Top Ten

December 9, 2011

Gunman kills police officer, self in shooting at Virginia Tech

A Virginia Tech police officer was fatally shot Thursday afternoon after pulling a driver over in a campus parking lot. Police say the shooter was not involved in the traffic stop. Instead, the gunman approached, shot the police officer, and then fled on foot before apparently killing himself in another parking lot. The shooting prompted Virginia Tech officials to lock down the campus for hours while police and SWAT teams searched the university, which in 2007 was the scene of the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history. Virginia Tech was a bit quieter than usual the day of the shooting as classes ended Wednesday. Approximately 20,000 of the institution's 30,000 students were at school when the officer was shot. Exams, set to start Friday, were pushed back to Saturday. Associated Press

CAUT members oppose NS government's review process of NSCAD

In a letter to Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter, the Canadian Association of University Teachers states that at its recent council meeting, delegates were informed of "troubling developments" involving NSCAD University. A member of CAUT, NSCAD's faculty union brought forward a resolution that was unanimously supported that opposes the process by which the Nova Scotia government has initiated the review of NSCAD's future. CAUT says it is particularly concerned that the terms of the review have given the province's appointee overly broad authority, which extends to possibly threating NSCAD's existence as an independent university. CAUT calls on the province to ensure the continued existence of the institution. Read CAUT's letter

Dismissal of NSCC researchers a mistake, scientists say

The dismissal of 3 research scientists at Nova Scotia Community College's Middleton campus is a "terrible mistake" that will hurt the institution and the provincial economy, say other scientists in the field. Part of NSCC's Applied Geomatics Research Group, the researchers were dismissed in a restructuring at the campus that will see research expanded to other areas. One of the critics of the dismissal says the reason for the researchers' termination "makes absolutely no sense," given that they brought in more funding each year than their salaries and helped build NSCC's reputation, which in turn attracted more top students. NSCC's director of applied research says the changes were needed to redistribute resources to meet changing times and new research opportunities. "It’s really about a shift in emphasis, as opposed to diminishing the capacity to do research here." Chronicle Herald

Ontario apprenticeship training, ratios fuel question period debates

The issue of apprenticeship training and ratios in Ontario has been the subject of many recent question period debates at the provincial legislature. PC Leader Tim Hudak said the province is in the midst of a job crisis with high unemployment and a skilled traded shortage, pointing to the finance ministry's estimate of one million open positions in the skilled trades by 2021. During the election campaign, Hudak supported lowering apprenticeship ratios to 1:1 across all trades, which he has said would create 200,000 new apprenticeships in Ontario. There are currently 120,000 apprentices in Ontario, nearly 60,000 more than when the Liberal Party rose to power in 2003, said Premier Dalton McGuinty. He said his government has revised apprenticeship ratios in 8 trades, and the College of Trades will re-examine 34 ratios next year. Daily Commercial News

Occupational therapists continue to be scarce in Saskatchewan

New figures from the Canadian Institute for Health Information show that Saskatchewan continues to have the lowest number of occupational therapists per capita in Canada. In 2010, the province had 25.8 occupational therapists per 100,000 people, compared to the national average of 38.1. The Saskatchewan Society of Occupational Therapists has been lobbying the provincial government for several years to fund a new training program that would boost the supply and increase the chances that students from Saskatchewan would choose to work and live in the province. A spokesperson for Saskatchewan's advanced education ministry says a proposal from the University of Saskatchewan to establish a master's program in occupational therapy is being considered. Saskatchewan Star-Phoenix

Math profs launch website calling for improvement to math education in Western Canada

WISE Math is a website created by math professors in Manitoba and Saskatchewan to lobby for math changes in Western Canada, and the site has become a gathering place for parents frustrated with Saskatchewan's new math curriculum. Some of the profs involved say an agreement between the western Canadian provinces and northern territories on how to teach math strays too far from the basic principles of how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide. It's not that kids are not expected to know how to multiply or divide, but they will now learn there are more ways than one to arrive at the correct answer, says one of the authors of Saskatchewan's most recent math curriculum, who adds that math professors might be critical because they easily understand math and "never needed to see it the way we're trying to present it." Saskatchewan Star-Phoenix | WISE Math

JIBC to launch Centre for Court Administration

During a tour of the Justice Institute of British Columbia's New Westminster campus last week, BC's attorney general announced a new JIBC training program for BC court administration staff. Launching early next year, the Centre for Court Administration's priority will be on new employees and training for staff in specialized areas of court administration work, such as court clerking and criminal registry operations. The program will include a combination of online courses, virtual classroom work, and in-person training at JIBC campuses throughout BC. BC News Release | JIBC News

King's UC environmental studies program earns ECO accreditation

The environmental studies program at Edmonton-based The King's University College has received professional accreditation from Environmental Careers Organization (ECO) Canada, the certifying body of the Canadian Environmental Accreditation Commission. The accreditation is in addition to the academic accreditation already bestowed by the Campus Alberta Quality Council. The King's UC is the only PSE school in Canada to earn such professional recognition for an environmental studies program that includes both BA and BSc degrees. King's UC News

Cambrian unveils interactive campus guide

A new guide to Cambrian College’s Barrydowne campus explores life in Sudbury. The series of videos examine 5 “spaces” at Cambrian: the social, learning, living, eating and healthy spaces. The videos allow the viewer to explore the academic and social life of Cambrian College in short segments. The tour includes links to the college's website about various topics such as residence floor plans, tuition fees, and applications. Cambrian News Release | Cambrian virtual tour

Study finds binge drinking, cigarette smoking at all-time low among Ontario teens

The Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey, released by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, found that drug use among students in grades 7 to 12 has declined over the past decade. Cigarette smoking declined from 12% in 2009 to 9% in 2011, and cannabis smoking dropped from 26% to 22%. Binge drinking declined over the past decade from 28% to 22% in 2011, but is still a concern as “about one in 10 (9 per cent) students report harmful drinking patterns in conjunction with elevated psychological distress.” The report found that Toronto teenagers’ consumption of drugs and alcohol was below the provincial average, and found no gender difference in dangerous drinking patterns. CAMH News Release | Read the report