Top Ten

March 27, 2012

Former WLU football player sentenced for uWaterloo residence invasion

A former Wilfrid Laurier University football player has been sent to prison for 33 months for forcing his way into a University of Waterloo student residence with a fake pistol and traumatizing 2 men in March 2010. The 25-year-old says he fell into temptation at university; he began to drink and then used cocaine and marijuana. His grades began to slide and he was not keeping up his responsibilities with WLU's football team. The former student says he has changed since he voluntarily went into custody last January after he pleaded guilty to robbery and using an imitation firearm during a robbery. The second charge carries an automatic one-year minimum sentence. "He was part of the team for a short period. I think he had some academic issues," says the football team's offensive coordinator. "From what I remember about the guy, he was a very nice individual. I’m actually shocked he is on his way to jail." Waterloo Region Record

Brock ESL instructors go on strike

The 38 members of the newly formed CUPE unit representing Brock University's ESL instructors began strike action Monday morning. The CUPE unit says it is on strike because Brock refuses to ratify the tentative collective agreement it signed in February. Brock states that as it prepared to ratify the agreement, it came across an error in the text, which included "no contracting out" language as proposed by the union. Brock says at no time was it prepared to accept this language. Both parties met with a mediator on Sunday to address the error and finalize a collective agreement, but the talks were unsuccessful and the union opted to strike. The union says it is in the process of filing a complaint with the Ontario Labour Relations Board arguing that Brock has bargained in bad faith. Brock Statement | CUPE News Release | Niagara This Week

Postscript: Apr 5, 2012

Brock University reached a tentative agreement Tuesday night with the union representing ESL instructors who have been on strike since March 26. The union will remain on strike and maintain picket lines until the tentative agreement is ratified. Both parties have agreed to expedite the ratification process. Brock News

Quebec students opposing tuition fee increases critical of uMontréal expansion

Approximately 100 Quebec students against tuition fee hikes demonstrated outside a locked-down Montreal city hall Monday, where the provincial government announced that it has allowed the Université de Montréal to proceed with preparing a business plan for the creation of a science pavilion on the former CP rail yards in Outremont. "This is (government) thumbing its nose at students," says a member of uMontréal's Fédération des associations étudiantes. "There are 200,000 students on strike, last week we had a demonstration of historic proportions, and what gets announced today? The creation of a new pavilion. Is it a good investment? The pavilion will cost $350 million; the tuition increases will bring in $600 million. Is this pavilion really necessary?" Quebec's finance minister -- the MNA for Outremont -- says the timing of the announcement reflects a planning and consultation process that has been going on for 2 years. "If anything, this is a gesture that shows the importance of universities," he says. "If we want quality universities, we also need quality equipment for our future science students." Montreal Gazette | Quebec News Release (in French) | uMontréal News Release (in French)

Human rights commission protects MUN's Aboriginal Designated Seats Program

The Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission has granted special status to Memorial University's Aboriginal Designated Seats Program, meaning that existing designated seats and the program itself are protected from any challenges. MUN's program is now the most comprehensive of its kind in Canada. While many universities have designated seats for Aboriginal students in a handful of programs, MUN reserves seats for such students in many programs institution-wide. As a proportion of its total population, NL has the largest Aboriginal population of any province east of Manitoba. MUN News

7 business schools join forces to promote Canada

Under the banner "Yes You Canada," 7 regulars on the global MBA-fair circuit (HEC Montréal and the business schools at McGill, Queen's, UBC, uToronto, Western U, and York U) now appear together on panels to promote Canada. As panel members, these schools deliver a consistent message about Canada's advantages as a safe, economically-strong, and immigrant-friendly nation that allows some international students to stay and work for up to 3 years following graduation, in contrast to the more restrictive policies elsewhere. Following their joint pitch about Canada, recruiters market the particular advantages of their respective schools to prospective students. In the future, the group hopes to involve the federal government, as one of the big challenges Canadian schools face is funding for international students, with a lack of international loan programs readily accessible. Knowing how students get their information, the schools plan to expand their reach this year via Facebook and Twitter. Western News (page 16 of PDF) | Globe and Mail

SIAST renovations accommodate expanded nursing programs

Last Thursday, the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the SIAST Wascana Parkway Centre in Regina to unveil renovations that enabled the institution to house recent expansions to nursing programs. Supported by a joint $5-million investment from the federal and provincial governments, the 25,800-square-foot project converted offices and meeting rooms into an anatomy and physiology lab, an open multipurpose area, and classrooms. SIAST News Release

uCalgary business school launches Enbridge Centre for Corporate Sustainability

Yesterday the University of Calgary and Enbridge Inc. launched the Enbridge Centre for Corporate Sustainability at the university's Haskayne School of Business. The centre will advance the science and practice of achieving the triple bottom line in business and in policy. The triple bottom line refers to decisions aimed at balancing economic, environmental, and social considerations. Enbridge has committed $2.25 million over 10 years to the centre, which will enable graduate student and faculty research, fund post-doctoral fellows, and support the Enbridge Research in Action Seminars. Enbridge Inc. News Release

Ryerson launches Canada's first Digital Specialization Program

Starting this May, Ryerson University expects to offer a new optional Digital Specialization Program, the first of its kind in Canada. The program provides the opportunity to acquire digital skills and receive academic credit for pursuit of students' entrepreneurial ideas in the fields of business and social innovation. One component of the program is the 12-week Digital Specialization Course, offered in the fall/winter semester. The second component -- the 12-week Digital Specialization Semester offered in spring/summer -- begins with a one-week XTREME Boot Camp where students work together as members of high-performance teams, moderated by expert mentors. Ryerson News Release | Digital Specialization @ Ryerson

Florida institutions offer "early bird special" classes

For about a year, Miami Dade College has offered pre-dawn classes, which one campus official calls "the early bird special." Florida International University also has courses starting at 6 am, while Broward College runs early classes beginning at 6:30 am. At least a dozen US institutions, most of them community colleges, also operate at 6 am. The pattern has been generally the same at these institutions: student demand surged during the market downturn, straining the capacity of already-taxed campus facilities. Operating at unconventional hours was one of the only ways to fit in additional classes. With non-traditional adult students now making up the majority at US PSE institutions, making it easier for these historically underrepresented students to get to class is a good thing. "People go to the gym at 6 am all the time," says an official with the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. "There's no reason why you wouldn't go to an intellectual gymnasium at that same hour." Miami Herald

Students' data demand a strain on residential networks, US survey suggests

As more students go to college equipped with smartphones and tablets, residential computing networks are trying to keep up with data demand. A new US survey suggests this trend can strain network resources, forcing some PSE institutions to upgrade their equipment. 68% of 255 campus technology professionals surveyed said they allowed students unlimited access to their residential networks, while just 19% said they limited the bandwidth available to mobile and network devices. Half of the respondents said they paid to supply bandwidth, but did not recover their investment. Respondents said their top concerns were the rising popularity of mobile devices, the growing thirst for bandwidth, and the demand for better wireless coverage. According to the report, several technology administrators surveyed suggested that students' activities on their devices -- such as watching steaming video -- matter more than the specific gadget they use. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)