Top Ten

April 23, 2009

Ontario recommends universities merge pension assets

The Ontario government is encouraging provincial universities to pool over $13 billion in pension assets, a move that would reduce costs and provide them with extra investment clout. While the province would not compel the institutions to join the program, it may make the proposed merger more attractive by exempting universities from a regulation requiring pension plans to hold enough assets to cover their obligations should they go out of business. The move comes as universities across Canada search for ways to cope with investment losses. Most recently, the University of Manitoba's pension plan dropped nearly 16% in value. Globe and Mail

uCalgary to make decision on arts superfaculty

Yesterday University of Calgary officials considered a proposal to merge the school's 4 liberal arts faculties, which, if approved, would be completed by next April. While some critics are concerned smaller sections will be underappreciated in a superfaculty, the plan has been endorsed by the student union, the larger humanities and social sciences faculties, and an advisory panel from other universities. uCalgary president Harvey Weingarten says the change would benefit the school in terms of recruitment and retention, academic programs, and research opportunities. The university's board of governors will debate the plan in June. Calgary Herald

Details of Mohawk expansion plan

According to plans for Mohawk College's proposed $84-million expansion of its campus in Hamilton, nearly $59 million would go towards a 4-storey, 180,000-square-foot facility facing Fennell Avenue, which would give the school a bolder street presence. The building would add much-needed space to the campus, allowing for an increase of nearly 16% in overall full-time enrolment. Mohawk is requesting the Ontario and federal governments provide 85% of the funding, while the remainder will be covered through fundraising. Should the plan be approved, renovation work could start this summer and construction in the fall. Hamilton Spectator

Research, reputation priorities for McGill principal

At a recent senate meeting, McGill University principal Heather Munroe-Blum unveiled a set of priorities and an action plan for the next 4 years. Among the initiatives are advancing the university's academic and research excellence, raising external visibility and reputation, and demonstrating effective governance and broad accountability to stakeholders. McGill Reporter

uAlberta opens Office of Sustainability

The University of Alberta has established an Office of Sustainability, a central hub for campus initiatives encompassing energy consumption, the environment, climate change, water, and human health. The office will take a more academic approach, using the expertise of scholars and research centres across various disciplines to educate students about the importance of sustainability in present society. uAlberta ExpressNews

Quebec English-Speaking Communities Research Network launched at Concordia

Last week, Concordia University launched the Quebec English-Speaking Communities Research Network, housed in the university's School for Extended Learning. In partnership with the Canadian Institute for Research on Linguistic Minorities at the Université de Moncton, the network is dedicated to developing research capacity related to Quebec's anglophone communities, and to fostering community and social sustainability. Concordia News Release

York law periodical receives "A"

The Osgoode Hall Law Journal, edited by professors and students at York University's Osgoode Hall Law School, has been ranked among the top 5% of law periodicals in the world in a survey conducted by the Australian Research Council. The survey, which examined 1,300 law journals worldwide, was conducted in consultation with panels of leading international experts and was designed to help evaluate research excellence. Y-File

CUFA BC unveils election website

On Tuesday, the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of British Columbia launched a website dedicated to PSE issues in relation to the upcoming provincial election. BC Needs Universities features video interviews with students, professors, graduates, and community members about the importance of the province's public universities. The site includes information about party positions on various PSE issues. BC Needs Universities

uManitoba launches Web-based series about campus

Chris Rutkowski, a communications officer at the University of Manitoba, hosts an online show called The Campus Files, in which he interviews members of the uManitoba community to get a grasp of what makes the university special. In the first episode, Rutkowski explores the history of Ditchball, a game invented by architecture students in the 1970s. The show can be found on YouTube.  uManitoba News | The Campus Files

GlobeCampus forum to discuss program cuts

Today at noon EST, the weekly public forum of GlobeCampus, the Globe and Mail's education website, will cover the recent trend of Canadian universities cutting academic programs, such as Canadian Studies at Simon Fraser University and women's studies at the University of Guelph. Educational Policy Institute's Alex Usher and Talia Radcliffe, president of the Alma Mater Society at Queen's University, are taking part in the discussion. Those interested in participating need a Facebook account, as the forum takes place on the GlobeCampus Friday Forums Facebook page. GlobeCampus