Top Ten

February 6, 2012

$30-million gift to McMaster supports health research and education

The Boris family of Hamilton has donated $30 million to McMaster University to accelerate the institution's innovations in health research, education, and care. $24 million will be used to establish The Boris Family Centre in Human Stem Cell Therapies, which will speed the commercial development of discoveries at the McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute. The remaining $6 million will support a unique clinic, to be built in the McMaster University Medical Centre, that will allow patients with complex health problems to see several specialists and have related tests during one visit. McMaster Daily News | Hamilton Spectator

uToronto TAs set strike deadline

At a meeting last week, members of CUPE 3902, which represents teaching assistants, graduate-student instructors, lab demonstrators, invigilators, and writing instructors at the University of Toronto's 3 campuses, decided by a 96% majority not to send a tentative agreement to a ratification vote. Having voted in favour of strike action back in November, members have now voted to set a strike deadline of February 24 in the event that university administration fails to offer them a reasonable contract. CUPE 3902 News Release

Downtown campuses popular among Canadian universities

Across Canada, universities are starting new city centre campuses or, in the case of the University of Winnipeg, expanding their urban footprint. The University of Windsor's downtown plans include relocating its school of social work to the Windsor Star building, moving its music and visual arts departments to the Armouries building, and eyeing a former bus depot for film production. Brock University will begin construction of an academic and cultural arts centre in downtown St. Catharines this year; the University of the Fraser Valley plans to open a campus in downtown Abbotsford; and Grant MacEwan University aims to become "Edmonton's downtown university." Many see these campuses as solutions to the problem of decaying downtowns in smaller cities. In turn, universities are reaping community goodwill, as well as badly needed expansion space. Some observers and educators caution that despite all their successes, universities should not be viewed solely as saviours of dying downtowns. "The university is not the department of public planning," says a researcher with the Université du Québec's Institut national de la recherche scientifique. "Their responsibility is to give the best education possible." University Affairs

uLethbridge considers major expansion

The University of Lethbridge is in the planning stages of a major capital project that could add 300,000 square feet of space to campus and renovate University Hall, whose outdated science labs are the catalyst for the project. The total cost of the project is estimated at $255 million. uLethbridge could be ready for construction in 2013 provided the Alberta government approves funding for the expansion. Lethbridge Herald

UOIT opens Aboriginal Resource Centre

On Friday, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology held a grand opening for its Aboriginal Resource Centre. Helping First Nation, Métis, and Inuit students experience a positive transition to university life, the centre offers a range of services designed to help students succeed both on and off campus. These include Aboriginal self-identification, counselling services, cultural programming, Elder availability, and sponsorship, scholarship, and bursary assistance. To meet the individual needs of students, counselling services are provided in either western or traditional styles. UOIT News Release

BC predicts 61,500 more jobs than workers by 2020

According to BC's most recent Labour Market Outlook, there will be 61,500 more jobs in the province than workers to fill them by 2020, and that has BC relying on newcomers to the province to fill one-third of all job openings within a decade. The shortage will hit well before that in the skilled trades, where demand for workers is expected to outstrip supply by 2016. BC's minister of jobs, tourism and innovation says addressing First Nations unemployment is a priority for the province. The government is also looking to encourage under-skilled workers, who perhaps did not complete secondary school, to enter the trades. The minister says BC plans to recruit migrants from other provinces to fill the skilled trades shortage before turning to immigrants from overseas. Vancouver Sun

UPEI cancels teaching job fair due to lack of interest

The University of Prince Edward Island will not hold a job fair for education students graduating this year because in a tight job market few recruiters felt the need to travel to PEI. The university has been holding a job fair for its education students for several years, but it was not able to organize a viable event this year. The education dean says school boards have been cutting back on travel budgets. The cancellation is a symptom of the oversupply of qualified teachers across Canada. According to the latest Statistics Canada data, for every teaching position open across the country, there are 10 people looking. UPEI has not been tracking where its 75 education graduates end up each year, but has recently assigned a faculty member to do just that. CBC

UTM launches new website

Yesterday the University of Toronto Mississauga unveiled its redesigned website, whose homepage features a large, rotating graphic banner that links to Web pages about UTM's community involvement, alumni network, research, and recreational and educational facilities. The homepage features news, an events listing, a Twitter feed, and links to UTM's social media accounts. UTM website

McGill students create note-sharing site

A pair of McGill University PhD students has developed a made-in-Quebec website they hope will be the go-to source for material from missed classes from Montreal's 4 universities. has allowed students to buy or sell class notes online in English since September, but next month the site is set to offer student-submitted course notes in both English and French. The company hopes to make a profit by charging a 15% to 20% commission on notes that students sell through the website. In return, students can remain anonymous by posting under a pseudonym while making money off old or current notes. Concordia University's associate dean of student academic services says the institution has no rule against sharing notes or posting them online, but she says students must tread carefully to avoid copyright infringement. McGill University's academic integrity committee is telling students to make sure they are posting their own notes and not their professors'. Montreal Gazette | NoteSac

Cash-strapped US colleges selling naming rights to washrooms

In a brazen effort to raise money, Dixie State College of Utah offered naming rights to individual washroom stalls in a musical theatre company's planned building. The institution wanted to help the company, which had moved on campus after being evicted from its previous stage, raised funds for a new home elsewhere. Dixie State is not the first cash-hungry PSE institution to seek money for washrooms. Harvard Law School recently opened the Falik Men's Room, named after an alumnus who received the honour after donating $100,000 to create a public interest fellowship in his father's honour. A venture capitalist paid to name a bathroom after himself in a University of Colorado at Boulder science building after MIT rejected his offer to endow a washroom, which officials told him would be inappropriate. Inside Higher Ed