Top Ten

July 23, 2012

$60-million fine among NCAA penalties against Penn State

In the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal, the NCAA has imposed an unprecedented series of penalties against Pennsylvania State University, including a $60-million fine, whose revenues will fund programs to create an endowment to protect child abuse victims around the US, and the loss of all football victories from 1998 to 2011. Other penalties include a 4-year ban on bowl games and the loss of 20 scholarships per year over 4 years. The sanctions follow the removal of the Joe Paterno statue from outside the Penn State football stadium on Sunday. In a statement Penn State president Rodney Erickson described the statue as "a source of division and an obstacle to healing in our university." Inside Higher Ed | Associated Press

Quebec students hold march as election looms

Thousands of students and their supporters marched in the streets of Montreal Sunday to denounce the Quebec government's planned tuition fee hikes, sending a message that they will be ready for a fight should Premier Jean Charest decide to call an election. Protests against the government have eased during the summer, but students say a strong turnout during the height of the summer holidays shows that the movement has not petered out. The student group CLASSE has pledged that it will not support one particular party, but will work to ensure the Liberals do not return to power. Other student organizations are also planning an information campaign explaining their opposition to the tuition fee increases. Canadian Press

Chinese parents worried for children's safety in Canada following Jun Lin murder

Mainland Chinese parents are alarmed by the death of Concordia University student Jun Lin, as well as last year's murder of Chinese student Qian Liu in Toronto and recent sexual assaults at York University. "(My parents) warned me, 'Don't go near any crowd. Finish school and come back to China'," says one Centennial College student. "Whenever a tragedy happens, it doesn’t matter if the student is from China, Korea or India, it’s going to have a negative impact," says an official with the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. "I've seen it in the Chinese media and online discussions about these incidents, some of the discussions are blown out of proportion." The manager of the Beijing-based Canadian University Application Centre says a few parents have asked her about personal safety since these incidents, but no one has changed their mind as a result. "For the present, it has not hampered our ability to recruit to Canada," she says. "Most prospects are sophisticated enough to understand this is a sensational case, but an exceptional one." Toronto Star

Guelph aims to host new undergraduate campus

The City of Guelph is eyeing one of the 3 new undergraduate campuses proposed by the Ontario government last fall. The city has been working with Conestoga College and the University of Guelph on a business plan for a joint campus at the former Guelph Correctional Centre grounds. A city official says the proposed Guelph campus would likely specialize in agri-food, agri-technology, and environmental sciences. Guelph Mercury

UPEI shuts down diversity office

The University of Prince Edward Island has shut down its diversity office, citing the need to save money following provincial cuts, but the student union is wondering why it was not consulted. The office had a mandate to foster cultural understanding and combat the social isolation of students who may be considered different due to their race, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation. UPEI officials say they had no choice as all departments had to find ways to save money after the province cut PSE funding by 3% in this year's budget. Officials say there will be no cuts to diversity services, which will now be delivered by staff at the Webster Centre for Teaching and Learning. CBC

uManitoba nursing faculty seeks English proficiency test

The University of Manitoba's nursing faculty could require new students to pass an English language oral proficiency test as soon as September 2014. The faculty reports that 13% of applicants -- from a pool of over 600 potential students a year -- do not have English as a first language. Of those who are accepted, 23% do not have English as a first language. The faculty warns that not only is a lack of oral English proficiency a classroom problem, it can also be dangerous in the workplace. The faculty had wanted new proficiency standards in effect by the start of the 2013 academic year, but the senate bounced the proposal back for additional study, delaying implementation until at least September 2014. Winnipeg Free Press

Northern College building tipi

Last month Northern College began construction of a permanent, 700-square-foot tipi, which is scheduled to be completed in the late fall. The tipi will be accessible to Northern College learners, partners, clients, and anyone with an interest in learning more about the cultural values and traditions of Aboriginal people. The tipi will accommodate up to 30 people and will meet the needs of cultural, community, and educational activities. Stemming from the college's 2010-13 strategic operating plan, the tipi complements the significant milestones the institution has reached through its Aboriginal Focus. Northern College News Release

uWindsor, Flat World Knowledge partner in e-textbook licensing program

In a first-of-its-kind partnership with Flat World Knowledge, the largest publisher of openly-licensed college textbooks, the University of Windsor will provide students with greater access to high-quality course materials in a wide range of digital formats. As part of a pilot program studying e-textbooks, uWindsor purchased 2,000 seat licenses to Flat World Knowledge's course content. Starting this fall, all students assigned to a Flat World Knowledge textbook will have access to their course materials on the first day of class. Students will be able to download the digital material onto any computer, laptop, e-reader, tablet, or smartphone. Once students do, the content is theirs to use as long as they like. uWindsor Daily News

1/3 of US colleges on financially "unsustainable" path, analysis finds

According to an analysis of nearly 1,700 public and private non-profit PSE institutions in the US, one-third of the institutions have been on an "unsustainable financial path" in recent years, and another 28% are "at risk on slipping into an unsustainable condition." At a surprising number of institutions, "operating expenses are getting higher" and "they're running out of cash to cover it," says a partner with Bain & Company, which conducted the analysis. The findings are available on an interactive website where users can type in the name of a college and see where it lies on the analysts' 9-part matrix. The methodology is based on 2 financial ratios: the "equity ratio" looks at the change in value in a college's assets, including its endowment, relative to its liabilities, and the "expense ratio" considers changes in expenses as a percentage of revenue. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

Chinese students turn to social media to lodge complaints about campus services

At campuses across China, young people are voicing complaints on Renren.com -- a Facebook-like Chinese social network -- about things they are angry about on campuses, such as bland food in cafeterias, slow Internet speeds, boring classes, and poor washroom facilities. A few weeks ago Fudan University installed air conditioners in its student residences following an online campaign calling for the appliances. In a nation as tightly controlled as China, such protests demonstrate young people's increasing comfort in standing up to authority. And in a few cases, students are taking even bolder stances, participating in more public protests on issues such as gender inequality and environmental matters. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)