Top Ten

January 21, 2010

NB to spend $672 million on PSE in 2010-11

According to 2010-11 budget estimates released Wednesday, New Brunswick's PSE department will spend $672.2 million in capital and operational budgets. This figure includes $78 million for infrastructure upgrades at community colleges; $275.5 million for universities; and $318.7 million for departmental operations, including the colleges. The department is also allocating $30 million more in new operational spending compared to last year. NB News Release

uLethbridge union turns down salary freeze

Alberta Union of Provincial Employees workers at the University of Lethbridge have voted against taking a salary freeze proposed by administration as part of efforts to mitigate the institution's budget woes. Whether the vote will signal layoffs among uLethbridge's AUPE workers is still up in the air; a university official says the school will try to minimize job losses as much as possible. uLethbridge has looked to trim costs wherever possible to reduce the impact on staff, but it won't know the magnitude of budget cuts until February 9, when the Alberta government is expected to announce its budget. Lethbridge Herald

Algoma U to convert retirement home into student residence

Algoma University plans to transform the Windsor Park Retirement Residence, part of land and businesses donated to the school in 2005, into student housing. Under federal and Ontario regulatory requirements, Algoma U must either sell the building and business or convert the facility into university use, and the school has been unable to find a suitable buyer. Windsor Park is being asked to vacate the property before the summer in order for necessary renovations to be completed for a September opening. Algoma U News Release | Sault Star

Fanshawe looking to expand downtown presence

Fanshawe College is considering setting up a campus in downtown London to accommodate its growing arts-related programs. Working with the city, Fanshawe is examining options, such as possibly buying and refurbishing core buildings, to offer classes in an environment that school officials say holds great potential. A longer-term vision could see Fanshawe extending its arts programs to partner with existing professional arts outfits in the downtown core. The college already has a presence downtown with a location in a shopping plaza. London Free Press

uWaterloo president reviews goals to make region "knowledge capital of Canada"

Yesterday University of Waterloo president David Johnston issued a mixed report card in reviewing his 10 goals for Waterloo Region to become the "knowledge capital of Canada." Johnston's concerns are that residents are still undereducated compared to Ontario and national benchmarks, and local universities are struggling for North American prominence even as they gain national recognition. On the positive side, local universities are grabbing their share of research funding. Among Johnston's goals is to ensure the region's universities and colleges remain innovative leaders that are seen as outstanding. Waterloo Region Record

Queen's med students, faculty donate to new facility

Queen's University medical students are pledging over half a million dollars to the new home of the university's medical school. Last week, students provided the health sciences dean with 2 cheques -- one for $10,500, and another representing $500,000 to be collected over the next several years through an optional $100 annual fee. The students were inspired to donate after their clinical faculty gave $1.5 million to the project. The $77-million facility is scheduled to open next year. Queen's News Centre

NIC, VIU sign collaboration agreement

On Tuesday, North Island College and Vancouver Island University signed a bilateral agreement designed to increase the capacity of both schools through increased collaborative programming, seamless transfer agreements, and greater opportunity for collaborative research initiatives and faculty professional development. One of the immediate outcomes of the partnership is the foundation of a dual admission process to facilitate the success of NIC students wishing to complete their studies at VIU. NIC/VIU News Release

Business less appealing among US freshmen, survey finds

According to the UCLA-based Higher Education Research Institute's 2009 Freshman Survey, the proportion of first-year students planning to major in business is at its lowest level since the mid-1970s. From 2008 to 2009, the percentage of incoming students planning to major in business dropped from 16.8% to 14.4%. The percentage of freshman who listed business as their "probable career" fell from 14.1% to 12.1%, an all-time low for the survey. The downturn not only affected first-year students' choice of major and career field, but also raised their anxiety about their ability to pay for their education. About two-thirds of respondents said they had "some" or "major" concerns about their ability to pay for college. UCLA News Release | Inside Higher Ed

US research finds college grades not affected by social networks

New research from the University of New Hampshire finds that college students who actively engage in social networking do just as well academically as their peers who are less interested in the activity. According to an analysis of a survey of students from the university, 63% of heavy social-media users received high grades, compared to 65% of light users. Last spring, a study from Ohio State University found that college students who use Facebook spend less time studying and have lower GPAs than students who are non-users. In an effort to replicate Ohio State's results, researchers from Northwestern University uncovered no evidence of Facebook use correlating with diminished academic performance. UNH News Release | The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

Parent designs social network for students, teachers

Noticing that his daughter was spending too much time on Facebook and not enough on studying, British parent Billy Fitzgerald created a website called studentsandacademics.com, where students can be in contact with friends while doing homework or researching at the same time. Students can connect with teachers to chat about assignments and deadlines. Members of the site can create groups to share course study information. The site features lesson plans and research material covering a wide range of disciplines. University World News | studentsandacademics.com