Top Ten

August 25, 2011

UWO librarians, archivists set September 8 strike deadline

Without a contract since June 30, unionized librarians and archivists at the University of Western Ontario could be in a legal strike position on September 8. The faculty association's president says negotiations will continue before the strike deadline. At issue are pay and recognition of job skills. UWO is implementing a number of measures to ensure minimal disruption to students, faculty, staff, and the community in the event of job action. The university says it is expected that all campus libraries will stay open and most library services will be available. Western News | London Free Press

McGill non-academic staff approve strike mandate

Members of the McGill University Non-Academic Certified Association (MUNACA) have voted in favour of giving their union the right to call a strike in light of what the union calls "continued resistance on the part of the university to negotiate fair and equitable working conditions." The Public Service Alliance of Canada says workers are seeking the same conditions their colleagues enjoy at other Quebec institutions, such as pension and benefit protection and scheduling rights. Negotiations for a new contract began last December and were scheduled to continue yesterday. The 1,700 MUNACA members are currently in a legal position to strike. PSAC News Release

International-student enrolment rises at TRU

Preliminary figures for fall enrolment at Thompson Rivers University show that between 1,650 and 1,670 foreign students will arrive on campus next month, up from 1,460 last fall. The number of nations represented by the students has also increased, from 85 countries last year to more than 90 this year. The top nations represented at TRU include China, Saudi Arabia, India, Russia, Nigeria, and Taiwan. A TRU official says the university has boosted efforts to attract more Russian students in recent years. 42 more Russian students are arriving this fall. TRU's last student union president was from Russia. Kamloops Daily News

UoGuelph partners with local hotel for student accommodations

Due to existing residences being filled to capacity as it experiences a surge in enrolment, the University of Guelph has arranged to house 64 first-year students at a neighbouring Best Western hotel for the new school year. The hotel is making some minor changes to a 2-storey wing to be reserved for the students, who will pay UoGuelph's standard double-room rate for the 8-month period. UoGuelph has a residence guarantee policy under which accepted students who make a deposit on dorm space are guaranteed one. However, some students who went through the acceptance process missed the deadline. Instead of turning them away, university administrators decide to find the students accommodations. "It's the first time we've done it," a UoGuelph official says of the arrangement, "but it's coming together well." Guelph Mercury

McMaster opens nuclear research facility

On Wednesday McMaster University unveiled its newly expanded Nuclear Research Building, a new cyclotron facility, and improvements to the McMaster Nuclear Research Building. The university used $22 million in Knowledge Infrastructure Program funding to upgrade physical infrastructure, expand isotope research and production capacity, and enhance research and education facilities for the nuclear industry and health-care sectors. McMaster intends to use the cyclotron facility primarily for the development of new drugs for the early diagnosis of diseases such as Alzheimer's and cancer. McMaster News Release

JIBC launches new academic plan

The Justice Institute of British Columbia's board of governors has approved the institution's 2010-13 academic plan, which expands on the mission, strategic direction, trends, values, and vision outlined in JIBC's 2010-15 strategic plan. As per the academic plan, JIBC will work toward increasing student access to programs regionally, provincially, nationally, and internationally; expand academic programs to include both undergraduate and graduate studies and applied research; focus on enhanced learning technology in all program areas; and focus on inter-professional education programming that is flexible and responsive to future labour market needs. JIBC News

BC funding adds health education seats at 6 PSE institutions

On Wednesday the BC government announced nearly $1.5 million to support the expanded delivery of 9 health-care programs offered at Camosun College, College of the Rockies, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Northern Lights College, Selkirk College, and Vancouver Island University. The funding results in the addition of 188 student spaces in health-care assistant, nursing, and pharmacy technician programs. BC News Release

Attracting talent a major issue for emerging tech CEOs, report finds

A new PwC report observes that Canadian emerging technology CEOs are finding it difficult to add new qualified personnel to their payroll. According to the report, 44% of CEOs cited recruiting new talent and management team members as their biggest hiring issue, while 72% say they either do not have a talent management strategy in place or are not sure if their existing strategy is effective. Noting a skills gap in what graduates are learning in PSE and what firms are now requesting in employees, the director of advancement at the University of Waterloo's Stratford campus says changes need to happen at the university level to ensure graduates have the skills technology companies seek. She also stresses the importance of co-op education throughout the university experience. "Employers want new hires to come in and hit the ground running, which is difficult to do if you don't have the practical experience," the director of advancement says. "The more experience you get before graduating, the better." PwC News Release | Read the report

Ryerson DMZ campaign puts out call for "every-preneurs"

Ryerson University's Digital Media Zone, a multidisciplinary workspace for young entrepreneurs to fast-track their venture launches, is looking to engage more students, particularly those outside traditional business programs. The DMZ has developed an internal marketing campaign for back-to-school. Using the tagline "for the every-preneur," the campaign targets specific programs, encouraging students to "unleash your fashion-preneur, archi-preneur, edu-preneur, social-preneur, photogra-preneur, or designer-preneur." The campaign will roll out across campus through Ryerson and DMZ websites, floor advertising, the internal broadcast system, print pieces, and a street team promotion during Orientation Week and the Week of Welcome. "We want to cultivate in (students) an entrepreneurial mindset, so that as they go through their classes and group projects, they are always thinking of how they can turn their ideas into business opportunities," says DMZ's director. By coming to the DMZ to execute their ideas, students "get an invaluable experiential learning opportunity plus the possibility of a viable career." Ryerson News

Elmhurst College first US institution to ask applicants about sexual orientation

Illinois-based Elmhurst College has become the first US institution to include a question about sexual orientation and gender identity on its undergraduate admissions application. Admissions officers plan to use the optional question to connect students with campus services and programs, as well as to help determine eligibility for institutional scholarships awarded to under-represented applicants. Elmhurst's question -- "Would you consider yourself to be a member of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) community?" -- is unique as it concerns a student's identity rather than just his or her interest in a particular issue, says the executive director of Campus Pride, who suspects such questions will become more common on admissions applications. Admissions officials elsewhere continue to deliberate how -- or if -- institutions should ask applicants similar questions. This year the Common Application's board members talked about the possibility of asking applicants about their sexual orientation, but have decided against it for the time being. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)