Top Ten

November 17, 2011

UNB challenges on-campus union drive

An effort to form a new union at the University of New Brunswick is running into opposition from university administration, which says a union-card signing campaign on campus is illegal. Approximately 500 professional and technical support staff at the Fredericton and Saint John campuses are eligible to join the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), but little time is left to sign union cards. A UNB employee told the CBC that the university cancelled the room booking for a union organizing meeting Wednesday and thwarted the meeting. A union organizer says the employees called in PSAC because they were concerned about unequal treatment. CBC

UVic business school considering $12-million expansion

With its current building "bursting at the seams," the University of Victoria's Peter B. Gustavson School of Business is considering plans for a $12-million addition. UVic has issued a request for proposals for architectural and engineering services for an innovative "signature" addition that would at least double the business school's existing space. Extra space is needed to allow the school to further develop its PhD and other graduate programs, expand its undergraduate and executive programs, and create study space. A growth plan for the school is being updated and will be complete early next year. Victoria Times-Colonist

Report urges Ontarians to increase educational attainment

In a new report, the Toronto-based Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity highlights the importance of education for Ontarians and Ontario’s overall economic performance, especially during the economic downturn. While Ontario leads the US in bachelor and professional degree attainment, the rate of master’s degrees per capita in the US is nearly double that of Ontario. In order to improve the competitiveness of Ontario’s workforce, the report urges the provincial government to continue to invest in PSE, improve access for low-income students, and encourage students to increase their qualifications. Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity News Release | Read the report

Ontario to move ahead with 30% tuition fee reduction

As promised in its election campaign, the governing Ontario Liberal Party is moving forward with a 30% cut in average college and university tuition fees, beginning in January. The government says the new grant will save Ontario families $1,600 per student in university and $730 per student in college annually. The grant will apply to families with incomes below $160,000 and be available for up to 4 years of a full-time undergraduate program. While it's pleased the government reaffirmed its election promise, the Canadian Federation of Students notes that during the election, the Liberals clarified that students in professional programs, part-time learners, and students independent of their parents will be ineligible for the grant, thus narrowing eligibility to just one-third of all students and potentially excluding students who need the grant the most. Ontario News Release | CFS-Ontario News Release

Globe publishes "Colleges 2011" report

Yesterday's Globe and Mail featured a special section on Canadian colleges. The section reports on colleges working to develop more university-transfer programs and the campus building boom spurred by the federal Knowledge Infrastructure Program. The "Colleges 2011" report features examples of innovative research and applied research programs at colleges and polytechnics, profiles advertising programs at Humber, Seneca, and BCIT, and covers Lockheed Martin's recent donation of $3.7-million worth of electronic courseware to Conestoga College. The report includes an interview with Fleming College president Tony Tilly about growth at the institution and international recruitment efforts, as well as an article on colleges looking beyond their borders to deliver programs, recruit students, and offer domestic learners global experiences. Campus Reports -- Colleges 2011

$2.5-million donation to uCalgary funds new student leadership program

On Wednesday, the University of Calgary announced a $2.5-million gift from Calgary entrepreneur John Simpson and his family that is funding a new 3-year pilot program to enhance current student leadership development at the institution. The donation will be used to centralize and coordinate leadership activities on campus through one cohesive program. The goal of Leadership and Student Engagement is to offer all students the opportunity to acquire valuable personal and professional leadership skills through various training and mentorship programs, community service-learning and other support during their university career. uCalgary states that over 15,000 students have already participated in some aspect of the program, which is the only one of its kind in western Canada. uCalgary News

uWaterloo Environment 3 building receives $1-million gift

The Minto Group -- a fully integrated real estate, development, construction, and property management company -- announced yesterday a $1-million donation to Environment 3, the University of Waterloo environment faculty's new building. A further donation of $100,000 from the company will fund scholarships in uWaterloo's School of Environment, Enterprise and Development, a key occupant in the new 57,000-square-foot facility, which is also the new home of the School of Planning. uWaterloo News Release

Confederation College introduces women's hockey

Confederation College announced Tuesday the addition of women's hockey to its Thunderhawks sports lineup. The 17-woman roster will compete in several local and northern exhibition games. In the first year of operation, out-of-town tournaments will include travel to Minnesota and Winnipeg, with expansion to the competitive schedule intended in coming years. "Sport is an excellent way to grow pride in our school, encourage healthy lifestyles and promote teamwork," said Confederation president Jim Madder as he welcomed the team to the roster. Confederation College News Release

York U students produce lip dub

During York University's Red and White Day celebrations Wednesday, the York Federation of Students released its lip dub, which took months of planning and 7 hours to shoot. Nearly 10 minutes in length, the video opens with York U president Mamdouh Shoukri in a meeting with other senior administrators to discuss an urgent matter. "The campus is in state of chaos" after students took it over for a lip dub, which, as Shoukri understand it, involves "a lot of singing, a lot of dancing, and even a giant yellow monkey." He then introduces footage to show what's going on. The footage shows more than 300 students dancing and lip-synching to Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night," Lady Gaga's "Born This Way," A Tribe Called Red's "Red Skin Girl, and LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem." "This is proof that even as a commuter school and one of the largest universities in Canada, York still has a strong sense of community," says a YFS executive of the lip dub, which is intended to underscore the university's diversity. Y-File | Toronto Star

Which majors spend more time studying?

According to the latest National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), that would be engineering majors, who hit the books 19 hours week, above the 15 hours for the average full-time undergraduate student. Although business majors, on average, study the least (14 hours per week), they spend most time working (16 hours a week). These students, along with education majors, spend the most time caring for dependents, the NSSE found. Asking about learning strategies for the first time, the survey found than over 85% of responding students take careful notes during class, but just half discuss effective studying habits with professors or classmates. Two-thirds say they stay focused while reading class material, but only half frequently write summaries of their readings. According to the report, first-year students who say it will be difficult to pay for college also anticipate challenges in learning class material, interacting with professors, getting help, managing time, and making friends. "Meeting these students' need for support may increase student persistence and success, particularly in these difficult economic times," the report says. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access) | 2011 NSSE