All Posts Tagged With: "university of alberta"
Why can we find money for execs but not foreign students?
International students at the University of Alberta are facing a possible five per cent tuition increase next year, equating to $900 to $1,600 per year, depending on the program. They already pay several times as much tuition as domestic students to make up for lack of taxpayer funding. Domestic tuition, meanwhile, is set to rise only one per cent. While many international students have cried out in protest, some domestic students support higher increases for non-Albertans.
I, however, have to side with my international colleagues that this tuition increase is unfair. I can’t imagine the sudden stress they’re under. Why is it that Alberta universities can find millions of dollars for things like $8.1-million executive office upgrades and 3.65% pay raises but can’t keep tuition down for these vulnerable students?
My empathy comes from the experiences I’ve had as a student on a diverse campus. For the past year, I’ve been a writing tutor working exclusively with students who are relatively new to Canada. I meet with an entire class of English as a Second Language students every week and so I know them not only on an academic level, but a personal level. Some say I’m their first Canadian friend.
Dean Mortensen left a pub in ’92 and was never seen again
Dean Mortensen grew up in Grande Cache, a coal-mining town four hours west of Edmonton. He played hockey every winter (defence) and graduated at the top of his class. In his first year at the University of Alberta, Mortensen lived at St. Joseph’s College, patrolling the blue line for the Rangers, the dorm’s intramural hockey team. A poster of his favourite player—Steve Yzerman, captain of the Detroit Red Wings—hung on his wall.
“He was a super-bright guy, and really responsible,” says Stephen Beland, a lifelong friend whose room was just down the hall. “He was the only guy in the whole dorm who made his bed every day.”
How to cut down on bad behaviour like at Saint Mary’s
Though I couldn’t wait for orientation to end, I did learn a few valuable lessons about respecting the students around me at an optional short conference on campus culture and etiquette.
The key word is “optional.” If frosh week had a mandatory component that taught all students about what’s expected of them, instead of just how to get drunk in the beer gardens, I think universities could prevent incidents like Saint Mary’s rape-referencing orientation chant.
Financial planners suggest skipping student residences
TORONTO – Many university students recall the rambunctious pub nights, late-night cram sessions and laundry-strewn dorm rooms of campus life with nostalgic fondness. But this cultural rite of passage can be pricey.
Erin Andrews, 22, said living away from home — including three years in residence and one year in off-campus housing — has added almost $20,000 to her debt load.
But the fourth-year kineseology major at Memorial University in Newfoundland has no regrets.
“It was definitely worth it,” said Andrews, who describes the friends she met in residence as a “super big family.”
“If you like becoming independent and making new friends and want to have the full university experience, I think residence should definitely be included.”
Smaller budgets for arts and sciences aren’t inevitable
If you are my age or younger, you probably can’t remember many times when universities weren’t under financial pressure. When I was an undergraduate in Ontario, everyone was talking about underfunding and rising tuition fees. Today, my university in Nova Scotia continues to deal with annual government cuts. Residents of other provinces can, no doubt, fill in their own stories.
The news that the University of Alberta is suspending enrollment in twenty arts programs is, in a sense, no surprise.
There are plenty of complexities here to be sure. U of A keeps reminding people that not very many students will be directly affected by these cuts since most of the programs are small, and some students may be able to get what they need in similar programs. Besides, U of A is cutting science seats too.
Conversely, others have pointed out that some of these programs should be small (it’s unsafe to have large numbers of students in technical theatre classes, for instance), and cutting tiny, low-cost programs like classical languages can’t possibly save much money. Oh, and in science, they are only cutting enrollments, which is not the same as cutting programs.
“Peeping toms” reported on campuses from coast to coast
Police in Waterloo, Ont. arrested a 31-year-old non-student on Thursday and charged him with voyeurism after he was, “observed using a cell phone to take video of unsuspecting females as they used a staircase on the campus.”
It wasn’t an isolated incident at Waterloo, nor are “peeping toms” rare on Canadian campuses. During the last school year there were at least half-a-dozen media reports of men filming, photographing or otherwise spying on female students from New Brunswick to British Columbia.
Multiple students reported a man lurking in the women’s washroom at Toronto’s York University.
‘Just because you regret a one night stand…’ say copycats
An edgy marketing campaign developed at the University of Alberta that aims to prevent sexual assault by focusing on changing the behaviour of perpetrators (usually men) rather than victims (usually women) has been co-opted by someone or some group trying to shift the blame back to women.
Sexual Assault Voices of Edmonton, a coalition that fights rape, designed the “Don’t be that guy” social marketing campaign. Their materials have blunt messages like, “Just because she’s drunk doesn’t mean she wants to f**k,” and, “It’s not sex when she’s wasted. Sex with someone unable to consent = sexual assault.” They’re seen as so effective that they’ve been used in campaigns as far away as Australia.
The copycat posters say things like, “Just because you regret your life choices, doesn’t mean it’s rape. Don’t be that girl,” and, “Just because you regret a one-night stand, doesn’t mean it wasn’t consensual. Don’t be that girl.” One shows a woman with a cocktail.
Lise Gotell, Chair of Women’s & Gender Studies at the University of Alberta and SAVE member, says the “upsetting” copycat posters showed up in downtown Edmonton and on campus this weekend.
Universities receive funds from alleged Iran government front
A foundation that American authorities say is a front for the Iranian government continues to fund McGill University and a Toronto Farsi school, years after U.S. federal prosecutors went to court to seize the group’s assets and alleged it was channelling money to an Iranian state-owned bank sanctioned by Canada.
The Alavi Foundation is a New York-based non-profit that has given more than $300,000 to Canadian universities, and more than $200,000 to the private Toronto Farsi School, since 2004.
In November 2009, U.S. federal prosecutors filed an amended civil complaint seeking the forfeiture of the foundation’s interest in a lucrative Manhattan office tower, from where it derives most of its income. The property was built in the 1970s by the Pahlavi Foundation, which was controlled by the shah of Iran to run the country’s charitable activities in America.
The claim, which is not resolved, alleges that, following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran’s new government took control of the property and the foundation, which it renamed, running them through Iran’s ambassadors to the United Nations.
Eight universities’ departments among top 50 worldwide
The QS World University Subject Rankings 2013 are out now. The London-based company’s report offers a rare peek at how our school’s history, engineering and law programs—30 subjects in all—are viewed internationally.
Unsurprisingly, the top three universities from the Medical Doctoral category of the Maclean’s University Rankings—the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia and McGill University—are also the top Canadian schools on the list. Those three are top five in Canada in 29 of 30 subjects and top 50 worldwide in many.
The highest ranked Canadian subject is geography at the University of British Columbia, which is tenth globally. There are also several subjects in the top 15: environmental science at UBC along with medicine, philosophy, linguistics, mathematics, sociology, geography, education, English and history at University of Toronto.
I thought there would be more maturity in university
When I got out of high school and enrolled at the University of Alberta, I was particularly excited for one thing: the end of the dreaded group project.
In high school a number of different things led me to hate working with others. We would prepare arbitrary presentations and our peers wouldn’t listen to them anyway. I thought that studying English and Comparative Literature in university would mean never having to collaborate for meaningless group assignments again.
Boy was I wrong. In fact, I seem to be doing more group projects than essays lately.
When I first saw all the group assignment descriptions on my syllabi at the beginning of the year, I decided to be as positive as possible. Perhaps the maturity level of my groups would be higher in university. Boy was I wrong again. Group work only seems to get worse in university, and I can safely say that the biggest source of my school stress has come from working with my peers.
But instead of letting it get me down any more, I’m going to relive the worst group project I have ever been a part of and hopefully my misfortune will at least brighten your day.
What students are talking about today (April 11th)
1. Legally Blonde, the film starring Reese Withersoon as a California girl who conquers Harvard Law School, is now officially a classic. Most of today’s undergraduates would have been too young to watch it back in 2001, but they’ve apparently downloaded it somewhere. This spring there have been successful stage productions on campuses from Trent University to Western University. The Neptune Theatre in Halifax is staging it from now until May 26th. Saint Mary’s University’s Journal gives it a good review.
2. This week may be the last chance students get to gather and protest recent provincial budget cuts to universities before they disperse for the summer. Approximately 300 people marched on the Alberta legislature on Wednesday to protest a 7.3 per cent cut there, reports The Edmonton Journal. Students also protested on the other side of the country in St. John’s, Newfoundland, reports The Telegram.
3. Dr. Donna Cave, Director of Wellness Services at the University of Alberta, has a weekly advice column for readers of The Gateway student newspaper. I suggest checking it out this week’s submission. She offers scientifically sound (and hilarious) advice for acing your exams. In case you don’t have time to read it, here’s a summary. As little as 20 minutes of exercise daily reduces anxiety and depression, so hit the gym. Sleep deprivation can cause as much impairment as being drunk, so avoid the all-nighters. Oh, and eat properly or your brain won’t work so good.
4. A new Mexican Barbie has offended some Latin American professors in the U.S. She’s “dressed for a fabulous fiesta in her vibrant pink dress with ruffles, lace and brightly coloured ribbon accent,” according to toymaker Mattel. The pet Chihuhua—and passport—are also raising eyebrows. Jason Ruiz, an American studies professor at Notre Dame University, told ABC that passports are a point of “great sensitivity for people of Mexican origin, especially Mexican immigrants.”
5. Medical students at the University of Alberta have released a Disney-themed musical video—not a Lip Dub but something original that they actually wrote and performed. With their notorious workload, it’s amazing they found the time. Then again, there’s a reason they got in. Check it out:
Researchers oppose closure of Experimental Lakes Area
There appear to be “remarkable similarities” between fish deformities found downstream from Alberta’s oilsands and those observed after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska and after Florida’s Deepwater Horizon disaster, says a renowned ecologist.
David Schindler of the University of Alberta has written an open letter to two federal cabinet ministers pointing out the recent research findings from scientists as far afield as the Gulf of Mexico.
“Given the parallels in the cases from various locations, it seems likely that some chemical or suite of chemicals in crude oil is causing the malformations,” Schindler wrote.
He’s proposing that Canada take the lead in researching the issue by isolating the various chemical compounds and introducing them to fish stocks in a controlled setting.
And Schindler says the federal Experimental Lakes Area — which has been shut down by Ottawa for a savings of about $2 million annually — is the ideal natural laboratory for the work.
Roughly 100 show up despite snowstorm
A massive blizzard made Edmonton’s road conditions miserable, but University of Alberta students still managed to make it to campus on Thursday afternoon to protest Alberta’s recently announced cuts to post-secondary education.
A flash mob of approximately 100 students formed in the main quad and marched against the 7.3 per cent provincial government funding cut. The protest was organized by the Coalition for Action on Post-Secondary Education (CAPSE), a student-run organization formed to retaliate.
Several students from CAPSE led the large protest in and out of high-traffic buildings. In the midst of students chanting, “no ifs, no buts, no education cuts,” and “they say cutbacks, we say fight back,” several students quietly made small talk about how these cuts may affect their futures.
Colleges create programs in response to industry demand
Amy Gordon was in the middle of completing her second university degree when she decided to go to college instead. Gordon already had a degree in biology from the University of Alberta, and was studying chemical engineering at the University of Calgary. “I was getting really tired of learning lecture-style theory. I had an itch to get more hands-on and learn more,” says the 29-year-old.
So she left U of C, and is now nearing the end of a two-year diploma program in instrumentation engineering at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton. Gordon has been getting the hands-on training she wanted in labs supported by—and named after—Spartan Controls Ltd. The company has poured about $8-million worth of equipment into the program since 2007, essentially creating labs that replicate what it’s like to work in a refinery, giving students access to training on new technology.
Many just pass by homelessness fundraiser at U. Alberta
Every night, around 33,000 homeless Canadians are forced to sleep on the streets, according to the non-profit Covenant House. For five days this week, students at the University of Alberta and other universities all over Canada are joining them to raise awareness of the issue.
A few years ago, a group of business students studying at the University of Alberta started 5 Days for the Homeless, a campaign whose name says it all. While sleeping outside on campus grounds with nothing more than sleeping bags on cardboard boxes, they accept charitable donations for non-profit organizations. Up to this year, they’ve raised nearly $100,000.
But what drives these volunteers to go without warm beds for almost a week, sleeping in temperatures that could dip as low as minus-20 in Edmonton?
What students are talking about today (March 13th)
1. First-year University of Waterloo student Celeste Anderson has won $100,000 and the title King of the Nerds on the eponymous American reality TV contest show. Contestants competed in events like Segway races, debates and Cosplay (costume play), according to Metro News. Before the show, Anderson traveled across North America competing in video game tournaments where she excelled at Halo. She’s considering a career in video game design. The show’s finale is tonight on Slice. Totally missed this sleeper hit? Don’t worry, it has been renewed for a second season.
2. Even supposedly conservative Alberta has spent so much that they are now forced to make drastic cuts to post-secondary education. An editorial writer for The Gateway student newspaper isn’t pleased, in part because programs at some schools could be eliminated if others offer them nearby. “The new plan for Alberta education doesn’t see the point in the same programs being offered between two nearby schools,” writes Andrew Jeffrey. “But this policy hurts post-secondary accessibility as fewer students will be able to qualify for these programs… with tougher competition.” Alberta has traditionally provided more funding than other provinces, which are now cutting too.
Kim Fordham Misfeldt earns 3M Teaching Fellowship
Kim Fordham Misfeldt, a professor of German and the Humanities Chair at the Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta, is a 3M National Teaching Fellowship recipient for 2013. Maclean’s On Campus is profiling all 10 recipients.
As an undergraduate student at the University of Saskatchewan, Kim Fordham Misfeldt dabbled in French, German and Norwegian. But is wasn’t until she taught her first German class as a master’s student that she witnessed the transformative effect learning a foreign language could have on a student. She has not stopped teaching since.
“A new language can be an invaluable tool,” she says, “but language is also a physical experience, and an emotional experience, and I try to incorporate that into my classes.”
What students are talking about today (February 22nd)
1. Students at Brandon University were excited for some metal after KISS frontman Gene Simmons posted earlier this month on his website that the band would play July 18th in the Wheat City. Both The Quill and the Brandon Sun reported the news but now the date has now disappeared from Simmons’ website and it’s unclear whether they’re even coming. This may not seem like a big deal to most of us, but it shows how desperate students in small cities are for entertainment.
2. Here’s disturbing news. Daniel Younis, 24, was Recruiting Coordinator and Running Back coach for the York University Lions football team when he was arrested this month for luring a child under 18 and attempting to make child pornography following Internet chats with a 16-year-old boy.
Five things students are talking about today (February 21st)
1. It must be especially difficult to be gay and a Mormon right? Well it may have just become easier. Jimmy Hales, a student at Brigham Young University, decided to come out to his friends and family while recording their reactions. Most of them were surprisingly supportive—if a bit shocked. In a blog post he writes that he will never get married and plans stay celibate his whole life, but he’s happy with the acceptance he’s found. That may not be the ideal situation for most gay youth, but it seems to work fine for him.
2. It’s less than a month until the only holiday where students feel justified drinking before noon: St. Patrick’s Day. In anticipation of excessive drinking, one U.S. college, Penn State, has a daring plan. They’re going to pay 34 downtown bars, restaurants and shops $5,000 each to not sell alcohol that day, reports The Associated Press. It’s happening because of complaints from the community. The city hasn’t had a St. Paddy’s Day like that one last year in London, Ont.
Heather Zwicker earns a 3M National Teaching Fellowship
Heather Zwicker, a professor of English and Film Studies turned Vice-Dean of Arts at the University of Alberta, is a 3M National Teaching Fellowship recipient for 2013. Maclean’s On Campus is profiling all 10 in the coming weeks.
It was 2003 and Zwicker had taken a six-month teaching position in Hawaii when it dawned on her that she knew more about the culture of Honolulu than that of her hometown Edmonton.
When she got back to the University of Alberta, she put together a senior-level course that focused on the city’s history and arts scene.
It was difficult at first, because there weren’t many published works about Edmonton.
“That’s when I realized that the other part of the course had to be getting students into the city,” she says. She had them tour the campus, taking in the history of the university, and go for walks and transit rides, recording everything they noticed. Based on their observations, they created unique maps of the city using soundscapes and video. “It was really fantastic. The students’ work was amazing,” she says, adding one project was submitted to a film festival.