Top Ten

December 14, 2009

Queen's in difficult, transitional period, says principal

"I suggest the time has come to do less with less," Queen's University principal Daniel Woolf tells the Globe and Mail, acknowledging that the immediate future will be a challenge as the school shoulders a rising debt load. On top of implementing a 15% budget cut over the next 4 years, Woolf plans to review the university's academic priorities and renew its focus on undergraduate programs. As part of his cost-cutting plan, Woolf has asked professors to reduce their planned raises by 2% next year, a request that was refused by the faculty association. The union argues the university's financial difficulties result from mismanagement. One professor suggests the pressure of salary cuts is diverting attention from the institution's "misguided capital projects." The new Queen's Centre has left the university with a $125-million shortfall, most of which it will carry as debt. Globe and Mail

uAlberta increases student fees to address budget woes

Last Friday, the University of Alberta's board of governors approved proposals recommending increases in tuition, rent, and parking rates. Next September, students will see a tuition increase of 1.5%, the maximum allowed under provincial legislation. Even with the hike, tuition would account for 19.3% of the operating budget. To combat the projected $59-million shortfall, administrators have developed a "20-20-20 strategy" which splits the shortfall evenly between administrative efficiencies, increased revenues, and cost containment. uAlberta's provost says senior administrators will take the same furlough days and accompanying salary reductions as any other faculty member. Union leaders are still in talks over the furlough days. uAlberta ExpressNews | Edmonton Journal

UWO president sets out priorities for coming year

At a senate meeting last Friday, University of Western Ontario president Amit Chakma, who joined the institution in July, released a 22-point document listing his priorities for 2009-10. Chakma has outlined 5 major areas to focus on during the next few months: strategic leadership; students; graduate education and research intensity; financial accountability; and the external community. Priorities include increasing UWO's global profile and reputation through the establishment of one major international initiative; admitting 100 additional foreign students in 2010-11; and expanding professional masters programs. Western News | Read the document

Phase 1 of Durham College's Whitby campus expansion complete

Today Durham College will celebrate the grand opening of Phase 1 of its planned $30-million, 3-phase expansion of its Whitby campus. The first phase of the project features a second storey addition that includes new classrooms and labs; an Incubation Centre; and living lab environments developed in areas such as solar water heating, wind turbines, and geothermal technology. The college will broadcast a live webcast of the opening ceremony today at 1:20 p.m. EST. Durham College News Release

SFU breaks ground for Surrey campus expansion

Last Friday marked the start of construction of the $10-million Podium 2 expansion of Simon Fraser University's Surrey campus. The project, which received funding from the Knowledge Infrastructure Program, will see the university upgrading and renovating over 5,000 square metres of additional space in the Podium 2 development and more than 300 square metres in the Central City complex. BC News Release

$6 million for La Cité health training programs

Through the Consortium national de formation en santé (National Consortium for Health Training), Health Canada has awarded La Cité Collégiale $6 million to boost the number of French-language health professionals. The funding will allow better access to programs and the development of new ones, the continued participation of La Cité in several research projects, and the development of new partnerships. The college hopes to improve access to French-language health care for francophones living in minority communities. La Cité News Release

VCC opens Aboriginal Gathering Place

Last Wednesday, Vancouver Community College celebrated the opening of its new Aboriginal Gathering Place. The facility features a kitchen and lounge area, as well as resources that include Internet-enabled computers and a study area. Staff at the gathering place will provide one-stop services to help Aboriginal students complete their educational goals. Aboriginal elders will also be available to provide support to students, and education through celebrations and cultural workshops. VCC's gathering place is one of 25 being established at public PSE institutions across BC through a $13.6-million provincial investment. BC News Release

Douglas College launches video talent contest

BC-based Douglas College is running a YouTube contest in which prospective and current students are invited to produce 2-minute videos showcasing their talent. After the videos are uploaded to the college's "Doug's Got Talent" YouTube group, a committee comprising students, faculty and staff will select 9 finalists, whose entries will be posted on the school's website for voting. The creators of the 3 videos with the most votes by the end of March will each receive a grand prize of $4,000 in tuition credits, and there will be 3 runner-up prizes of $400 tuition vouchers. Doug's Got Talent video contest

Employment top reason why college students drop out, US study finds

According to a new US survey, 71% of respondents who had dropped out of college said that work was a factor in their decision to quit, and over half said it was a major factor. About 35% of those who quit school said they had tried to balance work and study, and found it too stressful. The survey's results build on a growing body of research showing that part-time students -- who represent nearly 40% of undergraduates in the US -- and those who have to work generally fare worse than do their full-time peers. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access) | Read the full report

Twitter updates included in Yahoo searches

Last month, Yahoo began including Twitter posts as part of a feature that identifies hot news stories. The company has now expanded its search results to include more "tweets" to give people a better sense of what's happening on the Web. Yahoo's expansion underscores the growing importance of Twitter messages to Internet search engines. Both Google and Microsoft are paying Twitter for better access to the millions of tweets posted every day. Associated Press