All Posts Tagged With: "University of Guelph"
Students rebuffed in request for details on wages, lawsuits
Students got a rare peek this week at how the Canadian Federation of Students’ national organization spends their money after blogger Brandon Clim published the organization’s 2014 budget and audited financial statements.
However, the juicy details many have wondered about—how much individual staff members earn and how much is spent on lawsuits with local student unions—still haven’t been made public.
In fact, members of CFS’s own budget committee, at last week’s Annual General Meeting in Ottawa, say they were rebuffed in attempts to learn more.
And although the financial documents are now online, outgoing treasurer Michael Olson says they won’t show up on the CFS’s own website anytime soon, because members have rejected that idea.
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.
Why those back-up schools may be worth a second look
In high school I couldn’t wait to get out of my little northern Ontario town (pop. 10,500) where the main preoccupation for most residents was the size of their snowmobile and tractor engines. I dreamed of a more intellectual milieu where I could debate politics over gin and dance to live music.
I knew university was my only hope and I worked hard toward that goal. I studied late, joined student council, volunteered. I even enrolled in a seventh Grade 12 course to ensure my ‘top six’ course average would be over 90 per cent.
By the time I applied to schools in January 2003, I’d worn out my copy of the Maclean’s Guide to Canadian Universities, having spent years agonizing over the options. I wanted to strike out on my own, eliminating Toronto since my dad was there and Ottawa since my sister was there. Nipissing and Laurentian were close to home—too close. I settled on McGill, with Western as my back-up. Since my Ontario application allowed me to pick three, I ticked off Wilfrid Laurier and Guelph too.
Canadian Federation of Students head talks transparency
The Canadian Federation of Students is a national network of student unions known best for its lobbying to make post-secondary education more affordable. The group is funded mostly through mandatory fees tacked on to students’ tuition bills whether they like it or not. The CFS is sometimes accused of not being transparent or worth the cost. Although it’s possible to leave the group through a petition and referendum, the CFS won’t let members go without a fight. In a 2010 referendum at the University of Guelph, 73 per cent of students voted to leave but the CFS never recognized the vote, resulting in at least $407,000 in legal bills for Guelph students. This month when it became clear the local student union was planning to give up and settle, the university stepped in and surveyed students, who once again indicated—70 per cent to 29 per cent—that they want to stop paying the fees. Carleton University Students’ Association may be the next student union to attempt to leave. Adam Awad, whose term as CFS National Chairperson ends in June, sat down for a chat during a recent trip to Toronto.
Student union, CFS want administrators to butt out
More than 70 per cent of University of Guelph undergraduates who responded to an unusual survey last week from their administration said they were opposed to paying student fees to the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS). That’s not surprising considering 73 per cent of voters were opposed when asked in a 2010 referendum.
Still, don’t expect the CFS, a student lobbying organization, to accept either poll anytime soon. Despite what appeared to be a strong mandate to stop funding the CFS in the 2010 referendum, the group has never accepted the result, arguing that there was something fishy about the vote.
And the CFS has support. Guelph’s Central Student Association (CSA)—the very student union that ran the referendum and vigorously defended it to the tune of $407,000 in legal bills as of August 2012—has switched sides and says it would rather stick with the CFS than fight on. That could mean paying roughly $250,000 per year retroactively plus $250,000 annually going forward.
What students are talking about today (April 3rd)
1. The HBO series Game of Thrones was downloaded illegally more than one million times within 24 hours of its premiere, according to TorrentFreak. That smashed the previous record, which Heroes set in 2008 with 144,663 peer-to-peer downloaders. HBO programming president Michael Lombardo told Entertainment Weekly that, while they’re against piracy, “it is a compliment of sorts.” This will, however, worry cable TV providers. A new report says 250,000 Canadians have recently ditched cable.
2. A Mount Saint Vincent University billboard encouraging people to honour the women in their lives shows three smiling men in suits but, surprisingly, no women. The poorly-planned advertisement was put up to promote the Women’s Wall of Honour project, a tribute that will be erected on campus, reports Halifax’s Chronicle-Herald.
3. A Facebook group at the University of Guelph with more than 100 members is pressuring the campus’ Central Students’ Association to honour the will of the 73.5 per cent of student voters who voted to leave the Canadian Federation of Students a few years back. Instead of doing what students mandated, the CSA plans to join the CFS in suing the university for not collecting CFS fees. “By suing the University, the money will ultimately be coming out of students’ pockets,” writes Samuel Mosonyi at TheCannon.ca. “The CSA has endorsed the Freeze the Fees Campaign, which calls on the Board of Governors to reduce tuition fees. Why would you sue students and make us pay even higher fees?” It’s a good question. The previous lawsuit cost hundreds of thousands, this one would cost money too, and the fees would add up to hundreds of thousands. Meanwhile, Carleton University students are debating whether to stick with or dump the CFS.
4. A University of British Columbia student who went through U.S. customs in Quebec carrying eight condoms and sexy lingerie says she was interrogated for eight hours, accused of being a sex worker and warned she could be banned from the U.S. for five years, reports Metro News. Later in that same month, she went through U.S. customs again on the way to Aruba and admitted an affair with a married man. On her way back, she was denied entry and was told needs a visa to enter.
5. “We’ve paid the tens of thousands of dollars for our tuition. We’ve paid hundreds in ancillary fees,” writes Cameron Michael Smith in Western’s The Gazette. “Now, finally, the end of the money pit is in sight. Graduation represents a freedom from the financial burden that university represents—but not before they have one last good grope of our wallets.” He’s not happy about paying $60 for “academic regalia,” and $10.95 for a grad cap. “Frankly, I’m surprised they don’t impose a penalty fee just for completing your degree,” he adds. Actually, they do charge graduation fees at some schools. At the University of Guelph it’s $35.35 or $95.35 if you apply late. Jerks!
What students are talking about today (April 1st)
1. In a letter to the editor of a campus newspaper, a Princeton University alumna whose sons now attend the Ivy Leage school, has told female students, “forget about having it all, or not having it all, leaning in or leaning out. Here’s what nobody is telling you: Find a husband on campus before you graduate.” Susan A. Patton says that Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg’s suggestion that women “lean in” to advance in their careers is missing the point. Here’s a sample of the controversial letter from the Daily Princetonian:
I am the mother of two sons who are both Princetonians. My older son had the good judgment and great fortune to marry a classmate of his, but he could have married anyone. My younger son is a junior and the universe of women he can marry is limitless. Men regularly marry women who are younger, less intelligent, less educated. It’s amazing how forgiving men can be about a woman’s lack of erudition, if she is exceptionally pretty. Smart women can’t (shouldn’t) marry men who aren’t at least their intellectual equal. As Princeton women, we have almost priced ourselves out of the market. Simply put, there is a very limited population of men who are as smart or smarter than we are. And I say again — you will never again be surrounded by this concentration of men who are worthy of you.
You can imagine the reaction this caused over the weekend. “What an excruciatingly retro understanding of relationships she has,” wrote Susan O’Connor of Nymag.com, to which Patton responded in The Huffington Post, “honestly, it was intended as little more than honest advice from a Jewish mother.” It’s rare that such views make it into print, so I’m certain we’ll hear more on this.
Overcrowded campuses should worry about MOOCs
Three out of five. That’s how many of my younger brother’s second-year arts courses at the University of Guelph are online this semester. He would have rather taken in-person classes, but was assigned to make his schedule after most other students and found the offline sections full.
Two out of seven. That’s how many days of the week he bothers going to campus now. With a shortage of study space, like at so many Canadian universities, there’s no point in going to school when he doesn’t have classes. He doesn’t really need the library; the journals are online.
So his $6,500 tuition gets him two days per week on campus. The rest of the time he’s working alone in his townhouse miles from campus because the university doesn’t have the space for him.
Before he informed me of this, I was pretty dismissive of those who argue that cheap or free Massive Open Online Courses, taught by hotshot professors from Harvard to UBC, are a threat to universities as we know them. The argument, made daily it seems by some columnist or another, is that MOOCs are such a good deal that they’ll cause an exodus from residential campuses.
After hearing the frustration of my brother at paying so much for so little, combined with the news that colleges are testing out formal credits for MOOCs, I think universities should be worried.
What students are talking about today (March 4th)
1. Harvard University has bagged billionaire superwoman Oprah Winfrey as its 362nd commencement speaker, according to The Crimson student newspaper. “Oprah’s journey from her grandmother’s Mississippi farm to becoming one of the world’s most admired women is one of the great American success stories,” university President Drew Faust wrote in a press release. That sure beats the speakers at my commencement from the University of Guelph, who included Pamela Wallin, a woman whose journey started in Saskatchewan and who went on to become host Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Canadian edition before racking up many frequent flyer points as an unelected Conservative senator.
2. Also at Harvard, a 24-hour campus library is considering a napping room for students who can’t quite pull all-nighters and would instead like to rest for a few hours between exams. The room would be accessible to students who present ID. Blankets and pillows would be provided, reports USA Today. I could see this working, so long as it’s not pitch black in there. That would just be creepy.
Five things students are talking about today (February 27th)
1. Research from the University of Guelph has shown that university arts majors and those in similar college programs are generally slower to pay off student loans than business, health and engineering students, even when starting salaries are controlled for. Sociologist David Walters, one of the researchers behind the study, said it’s unclear why, though his theories include “lack of numeracy” and less “life-planning skills” among arts types. I’d lean toward the life-planning skills—they did choose arts degrees, after all. And considering how critical of capitalism the arts tend to be, they’re probably more resentful about having to pay them back and more likely to want to stick it to the man by paying as slowly as possible. It makes sense. In Quebec it’s arts students who encouraged everyone to skip school and demand free tuition. (Disclaimer: I have an arts degree.)
2. A Ryersonian editorial gives two thumbs up to Tim Hudak’s plan to invest more in degrees that lead to jobs. The Ontario Progressive Conservative leader’s Path to Prosperity White Paper suggests financial aid be based on students’ choices of programs. “Decisions about who should receive loans,” it reads, “should involve assessments of future employability and reward good academic behaviour.” Naturally this led to a backlash from those in fields where degrees don’t (directly) lead to jobs, including from Professor Pettigrew. The Ryersonian says agriculture, fashion, family studies, theatre, philosophy, anthropology, archeology and political science should get less money while science, technology, engineering and math should get more.
What students are talking about today (February 15th)
1. Toronto’s Payam Rajabi had to leave his girlfriend Clare behind when he moved to San Francisco for a job, so on Valentine’s Day he did something extra special for his long-distance love. NPR reports that he “jumped on his bike, opened his iPhone to a map of San Francisco, and tracking himself with a GPS, he rode 27 miles around the city, taking 2 1/2 hours, burning 1,135 calories and carefully etching a heart shape onto a city map.” After his bike shop shared the story, Verizon Wireless called and asked him to do it again for an advertisement.The commercial is on YouTube already where it has 230,000 views.
2. Chris Hadfield, Canadian astronaut and soon-to-be Commander of the International Space Station talked to University of Waterloo students live from space today. It’s worth watching the whole thing, but here are some highlights. Asked to describe how he felt leaving earth, he said: “My apprehension was low. I was more concerned about not going to space than going to space because there are so many complexities leaving Earth. I had a lot of eagerness to put all that training into practice. So it was with a sense of buoyant energy and readiness that I left Earth’s protective sheath.” Asked what feature on Earth’s surface he was most surprised to be able to see, he said noctilucent clouds, which are hard to see from down here too and may be useful for tracking climate change. He took photos that he says “may be one of the most enduring legacies of our time up here.” He also offered advice for wannabe astronauts: stay healthy, get an advanced education and be able to “make big decisions when consequences matter.” Oh, and don’t be boring: “Are you going to be an interesting person to go to Mars with or not?”
3. A political science professor at West Liberty University in the U.S. recently gave his students an assignment where they were to record their reactions to various new articles and the professor listed two sources they couldn’t use: The Onion, which is a satire, and Fox News because, she says, it’s “biased.” Biased it undoubtedly is but uncovering biases is sort of the point of analyzing news, isn’t it? Robin Capehart, the school’s president, thought so, telling Inside Higher Education that the professor was wrong. “Isn’t the idea that you use what sources you can and then you have to defend the facts?” he said. “To me that’s what college is all about — being able to conduct your research and conduct your own conclusions, and the professor needs to be able to challenge it.” The rule has been changed.
4. Liberal candidate Justin Trudeau continues to travel across the country stopping on university campuses. The Queen’s Journal got a shot of him looking like a sasquatch (scroll down after the link to see it) when he spoke in Kingston, Ont. earlier this week. He spent Valentine’s Day at Trent University where 250 people showed up. One interesting policy idea he floated is a gap year between high school and university during which young people could be funded to serve their country through programs like the now-canned Katimavik, in other countries or in the military.
4. The Harlem Shake trend continues to capture attention from Canadian university students. The University of Guelph’s version has now shot to first place in the competition for the most views of any student version at 1.85 million views compared to Western University’s 1.39 million. The University of Toronto is at 334,000 and Brock University is at 200,000—not bad for late entrants.
What students are talking about today (February 14th)
1. A theatre class at Memorial University recently put on a production called the Laramie Project that told the story of a Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old man who was beaten to death in 1998 because he was gay. Westboro Baptist Church, a group of Christian fundamentalists, disgusted many when they picketed Shepard’s funeral with signs claiming “God hates fags.” They’re still at it. A representative of the church Tweeted to MUN calling them “a bunch of fag enablers” and that they will “burn in Hell for all of eternity.” Meanwhile, plans by WBC to picket the U.S. college Vassar—which Westboro calls an “Ivy League Whorehouse wholly given over to the fag agenda,”—have led to something positive. Jon Chenette, acting president at Vassar, reached out to students to find a positive way to counter the planned hate speech. They started a fund-raiser for the Trevor Project, which provides counseling for young gay people who may be facing crises or thinking of suicide. Inside Higher Education reports that contributions have already topped $47,000.
2. University of Guelph officials are unsure whether students’ personal data have fallen into the wrong hands after 15 computers and two external hard drives were stolen, reports CTV News. Reminiscent of last year’s Canada Student Loans breach, the drives may have contained contained names, addresses, contact information and social insurance numbers of both students and applicants. The computers were behind a locked door that was pried open.
3. One international student at the University of Saskatchewan is speaking out about his experience with bed bugs. His residence room was treated twice for them. He then moved to a new building on campus and ended up with an infestation there too that required treatment four times, including over his exam period. He told The Sheaf he was getting rashes and infections due to the bugs and had to start taking sleeping pills to make it through the night. Bed bugs are half-centimetre-long beasts that feed humans while they sleep. They’re expert hiders. Their bites are itchy like mosquito bites and they may leave dark streaks on mattresses. In other words, they’re gross.
4. Remember when Western’s University Students’ Council tried to move The Gazette student newspaper to a smaller office? Well, after a huge uproar over press freedom, the executive approved a plan that will see the paper remain in its current digs. Tony Ayala, vice-president finance for the USC, told The Gazette that they decided this after hearing from all stakeholders.
5. If you’re bitter and dateless this Valentine’s Day, you’ll appreciate this collection of Rejected Candy Hearts from the late shift at Maclean’s.ca My favourite: You’re 6/10 at best.
Gap years now happen before and after university
University of Guelph undergrad Casey Panning, now 24, was sitting in a Southeast Asian geography class when it occurred to her that she might never see Asia. With vague plans to teach geography, and inspired by a friend who’d spent a semester in Singapore, Panning knew it was now or never.
The gap year—taking a year off school to work, travel or volunteer—has been a pre-university rite of passage in Europe, where it began in Britain in the ’60s and spread to other Commonwealth countries—including Canada. A Statistics Canada survey of about 8,500 high school graduates from 2000 to 2008 found that just 50 per cent had started college or university within the usual three months; 73 per cent had begun in a year’s time; and by 28 months after graduation, 81 per cent of students were attending a post-secondary school.
Universities aren’t doing much to help students plan careers
From the 2013 Student Issue on sale now.
Mike St. Jean is in his seventh year of political science at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont. “I still don’t even know what I can do with my degree,” he says. “I can get a job in government or elections, but other than that, the transition seems hard to lay out. I read books and analyze them. What does that mean to the real world?”
It’s not as if it hit him suddenly. The question “What’s next?” is one of the reasons he dropped down to part-time studies in year four of his degree. Another reason was that he needed time for his part-time job and his work with the Argus student newspaper, where he’s now an editor.
Lakehead’s counsellors haven’t helped. He only visited them once, years ago, and was told to consider a master’s in English or an education degree. “I don’t know how many jobs there are for teachers,” he says. What he does know is that a friend who took education moved to England because she couldn’t find work here. A master’s didn’t strike him as a good plan, either; he’s seen multiple master’s graduates and one Ph.D. apply for low-wage jobs at the Subway where he works. Professors are encouraging, but they don’t offer career advice. His parents want to help, but “they think university is about curing cancer and rocket science,” he says. “They have no idea what I’m in.”
“RePOOPulate” could help cure C. difficile
Researchers have created a synthetic “poop” aimed at treating recurrent infections of C. difficile, a toxin-producing bacterium that causes severe and often debilitating diarrhea.
The fake stool, dubbed “RePOOPulate,” is intended to replace donated human stool used in fecal transplants, a treatment that’s been successful in overcoming intractable cases of C. difficile infection.
Clostridium difficile can take hold when a person is exposed to the highly contagious bacteria while taking antibiotics for another infection. Because those drugs destroy healthy, protective bacteria in the gut, C. diff is allowed to overpopulate the large intestine.
C. diff is typically treated with a different antibiotic, but can rebound once treatment stops, leading to chronic rounds of re-infection and retreatment. The disease can lead to severe and life-threatening inflammation of the colon.
The labour minister on ’80s hair and staying close to home
The 2013 Maclean’s University Rankings asked some of Canada’s most successful writers, politicians and scientists what they wish they’d known in university. Their answers are perfect additions to our First Year Survivor blog. Here, Minister of Labour Lisa Raitt offers her advice.
I graduated from an all-girls Catholic school and I decided to do a year—before I moved away—at University College of Cape Breton, now called CBU. At the time they were not allowed to give full science degrees in what I wanted to study, which was chemistry, so I knew I would do one or two years there then transfer.
My first year, I worked at our local Dairy Queen and I lived at home so it was very much like being in high school but the academics were a lot more difficult. One embarrassing thing: first-year university, here I’m going to be in class with boys for the first time and I get the worst haircut and perm you can imagine. It was absolutely horrendous. In the ’80s we did the perm thing and I was like Olivia Newton John on steroids. It took me a long time with that bad hair to get a boyfriend in university and I’ve been terrified of getting my hair cut ever since.
Movember hate, law school admissions & Guelph’s Ti-Cats
1. Every year some student decides to hate on Movember, the mustache-growing prostate cancer fundraiser. This year it’s Hector Villeda-Martinez, a women’s studies major at Concordia University. “Movember is a celebration of hegemonic, patriarchal, heterosexist masculinities,” he writes. “When was the last time, for example that Movember made outreach to transwomen?”
2. Students are getting the message that law school is no longer a route to a guaranteed job. In October 2012, 16.4 per cent fewer students took the Law School Admission Test than in October 2011. That’s following a 16.9 percent drop last October. The overall numbers of test takers is at a 10-year low. For those planning to apply to law school, the lighter competition is probably welcome.
3. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats will play most or all of their 2013 home games at the University of Guelph, reports the Spectator. Guelph’s stadium recently underwent a $4.5-million renovation.
A photographic tour of the campus in Guelph, Ont.
This fall, Maclean’s photographed 24 of the 49 institutions featured in the 2013 Maclean’s University Rankings. Below, Jessica Darmanin shows you around the University of Guelph. Click on each photo to make it larger. Then check out the other 23 galleries by clicking here.
Hundreds of students. Millions of views.
Hundreds, sometimes thousands, of students at Canadian universities have been singing and dancing their way through elaborate lip dub videos. Here are our favourite Top 10, from the most to least viewed.
1. I Gotta Feeling, Université du Québec à Montréal, 10,353,000 views.
This lip dub of the Black Eyed Peas dance hit made these communications students famous when it was picked up around the world.
2.The Worst Test, University of Toronto, 3,019,000 views.
In a first-year engineering test, the sounds of Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise start blasting through the lecture hall and a couple of students stand on desks, rapping a song called I’m an Engineering Failure. Skule Nite, an engineering musical revue, takes credit.
3. Raise Your Glass etc., University of British Columbia, 1,865,000 views.
It starts out with a nod to Old Spice Man and then hundreds of students mouth Pink’s party anthem and other songs. There’s a galloping horse, a cameo from Josh Ramsay of Marianas Trench, martial arts, ballet and an underwater scene in the school pool.
4. Carol of the Bells, Algonquin College, 543,000 views.
It’s December exam week and students are cramming when Darth Vader shows up and conducts a choir belting out Carol of the Bells. This best-ever study break was courtesy of broadcasting students.
5. Dynamite, McGill University, 466,000 views.
Students and researchers at the Goodman Cancer Research Centre show off their labs with this slick remake of Taio Cruz’s tune, with its fitting refrain, “I wanna celebrate and live my life.”
6. Gangnam Style, York University, 368,000 views.
David Kim dances his way through lecture halls, over a Tim Hortons counter and around a police cruiser in homage to Korean rapper Psy. Copycat videos emerged from McMaster to Carleton to the Royal Military College.
7. Haven’t Met You Yet, University of Victoria, 320,000 views.*
Almost 1,000 students at the University of Victoria got together and impersonated British Columbia warbler Michael Bublé. Spider-Man, Rick Astley and Billy Mays make appearances.
8. Save a Life, Be a Man Nurse, Laurentian University, 184,000 views.
First-year male nursing students in cowboy hats and scrubs remade Big & Rich’s Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy), replacing the “ride a cowboy” line with “be a man nurse.” They kept the references to “girls who are so pretty.”
9.Rebellion (Lies), University of Guelph, 78,000 views.
Students took over the engineering building for a rather literal interpretation of this Arcade Fire song, with its “every time I close my eyes” refrain. The video includes plenty of pyjamas and one big pillow fight.
10. California Gurls, Dalhousie University, 70,000 views.
The Halifax school got a makeover as the Golden Coast. The lipdub includes multiple Katy Perry and Snoop Dogg impersonators, a merman and fire juggling.
*This post has been updated because the original version incorrectly included a video from U.Vic. in Spain instead of U.Vic. in British Columbia, Canada. The author regrets this error.
Red Bull, Frankenstorm, Pippa, STEM & Toronto Fashion
1. A Korean student at Cape Breton University is expected to be deported today after an outburst involving threats to a residence adviser. The decision is despite arguments from his lawyer that the incident was the result of drinking too many caffeinated Red Bull energy drinks, reports CBC News. Red Bull may yet give this guy wings—in the form of an airplane back to Asia.
2. For the first time, the fossils of feathered dinosaurs have been found in the Americas—dug up in the Alberta badlands by a Canadian team, reports Maclean’s science scribe Kate Lunau. The bones are from the same ostrich-like dinosaurs that famously appeared in Jurassic Park.
3. Frankenstorm, a.k.a. Hurricane Sandy, could merge with another weather system just in time to do serious damage to Eastern Canada and the U.S. on or before Halloween. Scared yet?