World Education News for February 12, 2015

Canada

Simon Fraser University doctoral students create beating heart cells

A group of doctoral students have created active heart cells from the blood and skin of patients that could lead to life-saving treatment. Elham Afshinmanesh and Sanam Shafaattalab created the cells at St. Paul’s and Children’s hospitals with hopes of curing irregular heartbeats. However, project leader Glen Tibbits says this could potentially be used to replace dead or damaged heart tissue in heart attack patients.  

SOURCE: CBC

St. Francis Xavier meningitis victim adds to growing list

A case where a first-year student who was infected by y-strain meningitis at St. Francis Xavier University was not made public when it happened. The student fell ill with the disease at the beginning of January, but has since been recovering in Ontario. He was infected by the same y-strain as the one that took the life of Grade 10 student Rylee Sears from Lower Sackville. Nova Scotia has already reached its yearly average of four meningitis cases a year.  

SOURCE: CBC

University of British Columbia creates course on soccer star

Cristiano Ronaldo’s influence on global society can now be studied in university. The University of British Columbia Okanagan has opened up a fourth-year sociology course on the Real Madrid star that will explore the sociological importance of soccer and its impact on the rural and urban regions worldwide. There have been courses similar to this in the past, including a course in 2000 on David Beckham. Luis LM Aguiar, an associate sociology professor at the school, says students shouldn’t expect all fun and games, and serious work will be involved in the class.  

SOURCE: Fansided

Ryerson students fighting for gender-neutral washrooms

Members of Ryerson University’s transgender group are hoping that the school will have the same amount of women’s, men’s and all-gender bathrooms in the near future. Advocates say that this is a human right, and hopes it will allow people to feel more comfortable in the university environment. A spokesman for the university said the school has showed progression, as there are already 43 gender-neutral bathrooms at the school. However, the group wants more all-gender bathrooms in the Student Campus Centre and the Victoria Building.  

SOURCE: Metro News

Memorial University basketball star excels off the court

Noel Moffatt, a point guard for the Memorial Seahawks and owner of Athlete Aid Apparel, has been named Newfoundland and Labrador’s student entrepreneur provincial champion. He received the award for getting children involved in sports. His company provides consumers with athletic, trendy clothes, with part of the funds going to assist children who are unable to participate in sports. Moffatt will compete against other winners across Atlantic Canada for the regional title and a chance to showcase his company at the national conference.  

SOURCE: Enactus

U.S.

Atlanta student killed after responding to Craigslist ad

A 21-year-old chemistry student at Clark University in Atlanta was killed Tuesday, after responding to a Craigslist ad for an iPhone. James Jones, Jr. travelled from Atlanta to Marietta, Georgia to examine the phone, when he was ambushed by the three men who had posted the illegitimate ad. Three men are in custody Thursday, charged with murder, armed robbery and aggravated assault in connection with the killing. Jones was killed sitting in his car, according to police.  

SOURCE: ABC News

Student project temporarily shuts down campus

A white tube containing metal nails gave Casper College (Wyoming) police -- and robots -- all they could handle Wednesday, when a bomb scare temporarily evacuated the school. The device, found on the third floor of the student centre, had to be cleared by police and bomb-scanning robots before officials deemed the device non-explosive. Shortly after clearing the device, police dispatch received a call from a student claiming the device could be hers; she had misplaced her school project.

SOURCE: Casper Star-Tribune

St. Mary’s joins undesired list

The U.S. federal government is looking into how St. Mary’s College of Maryland deals with on-campus sexual violence, the U.S. Education Department Office for Civil Rights announced Wednesday. The university, in St. Mary’s City, joins a list of more than 90 other U.S. colleges and universities currently under investigation by the federal government for the handling of sexual violence incidents. The government will now look into whether the school is complying with Title IX, the 1972 anti-discrimination law.  

SOURCE: Washington Post

Bryn Mawr opening its doors to transgender students

A women’s college in Pennsylvania is clarifying its admissions stance on transgender applicants, the school announced this week. Bryn Mawr becomes the fourth women’s college nationwide to clarify its position on transgender students, joining Simmons College, Mills College and Mount Holyoke. All transgender students will now be able to apply and enroll at Bryn Mawr, according to the college’s president, in a move she says will clarify and make fluid the school’s updated position on its application and enrolment guidelines.  

SOURCE: The Advocate

University poll: Fewer than 20 per cent of state residents will watch ‘Fifty Shades’

A High Point University (North Carolina) poll says 18 per cent of state residents plan to see the new Fifty Shades of Grey movie in theatres. An assistant professor of psychology at High Point surveyed state residents as part of her research on romantic relationships. Sadie Leder Elder’s research also asked North Carolinians if they had ever read any Fifty Shades books. To that question, only 13 per cent of state residents answered yes.  

SOURCE: High Point University

World

University discovers cause of Europe’s biggest waterfall

Jökulsárgljúfur Canyon in Iceland is 28 kilometres long and 100 metres deep in some places. Scientists at the University of Edinburgh have discovered the waterfall was formed in just a matter of days. They analyzed rocks along a five-kilometre stretch of the canyon – which contains the Jökulsá á Fjöllum River and the mighty Dettifoss waterfall – to create a timeline of how the landscape was created. The floods were caused by volcanic activity under the glaciers, forming the canyon’s 100-metre walls and pushing three waterfalls – including Dettifoss – back upstream by up to two kilometres each time.

SOURCE: Full-time Whistle

Taiwan English exams for university entrants hardest in 5 years

The national General Scholastic Ability Test concluded yesterday, ending the two-day national exam that determines Taiwan university admissions for local high school students. In response to test-taker complaints regarding the difficulty of this year's English test, some Taipei English teachers said that the tests this year aimed to incorporate a diverse range of topics, ranging from tai chi to the symbolic profundity of birds in different cultures.

SOURCE: Asia One

University chiefs attack Labour fees plan

Plans being considered by the Labour party to cut English university tuition fees would create a £10-billion hole in education funding that would be “implausible” for any government to fill, 20 senior university leaders have warned. With a mounting opposition to reduce tuition fees by £3,000, Universities U.K. board said the fee cap “doesn’t help poorer students and risks the quality of education for all.”

SOURCE: FT

Visa crackdown affected ‘more than 12,000’ international students

More than 12,000 international students may have lost places at U.K. colleges in a government crackdown on fraud, with only some getting their money back. Students who lost places included those with allegedly phoney English-language qualifications, but also others who enrolled in good faith at an institution that lost its licence. A sponsorship working group set up to assist genuine students was told that more than 5,000 people had been given 60 days to find a new place to study or to leave the U.K.

SOURCE: Times Higher Education

SLC pays out £200m too much in grants

The Student Loans Company has overpaid more than £200 million of student grants in the past three years, according to figures seen by Times Higher Education. The data revealed a steady increase in the number of grant overpayments since the major changes to student funding in 2004. According to the SLC, more than £132 million of the £210 million overpaid from 2011-12 to 2013-14 is still outstanding despite its having a “robust system to pursue all borrowers for repayment of overpaid grants”.

SOURCE: Times Higher Education