Top Ten

May 16, 2011

Laurentian-Georgian partnership raises issues of quality, academic freedom

The collaboration between Laurentian University and Georgian College has led to tuition complaints and questions about academic freedom. Laurentian students at Georgian's Barrie campus say even though they pay about $800 more in tuition, they lack an adequate library and extracurricular options, and faced pushback from college officials in starting their own student government. A Laurentian University Faculty Association report argues the collaboration is a way of offering "more postsecondary education on the cheap," noting the "vast majority" of courses are taught by professors hired by Georgian, who are often contract staff commanding lower salaries. The report claims Georgian-based professors are not allowed the same academic freedom as their counterparts at Laurentian's main campus in Sudbury. Senior administrators from both institutions met last week to begin talks on renewing the partnership. Laurentian president Dominic Giroux says guaranteeing the university's standards and protections for faculty and students is crucial to any new agreement. Globe and Mail

Scholarship funding for Libyan students in Canada, US uncertain

After several Western countries froze billions of dollars in Libyan assets to put pressure on Moammar Gadhafi and his regime, funds for a government-paid scholarship program have been caught in a bureaucratic web and are slated to run dry at the end of the month, resulting in some 2,500 Libyan students in Canada and the US facing financial and legal crises. Libya's education ministry has said it wants to continue funding the scholarships, but to do so it would need some flexibility on United Nations sanctions blocking Libyan bank accounts worldwide. The Canadian Bureau for International Education, which oversees the scholarships, and other educational organizations have been lobbying the UN, Canadian authorities, and the US departments of State and Treasury to do this. In the meantime, CBIE is asking over 200 universities and other educational providers involved in the program to waive tuition, at least temporarily, with hopes the money would eventually be paid back. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

Lakehead senate approves proposed law faculty, curriculum

On Friday, Lakehead University's senate officially approved the establishment of a law faculty and proposed new law degree program. The decision follows the Law Society of Upper Canada Benchers' vote last month to approve the law degree program. The senate approval is the final step before submitting a proposal to the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities for funding support. Lakehead News Release

School of Public Health proposed for uWaterloo

The University of Waterloo's health studies and gerontology department would be reborn as a School of Public Health and Health Systems, under a proposal that went to uWaterloo's senate at its monthly meeting yesterday. "The creation of a School will once again position the University of Waterloo and the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences as a global innovator," says the proposal. The mission of the school would be to "advance learning, knowledge, practice and capacity in the fields of public health and health systems through strategic partnerships and excellence in teaching, research, and service." uWaterloo Daily Bulletin

Brock opens Confucius Institute

Brock University held a grand opening community celebration this past weekend for its Confucius Institute. One of about 300 such institutes around the world, the key focus for the Confucius Institute at Brock is to offer formal certification of Mandarin language teachers in Niagara and communities throughout southern Ontario. Brock has been offering Mandarin language credit courses since 1989. Brock News

uToronto plans student centre renovation, expansion at Victoria University

On May 28, Victoria University, in the University of Toronto, will break ground for the Goldring Student Centre, which will double the current space of the Wymilwood student union building to 40,000 square feet. The centre will feature space for meeting rooms, offices for student government and more than 20 student clubs, a renovated café, a 2-storey lounge, an assembly space, a newly defined quadrangle, and additional lockers for commuter students. uToronto News

Confederation College to construct bioenergy centre

Confederation College will house a new bioenergy learning and research centre that will support research into new sources of clean, renewable energy in the Thunder Bay area. With support from the Ontario government, Confederation will build a bioenergy plant that will produce enough clean, renewable energy to heat the institution's Shuniah building and the new REACH facility. Students will be able to conduct hands-on research in the centre. Confederation College News Release

Carleton business school invests in student-run fund

Carleton University's Sprott School of Business is investing $1 million in its student-managed equity portfolio, The Fund @Sprott. To be divided in two $500,000 payments over 2 years, the investment will provide a hands-on learning experience for undergraduate business students considering careers in investment management. Carleton News Release

Global classrooms concept succeeds at Durham College

A professor and e-learning content developer at Durham College teamed up to create and coordinate the global classrooms concept. Each global classroom sees Durham students learn with students from another nation and interact with an industry professional or expert to discuss a specific topic via a live Internet video communication program. The first global classroom took place in April 2010 to great success. Within the past year, over 250 students have participated in the global classrooms and provided positive feedback. Durham has conducted classes with Mahindra United World College of India and hopes to add more colleges from around the world in the near future. Durham College News

Surveys reveal concerns from US college presidents, public about PSE system

In a Pew Research Centre survey, 38% of responding college presidents believe the higher education system in the US is headed in the wrong direction. 58% say public high school students come to college less well prepared than their peers of a decade ago. 64% of respondents say it is unlikely that by 2020 the US will achieve President Barack Obama's goal of having the highest share of young adults with a college degree or certificate of any country in the world. 57% of Americans surveyed say the country's higher education system fails to provide students with good value for the money they and their families spend. 75% say college is too expensive for most Americans to afford. Is College Worth It?