Top Ten

February 1, 2010

Ontario college union sets Feb. 11 strike deadline

The union representing instructors at Ontario's 24 colleges announced yesterday a strike deadline of February 11 if OPSEU and management cannot reach a settlement on a new collective agreement. The chair of the OPSEU bargaining team for the faculty says the union is willing to send all outstanding issues to binding arbitration should a settlement not be reached. While issues regarding workload and academic freedom are of great importance, the chair says OPSEU is also taking into account the impact on students if there is a strike. In a vote last month, 57% of instructors approved a strike mandate. OPSEU News Release

uAlberta considers compulsory student fee to address shortfall

Last week, the University of Alberta's general faculties council approved a recommendation to establish the Common Student Space, Sustainability and Safety Fee, a $570 annual student fee aimed at dealing with the institution's $59-million shortfall. A university official says the fee is crucial for uAlberta to avoid layoffs. While the school's academic planning committee will decide if the fee is implemented, the final dollar amount would be decided by the board of governors in late March. If approved, the fee will be charged at the beginning of the next academic year. Edmonton Journal | CBC

Manitoba dentists approve fee to support uManitoba dental school

Dentists attending the Manitoba Dental Association's annual meeting last Thursday approved a one-time $500 fee to keep the University of Manitoba's outreach dental clinics open this year. Recession-related cutbacks at the university had led to a decision to close about 9 dental outreach programs. An association spokesman says the fee is needed to keep the clinics open while the dental school seeks more stable funding from the university and government over the next year. Winnipeg Free Press

Former FNUC student rep charged with defrauding student union

A former member of the First Nations University of Canada Students' Association has been charged with defrauding the organization of $35,000 through a cheque-writing scheme. 31-year-old Blue Pelletier faces one count of fraud and one count of theft dating from August 2006 to February 2007. Pelletier is scheduled to appear in court in June. A current student union vice-president says 2 signatures are now required on association cheques, and FNUC's finance department must also approve cheques over a certain dollar value. Regina Leader-Post

$24 million for uLaval campus infrastructure

Yesterday the federal and Quebec governments announced $23.65 million under the Knowledge Infrastructure Program for 2 projects at Université Laval. The funds will support renovations to the Alexandre-Vachon pavilion and the medicine and dentistry faculty building. Yesterday's announcement follows up on $38 million in KIP funding awarded to uLaval in July. Quebec News Release (in French)

$14 million for research projects in NL

The federal government announced Sunday $13.8 million under the Atlantic Innovation Fund for 7 R&D projects in Newfoundland and Labrador. Memorial University will receive a total of $9.6 million for 5 projects, one of which entails the development of an information technology platform to conduct studies on the identification of genes implicated in common diseases and research on undesirable drug reactions. ACOA News Release | MUN News Release

Trent urged to focus on summer session enrolment as revenue source

At a board of governors meeting last Friday, Trent University's vice-president of research and international and strategic enrolment management explained that spring and summer sessions are an "untapped revenue source" deserving closer examination. The sessions bring in about half a million in tuition revenue, representing 2% of Trent's total annual revenue. Almost every year more students register for spring and summer classes, and numbers were bolstered this year through promotions in the student paper and on Trent's website. "The bottom line is summer is good for us, and we want to do more." Peterborough Examiner

CIC-ACCC program brings more Indian students to Canadian colleges

A new program between Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Association of Canadian Community Colleges is being credited for doubling the acceptance rate of Indian students coming to study at a select group of Canadian colleges. Launched in April, the Student Partners Program aims to increase the approval rate of study permit applications at 20 participating colleges. During the first 9 months of the program, Canada's visa offices in India received more than 4,000 applications, and the approval rate for the first group of students under the program coming to study in September was more than double the previous year's rate. 95% of the students remain in good standing at an ACCC institution. CIC News Release | Toronto Star

Quebec university leaders in India to boost PSE partnerships

Several heads of Quebec universities are taking part in Premier Jean Charest's mission to India this week, with a goal to further relations with post-secondary institutions in India. During the mission, rectors and principals will meet with their Indian counterparts to develop or strengthen ties with India's university system. The leaders hope to foster innovation and collaboration between Quebec and Indian researchers, promote inter-university co-operation, and improve student mobility between Quebec and India. Quebec universities currently have 35 bilateral agreements regarding student mobility with 26 Indian institutions. CREPUQ News Release

NIC opens employment resource centres

North Island College recently opened employment resource centres at its Campbell River and Comox Valley campuses. The centres offer a number of services to students and alumni, including career and job exploration, interviewing skills development, and workshops in career success. Through the centres, employers can interview students on campus and connect with programs that train future employees. The centres will provide job postings at no charge, and feature employer profiles online to promote employers to students. NIC News Release