Top Ten

August 29, 2012

11 people arrested in protest at uMontréal

A total of 11 demonstrators were detained by Montreal police Tuesday morning following a "physical confrontation" involving students and Université de Montréal security guards inside a classroom. 6 of the individuals arrested are expected to face Criminal Code charges of assault and assault on a police officer. The other 5 were released and have not been charged. uMontréal issued a notice Tuesday evening that it would suspend classes for the rest of the week in the departments of anthropology, art history, comparative literature, East Asian studies, film studies, and video-gaming studies. There are 47 suspended classes overall, all in the departments in which student associations voted to continue their boycott. uMontréal's federation of student associations has issued a statement asking campus administration "to face up to its responsibilities and put an end to police interventions on the campus." Montreal Gazette | CBC | FAÉCUM News Release

Carleton clarifies donor agreement on political management school

Carleton University has clarified a donor agreement for its Clayton H. Riddell Graduate Program in Political Management founded with a $15-million donation, amending it to say that the benefactor, Clayton Riddell, does not have final say over faculty hiring and curriculum. The original agreement showed that the Riddell Foundation effectively appointed 3 out of the 5 people on the program's steering committee, which was given sweeping power over the program's budget, academic hiring, executive director, and curriculum. In a letter to faculty and staff that also marked the program's first anniversary, Carleton's administration said the university "looked at provisions of the donor agreement that had caused some confusion" -- namely the role of the steering committee. The letter states that a revised clause of the agreement clarifies the committee's role as that of strategic advisor. "That is indeed the role that the committee has played from the outset, and we felt it was important to clarify the wording to avoid any misunderstanding." The 5-person committee includes 2 representatives of the Riddell Foundation, 2 university representatives, and a chair appointed by both sides. Carleton Letter | Ottawa Citizen | Canadian Press

Postscript: Aug 31, 2012

Changes to clarify Carleton University's donor agreement with Clayton Riddell on the university's graduate program in political management are more cosmetic than substantive and miss the main point -- protecting academic independence, says the Canadian Association of University Teachers. The deal "in some ways has been made worse," CAUT says. "I must say we're very unhappy," says CAUT executive director James Turk. "We don't feel that they've resolved the problem at all." The program's steering committee, of which 2 members are Riddell Foundation representatives and whose chair is appointed by both the foundation and Carleton, "is going to play an intimate role in the actual operation of an academic program at Carleton University," says Turk. "And there is no place for a donor's organization involved (in academic decisions)." Canadian Press

Waterloo Region PSE institutions experience first-year enrolment increases

The number of first-year students enrolling in Waterloo Region's 3 PSE institutions continues to increase each year. At Conestoga College, the projected number of first-year students is expected to reach 5,115, up 8.7% over last year. A Conestoga official says all areas of study have seen enrolment growth, particularly engineering and information technology. Engineering alone has seen a 19% jump in the number of students choosing the subject. Projected first-year enrolment at the University of Waterloo is set at 6,486, up 3% over last year. uWaterloo's registrar credits the institution's co-op program for attracting students to the university. At Wilfrid Laurier University, the number of expected first-year students is set to reach 4,700, up 3.2% over last year. A WLU official says the institution's core demographic has been southern Ontario secondary school graduates, but it is expanding to non-traditional areas such as more Aboriginal students, out-of-province students, and international students. Waterloo Region Record

uAlberta welcomes record number of students

The University of Alberta will begin its 104th year of classes with over 39,000 students -- the most the institution has ever had -- walking the 5 campuses that make up the university. The total undergraduate student population -- up by approximately 300 students over last year -- is 31,900, including 3,100 international students. 8,500 students, including 250 Aboriginal students, are new to uAlberta this year. More than 13,000 students applied to uAlberta directly from high school -- a 24% increase since 2009. The institution will also play host to 7,300 graduate students, of whom 1,110 are new to the university. uAlberta News

UBC places first in new Canadian research rankings

The University of British Columbia has placed first in both the science and engineering and social sciences and humanities categories in new research rankings compiled by the Higher Education Strategy Associates. The other universities to round out the top 10 in the science and engineering category are uMontréal, uToronto-St. George, uOttawa, McGill, SFU, UQ Rimouski, uWaterloo, uAlberta, and McMaster. Among the top 10 in the social sciences and humanities category are McGill, uToronto-St.George, uAlberta, UoGuelph, uMontréal, McMaster, York U, Concordia, and SFU. HESA measured universities' current research strengths through granting council award data, and measured the depth of their academic capital through use of the H-index. HESA determined the national average of grants and H-indexes in every discipline expect medicine, and then adjusted each individual researcher's and department' scores to be a function of that average. Report

Ontario poverty report touches on tuition fees, university operating revenue

Yesterday the Ontario Common Front -- a coalition of more than 90 provincial groups and organizations -- released a report indicating that Ontario leads in poverty increases and is at the bottom of the pack when it comes to equality and social programs. The report notes that in Ontario, university operating revenue from government sources dropped from 82% in 1979 to 49.5% in 2009, whereas tuition fees rose from 16% of operating revenue to 44.5%. According to Statistics Canada, tuition fees in Ontario are the most expensive in Canada. The report notes that the cost of undergraduate tuition has grown markedly over the past 20 years, increasing by more than 200%. Over the same period, inflation rose by just 41%. University tuition costs grew the fastest in Ontario (+247% in 2010-11) and the slowest in Newfoundland and Labrador (+70%). Between 2010 and 2012, Ontario had the largest jump in university tuition fees in the country. Ontario Common Front News Release | Report

Student housing options abound in Fredericton due to declining enrolment levels

Declining enrolment at Fredericton universities means students now have more choice on where they are going to live, whether they are looking to reside on or off campus. St. Thomas University's residence manager says there are more spots available to students in campus residences than in previous years. STU is experiencing a slight drop in first-year students, who tend to use on-campus housing more. By contrast, STU is continuing to retain returning students at a higher rate, and some of these students are signing up for additional years of living on campus. Students at the University of New Brunswick will also have their choice of places to reside. "We've been around this level that is some percentage, you know, 90 per cent occupancy across the residence system, at least that will be the case this year," says UNB's executive director of residential life. CBC

UVic website gets a makeover

Just in time for the start of its 50th anniversary celebrations, the University of Victoria went live yesterday with its new-look website. The revamped site replaces both the existing and central service pages and was developed in response to feedback from UVic's audiences. The redesigned homepage takes advantage of new developments and technological and social media advances to better meet users' needs. A "global menu" bar spans the top of all new central web pages and is intended to provide one-click access to the university's most popular services and information sites, such as the library, admissions, academics, and research. UVic Ring | UVic Website

Young women more likely than men to aspire to PSE and to graduate, US report finds

Female high school students are more likely than their male peers to aspire to attend college, and the young women enrol in college, persist, and graduate from it at higher rates as well, according to a new report from the US-based National Center for Education Statistics. The report states that in 2004, 96% of female high-school seniors wanted to go to college, compared to 90% of males. Approximately 60% of all first-time, full-time bachelor-degree seeking students who started PSE in 2004 had earned that degree 6 years later from the same institution. A greater proportion of women had finished (61%) than men (56%). Female students across all racial and ethnic groups graduated at higher rates compared to male students, with the biggest discrepancy among black students, the report states. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

App gives helicopter parents updates on their child's college progress

Launched this fall by a Washington-based team, csMentor is a web-based program that combines video mentoring with regular check-ins to promote better communication between college students and parents. Under the program, students get access to a series of Mentoring Interactive Programs (MIPs). Consisting of a short video on various topics, each MIP ends with students being asked a series of multiple-choice questions about their health, social adjustment, academic behaviour, and academic goals. After the student completes the week's questions, the csMentor technology analyzes the data and generates a report for the student and the parents. While the report does not list the students' responses, it provides a summary of how the student is doing in the 4 key areas, each of which is coded green, yellow, or red. csMentor's CEO says the goal is not to change the quantity of communication between students and parents, but to change the quality. "We think that parents who are either appropriately active in college students' lives or over-active or under-active are going to be that way no matter what," the CEO says. "We think our role is to inform those interactions that are going to take place under any circumstances." Inside Higher Ed | csMentor