Top Ten

March 19, 2012

Fanshawe suspends 8 students following weekend riot

8 Fanshawe College students have been suspended and could face expulsion for their involvement in a St. Patrick's Day riot on Fleming Drive, an off-campus housing area. The incident resulted in extensive damage, including a burned CTV news truck, and a number of minor injuries. Among the 13 individuals arrested so far, 7 have been identified as Fanshawe students. Fanshawe president Howard Rundle says administration is taking the off-campus violence seriously and will be conducting its own investigation alongside police efforts. Authorities are combing through all the evidence, including a lot of social media and video offered by students who were "embarrassed" by what happened, says London Mayor Joe Fontana. Fanshawe has created a secure e-mail account where people can send information in connection to the riot. Rundle agrees with Fontana's proposal to use zoning and curfew rules to prevent similar riots. The long-term solution will be to break up the student enclave on Fleming Drive, he says. London Free Press | CBC | Toronto Star | Globe and Mail

PEI cutting UPEI, Holland College funding by 3%

The PEI government will cut funding to the University of Prince Edward Island and Holland College by 3%. The province notified both institutions of the cut well in advance of the upcoming budget. UPEI and Holland College officials say they are working on their budgets now, incorporating the funding cut. There is no word yet on whether the reduced provincial funding will impact tuition fees, programs, or services. CBC

uSherbrooke student may sue student association over missed classes

Fed up with a student strike against tuition fee increases, a Université de Sherbrooke law student is preparing to take legal action against his student association. The head of a new coalition against the student strike, the uSherbrooke student says he missed a critical Chinese class last week because students swarmed the classroom and told everyone to go home. The student sent a demand letter yesterday to uSherbrooke's Association générale étudiante de la faculté des lettres et sciences humaines, stating he expects to be compensated 1/12th of the roughly $300 he spent on the course within 20 days or he will begin legal proceedings. The student hopes to inspire others who have been prevented from attending classes to follow his lead. Montreal Gazette

Dal support staff may strike Thursday

The union representing approximately 800 of Dalhousie University's support staff has filed a walkout notice with Nova Scotia's Labour and Advanced Education Department. The support staff will be in a legal strike position at 12:01 am Thursday. The union's president says a vote will take place Wednesday on whatever deal the union ends up with at conciliation. Dal's faculty association recently reached a tentative agreement with administration. The ratification vote on that agreement was set to continue yesterday. Chronicle Herald

Postscript: Mar 23, 2012

On Wednesday, Dalhousie University support staff voted 92% in favour of a 3-year collective agreement that was reached with administration Tuesday. If the deal had been rejected, the support staff would have been in a legal strike position yesterday.

Western U sets internationalization targets

Western University's International office has begun developing a picture of what internationalization would look like for the institution. Western U is aiming for 10% international undergraduate students. With an original target of 250, the university surpassed its 2011 goal of international undergraduate recruitment with 340 new registrants. Given positive current trends, Western U has a revised target of 500 new international students for 2014. The institution intends to maintain the current proportion of international graduate students, which is approximately 21%. Western U will continue to recruit international faculty and increase international-learning opportunities for domestic students. Western News

uRegina signs student exchange agreement with Mexican Indigenous institutions

University of Regina president Vianne Timmons has signed a co-operation agreement with a network of Indigenous universities in Mexico. The deal will promote the mobility of Aboriginal students at uRegina and Indigenous students from Mexico to exchange their culture and traditions. The agreement was signed during a recent trip to Mexico to discuss Indigenous PSE with the presidents of several Canadian and Mexican universities. The student exchange program will begin this summer. uRegina News Release

peerScholar aims to enhance critical thinking through peer-assessment

A University of Toronto Scarborough psychology professor and a PhD student have developed an Internet-based educational software package designed to enhance critical thinking through peer-assessment and peer-feedback. Through peerScholar, students give feedback on several assignments by anonymous peers and use the comments and advice they've received to improve their work before submitting a final written product to a TA or instructor. The richness of students' comments on their peers' work, how they've received feedback, and the overall quality of the final work factor into the peer-assessment assignment grade. peerScholar aims to address the logistical issues of administering peer-assessment assignments by offering an easy-to-use system that provides both anonymous and instant feedback on written work. More importantly, the software combines peer-assessment with self-assessment. The professor who co-developed the software says the ability to not only reflect on comments made by fellow students but also to revise and resubmit is a crucial aspect of the process. UTSC News

20 more US law schools face suits over job-placement rates

In late May, a team of law firms intends to file class-action lawsuits against another 20 American law schools over allegedly deceptive job-placement rates. The team filed a dozen suits in February and has vowed to sue 20 to 25 law schools every few months. 3 additional suits were filed last August. The lawyers say several law schools have revised their employment figures since the initial lawsuits were filed. The new figures show much lower percentages of students securing full-time jobs and indicate that salary statistics are based on small percentages of students who reported their salaries, the lawyers say. "While being careful about what's being put out to applicants is important, I'd hate to see a law school have to put out a five-page disclaimer and require applicants to take a blood oath that you won't sue if you don't get a job," says a lawyer who has been offering advice to law schools. Given the wide range of reasons people attend law school and the types of careers they pursue, he predicts the plaintiffs will have a tough time proving their case. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

Some US institutions assess parental letters in admissions process

Several US colleges invite parents to submit letters on behalf of their children, either as part of the application itself or in a follow-up invitation after the application is received. "You might think (parents) do nothing but brag," says the admissions director at Smith College, a Massachusetts-based women's college. "But parents really nail their kids. They really get to the essence of what their daughter is about in a way we can't anywhere else." By inviting such letters, colleges signal to applicants that they're the kind of institutions that care about students in all their dimensions. A National Association for College Admission Counseling official cites several reasons very few colleges solicit parental letters: the sheer logistical burden; the main concern with evaluating applicants academically; and the worry of "advantaging the advantaged." The Smith College official states that it's often lower-income families who make the most meaningful efforts to participate in the admissions process. Associated Press

Millennial generation more "me" than "we," study finds

New US research observes that Millennials may not be the caring, socially conscious environmentalists some have characterized them to be. Comparing the traits of young people in high school and entering PSE today with those of baby boomers and Generation X'ers at the same age from 1966 to 2009, the study shows a rising trend of valuing money, image, and fame more than inherent principles like affiliation, community, and self-acceptance. The study's lead author says Millennials have been raised in a culture that places "more focus on the self and less focus on the group, society, and community." The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)