Top Ten

November 13, 2009

uOttawa professor succumbs to swine flu

University of Ottawa chemistry professor Keith Fagnou passed away in hospital last Wednesday of flu-related complications after contracting the H1N1 virus. Ottawa Public Health reports the 38-year-old had no known underlying medical conditions. Described as an "incredibly gifted" scientist and teacher, Fagnou joined uOttawa's science faculty in 2002 after completing his doctorate at the university, and won several prestigious awards, including the Polanyi Prize in 2003. In a statement last week, uOttawa expressed sympathies to Fagnou's family and friends, as well as to colleagues and students in the science faculty. uOttawa News Release | Ottawa Citizen | CBC

Ontario college instructors consider strike action

College students in Ontario could face a strike in the new year if full-time faculty choose to protest the colleges imposing a new contract rather than discussing it at the bargaining table. Ontario Colleges announced last Thursday they will exercise a new right that allows them to introduce a new contract should talks with the Ontario Public Service Employees' Union break down. The union argues the colleges are refusing to bargain in good faith, and OPSEU's president says the union will have no alternative but to go to its membership and seek a strike mandate. Colleges Ontario News Release | OPSEU News Release | Toronto Star

Postscript: Nov 26, 2009
Delegates attending the Ontario Federation of Labour convention on Tuesday unanimously condemned provincial colleges for their failure to bargain in good faith in negotiations with 9,000 faculty members. The president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union says imposing a collective agreement is "union-busting." An emergency resolution brought forward at the convention calls on the province to direct college negotiators to get back to the bargaining table, and also states Colleges Ontario had suspended all joint union/management committees, effectively preventing grievances from going to arbitration. OPSEU News Release

$18 million for construction training for Aboriginal people in Quebec

The federal government announced Friday that it is providing 510 Aboriginal people with the opportunity to gain experience and training in the construction industry through a new partnership with the Consortium for Aboriginal Training in Construction in Quebec. Supported by Ottawa, in partnership with the Quebec government and Aboriginal and private partners, the program will receive a joint investment of $18.3 million. Program participants will receive guidance and mentoring on intercultural relationships, personal problem solving, and integration into the workforce. HRSDC News Release

PEI proposes new Holland College training centre

In its throne speech last Thursday, the Prince Edward Island government announced that with its support, Holland College will initiate a new Regional Training Centre in West Prince that offers a number of programs to meet the social and economic needs of the region. The throne speech also mentions the province will invest $2.5 million to launch a Community Internship Program to create 150 internships in community and not-for-profit organizations to help youth gain relevant work experience on the Island. Charlottetown Guardian | PEI Throne Speech 2009

Loyalist breaks ground for technology and trades training centre

Last Thursday, Loyalist College held a groundbreaking ceremony for its Sustainable Skills, Technology and Life Sciences Centre, which received over $16 million from the Knowledge Infrastructure Program. Combining renewed green space and new space, the multi-use facility will showcase the integration of green design and technologies into a learning environment. The centre will house programs in manufacturing, skilled trades, environmental sciences, and biotechnology. Belleville Intelligencer

Sustainability agenda proposed for uAlberta's south campus

A new urban village with electric vehicles, water recycling, and energy derived from biomass are elements of a "deep green" vision for the University of Alberta's south campus, as proposed by a panel of experts from a US-based think-tank. To leverage uAlberta's deep research capacity, the panel suggested establishing a "sustainability centre" with new faculties of architecture, urban, and landscape planning to come up with new solutions for sustainable living. Edmonton Journal

University and college presidents push for increased PSE accessibility

Chairing a meeting in Toronto last Thursday of 19 university and college presidents, University of Victoria president David Turpin said the challenge schools face is how to ensure the benefits of higher education accrue more equitably in all groups of society. The presidents vowed to collaborate on ways to increase enrolment, particularly among Aboriginal and lower-income populations. Turpin said the idea is to move forward and start sharing information on programs that have encouraged access and success. uVic has been successful in boosting its Aboriginal student enrolment; since 2000, the university's First Nations student population has grown from 76 to over 650 students. Victoria Times-Colonist

Desautels #1 in Canada in Eduniversal rankings

McGill University's Desautels Faculty of Management has placed first among Canadian business schools, according to Eduniversal's global top 1,000 business schools list. McGill ranked fifth overall. Along with McGill, HEC Montréal (22), Rotman (45), Queen's (47), UBC (48), and Ivey (71) made the top 100 list. 25 Canadian universities were named in the top 1,000 list. The official selection of the top 1,000 business schools is based on various criteria applied to schools to ascertain their quality, international influence, standing in other rankings, networks, and accreditations. The ranking is further refined through a vote by business school deans. University World News | Eduniversal

Ontario boosts PSE support for Crown wards

The Ontario government announced last Thursday that 7 new Crown Ward Education Championship Teams will offer mentorship, peer support, motivation, and guidance to Crown wards across Ontario, doubling the number of teams across the province to 14. The teams will help students access and succeed in higher education and training. The teams include volunteers from local school boards, Children's Aid Societies, PSE institutions, community agencies, Employment Ontario, and provincial ministries. Ontario News Release

MUN seeks stakeholder input on research plan

Memorial University announced last week the development of the university's research plan, and is looking to hear from as many stakeholders as possible to help steer MUN in the right direction. The impetus for the research plan flows from the university's strategic plan, released in 2007. One of the 5 pillars in the strategic plan focuses on research, creative activity, and scholarship. Under that pillar, there are 5 goals relating to the advancement of research at MUN. The new plan will address these goals, including the review of existing research themes and their development to recognize the university's strengths, support the needs of Newfoundland and Labrador, and embrace global opportunities. The finalized plan is expected to be released next summer. MUN News