Top Ten

August 2, 2011

CAUT opposes Ottawa's muzzling of UBC prof

The Canadian Association of University Teachers says the federal government prevented Dr. Kristi Miller, a Department of Fisheries and Oceans scientist and adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia, from responding to media requests about her research, which found that viral infections may be compromising sockeye salmon stocks in BC. "This is another blatant example of the Conservative government's disregard for evidence-based research, and the further politicisation of research," says CAUT executive director James Turk. CAUT is urging the Conservatives to ensure that government scientists can freely communicate important scientific research to the public. CAUT News

Sprott-Shaw to suspend intake at Courtenay campus

Unlike the campuses in Duncan and Vernon, the Courtenay campus of Sprott-Shaw Community College will remain open this fall. However, the campus will not be accepting new students. A Sprott-Shaw official says the institution will explore new programming options for the Courtenay campus. The Vernon campus is closing due to a significant decline in enrolment, while the Duncan campus is shutting down after Student Aid BC removed the campus from its list of institutions to issue loans. Comox Valley Echo

Holland College renames Charlottetown campus

On Saturday Holland College held a ceremony for the renaming of its Charlottetown location, now known as the Prince of Wales campus. A college official says the naming "recognizes the post secondary history that has occurred on this site and our immediate predecessor on this site was Prince of Wales College." Holland College will officially open its expanded campus this month. Charlottetown Guardian

Private residence planned for Georgian College Orillia campus

A privately developed 200-bed dormitory for Georgian College students in Orillia could be opened by September 2012. A development consulting firm says construction can begin as soon as it has the approvals in place. The dean of the Orillia campus says a residence is "really needed at this growing campus." Barrie Examiner

TRU working to improve loan default rate

A Thompson Rivers University official says the institution is working on improving its student-loan default rate, which was routinely at or near the top of the list of fully accredited provincial universities between 2006 and 2009, when it dropped to 12.8% TRU has been working with the BC government to get the default-rate issue in check and bring the institution's numbers down further, including evaluations of programs and courses that currently produce high default numbers. TRU has unusually high enrolment from non-traditional students, particularly in its open learning programs. Kamloops This Week

Adult education a serious policy issue in PEI, report says

According to a new report, how adults gain knowledge and the costs incurred are policy issues for PEI. The report observes that learners under the age of 25 were nearly 17% more likely to drop out of adult education programs, while learners in this age group who already received a high school diploma had lower literacy scores compared to older learners and learners who did not have a high school diploma. Researchers found that training factors and geographical location did not affect learning gain. They also found that salaries for women in the study increased as their education improved. Holland College News Release

US debt deal may offer only short-term reprieve for financial aid programs

The agreement to raise the US debt ceiling provides $17 billion over 2 years to shore up the Pell Grant program, which has doubled in cost in the last 3 years and faces a multibillion-dollar deficit. By closing most of the gap, the agreement makes it easier for appropriators to maintain the maximum award without cutting other programs. However, the reprieve comes at a cost and is likely to be short-term. The agreement would cut some PSE benefits, such as the interest subsidy for graduate student loans and repayment incentives for federal student loans. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access) | Inside Higher Ed

US colleges tackle Google ads that redirect potential students

At a time when many students begin their college search online, brand confusion can cost an institution students and tarnish its online reputation, reports The Chronicle of Higher Education. Some advertisements that promise information about unaffiliated institutions violate Google's advertising policies, and some legal experts suggest they could be construed as false advertising. Last year the Education Marketing Council released a code of ethics that prohibits misleading advertising, but the code is voluntary and difficult to enforce. Lead-generation websites bid on proprietary, evolving lists of search terms, making tracking the ads an expensive endeavour. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

Princeton Review names Ohio U top party school in US

Ohio University has been chosen as the top party school in the US in the annual Princeton Review survey, released Monday. Ohio U replaces the University of Georgia, which placed first in the category last year. In a statement Ohio U says the ranking "is not indicative of the overall experience of Ohio students and does not match the data we have collected." Texas-based Rice University placed first in the "happiest students" category. Utah's Brigham Young University is still the top institution in the "stone-cold sober schools" category, clinging to the title for the fourteenth consecutive year. Princeton Review News Release | Ohio U News

Student visa applications to Australia drop 20%

According to a quarterly report on Australia's student visa program, applications fell by nearly 20% across the board. Applications from India fell almost 63% in the last financial year, while applications from China, Australia's largest source nation for foreign students, dropped 24.3%. A higher education expert says the significant decline in international student visa applications was largely due to government changes to the visa criteria and skilled migration list. The Age | Read the report