All Posts Tagged With: "University of Toronto"
Concern grows about English proficiency on campus
At 23, Dalhousie University student Ishika Sharma speaks with such self-assurance and optimism, it’s hard to imagine how lost she felt in September 2012, when she arrived in Halifax from New Delhi. She recalls those early weeks in the YMCA’s international-student residence as a bleak period of culture shock and loneliness. “Oh my god, the international student housing was a weepfest for the first two months,” she says. Gradually, the closed doors of her neighbours would open, if only to share late-night hot chocolate and a bit of sympathy.
Sharma was more fortunate than most. While she grew up speaking Hindi and Punjabi, she arrived with a solid command of English, the language she used in most of the undergraduate courses in physiotherapy she studied in India. “Many of the students who joined the university with me were not well-versed in English,” she says. “They had trouble getting along with people in English. They had trouble asking for help, and that was a big reason why they did not socialize enough.”
McGill, UBC and Toronto hold their top three positions
The Maclean’s University Rankings place schools into one of three categories to recognize differences in levels of research funding, diversity of offerings and breadth and depth of graduate and professional programs. Universities in the Medical Doctoral category, ranked here, have a broad range of Ph.D. programs and research, as well as medical schools. Be sure to check out the other two ranking categories, Comprehensive and Primarily Undergraduate, and our methodology. For dozens of charts, our reputation survey, student satisfaction results and stories about what’s new on campuses, buy the 130-page Maclean’s University Rankings, on newsstands and iPads.
|2014 Ranking||University||Last Year|
* Indicates a tie
Barbara Amiel on the campus zeitgeist
Lucky John Greyson and Dr. Tarek Loubani. Obviously, not for spending 51 days in an Egyptian jail, where they claimed to have been beaten horribly and, knowing something of justice in the Arab world, I don’t doubt it. But lucky they were jailed by the military they despise and not the Muslim Brotherhood. Could have been either, depending on when they were in Ramses Square administering to the wounded. If Mohamed Morsi had been in control, they might still have been beaten brutally, but probably first stripped naked on the street. Lucky, and this is ironic, given they are two left-wing chaps, Conservatives Stephen Harper and John Baird were in office and really worked hard for their release.
I don’t want to sound retrospectively envious, well actually I am, but when I was imprisoned in Mozambique in pretty brutal conditions, Canada refused to lift a finger. Thankfully, the British and the Americans negotiated my release. Then-minister for external affairs Mark MacGuigan, a member of the decidedly left-wing Liberal government of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, told the House of Commons that while the conditions in which I was held were “undoubtedly very bad,” there was no reason to protest my 11 days in Machava prison, even though no government or lawyer had been notified of my detention. What was done to me would be done to any citizen of Mozambique charged with “the same offence”—which was no offence.
Aging population means jobs in nursing, medicine and more
From the Future of Jobs report
As an ecological field researcher with British Columbia’s Ministry of Forests, Sonya Powell had a dependable, though segmented, career. Seasonal contracts put her in the woods each summer, surveying tree life for $20 to $25 an hour; in the winters, she taught geography classes at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Gaps between jobs were her vacation time, she chuckles.
That was before the global economic downturn led to the collapse of the forestry sector. In the summer of 2009, Powell couldn’t find her usual contracts. Remembering the health problems of the isolated communities she had passed through in the summers, she enrolled in an accelerated 20-month nursing program at UBC designed for students in their second careers. It paid off: She landed not one, but two nursing jobs when she graduated.
Stylish students on Canada’s biggest campus
You won’t catch the University of Toronto’s most fashionable students in blue jeans. That’s not say they’re overdressed but it does take colourful leggings or slacks and to stand out from the crowd. This is, after all, Canada’s biggest campus (pop. 58,000). Photographer Jessica Darmanin spotted these sartorial standouts while shooting for the 2014 Maclean’s University Rankings, out this fall.
Prof. Pettigrew on the limits of ‘teach what you love’
I don’t like Spenser’s Faerie Queene, but when I first taught Introduction to English Literature,there it was on my syllabus. I felt like I had to include it, so I did. When the time came to teach it, I gave some background, including an account of an earlier poem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Once we got to Spenser though, I quickly realized my students weren’t liking it, because I didn’t like it. They had picked up on my enthusiasm for Sir Gawain, and wanted to know more about that Green Knight guy.
So I learned a good lesson: teach what you love, not what you think you’re supposed to teach.
This same principle, taken to an absurd extreme, has also been adopted by University of Toronto English Instructor David Gilmour, who got folks excited yesterday when he was quoted in an interview saying that he had no interest in teaching female writers because he only taught what he was passionate about: “Serious heterosexual guys. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Chekhov, Tolstoy. Real guy-guys. Henry Miller. Philip Roth.”
Future lawyers push for more practical skills
Laura McGee entered law school three years ago planning on a career negotiating international trade deals. By second year, reality set in.
“Once you look at recruiting opportunities, you start to think, ‘Who’s going to pay me to practise international law?’”
Staring down a six-figure debt, she decided to explore her options on Bay Street, Canada’s corporate capital, where there’s plenty of work for young lawyers. To her surprise, the University of Toronto didn’t offer many ways to get business-law skills or test drive a corporate career. The school’s clinics, where students get credit and hands-on experience with clients, offered exposure to Aboriginal law, poverty law and family law, but—ironically for a school one subway stop from Bay Street—not business. “You learn to think in law school,” she says, “but you don’t learn how to practise as a lawyer.” Seeing a gap, she circulated a petition proposing a business-law clinic. About 200 students, a third of the class, signed within two days.
University says it hopes for a settlement
MONTREAL – It was a moment of triumph for a group of McGill University students, who won a $1 million prize for social entrepreneurship handed out by Bill Clinton.
But the moment was more bitter than sweet for one student.
He was forced to watch from a distance, via Internet webcast, as his former allies rubbed shoulders with the former U.S. president.
Jakub Dzamba claims he was intellectually robbed.
Dzamba, a McGill University student, who is still involved in a dispute with the five-member MBA winning team, says it was sad to watch from afar as the group won the 2013 Hult competition grand prize for a nutrition project.
“It would have been really nice to get to meet Bill Clinton,” Dzamba said Tuesday in an interview. “That was kind of a dream.”
The Hult competition is described on its website as the world’s largest student competition to solve social challenges, like helping to feed the urban poor. Winners use the prize money as seed capital, and get mentorship and advice from the international business community.
More than 10,000 students, representing more than 150 countries around the world, usually take part.
Solving mysteries from car crashes to stage collapses
From our 2013 Professional Schools issue
Before the hit series CSI, there was the Canadian documentary show Exhibit A, which traced the ways investigators had used high-tech scientific analysis to solve real-life crimes. As a teenager, Shannon Kroeker enjoyed the show so much she considered forensic sciences as a career. When it came time to choose, she opted for what seemed more realistic: mechanical engineering at Queen’s University. Nonetheless, at 33, she now spends her days doing detective work just like on the show.
Kroeker is a forensic engineer for the firm MEA in Vancouver, where she combines expertise in injury biomechanics (her Ph.D. involved prodding human tissue) with witness statements, photographs and medical reports to explain the impact of car crashes on human bodies. For example, how much did not wearing a seat belt contribute to an injury? She writes reports, usually for insurance company lawyers who are working to settle disputes. “When you’ve got all your clues and you have the ‘aha’ moment where you figure out what happened,” she says. “I find that really rewarding. It’s solving the mystery.”
Medical schools address conflict-of-interest
When Toronto family doctor Navindra Persaud was studying medicine at the University of Toronto in 2004, he took a week-long course on how to treat patients suffering from chronic pain. But something was missing from the lessons.
While there was a growing body of evidence about the risks—addiction, overdose, death—related to opioids such as OxyContin, the negative effects were minimized. Instead, students learned about “strong, consistent” research to support prescribing the drugs to patients with chronic pain unrelated to cancer. Persaud says he and his peers left the lectures with an “incomplete and partially inaccurate” picture of how to treat patients.
At the time, he didn’t think there was anything wrong with the classes. Now he knows the lecturer had been previously paid to speak about pain management on behalf of Purdue Pharma LP, the makers of OxyContin. And the free textbook handed out to students? It was published by the drug company, as well. Just three years later, in 2007, Purdue paid more than $600 million, one of the biggest drug settlements in U.S. history, to resolve criminal charges and civil liabilities for misleading health care professionals about OxyContin’s addictive properties.
Why mainstream students need to get out and vote
When I attended my first student union meeting at the University of Toronto last February, I knew that many students involved in campus politics are radical leftists so I was unsurprised when those present passed motions endorsing the Aboriginal movement Idle No More and to lobby the provincial government to ban unpaid internships, in which students freely choose to participate.
But when the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) published a statement endorsing Idle No More and sent a letter to the Ministry of Labour calling for a ban on unpaid placements, they claimed to represent 46,000 University of Toronto students and that is simply not true. Many students have no opinion on these issues, while many others, like me, are strongly opposed.
We have no idea how most students actually feel because only 3,161 voted in the last UTSU election, a turnout of less than seven per cent. Munib Sajjad, the president, received around 2,000 votes, which means less than five per cent of students voted for him—despite running unopposed.
It’s one big party this week from Acadia to Western
Instagram and Twitter feeds from Acadia to Western are bursting with photos of raucous football games, wild parties and budding friendships. We’ve gathered the best shots of #frosh 2013 so far and plan to post many more. Want to be part of our coverage? Tweet your frosh photos to @maconcampus now. Want more? Add us on Facebook and visit Maclean’s On Campus daily.
Results from 2013 Academic Ranking of World Universities
Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China, which annually publishes the Academic Ranking of World Universities, has released its 2013 list. The top 10 are once again all in the U.S. or U.K.
Canada has 23 schools in the top 500 this year, up from 22 last year and 21 five years ago. Canada’s new entrant is Concordia University.
The top 10 are Harvard University, Stanford University, University of California Berkeley, University of Cambridge, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technology, Columbia University, Princeton University, University of Chicago and University of Oxford.
Once again, four Canadian schools are in the top 100. They are the University of Toronto (28th), the University of British Columbia (40th), McGill University (58th) and McMaster University (92nd).
Levin was arrested Monday for child pornography
A University of Toronto professor who once held the post of deputy education minister in Ontario and Manitoba was slapped with two new charges Wednesday in an ongoing child pornography investigation.
Benjamin Levin — who was also on Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s transition team as she took office earlier this year — now faces a total of seven charges.
The new charges were laid as the 61-year-old appeared in a Toronto court for a bail hearing Wednesday.
After a full day of arguments, Levin was granted bail, with a long list of conditions.
His lawyers have said Levin has his family’s support and plans to “vigorously” fight the allegations against him.
“The Crown’s position is that he should not have been released, he was released,” lawyer Clayton Ruby said outside the courthouse.
The latest charges against Levin are one count of possessing child pornography and one count of accessing child pornography.
“It’s a result of the evidence that was seized,” Det. Const. Janelle Blackadar told The Canadian Press.
“There was an initial forensics examination that was done on digital data.”
Levin was arrested on Monday and initially charged with two counts of distributing child pornography and one count each of making child pornography, counselling to commit an indictable offence and arrangement of a sexual offence against a child under 16.
The charge against Levin which deals with the making of child pornography is in relation to alleged “written texts,” said Blackadar.
“Written texts so to speak that is a graphic depiction of a sexual encounter between an adult and children,” she explained. “The graphic depiction of that is consistent with the criminal code definition of child pornography.”
The investigation which led to Levin’s arrest began in the middle of last year.
Officials in Toronto were then contacted by authorities in New Zealand and later police in London, Ont., Blackadar said.
“We decided we would link our evidence together,” she said. “We’re still gathering some intelligence.”
The Ontario government has confirmed that Levin served on the premier’s transition advisory team earlier this year, but hasn’t commented on the charges except to say that it takes allegations like those against Levin “extremely seriously.”
Levin was also recently involved with the Ontario government through contract research projects and guest speaking roles in his capacity as a professor — work that has been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.
From late 2004 to early 2007, Levin served under former Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty as deputy minister of education.
He also served as Manitoba’s deputy minister of advanced education and deputy minister of education, training and youth between 1999 and 2002.
Most recently, he had been working as a professor and research chair in education and leadership at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.
Levin’s position as an academic involved in international projects raised concerns for police.
“Mr. Levin’s ability to travel and his frequency of travel, that always causes some concern for us,” said Blackadar.
“Being associated to education and so forth, one of the bigger priorities was did he have access to children? At this time it doesn’t appear that that is the case.”
Levin’s case returns to court Aug. 8.
Accused was on Premier Wynne’s transition team
A former Ontario deputy education minister, who was also on Premier Kathleen Wynne’s transition team, was charged with child pornography offences on Monday.
Benjamin Levin, 61, of Toronto, is facing five charges, including two counts of distributing child pornography and one count of making child pornography.
Levin, currently a professor at the University of Toronto, was arrested Monday after police executed a search warrant at his home following an online child exploitation investigation.
He is also charged with counselling to commit an indictable offence and arrangement of a sexual offence against a child under 16.
Students critique coverage of Quebec, Occupy movements
The Quebec student strike of 2012, also known as the Maple Spring, generated global headlines and led to the cancellation of large tuition increases. The sometimes violent protests also raised questions about how the media covers student-led movements. In the Quebec case, many students gave the coverage a failing grade.
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, the most visible leader of the Quebec movement, says that at one point bodyguards accompanied some journalists covering the protests, because students were so angry about coverage they saw as shallow or biased, that reporters worried for their safety.
“After 20 weeks, people were very angry,” recalled Nadeau-Dubois, who served as the chief spokesperson of the student group CLASSE. “They were being beaten by the cops and they were not being listened to by the government,” he added, “so they turned against the journalists.”
Artificial turf to be revisited in 10 years
After debating all day, Toronto’s city council voted 31 to 12 against designating a natural grass field at the University of Toronto as a cultural heritage landscape. That means the installation of artificial turf will go ahead in July.
However, a small compromise was reached. There will be a formal assessment of the project in 10 years.
The decision to install the turf was made in 2012 after two years of debate at the University of Toronto’s Council of Athletics and Recreation (CAR).
The plan for an artificial field was mentioned as early as 2009 when the province put forward its bid for the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, which require fake grass for field hockey and para soccer.
Poor marks for a new technology
Sometimes when I’m halfway through a pile of 40 essays, I get tired. At these moments, if I had a grading machine, I would probably be tempted to insert the remaining essays and watch them pop out all freshly marked.
However, after 20 years of grading university essays, I know this would be terribly misguided. I’m here to help my students learn how to thrive in university—and beyond. In order to do that, they need to have strong thinking, reading, and writing skills. Machine generated grades will not help them develop these skills. With this in mind, I pick up my pen and go back to providing the constructive human feedback that will help them.
Just to be clear, I am not some remote professor in an ivory tower above Lake Ontario. In fact, I am a non-tenured “gun-for-hire,” fighting hard in the trenches of the humanities. This past year alone I have taught 914 students in six classes in writing, literature, and film. I have graded hundreds of exercises and essays, some brilliant, some hard to understand. I have worked with 19 teaching assistants, generated over 20 evaluation rubrics, assigned 12 essays. Basically, I have been battling to keep my head up, to keep teaching as well as I am able, and to keep grading the many essays that come my way.
A grade 12 student’s five criteria for choosing a school
Every year since I was six years old, I’ve attended St. Francis Xavier University’s convocation ceremony in my hometown of Antigonish, N.S. I didn’t know the graduates and I wasn’t forced to go by my sentimental parents, who both work at the school. I went because I wanted to see the looks of triumph, happiness and success on the students’ faces as they crossed the stage.
I know my love of learning is not common among teenagers, but I am extra excited about university. For years I’ve read Maclean’s education issues and Guide to Canadian Universities, analyzing what schools best suit my personality and goals. Through five criteria, I’ve managed to create a shortlist. Here’s how I narrowed my search:
1. Program possibilities
I have a passion for curriculum design and education policy. Once I realized this passion, I decided to find a program where I could explore it to some degree. After long hours of soul-searching, I narrowed my major down to ethics, economics or educational psychology. This was by far the most difficult part of the process and it was only once this was done that institutions could be analyzed. I started searching for the best universities for those programs. The University of Toronto has a specialized first-year program in ethics, making it my current top choice. McGill University allows for a minor specifically in educational psychology, so I kept that on my shortlist too.
Timmins, Ont. source may be 2.7-billion-years-old
Deep underground within the Canadian Shield, scientists are probing for life — yes, life.
Their laboratory is found at the bottom of mine shafts in Timmins, Ont., where pockets of water trapped inside crystalline granite rock have existed for at least a billion years, and may be as ancient as the geology itself — 2.7 billion years old.
That chemical-rich water is seeping, at times even pouring, out of mine bore holes and naturally occurring fissures in the rock 2.4 kilometres below the surface. The water has been captured in what are known as “fractures” within the rocks.
And scientists are keen to find out what that water contains.
“These are the oldest waters that have ever been identified,” said Barbara Sherwood Lollar, a geoscientist at the University of Toronto who is part of a research team that will be looking for life forms in samples of water from the site.
“The Canadian Shield is some of the oldest rocks on Earth. These are billions of years old,” she said Wednesday. “And what we’ve shown is despite that, these fractures are still releasing water that are full of energy that could support life.
“We don’t know yet if there’s life in this, but what we’ve been able to show is it is habitable, meaning (having the) potential to support life because of the energy that’s there.”