Research Examines Challenges Facing Canadian Universities

Analyses, data, projections - all you need to know about the state of Canadian universities - is available in the new edition of Trends.

The $80 book, published in English and French by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, explores the challenges facing universities as demands on teaching, research and community service continue to grow.

Using historical perspectives, comparisons and projections, Trends examines five key areas of activity (enrolment, faculty, research, finance, and knowledge transfer) and looks at the likely impacts on Canadian universities over the next 10 years.

Based on data from Statistics Canada and other Canadian and international sources, the publication also compares Canadian trends to those in countries with which Canada competes for students, faculty, sponsored research and inventions.

To buy a copy, call 613-563-3961, ext. 605 or return the form available at:

Kit Helps Teachers Keep Kids Injury-Free

Children can lead fun-filled lives without hurting themselves if they only think first and use their minds to protect their bodies. That's the premise behind a free resource kit for teachers of Grades K to 8 students called ThinkFirst.

Developed in association with the Durham District School Board, recommended by Curriculum Services Canada (CSC) and sponsored by TD Bank, the ThinkFirst kit provides a manual, video, posters and comic books to help children develop decision-making skills to avoid injury. The ThinkFirst Foundation (or National Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Prevention Foundation) is endorsed by the Canadian Congress of Neurological Sciences (CCNS).

Although the ThinkFirst materials aim to prevent brain and spinal cord injury, "the skills the children learn have broad applicability to many injury prevention situations," CSC says.

There are six lesson topics common to each grade level package: an introduction to the brain and spinal cord, pedestrian and vehicular safety, cycling safety, recreational sports and water safety, creative problem solving and safety around weapons, and awareness of choking, suffocation and strangulation hazards. As well, there are suggested followup activities for families at home and a list of related, recommended web sites to visit.

All curriculum materials are provided free to Canadian schools. Sample lessons for Grades 1 and 5 students are available on the web site at

According to Statistics Canada, injuries account for almost 60 per cent of the deaths of those 19 and under, and males are twice as likely as females to face injury. The most common causes of head and spinal cord damage among those aged five to 24 include car crashes, falls, bicycle mishaps, violence, suicide, and self-inflicted wounds. Stats Can says nine out of 10 are preventable.

Visit the ThinkFirst Foundation web site or call416-603-5331 or toll-free at 1-800-335-6076 for more information.

Program Helps Students SWAP Places To Learn And Work Abroad

Young adult students 18 and up can learn about the world, add international work experience to their résumés, and earn enough to cover their travel and living costs through the Student Work Abroad Program (SWAP).

Last year, SWAP helped 2,800 young Canadians arrange travel and find jobs and lodging in 10 overseas countries including Australia, Britain, Japan and South Africa.

Overseas SWAP hosting centres provide information and ongoing support to help students kickstart their working holidays and give families and friends at home peace of mind regarding safety.

Participants pay a registration fee upwards of $290 depending on their destination and agree to book their travel through Travel CUTS/Voyages Campus, the Adventure Travel Company or Odyssey Travel. Applicants require a résumé outlining past work, travel and volunteer experience, a letter of reference, and a valid Canadian passport. SWAP and Travel CUTS/Voyage Campus handle the students' visa applications to foreign governments.

For further information or to apply, visit

Program Encourages Non-Competitive Play

More children need to get physical and have fun. That's the Canadian Intramural Recreation Association's (CIRA) message in a series of Active Playgrounds workshops. The provincially-funded program hopes to reach 500,000 Ontario children over the next three years through 120 free workshops that teach them easy-to-play, co-ed, multicultural games that emphasize participation over competition.

Active Playgrounds encourages kids to use their recess, lunch and before and after school free time to participate in activities such as skipping, line games and hopscotch. The program enables children to play on an equal level and large numbers to play at one time with little or no supervision, says retired teacher and program instructor Pat Doyle.

Designed for children up to Grade 8, the activities address many of the learning outcomes in the Ontario curriculum. For more information, visit the CIRAweb site at or contact Pat Doyle at 905-575-2083 or by e-mail at

Connecting Curriculum to Community Involvement

Toronto's Rockford Public School students put their study of diabetes to the ultimate test-in walking to raise funds to find a cure. The 850 students won an award for the highest per capita contribution of a Toronto school by raising $6,800 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). In the process, they raised their own awareness of the disease that affects two million Canadians and is linked to half of all heart attacks and three-quarters of all strokes.

Rockford's teachers and students rallied to support the cause while meeting curriculum expectations in math, geography, Language Arts, Environmental Studies, and physical education with the aid of JDRF resources. The foundation supplies teacher kits and checklists, videos, timelines, sample announcements and speeches to help schools organize "Kids Walk to Cure Diabetes" marches. Volunteers, including children, afflicted with diabetes also discuss their experiences with students. Lessons on nutrition and exercise foster students' understanding of healthy lifestyles.

"Children learn tolerance towards others who are different and they discover that people with illnesses are people first," says Maxine Ritche, a Rockford teacher.

For more information, visit the JDRF web site at or contact the foundation at 1-877-287-3533.

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