Top Ten

April 14, 2011

Campus Pro-Life challenges uCalgary censure in court

Found guilty of non-academic misconduct by the University of Calgary for continually displaying graphic posters involving abortion, members of a pro-life club are taking their case to court. 7 Campus Pro-Life members were initially found guilty by university administration of non-academic misconduct last May, a decision upheld on appeal in August and confirmed by the board of governors in January. The club's president says she was disappointed that she and her fellow group members never had a hearing before the board. uCalgary previously issued a statement after its ruling saying it isn't opposed to students sharing their beliefs about abortion on campus; however, the institution has safety and security concerns with the group's display. The students' lawyer expects a hearing before a judge could be held in July. Calgary Herald | CBC

Group of uSask profs seeks changes to institution's governance model

Following criticism over appointments made by senior officials at the University of Saskatchewan, 6 faculty members have sent an open letter to the province's advanced education minister, calling for amendments to the University of Saskatchewan Act to require that all board of governors meetings be open to the public. The professors also want a requirement of public sector and university backgrounds for board members. uSask president Peter MacKinnon said the professors' suggestions on board members' backgrounds would rule out huge numbers of qualified people with experience in business, arts, and professional practice. Having written his own letter to the minister in response, MacKinnon says the issue of the openness of the board has long been debated, but the board's role in overseeing the institution's business operations means it requires confidentiality for much of its work. Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

uWaterloo criticized for suspending student car team

A sponsor and a donor are criticizing the University of Waterloo for its discipline of the Formula SAE team after a female student on the team used the institution's Student Design Centre for a photo-shoot without permission, contrary to university policy. The president of a Cambridge company that has been a long-standing major sponsor of the race car project says it was an "extremely harsh" punishment for what he termed an innocent mistake. A uWaterloo graduate who has been a donor for 30 years describes the approach as too "heavy-handed"; unless the engineering dean reverses his decision, the alumnus says he will withhold future donations. The dean says he is sorry to have upset sponsors and donors, but "we have to do the right thing." The dean describes the female student's bikini pose as "a setback" to the hard work uWaterloo has done to make both women and men see the engineering faculty as an open, friendly, and welcoming environment. Waterloo Region Record

Coalition suggests closure of uQuébec headquarters to finance education propositions

While Quebec has made remarkable progress from an education standpoint since the Quiet Revolution, a new wave of changes is needed to make the province's education system one of the best in the world by 2020, states the Coalition for the Future of Québec in a discussion paper released Tuesday. The coalition's proposals centre around 3 major initiatives, one of which is more CÉGEP and university graduates. The group proposes that PSE institutions commit to using public funds to improve performance by focusing less on bureaucracy and more on student services. Universities should be encouraged to combine their efforts to develop areas of learning and research within an international scope, the paper states. The coalition says the initiatives would be implemented over 4 years at an annual recurring cost of $950 million, with $10 million in financing coming from the closure of the Université du Québec headquarters. Despite criticisms of the proposals, a coalition co-founder says the changes are imperative. Coalition for the Future of Québec News Release | Executive Summary | Full Paper | Fédération des cégeps News Release (in French) | FEUQ News Release (in French) | Le Soleil (in French) | Canadian Press (in French) | QMI Agency (in French)

Concordia's "millennial renaissance" draws more students, research funding

A "millennial renaissance" at Concordia University has seen the institution double its enrolment of out-of-province students, boost its research funding, and revitalize the physical imprint of its campuses since 2000. The institution has attracted 99% more Ontario students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels in the past decade. Over the same period, the share of foreign students has risen by 150%. From 2001 to 2005, research revenue at Concordia increased by 100%. Over the last 4 years, the university's research funding has averaged $30 million per year. The last decade has seen the revitalization of Quartier Concordia, which stretches across 4 square kilometres in downtown Montreal, as well as the overhaul of the Loyola campus in the city's west end. Concordia News

Application boom at UBCO

Undergraduate applications to the University of British Columbia's Okanagan campus are expected to exceed 5,000 this spring, roughly 2.5 times the number UBCO saw in 2005, the first year of the campus' operation. UBCO's associate vice-president of students says demand is particularly strong for engineering, human kinetics, and engineering. The Bachelor of Arts program has seen a 24% increase in new applications, and will likely be the single greatest contribution to growth at the campus this fall. Direct-entry applications from Okanagan Valley high schools are up 13%, and demand from the Lower Mainland is up 45% over the previous year. Domestic and international applications have risen by 8% and 53%, respectively. UBCO News Release

83% of Ontario college graduates find work within 6 months

According to Key Performance Indicators (KPI) released Wednesday for Ontario colleges, 83% of the 2009-10 graduates found work within 6 months after graduation. More than 93% of employers were satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of college graduates they hired. Over 79% of graduates reported satisfaction with the usefulness of their education in achieving their goals post-graduation. More than 76% of students were satisfied with the overall quality of learning experience, knowledge and skills acquired, services, programming, and resources available to them. KPI Results

Niagara College opens teaching brewery

Wednesday marked the official opening of Niagara College's teaching brewery, the first of its kind in Canada. Based at the institution's Niagara-on-the-Lake campus, the 1,500-square-foot facility allows students to brew their own craft beer and gain hands-on training in beer making, sales management, and sensory evaluation. The teaching brewery includes a large scale system capable of producing 3,000 litres of beer, as well as a smaller pilot system that allows students to brew one keg at a time. Niagara College News Release

UWO makes Playboy's best party school list

Playboy magazine has named the University of Western Ontario North America's fourth-best party school, following the University of Colorado Boulder, Pennsylvania State University, and Arizona State University. The adult magazine describes London's bar scene as "kicking," and cites both St. Patrick's Day and Halloween as "monumental occasions" at UWO, which is the only Canadian university on the top-10 list. Playboy also singles out Saugeen-Maitland Hall, UWO's largest residence, for its party reputation. The magazine's annual ranking is based on factors such as student interviews, an institution's male-to-female ratio, and winning sports teams. A UWO official says she doubts the Playboy list will hurt the university's reputation. "I don't know how many people these days would use that magazine as a way to choose a university." London Free Press

Ontario College of Teachers releases social media guidelines

On Monday, the Ontario College of Teachers issued a professional advisory offering advice to its members on how best to use electronic communication and social media with students. The college advises teachers not to accept or initiate Facebook friend requests with students, and not to follow them on Twitter. Instead, teachers should use official school board Facebook pages to interact with students. The college's CEO suggests teachers use their board e-mail accounts to correspond with students, and to notify parents before using social networks to connect with students in class. The advisory recommends teachers avoid exchanging private texts, phone numbers, photos, and personal e-mail address with students; manage privacy and security settings of their social media accounts; and avoid online criticism about students, colleagues, their employer, or others within the school community. OCT News Release | Advisory | CBC | CTV