Top Ten

July 7, 2009

Ontario invests $25 million in literacy, basic skills training

The Ontario government announced last Thursday $25 million in funding to expand literacy and basic skills training in the province. The money will be distributed among colleges, school boards, and community literacy organizations in the Employment Ontario network to help 13,000 laid-off workers and other adult learners train for high-skilled jobs. The government reports that 3.4 million adults in the province have literacy skills below the high school level. Ontario News Release | Sudbury Star

Brock endowment grows by $4 million

In the last fiscal year, Brock University's endowment fund increased more than $4.3 million. Overall, donors gave the university $1.38 million for student financial awards, which qualified Brock for another $3-million from the Ontario Trust for Student Support, which provides matching funds based on how much universities raise, and are used for awards for provincial students with financial need. Brock News Release

Saskatchewan PSE structure not reflecting needs of provincial economy

In its final report, the Saskatchewan Labour Market Commission says the province needs to address the overall effectiveness of its education and training system in relation to present and future labour market demands, citing a "broad mismatch between labour supply and demand." In the last 2 decades Saskatchewan has made major investments in the province's 2 largest universities, the report states, but only recently has it invested in capacity expansion at non-university institutions. Capacity issues must be addressed, or else Saskatchewan will have to further rely on in-migration for a pool of skilled and educated workers. Read the full report

uSask reviews $10 million in budget cuts

The University of Saskatchewan is reviewing budget strategies submitted by its departments and colleges, which were asked to cut operations spending by $10 million over the next two years. uSask administrators are assessing the strategies to ensure adherence to university policy and collective agreements prior to releasing their report on July 27. The department hit hardest by the cuts is the university's customer services division, which was asked to reduce its allocation by 50% from last year's total. Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

Trent releases new president's contract

Following media inquiries, Trent University has posted online a copy of the employment contract with its new president, Steven Franklin. He will receive a $305,000 salary plus benefits, including a $1,200-a-month housing allowance and vehicle expenses. In addition to regular health benefits, Trent will pay for Franklin to get an annual "executive medical examination" at a private Canadian medical clinic, costing an estimated $2,000 a year. Last summer, following the Hamilton Spectator's successful battle in getting McMaster University to release its president's contract, other Ontario universities disclosed their presidents' salaries. Peterborough Examiner | Trent president contract

Mohawk to phase Fennel campus expansion

Having been shut out of federal infrastructure funding, Mohawk College has revised its $84-million expansion and renovation plan for its Fennell campus in that the college will stage the improvements over a longer period of time. The first stage will include a 2-storey building featuring a new library and learning space. The $15-million facility is expected to open by January 2011. The first stage of the project, which also entails renovations to other campus buildings, could be worth as much as $40 million. Hamilton Spectator

Grenfell starts construction of new academic building

Last week, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College began work on the first phase of the new academic building project, which received $27 million in government infrastructure funding in May. Adjoining the Arts and Science Building, the new facility will add much-needed academic, research, computer, and meeting spaces to the campus. Construction is expected to be completed by March 31, 2011. Grenfell News Release

The consequences of "massification" in higher education

One of the themes touched on at this week's UNESCO-sponsored World Conference on Higher Education in Paris is the rapid rise in mass demand, or "massification," in PSE. In the last decade, PSE enrolment worldwide jumped from 100 million students to approximately 150 million. Pressure from this unprecedented growth, described in a paper as an "academic revolution," has led to more part-time academics, decreased salaries, and deteriorating academic qualifications and standards -- all realities needing to be addressed. One of the paper's co-authors says reconciling mass higher education with quality would be "very considerable progress." Inside Higher Ed | The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

College students with depression more likely to quit school

According to new research from the University of Michigan, college students with depression are twice as likely as their peers to drop out of school. Researchers found that lower GPAs depended upon a student's type of depression; loss of interest, rather than depressed mood, is associated with lower GPAs. The study also found that students with both depression and anxiety had exceptionally poor academic performance. URecord

"One web page for every book"

This is the ambitious idea behind the Open Library, a searchable catalogue of information about millions of books. Although still in its beta phase, the system already stores more than 23 million books, including links to over a million out-of-copyright titles. Open Library's project leader states that the system enables the preservation of book records for history, and makes information accessible and usable by anybody. Open Library runs on wiki software, allowing anyone to add their own notes on different books or editions. The Guardian | Open Library