Top Ten

December 8, 2011

uAlberta being sued over planned medical isotope facility

A group of residents in neighbourhoods around the University of Alberta's south campus are taking the institution to court after construction began this autumn to turn a former curling rink into a research and production facility for medical isotopes. uAlberta's provost says he is "sad and disappointed" at the legal action, launched after what he calls thorough consultations with neighbouring communities. But the South Campus Neighbourhood Coalition claims uAlberta did not follow its own procedures for community consultation before moving forward with its plans. The coalition's chairman says the group does not necessarily oppose the isotope facility; its goal is to force uAlberta to enter into "meaningful consultation." Preferring to avoid a court battle, the university is now conducting "an intense" internal investigation to determine whether there were "technical aspects" of its protocol that weren't fulfilled, the provost says. Edmonton Journal

uSask considering new phase of commercial, sport infrastructure development on property

In hopes of bringing in more financing for the next phase of its College Quarter development, the University of Saskatchewan has requested proposals from developers to develop 31 acres of land in the northeast sector that would include a hotel, commercial office/retail space, playing fields, and a 2-pad hockey rink. The institution is looking to lease the land to a developer along the same lines as the Preston Crossing development, from which revenue is used to fund student scholarships. uSask has also considered different levels of government funding, including the federal P3 Canada Fund, which provides support to sport infrastructure programs through private and public partnerships. The P3 application was recently denied. Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

VIU proposes athletic complex for Nanaimo campus

Vancouver Island University has plans to construct a new athletic complex at its Nanaimo campus. VIU president Ralph Nilson says at present there is no budget to build the proposed complex, which could cost about $53 million. While the facility is near the top of the institution's priority list, it falls behind a new science and health centre and a new student centre. "We consider it among our top three priorities as it would help us with our bid to join the CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport), it all depends on what is budgeted for us," Nilson says. The delay in funding for VIU's priorities stems from the BC government, which Nilson says "does not have a facilities plan in place." Nanaimo Daily News

Native students faring poorly at Calgary public high schools

According to new figures from the Calgary Board of Education (CBE), rising numbers of native students are dropping out of the city's public schools, and fewer are completing secondary school promptly and making the transition to PSE than other districts in Alberta. During each of the past 3 years, nearly 13% of native students dropped out, compared to the average province-wide dropout rate of 11.3% for native students during the same period. Almost 35% of native students in Alberta get their diploma within 3 years of beginning high school, whereas that proportion is just 25% in Calgary. While a report to CBE trustees describes the results as "very low" and of "concern," it does not contain any specific strategy for addressing the problem. However, CBE's learning services director told trustees Tuesday that the board tries to provide full-day kindergarten to native students and has established an elders advisory council so Aboriginal knowledge can be incorporated into the curriculum. Calgary Herald

Trend in business incubators on Canadian campuses

Canadian universities are testing new methods to foster the next generation of young entrepreneurial minds. The growing list of business incubators on campuses cultivating startups founded by current and recent students includes Ryerson University's Digital Media Zone, the University of Waterloo's VeloCity residence, and Simon Fraser University's Venture Connection. These programs get great feedback from participating students, who are happy to be able to use the experience to leverage a job for themselves after graduating, meet some great people, and pick up some business skills. Challenges associated with student-centric incubators include funding and enough space and staff to keep up with demand. One issue with these programs is that they have been successful in fostering online, digital-media businesses, but not so much with offline enterprises. Ryerson president Sheldon Levy would like to see DMZ launch more "zones" on campus, recruiting students from various departments and providing expertise in founding bricks-and-mortar ventures. University Affairs

Brock mini gap-year program gives students credit for volunteer work in Ghana

Brock University's Global Transitions program is a mini gap-year program in which students fresh out of secondary school spend a term in Ghana. For the past 12 weeks, 6 students have done volunteer work in schools and hospitals, for which they receive academic credit. The Global Transitions program was developed by Brock's associate VP of student services, along with International Services and Programs Abroad and the Centre for Intercultural Studies. Ghana was chosen because the university has several ties to the African nation, including an exchange with the University of Ghana at Legon. The students who participated in the program had a summer orientation and took an online orientation course before they departed in September. Brock News

Bishop's U unveils redesigned website

We've recently noticed that Bishop's University has a new-look website, whose homepage features a rotating graphic banner featuring links to the institution's recruitment portal, Gaiters site, and information on alumni services and student mailboxes. The homepage also includes links to campus news, an events listing, important announcements, videos and photos, and social media accounts. Bishop's U website

SLC launches new virtual tour

St. Lawrence College recently unveiled a new online tour of its Kingston, Brockville, and Cornwall campuses. The interactive tour allows the user to explore the campuses, with pictures or videos that emphasize the amenities of the residences, meeting spaces, libraries, gyms, classrooms, and labs. Students serve as guides in the tour, which integrates Twitter posts about current events to highlight student activities. SLC virtual tour

Employment declines among Canadian youth

According to Statistics Canada's latest Labour Force Survey, employment fell last month among young people aged 15 to 24 (-18,000). However, compared to one year earlier, youth employment was up 1.3%. 15- to 24-year-olds in Newfoundland and Labrador made the most gains last month with a 0.8 percentage point increase in their employment rate, while Alberta recorded the highest youth employment rate, which sits at 63.7%. Statistics Canada | Labour Force Survey

Shifting demographics prompt GTA marketers to attract "ethnic consumer"

With visible minorities in the Greater Toronto Area set to become the majority, the region has become ground zero for marketers from major businesses trying to attract "the ethnic consumer." As recently as 2006, major brands appeared to be missing the mark with regard to ethnic consumers, but the industry is gradually gaining sophistication by coordinating ethnic merchandising teams and hiring ethnic marketing firms. While an ad appearing in mainstream media might target a very specific demographic, the instrument used to approach ethnic consumers is often too blunt, says the director of Ryerson University's Centre for the Study of Commercial Activity. A deeper issue with marketers, he says, is that they fail to understand generational differences require different marketing strategies. The newcomer will need different treatment from the established family or the Canadian-born offspring of immigrants. Globe and Mail