Top Ten

February 11, 2010

Reductions to PSE operating support, capital grants in Alberta budget

According to the Alberta government's latest budget, announced Tuesday, budgeted program expense for the province's advanced education ministry is over $3.2 billion in 2010-11, a $205-million, or 6%, reduction from the 2009-10 forecast. The program expense includes $2.6 billion in operating support, down $73 million. The budget marks changes to the province's student assistance program, with student loans increasing and grants decreasing. The ministry is allocating $206 million to loans, and $85 million to scholarships, bursaries, and grants. $45 million will be provided from the Access to the Future Fund to match private gifts to post-secondary schools. The budget includes $583 million in capital grants and amortization, a $132-million reduction from the 2009-10 forecast. Over the next 3 years, institutions will receive over $1 billion in capital funding. Alberta News Release | Budget Summary by Ministry (page 1 of PDF) | Calgary Herald | Edmonton Journal

Deal with uRegina could keep FNUC open

Following discussions with Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations chief Guy Lonechild and University of Regina president Vianne Timmons, Saskatchewan Advanced Education Minister Rob Norris says "a window of opportunity exists" regarding a new deal between the First Nations University of Canada and uRegina that would keep the former open. The deal would not mean the province will restore funding withdrawn from FNUC, but a partnership between the 2 universities would see the money flow through uRegina. If plans proceed, FNUC students could attend classes in the fall at the same facility and be taught by the same professors. Regina Leader-Post | CBC | News Talk 980

Female students at uWindsor warned following campus scare

University of Windsor campus police are encouraging students to take self-defence classes after the latest in a series of events involving strange men and unsuspecting female students. Last Wednesday evening, a man approached a female student studying in the CAW Student Centre, took "inappropriate liberties" with her, and followed her briefly after she packed her things and left. The incident follows recent reports of men spying on women in the showers of a co-ed residence. Campus police have stepped up foot patrols in the residence, and uWindsor plans to install a new lock system in the building. The university's president and other administrators met with students this week to discuss additional measures the school can take. uWindsor Crime Alert | uWindsor Daily News | Windsor Star

Unofficial voting results show narrow approval of Ontario college faculty contract

According to unofficial results of Ontario college faculty's vote yesterday on management's last contract offer, more than 77% of faculty voted 51.25% in favour of the offer, a margin of 210 votes. The official final vote will be determined following a review of all ballots, including segregated and mail-in ballots, by the Ontario Labour Relations Board. It could be up to 10 days or more before results are known. If the offer ends up being rejected, OPSEU will set a new strike date and call on management to return to the bargaining table. OPSEU News Release | Ontario College Compensation and Appointments Council News Release

Dorm-dwelling uVic students cost university $10,000 in false-alarm fines

In 2009, the University of Victoria paid nearly $10,000 in fines because too many false alarms were pulled in school residences. Despite students being evicted from campus housing when caught, the problem continues and puts a strain on resources. Close to half the fines levied by the local fire department for excessive false alarms come from uVic residences. On some nights, fire crews have been called up to 9 times to the residences, which house over 2,000 students. The deputy fire chief notes the calls tend to be concentrated around special events or exam periods. The fines are paid out of the university's residence operation budget, leaving less money for facility renewal. Victoria Times-Colonist

BC proposes new Emily Carr campus

In its throne speech on Tuesday, the BC government announced it will establish a new campus for the Emily Carr University of Art + Design near the Centre for Digital Media at the Great Northern Way Campus in Vancouver. The throne speech also mentions the province will introduce legislation enabling universities to remove themselves from the government reporting entity. BC News Release

CUSC results show positive feedback of small institutions

According to a sample of results of the Canadian University Survey Consortium, graduating students from small campuses reported the highest levels of satisfaction regarding their undergraduate experience. Redeemer University College, the King's University College (Edmonton), Trinity Western University, and Mount Allison University have the highest percentage of students who are "very satisfied" with the overall quality of education received, who "strongly agree" that their academic learning experiences have been intellectually stimulating, and who report that their experience at their school exceeded their expectations. 34 campuses took part in the CUSC survey last year, with over 12,000 students completing the survey for an overall response rate of 45%. Maclean's will release its annual student survey issue on Tuesday, publishing results from the CUSC and NSSE surveys. Maclean's OnCampus

NB introduces community colleges act

On Tuesday, New Brunswick's PSE minister introduced the New Brunswick Community Colleges Act, which will establish autonomous English and French community college corporations. Each corporation will be headed by a board of governors, and have a president/CEO selected by its respective board. The head office for the New Brunswick Community College will be in Fredericton, while Bathurst will serve as the head office for the Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick. The New Brunswick College of Craft and Design is not part of the new system; it will operate separately from the colleges while remaining within the province's PSE department. Once the corporations are in place, the colleges will be eligible for funding from sources such as the federal government. NB News Release | Daily Gleaner

Private-sector investment in research at Canadian colleges balloons

Private-sector investment in applied and industry-driven research at Canadian colleges, institutes, polytechnics, CEGEPs, and university colleges grew ten-fold over the last 3 years, from $4 million to $45 million, according to a report released yesterday by the Association of Canadian Community Colleges. Provincial and territorial investment rose from $13 million to $25 million, and colleges themselves are now investing $35 million. Federal investment dropped slightly, decreasing from $28 million in 2005-06 to $27 million in 2008-09. Private-sector partnerships with colleges increased seven-fold to a total of 3,602 participating companies. ACCC News Release | Read the report

MUN board approves changes to Grenfell management structure

Memorial University's board of regents has begun implementing changes to the management structure at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College as recommended by the Newfoundland and Labrador government. At its meeting Monday, the board approved the recommendation that the position of principal be re-titled vice-president (Corner Brook), and the vice-president has been invited to attend board meetings. The board also created the Grenfell Secretariat, comprising a director, an associate director of administration and finance, an associate director of communications, and an executive assistant. The board also approved the creation of a task force to oversee the implementation of these and other initiatives. MUN News

CCL report identifies future labour shortage in environmental sector

According to a report released yesterday by the Canadian Council on Learning, the labour demand in the environmental sector is expected to increase by nearly 40,000 jobs by 2011, yet enrolment in post-secondary environmental programs has decreased by 9% since 1999. To increase the supply of graduates from environmental programs, the CCL recommends offering students experiential activities like outdoor programs; educating teachers and students about the diversity of jobs available in the sector; offering information and guidance during the career decision-making process; and focusing on the elementary and middle school years as a period to introduce environmental education programs. CCL News Release | Read the report

Student financing, operating funding subject of OUSA pre-budget recommendations

In its pre-budget submission to the provincial government, the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance outlines 3 key priorities for the province's students: modernizing financial assistance; supporting student success; and restoring a fair and adequate university funding model. Recommendations include abolishing all education tax-credits and redirecting funds into maintaining the $7,000 cap on the Ontario Student Opportunity Grant; investing $1 million to pilot early-warning programs at 5 universities; and adding $300 million annually to basic operating funds. OUSA News Release | Read the pre-budget submission

Aboriginal students at Nipissing mentor local high school students

As part of the Aboriginal Student Links project, Aboriginal students at Nipissing University will visit local high schools on a weekly basis to meet with First Nation, Inuit, and Métis students, encouraging them to complete high school and go on to PSE. The project began yesterday at one Aboriginal-oriented secondary school in North Bay, and another local school is also expected to participate. The Aboriginal Student Links project is a 3-year initiative with funding provided by the Ontario government. Nipissing News Release

Ottawa invests $40 million in microelectronics research

The federal government announced Tuesday a 5-year, $40-million investment from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council in CMC Microsystems, a non-profit organization whose headquarters are located at the Innovation Park at Queen's University. CMC Microsystems provides resources that make microsystems research and development possible in universities across Canada. Approximately 720 professors and over 2,400 students currently use the organization's services. NSERC News Release | Queen's News Centre

"Get closer" at SMU


Yesterday Saint Mary's University launched a multimedia recruitment campaign whose creative centres around student ID cards. The campaign features SMU students in a number of settings, and in each instance the individual's student ID card is superimposed over his or her actual face. Copy uses different variations of the campaign's "Get Closer" theme, with lines reading "Get closer to discoveries that change the world" or "Get closer to the friends you'll keep for a lifetime." SMU will launch a Facebook-oriented contest next week in which prospective students can create their own versions of the student-card ads. Marketing Magazine | Get Closer microsite

uWinnipeg VP named new Lakehead president

Lakehead University announced yesterday that Brian Stevenson, the current provost and vice-president (academic) at the University of Winnipeg, will become the Thunder Bay-based institution's sixth president and vice-chancellor on August 1, following the retirement of current president Fred Gilbert. A graduate of the University of Victoria and Queen's University, Stevenson has an extensive background in international affairs, and has served as the vice-provost and associate vice-president (international) at the University of Alberta. Lakehead News Release

TRU receives $2-million donation for House of Learning construction

Mark Brown, the president of Northern Trailer, a company providing custom building solutions, and his wife Ellen recently announced the largest private pledge ever to the Thompson Rivers University Foundation to support the construction of the university's $32-million House of Learning. The gift consists of shares worth $750,000, with further donations within a 5-year period to reach a total $2-million donation. The House of Learning is slated for completion this fall. TRU News

Mohawk College student union turns radio station over to college

Mohawk College's student association has passed ownership of the 40-year-old campus radio station to the college, with both sides calling it a good deal. Turning over the station frees up resources for the association to put more into connecting to students through digital communication and social media, while the college will use the station to provide true airtime for broadcasting students. The faculty of media studies becomes home to the station after April 30. Hamilton Spectator

UPEI introduces alcohol policy

The University of Prince Edward Island's board of governors recently approved a new policy specifying where alcohol is permitted, prohibiting free alcohol, and stating the university can shut down an event if there are serious violations. While one student interviewed by CBC supports the new policy, she is concerned the prohibition on advertising events promoting excessive drinking may affect student-organized pub crawls. Some students wanted a requirement for non-UPEI students to be signed in at the student-run pub. The university's student union turned down the idea, feeling it would discourage too many customers. CBC

uAlberta home to car-sharing outlet

The University of Alberta has teamed up with car-rental company Hertz to offer a pay-as-you-go alternative to owning a vehicle. The university's campus is the first location in Canada for Connect By Hertz, the company's car-sharing arm. uAlberta approached Hertz because it wanted to offer students, faculty, and staff an alternative form of transportation without paying hundreds of dollars in gas, parking, insurance, registration, maintenance, as well as buying the car itself. The University of Toronto has a similar agreement with car-sharing service Zipcar. Edmonton Journal