Top Ten

June 19, 2012

Controversy over scarce BC medical residency spaces

The associate dean of medicine at the University of British Columbia cautioned students seeking medical degrees internationally that they may not find residency space upon their return to BC. Dr. Dave Snadden reminded students that last year there were 292 residency positions available for medical students, but only 26 were open to international medical graduates. The Society for Canadians Studying Medicine Abroad (SOCSMA) argues that BC is “selling” those 26 positions to doctors whose home countries pay $75,000 per student, per year for instruction in Canada. SOCSMA argues that the foreign doctors return home after residency while Canadians who want to practice in BC are unable to find employment.  Snadden maintains that those positions are based on international agreements to share medical expertise and that UBC does not make a profit from the fee. Vancouver Sun

Ayatollah Khomeini conference at Carleton upsets Iranian-Canadians

Iranian-Canadian academics criticized Carleton University’s decision to hold a conference honouring Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The conference was organized by the Iranian embassy and the Iranian Cultural Association of Carleton, whose president is Ehsan Mohammadi, the son of the cultural counselor at the Iranian embassy. Carleton maintains that it was not involved in the event, although it was promoted on Carleton’s website, and that the views of speakers at student-organized events do not reflect the opinions of the university. The academics argue that “this ‘conference’, organized by a group of people associated with the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, does not have academic value and cannot provide an objective analysis of Khomeini’s thoughts and particularly their outcome.” Macleans OnCampus

Quebec students cheer UN condemnation of Bill 78, urge mediation

Student protesters celebrated as a UN agency criticized Quebec’s Bill 78. On Monday, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay lamented rights violations in North Korea, Zimbabwe, South Sudan and Quebec. She said she was “disappointed by the new legislation passed in Quebec that restricts their [students’] rights to freedom of association and of peaceful assembly.” Jean Charest noted that many cities have tougher restrictions on protests, including Geneva, where the UN agency is based. Meanwhile, all three student unions have agreed to mediation to help resolve the strike, but Education Minister Michelle Courchesne “doesn’t favour mediation.” National Post | Montreal Gazette

Georgian College on top in international student satisfaction survey

According to results from the International Student Barometer (ISB) survey, Georgian College received the highest ranking of participating students across the world. The ISB is an online survey of 209,000 students from over 200 institutions. International students studying at Georgian reported an overall satisfaction rate of 90.3%, and achieved 93.9% satisfaction in student support, particularly in accommodation (95.5%) and career services (94.1%). Georgian also scored well in the area of academics, such as expert lecturers (98%), topic selection (94.4%) and program content (94.4%). Georgian News Release

uSask celebrates opening of Confucius Institute

On Monday, the University of Saskatchewan celebrated the opening of a Confucius Institute. The Institute is open to uSask community and the public, and offers non-credit courses on Chinese language and culture. The Institute has partnered with the Saskatoon Public School Division and will welcome public school students to the campus and allow Confucius Institute instructors to visit local classrooms. uSask News Release

TWU submits proposal for new School of Law

On Tuesday, Trinity Western University submitted a proposal for a new School of Law. The proposal describes a 3 year J.D. program with a class size of 60 students, and in addition to traditional courses, students would be able to specialize in “Charities and Social Justice” or “Entrepreneurial” law. If approved, TWU will construct a new building to house the school and begin classes in September 2015. TWU News Release

Amid uproar, U.Va. names interim president

After a 12-hour meeting, the University of Virginia Board of Visitors named Carl Zeithaml, dean of the McIntire School of Commerce, interim president on Tuesday. Zeithaml replaces Teresa Sullivan, the popular president who was fired by the Board after only two years. 2,000 students, staff and faculty rallied on Monday to protest Sullivan’s dismissal and the lack of transparency. Reports have suggested that Sullivan’s reluctance to shut down small departments, and her general unwillingness to enact immediate and dramatic changes to the university, were the reasons for her dismissal. The U.Va. community’s frustration over her firing is evident as wealthy donors threaten to withhold payments to the school and faculty members threaten to seek employment elsewhere. Virginian-Pilot | Inside Higher Ed | Washington Post

Postscript: Jun 28, 2012

On Tuesday, the University of Virginia Board of Visitors voted unanimously to reinstate president Teresa A. Sullivan, who was ousted earlier this month over concerns that uVA was not adapting fast enough to financial and technological pressures. The recent events at uVA have brought the institution into the national spotlight, raising major questions about the university's efforts to address the challenges facing all public research universities. New York Times | The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access) | Inside Higher Ed

Universities welcome passage of copyright bill

On Tuesday, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada applauded the passage of the Copyright Modernization Act, Bill C-11. The AUCC says the bill will “update Canada’s copyright legislation and help to balance the needs of researchers, students and professors with those of creators.” The Canadian Association of University Teachers and the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations were happy with many of the bill’s modernizations but criticized the digital locks provision, which allows content producers to lock content even in fair use dealings. AUCC News Release | CASA News Release

U Nebraska Lincoln prof detained on study trip to China

University of Nebraska-Lincoln assistant professor Weixing Li was detained by Chinese authorities while accompanying students on a study abroad trip. Dr. Li, a Chinese citizen, was last seen in early June and university officials believe he is still in Chinese custody. A Foreign Service officer with the US Embassy in Beijing said that since Dr. Li was travelling on a Chinese passport, China has no obligation to provide the US with his location or even confirm his detention. Dr. Li was travelling with 18 students, although he was not with the students at the time of his arrest. Journal Star
Postscript: U Nebraska Prof on his way back to US: University of Nebraska Lincoln Professor feared detained by Chinese authorities has contacted his family and reports that he will return to the US soon. The University has been unable to determine his whereabouts because he is a Chinese citizen travelling on a Chinese passport. The Chronicle of Higher Education

“Giving USA” predicts very slow return to 2007 levels of philanthropy

A new report found that charitable donations in the US grew slightly in 2011, but it remained 11% below the 2007 level.  Donations to educational institutions also rose by 0.9%, but at this rate, donations will not return to 2007 levels until 2022. Charities involved in development and relief work overseas saw the largest increase in 2011, at 4.4%, while donations to environmental groups increased by 1.4%. Living individuals' donations have stagnated, while bequests rose by 9%. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access) | PR Daily