Top Ten

March 30, 2011

Mixed reaction to PSE initiatives in Ontario budget

While the Ontario government's investment in post-secondary seats is welcomed by institutional, faculty, and student organizations, some groups are disappointed with the budget in that it does not include targeted support for teaching resources, nor does it directly address PSE access and affordability. The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations is concerned that no additional funding will be available for faculty hiring, facility renewal, teaching, or research, which OCUFA says are essential elements of maintaining quality in an expanding PSE system. The budget does nothing to improve the realities facing current students, argues the Ontario chapter of the Canadian Federation of Students. The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance points out the budget made no reference to PSE tax credits, suggesting the provincial government may not fulfill its 2007 election promise to redirect funds currently spent on the credits to up-front grants. Colleges Ontario News Release | COU News Release | OCUFA News Release | CFS News Release | OUSA News Release | CSA News Release

Lawsuit against TRU alleges school did not properly accommodate student's illnesses

A Thompson Rivers University student has launched a lawsuit against the institution, claiming instructors and officials did not properly accommodate his illnesses, which caused him to miss many classes and much of his course work. The student alleges the way TRU dealt with the matter destroyed his academic career. The university denies the allegations, stating the suit is "an abuse of the court process." Kamloops Daily News

Students' protest prevents Carleton board meeting

Carleton University administration were forced to cancel Tuesday's board of governors meeting when approximately 200 students blocked access to the meeting room. The students claimed to be protesting the administration's decision to prevent them from attending the meeting and to debate a motion calling on Carleton to divest pension funds from companies that conduct business with Israel. Because the meeting room has a fire code capacity of 75, Carleton simply could not accommodate hundreds of students, says a university spokesman. Administration asked student groups to name representatives to attend the board meeting, but the groups declined, says the spokesman, who adds the rejection was accompanied with a threat that, if every student who wanted to could not attend the meeting, then "hundreds" of students would gather to "disrupt" the meeting. Ottawa Citizen | CBC

VIU announces contingency plan for students

Cancelling exams or extending the term are the options Vancouver Island University officials are offering students enrolled in academic degree and diploma programs to make up for missing classes due to the faculty strike. VIU states that if classes resume on or before April 11, classes will extend to April 29 and exams will be cancelled. Should the strike extend beyond that date, classes will extend into May, with the length of extension determined when the labour dispute is resolved. If classes resume on or before April 11, full tuition refunds and academic penalty fee withdrawal for the current semester will be considered upon request in special cases that can be documented and verified. If classes resume after April 11, refunds and fee withdrawal for the term will be granted upon request. VIU website | Nanaimo News Bulletin

SMU reinstates women's hockey program

Saint Mary's University announced Tuesday its women's hockey program will continue. The decision to cancel the program due to budget pressures "was wrong and we deeply regret it," says SMU president Colin Dodds. "We are taking several initiatives to earn back the respect lost so as to ensure that our students, alumni and friends continue to be enriched by the tradition and contributions of our female athletes." SMU is working on creating an association that generates support and funding for the women's hockey program and athletics at the institution. Canadian Tire has pledged $60,000 in sponsorship funds for the hockey team. SMU News Release | Halifax Chronicle-Herald | Canadian Tire News Release

AUCC announces federal election priorities

Yesterday the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada launched its election website, which outlines the priorities of Canadian universities during the federal election campaign. AUCC is asking candidates and parties to commit to investing in universities in order to find solutions to the challenges facing the nation, prepare young Canadians to be global citizens, and make a high-quality university education and experience available to more Canadians. AUCC News Release |

CASA launches campaign to encourage students to vote

Yesterday the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations kicked off a social media campaign aimed at making education and student voting a cornerstone of the upcoming federal election. The campaign website includes key information about the parties' higher education policy, important voter information for students, and a student blog. The site also features a video vault, and throughout CASA's campaign students and others will be asked to submit their own videos on the importance of student and youth voting. The website includes a video message from comedian Rick Mercer to students -- "Please deliver some shock and awe to the powers that be," he says. "Show up and vote, and you may end up with a government that's on your side." CASA News Release |

uPhoenix's new direction drives down Apollo Group's stock

Apollo Group Inc. announced Tuesday a quarterly loss and enrolment declines at the University of Phoenix that were largely attributable to changes in uPhoenix's policies meant to ensure that more of the students it enrols can succeed academically. Apollo Group's announcement of its second quarter results drove down the company's stock price. Having been under intense scrutiny amid discussion of increased government regulation, uPhoenix has implemented a series of changes, including revising how it compensates recruiters, to try to lead the for-profit PSE industry in a new direction. Apollo Group News Release | Inside Higher Ed

Professors with personal tweets appear more credible to students, study finds

According to a new US study, faculty members with personal Twitter streams get higher credibility marks from students than professors who stick to business. Researchers created 3 Twitter accounts for 3 fictional "professors" -- one account was filled with personal tweets, the second with scholarly ones, and the third with a combination of both. In a survey of students, respondents rated the personal professor the highest on measures of competence, trustworthiness, and caring, which adds up to credibility. The study suggests that social networking can help make a connection between professors and students, while not sacrificing the former's standing in the classroom. There were some limitations -- for example, older students, and students who didn't use social networking sites themselves, tended to respond less positively to tweets. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

Facebook experiments with real-time ad targeting

Facebook has started testing its own version of intent-based marketing, delivering real-time advertisements based on users' wall posts and status updates. The social network has been using posts and updates as factors for ad targeting for a while, but never in real time. The aim of the test is to figure out if the ads can be delivered at split-second speeds, as soon as the user posts something that is a match for an ad in the system. One key difference between Facebook's real-time ad targeting and the matching of ads to search engine queries is that the nature of status updating and wall posting on a social networking site is public, while search is generally done in isolation. Advertising Age