Top Ten

August 2, 2012

Former student leader apologizes for embarrassing Mount Royal with robbery charges

After pleading guilty Wednesday to bank robbery charges, Meghan Darcy Melnyk apologized for bringing international notoriety to herself and Mount Royal University, where she had been the student union president until her unexpected resignation in January. "I feel horrible," Melnyk said. "I am so regretful that my actions put them in such a negative spotlight." Melnyk said she has no plans to return to university until she gets help. Calgary Herald

PQ would scrap tuition increase plan within first 100 days

The Quebec Liberals' controversial university funding plan would be eliminated within the first 100 days of a Parti Québécois government, pledged the party on the first full day of the provincial election campaign yesterday. PQ Leader Pauline Marois says she would quickly scrap tuition fee hikes, cancel Bill 78, and call a summit on how to better fund universities if she won the September 4 election. Marois announced the pledges while accompanied by former student leader Léo Bureau-Blouin, who is running as a PQ candidate in Laval. The PQ's promise follows a rowdy night-time casserole protest in Montreal Wednesday that resulted in 17 arrests and some injuries. Canadian Press | Montreal Gazette

Anarchopanda unofficial symbol of Quebec student movement

Mass students demonstrations against planned tuition fees increases in Quebec are set to resume this month, meaning a return to a familiar routine for one CÉGEP professor: dressing up as a panda, taking to the Montreal streets, and perhaps hugging a few police officers. Anarchopanda is the brainchild of Julien Villeneuve, who first appeared in costume in May. Since then, Anarchopanda has become the unofficial symbol of the Quebec student movement, complete with his own tribute song. Villeneuve has appeared at a dozen protests, often standing on the frontline facing a wall of cops in riot gear. "Police don't know how to react when they're charging a line of students and they see a panda," he says. Villeneuve stresses that despite Anarchopanda's cult-like status, if students derail the Liberals' plan to raise tuition fees, he'll drop the character and move on with his life. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

Canada at risk of STEM skills deficit, report warns

Canada is at risk of losing ground in the global economy unless educators and governments convince more youth to pursue STEM-related careers, suggests a new report from the Canadian Council of Chief Executives. The report says Canada faces an increasing shortage of workers with university degrees in the STEM fields, in large part due to relatively few Canadian secondary school graduates choosing to enrol in such programs. The report cites a 2010 survey of 16- to 18-year-old Canadians, only 37% of whom said they were interested in taking a science course at the PSE level. While PSE participation remains high nationally, the proportion of students in STEM programs is weak, particularly at the postgraduate level. The report calls for the creation of a national roundtable to develop both a vision for the future and a comprehensive strategy to obtain that vision. CCCE News Release | Vancouver Sun | Report

Tyndale to sell Ballyconnor Court campus

Toronto-based Tyndale University College & Seminary's plans for consolidating its operations onto the Bayview campus are moving ahead with the sale of its Ballyconnor Court campus to Shining Hill Homes Inc., a development and home building company. Gifts from Tyndale supporters and funds received from the sale will complete Tyndale's $58-million Uncommon Ground capital campaign to do some initial renovations and complete its financial commitment in purchasing Morrow Park from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto. The transfer of ownership of the Ballyconnor campus will take place in October 2014 or earlier if Tyndale is able to complete its transition to the Bayview campus before then. Tyndale News

First-year confirmations for Northern College trades and technology programs increase

First-year confirmations of acceptance to Northern College's trades and technology programs are on the rise. Compared to this time last year, programs such as Electrical Engineering Technician have experienced an increase of nearly 15%. Many of the institution's offerings in the School of Engineering Technology and Trades and the School of Welding Engineering have seen similar increases. First-year confirmations at the Kirkland Lake campus are up nearly 11.5%, and confirmations at the Haileybury campus are comparable to 2011. Northern College News Release

Students give Mohawk College continuing education high marks

Mohawk College's continuing education instructors and courses have received top marks from students in the latest Ontario-wide survey. In the teaching and learning category, Mohawk earned the highest marks from students on 16 out of 19 questions. For example, 98% of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with the instructor's knowledge of the subject, and 97% were satisfied or very satisfied with the opportunity for participation and discussion in class. Mohawk also scored highest among large colleges in the general perception and satisfaction category. 86% of Mohawk continuing education students surveyed said they would recommend their course to a friend with the same interests. Mohawk Matters

Dal set to demolish arena

The demolition of Dalhousie University's Memorial arena is scheduled to begin Monday with a targeted completion date of mid-October. The demolition will clear the way for the construction of the new LeMarchant Street Mixed-Use Facility, which will feature 326 residence beds and several student services. Dal continues to explore options for a new arena and fitness facility, including possible locations for these facilities. A decision on the exact location of a new arena and fitness facility will be made later this fall. Dal News

New site aims to guide Inuit PSE students

The Tukitaarvik Inuit Student Centre website is a new resource to help guide Inuit students along the path to PSE. Visitors to the site can watch video testimonials from Inuit students who have completed PSE studies or are still studying. Visitors to the site can engage in discussion forums or get in contact with some of the students and graduates profiled on the site. The site is part of a larger project on post-secondary studies among Inuit. The 3-year project will make recommendations on how to establish a northern university and improve Inuit access to PSE. Nunatsiaq Online | Website

CU-Denver silence on movie shooting suspect carries risks

Last week University of Colorado at Denver officials assured reporters that students and professors were free to talk about James Holmes, the former graduate student charged in the fatal cinema shooting, then officials sent an e-mail thanking people for refusing to talk. Officials later amended that in a follow-up e-mail, stating that "it is your right to speak to whomever you wish." The reversals underscore the forces buffeting CU-Denver after the attack that police tie to Holmes. The university could face lawsuits; Aurora police told campus officials not to disclose details that might hinder the investigation; and a judge ordered the university not to release public records on Holmes. A crisis communications expert says CU-Denver's reluctance to explain how it handled Holmes, who was treated by a campus psychiatrist, carries risks. "In the absence of clarity, the public's imagination runs wild," he says. Associated Press