Top Ten

August 24, 2012

Ontario colleges urge faculty union to cancel strike vote

Ontario colleges are warning that OPSEU could trigger a strike of 10,000 faculty members as early as September 15. The College Employer Council says a strike could go ahead at that time if OPSEU goes through with its September 10 strike vote and a majority of faculty vote in favour of giving the union a strike mandate. The colleges' bargaining team has asked OPSEU to cancel its strike vote and instead work with it to reach a settlement. College Employer Council News Release

MUN business school sites hacked

Memorial University's Faculty of Business Administration reports that unauthorized access of its website by an unknown party was discovered last Monday. IT staff immediately took steps to protect confidential information, and as a precaution temporarily shut down websites for the faculty as well as for the affiliated Gardiner Centre. Private information including student ID numbers and grades may have been accessed in the breach. MUN's Information Access and Privacy Protection office is investigating the breach and is looking into whether other information may have been infiltrated. MUN News | CBC

SAIT opening Trades and Technology Complex

The changing face of post-secondary trades and technology education in Alberta is ready for students as SAIT Polytechnic is opening the doors to its new $400-million complex, which features the first 3D drilling simulator at a PSE institution in North America, state-of-the-art welding booths, and specially designed spaces where industry and SAIT can collaborate on research projects. The largest expansion in the institute's 96-year history, the complex will add an extra 8,100 students to SAIT's current 70,000. The facility was designed to meet labour market demands in the oil and gas industry and trades and technology sector of Alberta. The public will get the chance to tour the complex at an open house on September 15. Calgary Herald

Quebec student movement shifts focus to UQAM

The Quebec student movement's focus will be on the Université du Québec à Montréal today after students in 2 of its largest faculties voted to continue their class boycotts and professors voted Thursday to cancel classes where they deem conditions will not allow them to teach. The student group CLASSE has promised to support demonstrators in their efforts to block access to those faculties. Classes will continue as scheduled as UQAM has an obligation to provide an education under Bill 78, says a university official. Montreal Gazette

Quebec students should delay tuition payment pending election outcome, says PQ

The Parti Québécois is telling students they should hold off paying their tuition fees in case the party rises to power in next month's election. A PQ candidate says universities should wait before issuing tuition fee bills because the party would act quickly to implement policies to neutralize this year's tuition fee increase. A deputy provost at McGill University believes the PQ's comments come too soon, as the institution has already issued tuition invoices which must be paid by August 31. "Universities knew about the election and were already planning for a PQ rollback of tuition," says the deputy provost, who notes the rollback would cost McGill nearly $7.5 million. "Certainly at McGill, our budget was passed in the spring before the election was called. We're going to wait and see what happens just like everyone else in Quebec." CBC

Algonquin College's new president outlines vision for institution

Kent MacDonald's tenure as president of Algonquin College has started with a promise to continue touting the value of hands-on learning and position the institution as a global leader for integrating digital technology in the classroom. Algonquin's job is to transform the hopes and dreams of students into career success, MacDonald says, and a key way to do that is through applied learning -- an essential component of virtually all of the college's programs. MacDonald says he'll be looking to the Ontario government to fix the credit transfer system to make it easier for students to move from college to university and vice versa. Ottawa Citizen

uSask opens nursing campus in Regina

The University of Saskatchewan has launched a new campus in Regina for students in its College of Nursing, giving them the option to study where they live. The new campus is part of a larger property and is currently undergoing renovations. The campus will feature a lecture theatre; 2 classrooms; a number of breakout rooms; a variety of offices for staff, faculty, research, and the Native Access Program to Nursing; a boardroom; a nursing skills practice lab; a student learning commons; and a graduate student mezzanine. The campus will be equipped with state-of-the-art technology to assist the nursing college with the distributed learning model. uSask News Release

ARL ranks uToronto library system among top 3 in North America

The University of Toronto has maintained its status as one of the top 3 library systems in North America -- after Harvard and Yale Universities -- according to the US-based Association of Research Libraries (ARL). uToronto was the only Canadian university listed among the top 10 in ARL's rankings. Every year the association ranks its members based on total expenditures, material expenditures, salary expenditures, and number of staff. uToronto's library system has placed among ARL's top 5 research libraries since 2002-03. uToronto News

McMaster's Children and Youth University a success

McMaster University's experimental series of free children's lectures has proven so successful that it is returning this year to cover the entire academic year, with monthly lectures on subjects selected by kids themselves. McMaster Children and Youth University brings together university instructors and young people -- most of them in elementary and middle school -- one Saturday morning each month to share knowledge and to broaden the community's access to the institution. Last year's pilot program was so popular that most of the 5 lectures were completely booked in advance, drawing students from 93 schools across an area from Niagara to Toronto. Organizers hope the program will open a pathway to university for families that have never been exposed to higher education. McMaster News Release

UBC develops mobile app

Available September in beta format, the University of British Columbia's new mobile web app comes loaded with essentials: wayfinding maps, transit information, news, events, videos, and library access. Next term, students can access course information and enter a $5,000 competition to design new features. The app functions on all mobile devices and can be tailored to either the Vancouver campus or Okanagan campus. The app is one key part in making UBC more mobile friendly. Concurrent work is being done on the institution's main website, using "responsive-design" technology to make it readable on any device. UBC Reports | UBC mobile app