Top Ten

December 5, 2011

RRC reviewing privacy policies following improper disposal of security reports

Red River College officials say they are reviewing privacy procedures after more than 1,000 pages of campus crime reports were tossed in a recycling bin at the downtown Winnipeg campus -- a privacy breach RRC president Stephanie Forsyth says is "very serious." The documents include hundreds of incident reports written by security staff about assaults, laptop thefts, medical emergencies, possible stalkings, students lingering on campus after closing time, and threats. Forsyth says the documents are supposed to be shredded immediately, but it seems a cleaner had placed them in the recycling by mistake. The cleaner is an employee of a private contractor hired by RRC. Forsyth says the institution has reviewed its document-disposal policies with the cleaning company, and she is "confident it won't happen again." RRC has referred the matter to the office of Manitoba's ombudsman to determine the severity of the privacy violations. Winnipeg Free Press | CBC

Dal, faculty call for changes to pension legislation

Dalhousie University administrators and faculty are arguing for a change in the proposed Pension Benefits Act. Representatives of both parties told the Nova Scotia legislature's law amendments committee that the institution's plan should not be held to the same solvency test as private-sector plans, as there is little chance Dal will shut down. Dal's VP of finance and administration told the committee that having to fund the $270-million gap in the pension plan under current rules would mean the institution would have to contribute an additional $50 million annually to the plan. "Under such a burden, Dalhousie would have to close programs and faculties, and have to lay off a substantial number of people," the VP said. Dal and its faculty differ on how the pension plan should be structured in the future. Administrators want to move to a jointly sponsored plan that would have plan members share in funding shortfalls, but faculty say that type of plan would eventually lead to smaller benefits. Chronicle Herald

Teacher union wants Alberta PSE institutions to revise assessment of Grade 12 marks

Alberta Teachers' Association (ATA) officials want provincial PSE schools to change their admissions policy to ignore diploma exam results when the tests drag down the averages of Grade 12 students. An ATA spokesman says the proposed resolution stems from the University of Saskatchewan's new policy to admit Alberta curriculum students based on their school-awarded grade or the final blended mark, whichever is in the best interest of the applicant. Meanwhile, the Alberta School Councils' Association wants the weighting of diploma exams reduced from 50% to 30% of a student's final grade. Alberta Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk has said he may decrease the weighting attached to diploma exams, but he would prefer it if other provinces implemented standardized exams like Alberta. Calgary Herald

Land adjacent to Yukon College should be set aside for institutional expansion, says chancellor

Yukon College's chancellor says a contentious area of land adjacent to the institution should be set aside for college expansion instead of for a controversial new subdivision. "We should be looking fifty years ahead, and the land that is now where the college is, is too small," says the chancellor, adding that the area should be saved for a future university. Stressing that he is not speaking on behalf of Yukon College, the chancellor does note its board passed a motion in September calling on the Yukon government to give the land to the institution. Yukon College president Karen Barnes says she has since learned the land is likely going to the City of Whitehorse. "I think maybe we're too late into that discussion, but I'm not prepared to say we don't need more land," she says. CBC

UWO to construct new Family Medicine Building

The Department of Family Medicine in the University of Western Ontario's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry will have a new home in a $17-million, 4-story facility that will consolidate research and academic activities for the department and feature large classrooms and small breakout rooms with state-of-the-art videoconferencing facilities. The building's groundbreaking is scheduled for February, with a completion date set for May/June 2013. Western News

Conestoga opens Health and Life Sciences Centre

On Friday, Conestoga College celebrated the official opening of its new Health and Life Sciences Centre at the Kitchener campus. Designed to promote high-impact, technology-enhanced learning in an interprofessional culture, the 70,000-square-foot facility will allow the college to increase the capacity of existing health care and life sciences education, training and upgrading programs, as well as create new collaborative program initiatives with partner institutions in education and health. Conestoga received a joint $12.96-million contribution from the federal and Ontario governments for this project. Conestoga News

Report calls for voluntary student unionism

A recent report from the Frontier Centre for Public Policy argues that mandatory student unionism violates both the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the UN Declaration of Human Rights, and consequently student unions should move to a voluntary model. The report argues that voluntary student unionism would not only "amount to restoring a fundamental human right, it would dramatically decrease operating budgets and compel student union officials to allocate resources according to what a majority of assertive students are willing to pay for, as opposed to what a minority assume a majority of passive students might want in return for their compulsory fees.” FCPP News Release | Read the report

Lakehead celebrates successful Aboriginal outreach pilot project

Last Thursday, Lakehead University and RBC celebrated the success of their pilot Joint Aboriginal Outreach Project. Launched in November 2010, the initiative introduced Aboriginal youth to education options and support systems at the university while strengthening RBC's relationship with the Aboriginal community. As part of the project, Lakehead's Office of Aboriginal Initiatives launched a mentor program in which Aboriginal student volunteers received training and guidance to help them support and assist other students. An offshoot of this program was the successful Hammarskjold High School Friendship Circle Lunch program, where Aboriginal mentors and role models shared their personal stories and where students could access professional resources and learn about future events of interest. Lakehead News Release

Mount Royal, Métis Nation of Alberta launch bursary endowment for Métis students

In an effort to help Métis students struggling to pay the rising costs of a higher education, Mount Royal University and the Métis Nation of Alberta have created a new $500,000 endowment fund that will provide bursaries to Métis students each year in perpetuity. The fund is distributed through investments by Edmonton-based Rupertsland Institute, a non-profit organization that helps support Aboriginal people with education and employment training. Up to 500 students at Mount Royal are Aboriginal, one-third of whom are Métis. Calgary Herald

Langara, India's Royal Institute of Nursing sign MOU

During the recent BC Jobs and Trades Mission to China and India, Langara College signed a memorandum of understanding with India's Royal Institute of Nursing (RIN) that will allow both institutions to pursue collaborations that enhance the global education experience of their respective students and faculties. Students in Langara's Bachelor of Science in Nursing program will now have the opportunity to seek community placements in India through the RIN as part of their program requirements. The agreement also allows the 2 schools to explore other activities of mutual interest, such as joint research and faculty development projects. Langara News