Top Ten

March 5, 2012

Nunavut Arctic College safety questioned following fire, on-campus standoff

A Nunavut MLA is questioning the safety of Nunavut Arctic College students and their families following 2 recent life-threating incidents. A fire at an off-campus housing complex left 80 people homeless and 2 dead, while one man has been arrested after firing a high-powered rifle at an on-campus residence, leading to a standoff with police. The MLA says students and their relatives should be assured of a certain level of security. The minister responsible for the college says tenants do go through an orientation, and drugs and alcohol are prohibited. There is also communal firearm storage available in at least one of the properties in Iqaluit. Still, a lot of the onus falls upon the individual, the minister says. "Most of these people are adults," he says. "It's up to them to be responsible for living in Arctic College's residences, too." The institution is committed to reviewing its security procedures, the minister says. CBC

uSask student charged in on-campus sexual assault

A male University of Saskatchewan student has been charged with sexual assault after a woman said she was raped repeatedly on campus on New Year's Day. The 27-year-old student's arrest, made last Thursday at a university residence building, comes after the 20-year-old victim, who is not a university student, publicly criticized Saskatoon police for not working fast enough to press charges in her case. A police spokeswoman says police needed time to contact witnesses and they finally located one of them last Tuesday. The young woman says she was at a night club New Year's Eve where through a friend she met a group of people, of which one man brought her a drink that she since realized was spiked with some sort of drug. The group eventually wound up at one of the campus dormitories, and the woman says she was "violently sexually assaulted for hours." The arrested student was living in residence, but has been "removed from campus residences and his access to the campus has been restricted," says uSask's AVP of student affairs. Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

Concordia initiates external review of departures of senior executives

Concordia University will hire external auditors to review the departures of 5 top administrators who left between September 2009 and December 2010 and were paid out a combined $2.4-million in severance. That amount does not include the combined $1.7-million severance paid to former presidents Judith Woodsworth and Claude Lajeunesse, who left midway and 2 years, respectively, through their own contract. Interim president Frederick Lowy says Concordia has made great strides in reforming governance in the wake of an external review last year. That review did not address the string of departures by former university employees who received severance packages, which is why Lowy has now decided to bring in an external team to assess Concordia's practices for terminating top executives. The new review will help the institution avoid any mistakes that might have been made in the past, a Concordia official says. "It’s looking at the lessons learned in the departures of these individuals and how the university handled the process of ending its relationship with them, the costs involved, etc." Concordia expects to announce the appointment of a new president this spring. Montreal Gazette

uAlberta discontinues funding for field hockey program

The University of Alberta has withdrawn financial support for its women's field hockey program, which the athletics director says costs the institution about $120,000 a year and does not have the broader community support in Edmonton to bring in extra funds through ticket sales, sponsorships, or sports camps. The decision to cut field hockey is primarily financial, the director says, but is underpinned by uAlberta's vision and philosophy of putting money into high-performance sports with community support. The 16-member team will be removed from competition in Canadian Interuniversity Sport and Canada West University Athletics Association. With just 4 women's field hockey teams in the western conference, the uAlberta team's coach says the decision will devastate the sport at the university level. "This is way bigger than just another school cutting a sports program," she says. "This is pretty much saying 'we are cutting field hockey out of the university system for females.'" uAlberta does not have a men's field hockey program. Edmonton Journal

Faculty involved in work-integrated learning more likely to endorse its expansion

The second phase of a 3-part study conducted by Academica Group and commissioned by HEQCO finds that most PSE faculty in Ontario are supportive of the current level of work-integrated learning (co-ops, internships, work placements, and apprenticeships) at their institution. College faculty surveyed were slightly more likely than university faculty respondents to say that WIL opportunities should be increased, and a one-quarter in each group said it should be kept the same. Faculty with WIL experience as an instructor or a student, who had more years of work experience outside of academia, and who taught in business faculties were more likely to report that WIL should be increased. The study states that increasing faculty awareness of the purposes and benefits of WIL is necessary if institutions wish to expand or improve WIL opportunities. Institutions must also make sure that there is dedicated monetary and administrative support available; that faculty are acknowledged for their WIL-related work; that better ties to employers and community partners are forged; and that assistance is provided to recruit and foster relationships with host sites to alleviate workload issues. Research Summary | Full Report

Lakehead revises board size to improve efficacy

Lakehead University's board of governors agreed Friday to reduce their numbers from 30 to 17, and to trim the number of committees from 11 to 6 through strategic consolidation. The move follows a year-long internal review of the board's structure. Lakehead says the changes will result in more engaged board members, more effective management of university affairs, improvement in board operating efficiencies, more meaningful and rewarding committee membership, and clearer role descriptions and expectations. Implementation of the changes will start this September. Lakehead News Release | Backgrounder

Canada welcoming more temporary foreign students

According to preliminary data from Citizenship and Immigration Canada, in 2011 the total entries of temporary foreign students in Canada reached 98,378, up from 95,236 in 2010 and 73,777 in 2007. This figure refers to the number of individuals entering Canada as initial entries or re-entries, not the number of documents issued. The number of temporary foreign students present on December 1 last year totalled 239,131, compared to 218,112 in 2010 and 175,690 in 2007. The 3 provinces with the highest proportion of these students are Ontario (96,808), BC (66,556), and Quebec (33,697). CIC News Release | Preliminary Tables -- Permanent and Temporary Residents, 2011

uCalgary conference encourages international students to remain in Alberta

A full-day conference at the University of Calgary's Haskayne School of Business on Friday showed how international students who typically return home soon after attaining their degree could help curb a growing labour shortage in Alberta. The conference's organizer says if given a job, most foreign students would stay in Canada, but many are unaware of changes to immigration laws and rules; for example, they can now obtain 3-year open working visas that can lead to permanent residency. "(Foreign students) are welcome in Canada," the organizer says. "And we have employers who are hungry to give them jobs." Alberta's advanced education minister told international students at the conference that retaining foreign students is critically important to the province, noting that opportunities there "are abundant...We're looking for talent across all disciplines." The president of uCalgary's Graduate Students' Association says the conference helped reassure international students that degrees earned at Canadian universities are valued. Haskayne News | Calgary Herald

Carleton students approve fee increase to fund new fitness centre

In a vote last month, 2,729 Carleton University students -- approximately 70% of those who voted -- cast their ballots in favour of increasing the athletics fee by $12.50 per term in support of a new 11,000-square-foot fitness centre. Too small to support Carleton's student population of nearly 27,000, the current 5,700-square-foot fitness centre will be converted into 2 sections: a high-performance athlete heavy weight room and a general student activity space for fitness and dance. Construction of the $2-million fitness centre is slated for completion in spring 2013. Carleton News

Douglas College unveils new website

BC-based Douglas College has redesigned its website, which reflects the institution's new brand identity. The homepage features a rotating graphic banner linking to stories from the college community blog, including one about the use of Twitter in the classroom, as well as a link to feature stories. The homepage include links to current information sessions, applications services and other top resources, academic programming, notifications, news, and events. The site also features links to Douglas' various social media platforms. Douglas College website