Top Ten

October 13, 2011

Police seek suspect in assault at UWO

London and University of Western Ontario campus police are investigating a report of a female employee who was accosted early Wednesday morning near a campus parking lot. The employee, on her way into work, had just parked her vehicle when a man -- described as white, 25 to 35 years old with a thin build and a lip piercing -- grabbed her. The campus police director says the suspect threw the employee to the ground and touched her in a "sexual" manner. An approaching car apparently frightened the suspect and he fled the scene. London police say the woman was not injured. With campus police stepping up patrols, UWO is encouraging students and staff to walk with a partner if possible, be alert of their surroundings, park in lit areas and in areas close to buildings where they study and work. London Police Service News Release | Western News | London Free Press | Metro London

$270-million pension shortfall at Dal

Dalhousie University's pension fund now has a $270-million shortfall, more than double the figure recorded in March 2010. Dal's VP of finance and administration attributes the shortfall to global economic uncertainty and a drop in interest rates. The Nova Scotia government has deferred the institution's pension solvency payments until March 2013. However, Dal wants to "get its house in order" before then. The university is asking pension plan members to agree to plan structure changes to make the plan more sustainable. Noting that the plan's structure "has worked quite well for a long time," the faculty association president says the "concern is that the administration wants to change the pension plan principally to offload (the) deficit onto the members in the plan." Chronicle Herald

UPEI discontinues mandatory retirement policy

The University of Prince Edward Island announced Wednesday that it has officially dropped its mandatory retirement policy and ended all court proceedings in relation to the policy. In recent years, 6 university employees who were forced to retire when they turned 65 filed complaints to the PEI Human Rights Commission, which in February 2010 deemed the policy discriminatory. UPEI said Wednesday it would work with complainants on any remaining matters of compensation. CBC

Ottawa appoints expert panel on international education strategy

The federal government announced yesterday the formation of an expert advisory panel to the country's international education strategy. The panel will advise Ottawa on attracting the best and brightest international students to Canada; strengthening the country's engagement with emerging priority markets; expanding the delivery of Canadian education services, expertise, and knowledge overseas; and promoting partnerships between Canada and educational institutions worldwide. Among the panel members are UWO president Amit Chakma (who is panel chair), Saint Mary's University president Colin Dodds, and BCIT president Don Wright. The panel is expected to report to the international trade and finance ministers early next year, with the strategy slated to be released shortly afterwards. International Trade News Release | AUCC News Release | CBIE News Release | Polytechnics Canada News Release

Sudbury approves in principle sale of Market Square to Laurentian

Despite being stymied by a lack of details, Greater Sudbury city council has approved in principle the sale of Market Square to Laurentian University for the new architecture school. While willing to approve the sale, councillors have a number of concerns and agreed to defer the final decision until November 9. At issue is that the municipality has not appraised the property yet and still hopes to negotiate a better price than the $1 million offered by Laurentian, which has also offered $2 million to relocate the market the architecture school would displace. Laurentian president Dominic Giroux says the delay will not upset plans to open the school in 2013. Sudbury Star | CBC

More Ontario students enrolling at StFX

In recent years, St. Francis Xavier University has been attracting a record number of Ontario secondary school students -- 30% last year, and 20% in each of the previous 2 years. Today, 22% of students at the Nova Scotia-based institution come from Ontario, and StFX has plans for the years ahead to keep growing that proportion to 50% of the student population. StFX says that getting its message heard, even if it means setting up outside the Ontario Universities' Fair, is critical to success. StFX News Release

Lakeland College reports enrolment growth

As of September 30, there were 2,355 full- and part-time credit students enrolled at Alberta-based Lakeland College, up 3.7% over the same time last year. There are 829 full-time and 121 part-time students at the Vermilion campus, 703 full-time and 149 part-time students at the Lloydminster campus, and 141 full-time and 412 part-time students enrolled in online and off-campus programs. The college anticipates the total headcount this school year will be about 8,000. Domestic students this year come from Alberta, BC, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, and Yukon. International students at Lakeland hail from Barbados, China, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Kenya, Mexico, Uganda, and the US. Lakeland News Release

StatsCan report explores educational attainment of Saskatchewan francophones

Based on 2006 Census data, a new Statistics Canada paper observes that education attainment differences between anglophones and francophones in Saskatchewan are very small, except that anglophones (27%) are proportionally more likely to have a high school diploma than francophones (21%), and francophones (17%) are proportionally more likely to possess a university degree at or above the bachelor's level than anglophones (13%). Among 25-to-34-year-olds, a much higher proportion of anglophones have no certificate, diploma, or degree. The trends are the same, albeit less pronounced, among 35- to-54-year olds. The trends for individuals aged 65 and over show that by this age, the gaps between the 2 language groups are near non-existent. Read the paper

TDSB to consider incentives for at-risk students

In the coming weeks, the Toronto District School Board will be presented with a report recommending that it take the next 3 years to explore how a financial "student performance incentive" plan might work for students facing "challenging circumstances." The board must also consider whether incentives should be linked to attendance, behaviour, grades, skills, credits earned, or graduation. The report suggests a pilot program might go into effect in 2014-15.

Some US institutions rethinking international expansion

Boston-based Suffolk University closed its branch campus in Senegal last spring after losing approximately $10 million on the campus, figuring it would cost far less in the long run to move its Senegal students to the main campus. The closure is the latest of many -- in recent years, Michigan State University (Dubai), George Mason University (United Arab Emirates), and Troy University (Germany, Guam, Sri Lanka) have shut down their international branches. "Universities are still new to globalization," says the president of Northeastern University, which has not established an international campus. "We are going to see many experiments that fail." The lure of overseas campuses is drawing many US institutions. Yale University, for example, is planning to found a campus in Singapore. Boston Globe