Top Ten

April 2, 2008

Presidential salaries unrelated to university size

Tony Keller of Maclean's observes that 2007 salary figures disclosed under Ontario's “sunshine law” indicate that the province’s highest-paid university president is McMaster’s Peter George, paid just under $505,000, followed by Lorna Marsden of York ($487,000, though she retired in the middle of the year), David Johnston of uWaterloo ($482,000), and Alastair Summerlee of UoGuelph ($447,000).  David Naylor, president of the largest university in Canada (uToronto), was "a relative bargain" at just $430,000.  The highest-paid university administrator is Felix Chee, CEO of the uToronto Asset Management Corporation (the body that oversees the university’s endowment and pensions), who earned $562,000 in 2007.  Maclean's | 2007 Disclosure Document (PDF)   

McMaster appeals ruling on compensation disclosure

McMaster University is asking for a judicial review of a recent ruling by Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner. In January, the IPC supported the Hamilton Spectator's 2006 request for access to McMaster president Peter George's contract, "including salary, benefits, pension and a list of all other entitlements (for example a list of allowable expenses such as housing, terms of travel whether first class or business class, memberships in clubs and associations and other perquisites and benefits).” The University felt such detailed disclosure would be a violation of George's privacy rights. Maclean's        

NSCC hosts Rex Murphy on vocational education

On Sunday March 30, CBC’s Rex Murphy brought his Cross Country Checkup to Nova Scotia Community College to discuss an important topic -- "Have skills, trades and vocations been undervalued in education?"  In the context of a looming labour shortage in Canada, the program asked whether we have been focusing our efforts in education in the right places -- gaining insight from a panel of education and industry experts, callers from across Canada, and 120 audience members.  NSCC | CBC Radio (audio)     

Spring may bring tuition thaw to Manitoba

Facing increasing pressure from the province's universities, Manitoba’s 9-year tuition freeze may come to an end in next week's budget.  With no promise to maintain the freeze in their last election campaign, the new NDP budget may include a phased move away from the tuition freeze -- a situation that institutions say has created long-term damage to PSE in Manitoba.  While any move on tuition would potentially put the government on a collision course with students, the NDP were quick to point out that “even if tuition went up by 10%, it would still be at 1999 levels, since the NDP reduced tuition by 10% when it came into office.”  Winnipeg Free Press    

"Early Career Masters" in business at UBC's Sauder

The Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia announced on Monday the Early Career Masters, a one-year master’s degree in business management specifically designed for graduates from non-business programs such as arts, science and engineering.  The program offers these graduates an opportunity to accelerate their careers and avoid early employment uncertainty, as research shows that liberal arts grads experience twice as many weeks of unemployment immediately following graduation, and 25% lower starting salaries.  The inaugural program cohort begins studies this September. Fox Business   

York launches Navig8 website for students

Designed to help first-year students transition to their next academic year, York University's "Navig8" website gathers critical information and provides online tools to help students avoid much of the stress that accompanies the move from year to year.  Features of the site include a rolling calendar of York's summer and fall academic deadlines, videocasts from current students who share their tips for success, as well as detailed information and links to other York services.  Navig8 was developed by the First-to-Second-Year Transition sub-committee of York's Retention Council, formed in December 2007 to identify new programming and support to assist in the retention of students.  York News | Navig8 Site        

Record competition for admission to top-tier US colleges

America’s most prestigious universities and colleges cited record-breaking selectivity this year. Harvard offered admission to only 7.1% of the 27,462 high school seniors who applied, while Yale accepted 8.3% of its 22,813 applicants.  The heightened competition can be attributed to growing numbers of US high school graduates, the ease of online applications, expanded financial aid packages, aggressive recruiting of a broader range of young people, and a tendency for ambitious students to apply to a greater number of institutions.  The 8 ivy-league colleges mailed acceptance and rejection letters on Monday to tens of thousands of applicants. The New York Times 

Harvard bumps NYU as students' dream school

According to the Princeton Review's latest survey of visitors to its web portal, Harvard is the school of student dreams while Princeton is the dream of parents.  For the last 3 years, New York University has been the students' first choice.  Harvard's rise to the top may be due to the amount of media attention its financial aid programs have been receiving.  9% of students reported that they would make their school decision based on academics.  50% are looking for "the best overall fit," and 33% plan to pick a school for career potential.  Almost 66% of students said they were influenced by a school's position towards the environment.  The Chronicle of Higher Education    

UK universities urged to modernize academic year

UK universities (and those in North America) follow an academic year "that mimics the medieval agricultural and religious cycle" rather than any rational schedule.  The Financial Times reports that Whitehall will publish a consultation paper this spring that attempts "to drag universities from the 11th century into the 21st," with schedules and curriculum that better suit the needs of business.  The most controversial recommendation is for intensive, 48-week degrees. Naturally, academics are concerned that year-round teaching could only come at the expense of research. Financial Times

Tracking the "higher education explosion" in China

A new study by economists at universities in Canada, New Zealand and China aims to document the transformation of China as an “emerging scientific and technological superpower whose newfound focus on building a first-class PSE system poses a major threat to the national economic competitiveness and individual well being in the US.” The National Bureau of Economic Research report collects statistics on institutions, enrollments, and demographics, and concludes that it is “too early in China’s higher education explosion to fully justify the tremulous reactions it is provoking around the world.” Inside Higher Ed