Top Ten

January 5, 2010

Funding for faculty hiring, tuition freeze among OCUFA's recommendations to PSE Secretariat

In a recent submission to Ontario's Postsecondary Education Secretariat, the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations points to 3 areas of urgent concern: high student-to-faculty ratios; facilities, libraries, and IT resources in need of renewal; and tuition levels in the province that require students to pay more than their fair share of operating revenue. OCUFA states these challenges would be best resolved through increased public funding. OCUFA recommends the province provide an additional $400 million over 5 years to allow institutions to hire another 5,000 full-time faculty, $365 million over 5 years for infrastructure renewal, and $153 million in basic operating grants in 2010-11 to support increased faculty hiring and infrastructure upgrades. The association also calls for a tuition freeze, with compensatory funding provided to universities. Read the submission

Lakehead faculty hold rally to protest school closure

On December 21, members of the Lakehead University Faculty Association, along with representatives from faculty associations across Canada, gathered in front of the Thunder Bay institution to protest the 4-day closure of the school before Christmas. Lakehead's faculty association has argued the move is in violation of members' collective bargaining agreement, as professors would not be paid during the shutdown, a move meant to save the university $1 million in operating costs. The matter is currently in arbitration. OCUFA News Release | Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal | (video)

uWinnipeg postpones controversial merger of philosophy, classics, religious studies departments

The University of Winnipeg has put on hold a merger of its philosophy, classics, and religious studies departments into a new humanities department. uWinnipeg's arts dean says he takes responsibility for misunderstandings that developed on campus when amalgamation plans were announced in November. The dean says the departments would remain as separate units, at least for the current academic year. The proposed merger has some faculty and students worried the move would effectively end the university's philosophy department, which in the last 2 years has lost over half its faculty and seen a significant reduction in the number of courses offered. A Facebook group opposing the merger argues that "the integrity of these departments will be severely compromised" by the move. The Canadian Philosophical Association is circulating a petition against the amalgamation. Winnipeg Free Press | "Save Philosophy, Classics & Religious Studies at the University of Winnipeg" Facebook Group | Read the petition

Construction, renovation launched for green chemistry centre at Queen's

GreenCentre Canada recently began construction and renovation of its new 9,000-square-foot facility at Queen's University's Innovation Park. Through the centre, researchers, industry partners, and commercialization experts come together to develop clean, less energy-intensive alternatives to traditional chemical products and manufacturing processes. The new facility is slated to open in late spring. Queen's News Centre

Trent secures location for new Oshawa campus

Trent University recently took ownership of a former elementary school in Oshawa for use as a satellite campus. Work to transform the property into a university campus is  expected to begin around mid-February or early March. Trent hopes that in 5 years the new campus will attract about 1,500 students. Having operated a branch site at the Durham College/University of Ontario Institute of Technology campus for the last 35 years, Trent announced last spring plans to open its own campus in Oshawa. Durham Region News

uSask board approves College Quarter master plan

Last month, the University of Saskatchewan's board of governors approved the master plan for College Quarter, a mixed-use development encompassing about 145 acres south of the main campus. College Quarter may accommodate up to 3,000 new student residence beds situated among sports facilities, shops, restaurants, bookstores, grocery stores, cultural destinations, and green spaces. The master plan outlines a network of streets and paths providing easy access to the main campus and surrounding community, and focuses on preserving existing trees and creating new open spaces. uSask News Release

CIBT to purchase KGIC Education Group

Vancouver-based CIBT Education Group Inc., which owns Sprott-Shaw Community College, announced last month it has signed a Letter of Intent with KGIC Education Group, also of Vancouver, to acquire KGIC's assets. One of the largest private English-language training schools and business colleges in Canada, KGIC has 7 campuses in the country, and runs training centres and branch offices in China, Brazil, Korea, Japan, Mexico, and Taiwan. CIBT's president says the addition of KGIC to the company would increase CIBT's exposure to the global education market. The acquisition is slated for closing early this year. CIBT also announced last month plans to expand into India. CIBT News Release

Figures show poor uptake of Canada Learning Bond

According to government data, by the end of 2008, only 16% of nearly 900,000 eligible children had benefited from the Canada Learning Bond, introduced by the Liberal government in 2004. 2 years into the program, just 5.56% of qualified children had received the grant. Under the program, which targets low-income families, parents must set up an RESP for their child, and Ottawa would make an immediate contribution of $500, followed by an annual deposit of $100 until the child turns 15. Some social policy analysts suggest the government ensure more qualified families access the grant by automatically setting up a trust account for each eligible child. National Post

Anglophone, francophone youth have different perspectives on value of university degree, poll finds

According to a recent poll asking 1,500 Canadians if they thought a university degree was now a minimum requirement for success, fewer than 20% of 18- to 24-year-old French speakers surveyed said a degree was required, compared to 40% among the English-speaking group. Over two-thirds of young people whose first language is neither English or French agreed a degree is needed to be successful. A Université du Québec à Chicoutimi professor who took part in a task force examining Quebec's high secondary school dropout rates says the poll results are likely affected by the high importance many in Quebec place on technical degrees. That being said, the professor states more action needs to be taken in Quebec to emphasize the importance of education. Globe and Mail

NB invests in increased access at CCNB campuses

The New Brunswick government announced last week a $140,000 investment to increase access at Collège Communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick campuses. The funds will go towards the CCNB Learning Support Centre, which provides services and accommodations such as note-taking, additional time for instruction, a distraction-free room for special-needs students, and recording of lectures. NB News Release