Top Ten

October 17, 2011

Brandon U president responds to students' academic concerns relating to strike

In a communiqué to students, some of whom have raised concerns about possible academic penalties that might arise due to the current faculty strike, Brandon University Deborah Poff writes that "students have a right not to cross a picket line; it is an act of political and moral conscience, and Brandon University will not discriminate against students for their political beliefs." Each faculty member will be responsible for ensuring fairness in teaching and making the necessary accommodations in his or her class, states Poff, who adds that she trusts that "all teachers will treat students' concerns arising from the job action with respect." If students have any immediate academic-related concerns, Poff asks that they contact the dean of their faculty or school. Communiqué

uSask leadership's corporate ties debated at senate meeting

Attendees at Saturday's University of Saskatchewan senate meeting included a group of protesters linked to the Occupy Saskatchewan movement who are critical of the corporate ties among the institution's leadership. The protesters were invited by University Senators in Saskatchewan Working to Revive Democracy (USS-WORD), which had called for the board of governors chair to resign because of an alleged conflict of interest relating to her involvement with Cameco Corp. At the meeting, uSask president Peter MacKinnon rejected the suggestion that there was anything undemocratic about the way the institution managed its affairs. USS-WORD and its supporters say corporate relationships compromise uSask's autonomy and filter funds away from the arts and humanities, while other senators say those ties are essential to Saskatchewan's economy and keep much-need research dollars flowing into uSask. Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

What might Ontario's new undergraduate universities look like?

Writing for the Toronto Star, David Trick, co-author of the forthcoming book Academic Reform: Policy Options for Improving the Quality and Cost-Effectiveness of Undergraduate Education in Ontario, outlines some features to look for in the re-elected Ontario Liberal government's 3 proposed undergraduate campuses. They should aim to teach students skills such as critical thinking and effective communication, and be held accountable for proving that students have acquired these skills prior to graduating; offer programs that meet emerging economic needs; and focus on teaching. Trick writes that the new universities should integrate new technologies into the curriculum, as well as have a student-focused research mission. He concludes that the teaching-oriented university would be a more affordable way to provide high-quality undergraduate education for an increasing number of students. Toronto Star

Ottawa urged to take action before it approaches student-loan ceiling

According to the 2010-11 Canada Student Loans Program Actuarial Report, federal student-loan debt will reach and exceed its legislated ceiling of $15 billion in January 2013. Without taking action, the federal government will legally not be allowed to loan any funding to students, states the Canadian Federation of Students, whose national chairperson says the only way forward is for Ottawa to respect the cap and begin converting some loans into non-repayable grants. Students will head to Ottawa next week to meet with parliamentarians to demand action from the government before student-loan levels breach the legal limit. CFS News Release |

Keyano launches $5-million capital campaign

The Keyano College Foundation announced last Thursday the formal launch of its $5-million "Expanding Opportunities" campaign to raise funds for the first phase of the Alberta-based institution's Oilsands Trades & Technology Centre, which includes the Oilsands Power & Process Engineering Lab. The Foundation has already raised approximately $3 million toward its goal. With ground-breaking slated for next spring, construction of the lab will increase enrolment spaces in Keyano's power and process programs to a total of 1,160 students. Keyano News Release

International-student enrolment boom at CBU

Cape Breton University reports there are 238 new international students this year, an increase of nearly 70% over last year. The institution is home to slightly more than 700 foreign students from 27 nations, with the largest contingent of students coming from China, followed by Saudi Arabia. CBU continues to do well in the local marketplace, recruiting 80% of high school graduates attending university. Overall, full-time enrolment has risen by 4.5% over last year. CBU News Release

Enrolment rises at Northern Lakes College

Alberta-based Northern Lakes College saw approximately 200 more students enrolled for this term compared to last fall. Total enrolment is approaching 1,000 students, who not only reside in the college's north-central Alberta service region, but also in communities across the province due to the institution's online courses and eCampusAlberta partnership. Northern Lakes also reports a 25% increase in applications for the fall semester, totalling 4,400. Northern Lakes College News Release

UWO may remove University College tower from logo

Part of the University of Western Ontario's logo since 2000, the University College tower could soon be dropped from the institution's emblem. “The current logo doesn’t allow for a connection between the tower and any of the individual faculties or units,” says UWO's VP External. “It restricts our ability to use the university’s name with that of our individual faculties, student centres or institutes.” UWO is surveying students, faculty, and alumni on changing the logo, the wordmark, the colours it uses, the style of its photography, and the words used to describe the institution. If modified, the changes could be introduced as early as next year, with adjustments phased in over time. London Free Press

Cambrian develops new app, mobile site, AR games

On Friday, Cambrian College launched a set of new technologies to help future and current students, faculty, and staff learn about the college's programs and services and engage with the institution while they're on the go. Available for download on iTunes, the new iCambrian app features an augmented reality (AR) reader that allows users to play the college's 3 AR games, which include basketball and hockey shooting games, as well as a scrambled puzzle involving Cambrian's viewbook. The college has also launched a mobile website, which is accessible on any smartphone. Cambrian News Release | Sudbury Star | Northern Life

BCIT business students unplug for famine relief efforts

Following last week's BlackBerry service interruptions and the release of Apple's iPhone 4S, students at BCIT's School of Business are unplugging from social media and texting for 5 days this week. Until Friday, students are cutting ties with social media, instant messaging, text messaging, and BlackBerry Messenger. The 5-day experiment will examine how students are becoming dependent on technology, how it impacts their productivity and relationships, and if they can strike a balance by remaining connected without becoming obsessed. During the experiment, students are raising money for the Canadian Red Cross to support famine relief efforts in Africa. BCIT News Release | Unplug for Africa