Top Ten

October 31, 2011

Sexual assault reported at Carleton

Carleton University has released the description of a suspect in an incident early Sunday morning in which a female student was "sexually touched by an unknown man" between Stormont and Dundas residence buildings. The suspect is described as black, approximately 6 feet tall with an average build and short hair. The victim says he was wearing a dark blue or black hooded sweatshirt, dark jeans, and a baseball cap. Carleton had enhanced its security measures starting in 2008 following a sexual assault and beating of a female student in a campus lab in September 2007. CBC

UBC discloses new information on animal research

On its Animal Research website, the University of British Columbia has published information on the total number of animals involved in research during 2010, the major species groupings, and the degree of invasiveness of the research activities. The first university in Canada to provide this level of information to the public, UBC is doing so as a step toward greater public transparency. Over the past year, UBC has been criticized by animal rights organizations over the "wall of silence" they say the institution had put up regarding animal experimentation. While he welcomes the move, the president of Stop UBC Animal Research says the university needs to provide far more information. While UBC is committed to full transparency, it says that disclosing more detailed information "could damage the integrity of the research, intellectual property rights, the safety and privacy of researchers and staff, and the security of campus facilities." UBC News Release | UBC Animal Research | Vancouver Sun

McGill student leaders seek apology after university drops misconduct allegations

A pair of Student Society of McGill University (SSMU) representatives cleared of misconduct allegations would like university officials to issue a public apology. The students were cited for disruption, particularly of traffic, during an October 11 protest in support of striking non-academic staff. The pair argued there was nearly no disruption during the protest that one of the students did not attend, for he was at an SSMU executive meeting. The student says the associate dean of arts had to agree "there was no convincing evidence" after meeting with the pair on Friday and dropped the matter. The dean has promised he would look into why the allegations were brought forward, the student says. Considering filing a harassment complaint against McGill, the student believes he was singled out for being a vocal supporter of the non-academic staff union and because he belongs to the mobilization squad, which aims to raise awareness of labour and tuition fee issues at the university. Montreal Gazette

NSCAD support staff vote in favour of strike action

Support staff at NSCAD University have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a strike, their union announced Thursday. The union president says the major issue in negotiations is the institution's demand to take away the workers' say in changes to their benefit plan. Other issues include job security, shift premiums, and wages. Talks are to resume today with the help of a conciliator. NSGEU News Release | Canadian Press

Niagara College renames Technology Centre for $1-million gift

Tom Rankin, CEO of Rankin Construction, Inc. and Rankin Renewable Power, Inc. has donated $1 million to Niagara College's "Building Futures" capital campaign. In recognition of the gift, the college has renamed its Technology Centre as "The Rankin Technology Centre." Rankin's donation is the largest in Niagara College's history. Niagara College News Release

uToronto governing council approves Goldring Centre construction

The University of Toronto's governing council has given final approval to build the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport, which will house international-level basketball and volleyball courts, a relocated and expanded David L. MacIntosh Sport Medicine Clinic, a variety of sport and exercise research laboratories, and a strength and fitness centre accessible to all uToronto students. A groundbreaking ceremony will take place this winter, with construction set for completion by 2014. uToronto News

uCalgary experiment giving undergraduates more face time with prof proving successful

Holding the Tamaratt Professorship in Geoscience at the University of Calgary, professor Leslie Reid is using her grant money to experiment with replacing traditional lectures for large classes with feedback activities, such as regular quizzes and small group discussions. “A lot of academic research tells us that students need very frequent and timely feedback,” the professor says. “That sounds a bit obvious, but there isn’t a really good model for what (that kind of) expert teaching looks like in higher education, especially when you are looking at large class sizes.” Early data show Reid's model is working -- her students are grasping core concepts better and performing to higher academic standards. In their end-of-term surveys, the majority of students requested even more feedback sessions. “I just never saw my other professors as much as her, and I think it made all the difference," says one third-year geology student. "Her class is the reason I decided to continue studying geology.” Globe and Mail

Universities looking ahead to keep flunking students from dropping out after winter break

As Canadian university students prepare for mid-term exams, institutions are looking ahead to keep students with poor grades from dropping out. Research by a University of Western Ontario professor suggests approximately 40% of university students who drop out do so because they are not performing as well as they expected, largely because they are unprepared for the heavier workload and independent study time. Many institutions have a range of programs targeting so-called "Christmas graduates" -- students who drop out after winter break. For example, University of Ottawa administrators stage interventions for first-year students whose mid-term grades fall below par in key courses. Faculty advisors then direct students toward support programs, such as counselling and peer tutoring. For some students, dropping out of a particular program or institution does not mean they are giving up on education, says the UWO prof. “There are times when going and realizing the fit isn’t right for you and deciding that maybe you’re going to finish the courses you’ve already started but then switch elsewhere … is actually a better decision.” Canadian Press

VCC launches new strategic plan

During VCC Day on Friday, Vancouver Community College launched its 2011-14 strategic plan, which identified 4 strategic themes as the institution's focus in the next 3 years: student access and success; operational excellence; partnerships and collaboration; and building VCC's brand. As outlined in the document, by 2014, the college will: build on its strengths in student access and success; respond to the changing needs of learners, changing demographics, and an evolving economy; function and operate more effectively and transparently as an organization; and be acknowledged for its areas of excellence. VCC News | VCC Strategic Plan 2011-2014

McGill takes home Canadian Quidditch Cup

At the first-ever Canadian Quidditch Cup on Saturday, McGill University defeated host Carleton University in the final game by a score of 160-80. The University of Ottawa placed third after losing 100-10 to Carleton in the semi-finals. New York-based St. Lawrence University, the lone US competitor in the tournament, received the sportsmanship award. The other participating teams were from Queen's University, McMaster University, Ryerson University, and the University of Toronto. Modified from the fictional sport in the Harry Potter series, muggle Quidditch is a combination of rugby, soccer, and volleyball, and involves the use of broomsticks. Ottawa This Week