Top Ten

September 7, 2011

Individuals connected to JIBC targeted in attacks

On Tuesday the RCMP announced that an ongoing investigation has revealed threats and criminal activity -- including arson and shots fired -- against individuals with links to the Justice Institute of BC, a New Westminster-based PSE institution. So far the investigation has revealed than 10 people were targeted; among them are 3 JIBC employees and 2 past students, while the remaining individuals have indirect connections to the school. None of the victims has been physically injured and they are not suspected of having ties to this or any other criminal activity. None of the incidents took place on JIBC campuses, where security has been enhanced. The school has informed students, faculty, and staff of the situation, and classes are running as scheduled. RCMP News Release | JIBC Statement | Vancouver Sun

Campuses urged to address stimulant abuse by students

A Canadian Medical Association Journal editorial calls on post-secondary institutions to do more to protect their students from and educate them about the dangers of illicit stimulant use. The editorial notes that the perceived boost to academic performance due to stimulant use is a "pervasive myth," and most students seem unaware of the potential dangers associated with use of stimulants. As "ground zero for 'grade-boosting' stimulant abuse," colleges and universities should launch education campaigns that debunk myths and expose risks, as well as try to identify and address the root cause of stimulant abuse, the authors recommend. The editorial urges institutional administrators to be vigilant because, like in cases of binge and underage drinking, they could be held responsible for the consequences of stimulant abuse on campus. "Like doping in sports, abuse of stimulants by our best and brightest students should be denormalized by being viewed as cheating or substance abuse, pure and simple," the editorial concludes. CMAJ editorial | CBC |

Concordia trades staff go on one-day strike

Concordia University trades employees organized a 24-hour strike yesterday to protest the slow pace of negotiations. Without a contract for more than 3 years, this past spring the 65 unionized workers voted in favour of launching a general strike when the time was deemed right. University and academic operations at Concordia continued as scheduled during the trades employees' labour action. USW News Release | Concordia News

Support staff strike affecting training and duties, say McGill medical residents

McGill University medical residents say the strike by the institution's unionized non-academic staff has affected their training and ability to do their jobs properly, as such staff have a vital role in the administrative side of medical residency programs. They warn that the situation will get worse if the strike is not resolved quickly, and if medical residents launch their own Quebec-wide strike on September 17 as planned. While university officials say there have been no big operational problems, emergency medicine residents state in a letter to McGill principal Heather Munroe-Blum that residency programs rely on coordinators, who are among the striking support staff. "Our jobs as medical residents who serve the general public will be placed at risk because we will have to waste time and energy trying to do all of the things that won't get done and to stop the program from essentially falling apart," the letter states. Montreal Gazette

Interest-free loans, expanded bursaries part of PEI Liberals' PSE plan

In kicking off the provincial election campaign Tuesday, PEI Premier Robert Ghiz released the governing Liberals' 7-point plan for higher education, which proposes the elimination of interest on the provincial portion of existing and future loans for those students who remain in the province. If re-elected the party would increase the George Coles Bursary to $2,200 and introduce the George Coles University Graduate Bursary, a $2,000 award for students in their final year of study. The Liberals also pledge to expand programs and funding to help rural students access PSE, allow mature students to return to PSE programs while retaining Employment Insurance eligibility, and introduce a pre-apprenticeship training and employment program for 17- to 22-year-olds. Starting in 2013, the party would assist children and families receiving the National Child Benefit Supplement to access RESP funding through a provincial contribution. Liberal Party of PEI | Charlottetown Guardian | CBC

TRU celebrates opening of law school

On Tuesday BC's Thompson Rivers University held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open its Faculty of Law, Canada's first new law school in more than 33 years (Lakehead University is expected to open its law school in 2013 -- Ontario's first in more than 4 decades). Welcoming 75 students, the program's focus is on legal issues facing energy and natural resources, as well as the socio-economic challenges confronting Canada's Aboriginal communities. The law faculty "is a bold expression of our commitment to becoming one of Canada's premier comprehensive, learner-centred universities," says TRU president Alan Shaver. "Our graduates will be a new kind of lawyer -- well rounded, critical, and socially conscious thinkers and doers prepared to lead in an ever-changing world." TRU News

Brock anticipates record enrolment

Brock University expects a record number of students this fall, with total enrolment likely to exceed 18,000 for the first time in the institution's history. While final figures for the fall semester will not be known until all registrations are completed in mid-September, the enrolment will include close to 4,000 first-year students, which is a record at the university. While enrolments are strong in all of Brock's faculties, the school continues to be a draw particularly in its co-op, concurrent education, and applied health sciences programs. Brock News

STU develops new student code of conduct

St. Thomas University is launching a new student code of conduct covering behaviour both on and off campus, nearly a year after a student died after attending an initiation party for the institution's men's volleyball team. An internal investigation found the team broke STU's statement of conduct by organizing the party, leading to the team's suspension for the remainder of the 2010-11 academic year. STU's director of communication says the institution decided it needed to articulate the expectations for students in a new code of conduct, part of which involves a committee tasked with reviewing complaints about student activities. Students who violate the code could face punishments ranging from a reprimand to expulsion. CBC

Enrolment rises at Lethbridge College

Preliminary figures show that approximately 4,200 students began classes at Lethbridge College yesteday, an increase of 3% to 5% from the previous year. There are wait lists for several college programs, including nursing, multimedia production, engineering design, and wind turbine technician. As it assesses programs to ensure graduating students have the skills and knowledge to meet employers' needs, the institution is exploring program development in areas such as sustainable development and construction. Lethbridge College is also looking to add more flexibility through its distributed learning offerings so face-to-face classes have more virtual components. Lethbridge Herald

Chicago university offers tuition discount on Groupon

With a deal offered on Groupon, prospective students can save nearly 60% on tuition for a graduate-level introduction to teaching course at National Louis University (NLU), a private institution in Chicago. As of yesterday afternoon, 5 people have bought the deal, which offers the 3-credit course for $950, whereas the regular tuition fee is $2,232. "We're hoping to attract the people who have the tenacity and the wherewithal to be teachers," says NLU's vice-president of marketing and communication, adding that "Groupon does reflect the demographic base of people who are becoming teachers." This is the first time a post-secondary institution has used the online service in an effort in boost student interest, Groupon's communications director says. Chicago Tribune | Toronto Star | NLU Groupon Offer