March 19,1998


Compiled by Barbara Black

This column welcomes the submissions of all Concordia faculty and staff to promote and encourage individual and group activities in teaching and research, and to encourage work-related achievements.

At the University of Calgary, professors are encouraged to try something crazy. Students may take a three-credit course for the first week of each semester, called Block Week, which has been designed to shake them up and show them something new. One sociology professor got his students to spend the night on downtown street, getting a feel for what it's like to be homeless.

Montreal's École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS) is developing future students and helping keep local kids in school. About 20 children, aged 11 to 13, in nearby Little Burgundy are invited to the ÉTS labs for two hours each week to watch engineering students at work. They've learned how to access material at a library, seen robots in action, and taken a virtual tour of the planetarium.

Memorial University has signed an agreement with Greenland that will see a group of postsecondary students attend the Newfoundland institution instead of universities in Denmark, where they usually go.

The Université de Montréal has approved a BSc in Interior Design, the first such degree in Quebec. And Saint Mary's University, in Halifax, has been chosen to give its Executive Master's of Business Administration program to the leaders of Nunavut, Canada's newest territory, which comes into existence on April 1, 1999.

Virginia Tech., in Blacksburg, Va., requires graduate students to submit theses and dissertations in electronic form only, in order to make the material more accessible and encourage jazzier presentations. However, students complained about the extra work involved, and said Web access would make it harder to get into print. The policy has been modified.

The English Department of the University of Calgary gives courses online. Old English Literature 401 was taught last spring entirely on the Web, without any face-to-face contact. It was a success with the students, and brought responses from across North America. Grant money and the help of a local community college are also being used to develop a grammar course for first-year students.

The University of Manitoba is building a "SMART Park." The facility, on a site near the campus on the outskirts of Winnipeg, will focus the university's research and technology-transfer projects, employ students and recent graduates, and form links with local high-tech industry.

A letter to the University of Toronto Bulletin from waste-management officer Barbara Schaefer says the response to our recent ice storm was "immediate and overwhelming." Thirty-five drop-off points were set up on campus for donations, and two vans were soon filled. A professor buying baby food to donate got the store's cashiers interested, and he staggered out with cases of the stuff. Cash donations of $2,500 were raised in only one day. Thanks, Toronto!

This material was compiled from University Affairs, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Université de Montréal Forum, the University of Toronto Bulletin, the St. Mary's Times, the University of Calgary Gazette and the University of Manitoba Bulletin.

Copyright 1998 Thursday Report
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