students on the whole floor may be billed for the cleaning costs as a last resort. Canadian Press

MacDiv runs outdoor campaign

Last week, McMaster Divinity College launched the second of 2 outdoor promotion campaigns. The phrase "God wants your undergrad" appears on bus shelter ads in London and Toronto, as well as in a number of Toronto subway stations. The main purpose of the campaign is to encourage university graduates from a number of disciplines to consider how theological study might be relevant to future career ambitions. The ads incorporate QR tags, directing mobile users to a dedicated Web page developed for the campaign. The first outdoor campaign entailed billboards and mall posters throughout Hamilton and Kitchener/Cambridge. Using imagery of a bible, the campaign's message read, "Don't just know the Book by its cover." MacDiv News |

BC invests in UVic's LE,NONET Project

The BC government announced Friday $250,000 in one-time funding to support programs and research aimed at helping Aboriginal students at the University of Victoria succeed in their post-secondary studies. Funded by the federal government, the LE,NONET Project emerged out of a national interest in increasing PSE graduation rates for Aboriginal people and UVic's long-standing commitment to Aboriginal education. Operating at UVic between 2005 and 2009, LE,NONET students experienced a 100% increase in term-to-term retention, a 20% increase in graduation rates, and a 67% reduction in withdrawal rates. BC News Release | Backgrounder

CFI video highlights women's success in science

To mark the centenary of International Women's Day today, the Canada Foundation for Innovation is releasing a video offering a personal portrayal of the rewards and challenges of being a woman in science. The video features 5 accomplished Canadian researchers, who discuss what women bring to the scientific process and what needs to be done to attract more women into research careers. The CFI is also publishing an article on the state of women in science in the country, including a look at trends and attitudes of young girls regarding science. CFI News | Watch the video

UWO student creates site for campus news, gossip

A first-year student at the University of Western Ontario has developed a website called Rewd, described as a "high-energy, fast-paced" platform catering to the needs of students by posting the latest campus news, gossip, rants, Twitter updates from students, and contributions from guest writers. Rewd's creator developed the site as a means to connect with fellow students and to inform students about what's going on around campus. Since its debut more than a month ago, the site has had 7,500 page views. London Free Press (video) |