Top Ten

July 19, 2012

Fraud, theft charges laid against former uWaterloo employee

Assisted by Waterloo Regional Police, University of Waterloo Police investigated and charged a former university employee, Jacqueline Hollmann, with counts of theft over $5,000 and fraud over $5,000, involving a total amount of approximately $955,000. The charges relate to Hollmann's role supervising uWaterloo's copy centres. The matter came to light in early 2011 and the institution took immediate action to launch an investigation. Hollmann no longer works at uWaterloo. No further charges in relation to this case are expected. uWaterloo Statement

York U students dissatisfied with administration's response to sexual assaults

York University students had a strong message for campus administration and police Wednesday evening: Their efforts to prevent on-campus violence are not enough. Following a string of on-campus sexual assaults, the faculty union held a town-hall style forum to discuss what organizers described as a "systematic problem" of gender violence at York U. At the meeting some senior officials said administration needs guidance from school community groups to know what steps to take. One of the event's organizers and others were not satisfied, nor did they think a 2-hour meeting with campus executives -- all the progress the administration had made over the past 2 weeks -- was enough of a response to the violence. Toronto Star

CLASSE to stay neutral during next Quebec election

As much as the student group CLASSE wants to unseat the Quebec Liberals in the next election, it plans to remain neutral in the election and not tell its members how to vote. CLASSE reached the decision at a meeting on the weekend, with members confirming their commitment to opposing "neo-liberal" politics and the privatization of public services as the province prepares for an anticipated election right after Labour Day. "Our role is to defend the positions adopted by students and not to tell them what to do on voting day," says CLASSE's president. "We will defend certain principles and criticize others, but we will remain completely independent of political parties." Montreal Gazette

Labour shortage in Saskatchewan "worst in history," survey finds

According to a recent survey by Merit Contractors Association Saskatchewan, more than 80% of Saskatchewan's non-union contractors believe the current labour shortage is the worst in the province's history, with nearly 75% unable to hire a journeyperson within 3 months and 40% unable to hire at all. The association says 85% of its member companies are having difficulty retaining employees. The association is calling on the government to increase the number of training seats at technical institutes such as SIAST, encourage more First Nations and Métis individuals to enter the trades, expedite the transfer of skilled tradespeople from other provinces, and increase immigration of skilled workers. Regina Leader-Post

BC releases technology sector strategy

Last week the BC government released its strategy to create and support jobs in the province's fast-growing technology sector. The strategy predicts that by 2014, there will be more than 100,000 high-tech jobs supporting BC families. The strategy focuses on 4 key action items: accelerate technology commercialization and adoption; build on regional strengths to create new opportunities; develop talent for a knowledge-based economy; and expand markets for the province's technology. The strategy includes a $7-million Commercialization Voucher Program, which will connect small and medium-sized businesses from a range of key sectors and regions throughout BC with cutting-edge researchers in the province's PSE system. BC News Release | Vancouver Sun

Bishop's U, uSherbrooke partner to retain students in Sherbrooke

Bishop's University and the Université de Sherbrooke are working together to keep students pursuing master's degrees and PhDs in Sherbrooke. The 2 universities have formed a teaching and research partnership that will see Bishop's U encourage its students to attend uSherbrooke if they are looking to pursue studies beyond an undergraduate degree. "As our university largely offers bachelor’s programs, the University of Sherbrooke stands out as a logical choice to continue studies of a higher level," says Bishop's U principal Michael Goldbloom. "Together, we want to facilitate the transition process between our two institutions and recruit students who want to complete all of their university education in Sherbrooke." uSherbrooke News Release (in French) | Sherbrooke Record

OUSA report outlines recommendations to improve quality of education at Ontario universities

On Wednesday the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance released a report presenting its position on a variety of topics related to delivering high quality education within the province's PSE sector. The report examines strategies that the Ontario government can use to improve the quality of education being offered at provincial universities with little or no additional cost. OUSA recommends the implementation of Ontario teaching chairs and teaching-focused faculty, experiential education, improved credit transfer, and online education. The report also provides commentary on performance funding, differentiation, satellite campuses, teaching-only universities, 3-year degrees, and summer semesters. OUSA News Release | Report

SFU student designs tool to help students land research assistant positions at universities

A Simon Fraser University student has developed an online resource called Go Research to help students land roles as voluntary research assistants or helpers in university laboratories. The platform allows university researchers worldwide to post research positions, which students can easily search. Go Research's creator hopes the plaform will serve as a bridge between opportunities and students who may "envision themselves working as research assistants but don't know how to access those opportunities." SFU News Release | Go Research

How to best connect with prospective students

Writing for Inside Higher Ed, Catherine Sloan of InsideTrack, a student-coaching service, says "the key to turning prospective students into enrolled students is to form early and meaningful connections with students that let them know you have their best outcomes in mind, and are working to help them get off to a strong start in college that will lead to long-term success and satisfaction." Sloan offers some best practices and bits of conventional wisdom that are easily overlooked or forgotten: leverage the student's own momentum; engage early applicants before winter break; understand that students really are busy; be "decidedly non-parental" but respect the parental units; realize students are probably only going to get busier as the year progresses; strong customer service, starting immediately, is critical; treat students like adults; assume nothing; uncover major obstacles early and get a plan in place to overcome them; understand the student's unique objectives; recognize the potential for "à la carte" education, understand the student's underlying motivation; and articulate value in a way that makes sense to students. Inside Higher Ed

THE unveils submissions to annual "exam howlers" competition

Yesterday Times Higher Education reported on some of the entries sent to its annual "exam howlers" contest, in which professors submit comical malapropisms found in students' work. "In 1945 Stalin began to build a buffet zone in Eastern Europe," reads one entry. A medievalist was amused by one student's insistence that in the Middle Ages "most books were written on valium" rather than on vellum. Academic referencing was taken to a new level in an entry from the University of Southampton, where a student introduced a quotation from a secondary source with: "As Ibid says." Times Higher Education