Top Ten

May 2, 2012

FEUQ, FECQ present counter-offer on tuition and university financing

Leaders of the federations representing Quebec university and CÉGEP students presented a proposal countering the province's new tuition plan at a news conference Tuesday that was disrupted by masked and heckling demonstrators. FEUQ and FECQ's proposal calls for a committee to monitor management of universities; a 3% limit to university expenses that are peripheral to education; a study of the relationship between business and universities; an estates-general, or roving consultations, on education; a 5-year moratorium on construction of new campuses; a 2-year moratorium on university funding increases; and a 2-year moratorium on the tuition increase. Most disappointed with the insistence on a tuition freeze, Education Minister Line Beauchamp was puzzled by the proposed freeze on university funding, noting that in the past student associations have called for more spending on universities. Beauchamp says she is willing to discuss the end of satellite campuses. Montreal Gazette | Canadian Press

Jobs cut as uWindsor pub closes to make room for bookstore, café

Approximately 50 employees of the University of Windsor's Thirsty Scholar pub are out of work due to plans to transform the pub into a bookstore and licensed café. The decision to close the pub stems from existing financial problems and the results of a safety review conducted after a stabbing incident in March. A former Thirsty Scholar security guard told the Windsor Star that he has been trying to contact University of Windsor Students' Alliance (UWSA) members for weeks about termination pay owed to him and the other employees without success, and plans to file a complaint with the labour ministry if he is not paid soon. UWSA's outgoing president confirms that none of the former employees has received termination or severance pay, and UWSA is seeking legal advice about how to proceed. Students are rallying to save the pub through a Facebook campaign. Windsor Star | CBC | uWindsor Daily News

MUN closing Division of Lifelong Learning

Memorial University will close its Division of Lifelong Learning at the end of August as part of the restructuring of its lifelong learning offerings at the St. John's campus. The division's offerings did not generate enough revenue to cover the costs of providing the services, resulting in an accumulated operating deficit of $700,000. MUN will retain programs and services that fit its core mandate to provide university-level education. The closure affects 10 full-time employees in the division. MUN is working with these employees and their unions, where applicable, to identify and explore other potential job opportunities within the university. MUN News

Transgender students at Concordia allowed to use chosen name in class

Starting this fall, Concordia University will allow transgender students to use their chosen names in class and on their student ID. The move follows a campaign by a transgender student and Concordia's 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy for the rights of students undergoing gender reassignment to be known by their chosen name. Transgender students had complained that the previous policy -- which forced them to use their birth name -- humiliated them as they had to reveal their status every time they asked a professor to call them by their chosen name. That left the students vulnerable to sexual harassment, says the centre's coordinator of peer support and trans advocacy. Concordia's director of media relations says students who want to be known by a different name must submit a written request, and that students must continue to use their birth names on official university transcripts. Montreal Gazette

Laurentian seeks partial designation under French Language Services Act

Laurentian University's board of governors has voted to seek partial designation of the institution under the French Language Services Act. Designation under the Act ensures consistent access to quality services in French, guarantees francophone representation in an organization's governance, and assures a written policy with respect to French language services. The board's decision rests on a limited number of parameters, which deal with the protection of academic freedom, collegiate governance, senate autonomy, and Laurentian's discretion not to budget for or offer courses with very low enrolment. Laurentian is the first bilingual PSE school in Ontario to pursue designation under the Act. Laurentian News Release

Queen's home to world's first "boutique" lab

Next week Queen's University will open its Human Media Lab, which has been designed to inspire students through a creative and flexible workplace environment. Serving as a big interactive playground, the lab allows students to hack and experiment with the architecture and space as a user interface. One of the lab's main features is a 16-by-9 feet interactive flexible display with gesture technology; users in front of the display use in-air gestures to control the user interface by shifting objects around the screen. Queen's News Centre

Video series showcases UVic's research talent

"Faces of UVic Research" is a newly launched video series in which individual researchers at the University of Victoria give a brief "elevator pitch" on their work -- in everyday language -- that gets to the core of what they do and why it matters. The series is aimed at anyone interested in learning more about the depth, breadth, and impact of the institution's research talent, particularly prospective students and faculty members, public- and private-sector funders, and the news media. The first batch of videos is available on YouTube. UVic Media Tips | Faces of UVic Research

Mount Allison, Queen's, and uToronto partner with Japanese university on cross-cultural education project

Kwansei Gakuin University (KGU) is using a grant from the Japanese government to establish a cross-cultural education program in collaboration with Mount Allison University, Queen's University, and the University of Toronto. The Cross-Cultural College's first event was a joint seminar pilot program held at Queen's in February, where participating students explored issues in contemporary Canadian and Japanese society. Taking place in June and July, the Asian studies summer school is a 5-week program held at KGU. Summer school students will either move on to a 2-week global internship at a company in Japan or a 4-week joint seminar held in both Japan and Canada. Mount Allison News Release

NBCC, UCN eligible for NSERC funding

New Brunswick Community College and University College of the North have been granted eligibility to administer funds offered by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Both institutions are eligible to apply for funding under NSERC's College and Community Innovation Program, which provides a number of opportunities for collaboration between colleges, companies, and universities, as well as funds to support the development or enhancement of applied research efforts and capacity. NBCC News Release | UCN News Release

US study shows students seek out supplementary material online

New research from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign finds that the majority of undergraduates seek out online content beyond what is provided by their professors. Students use materials, including online lectures, from Ivy League universities and reputable "brands" like the Mayo Clinic. The study also observes that students reject asking traditional authority figures like professors or librarians for help, and instead rely on their friends’ recommendations. The study’s author cautions that she is still unsure if the students were "telling me what I want to hear," and if she targeted the most successful students who were more likely to seek out additional content. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)