Top Ten

February 18, 2010

$20-million funding cut could mean layoffs, fewer students at uAlberta

Having been trying to balance a projected $59-million shortfall since last fall, the University of Alberta was handed an additional $20-million shortfall when the provincial government cut funding targeting new and growing programs in last week's budget, a move the university's provost says will likely mean staff layoffs and fewer students on campus next year. uAlberta is still negotiating with the government to see which commitments for student spaces it will be allowed to break down now that the funding is no longer in place. The institution is offering voluntary retirement packages, and additional layoffs are also expected. uAlberta faculty recently approved 6 furlough days in exchange for providing input in the school's budget planning. Edmonton Journal

Cash transfers to PSE, research subject of CAUT's federal budget spending recommendations

In a letter to federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, the Canadian Association of University Teachers recommends Ottawa better assist provinces in meeting growing demand for PSE, starting by increasing federal cash transfers in the next budget by $400 million just to restore funding, in real terms, to 1992-93 levels. The letter states the 2010 budget must do more for the country's scientific research community, as last year's cuts to granting agencies and uncertainty of continued federal support have "cast a cloud over the future of university-based science." CAUT warns of dire consequences if Ottawa continues to actively direct what research is done. The letter points to last year's budget, which stated that SSHRC-funded scholarships will focus on business-related degrees, and stipulated that the majority of infrastructure funds given to the CFI is for future priority projects identified by Industry Canada. CAUT News | Read the letter

uWindsor senate rejects business faculty partnership with private prep college

Last week, the University of Windsor senate voted against contracting Study Group International, an Australian-based for-profit education company, to set up on on-campus program to prepare foreign students for uWindsor's business programs. Additional proposed partnerships with SGI in the faculties of computer science, science, and arts and social science will be considered in March. Like their counterparts at Dalhousie University, which is considering contracting Navitas, faculty at uWindsor have campaigned against the proposed joint venture, and plan to step up efforts in coming weeks to ensure members in the affected faculties are aware of what impact the deal could have. CAUT News | Maclean's OnCampus

Front-line university groups in Ontario form coalition

University faculty groups, unions, and student organizations in Ontario have joined to form Ontario University Coalition, whose goal is to protect quality of education and reverse privatization creeping into the province's university system. Without immediate public investment in PSE, coalition members warn the affordability, accessibility, and quality of provincial universities will be further threatened. The coalition's main focus is the next provincial election, when it aims to make the state of Ontario's university system an issue for voters. Ontario University Coalition News Release

McMaster considers discontinuing art history degree

McMaster University could soon phase out its art history degree program as the institution considers a new proposal suggesting a better use of resources by integrating its studio art program with art history and opening it to more students through new bachelor and master of fine arts degrees. McMaster's humanities dean says the art history program has been struggling for some time -- only 7 students chose the speciality this year. Although the proposal has yet to be approved, the notion of phasing out the degree is causing an uproar among art history students, who are campaigning to save their program. Hamilton Spectator

NSAC introduces official grad ring

On March 1, Nova Scotia Agricultural College will launch its official graduation ring, whose design features a textured pattern of barley around a simple band. The "barley ring" is described as embodying "the spirit of NSAC with its simple, utilitarian design representing the foundations of agrarian civilization." The ring has received positive feedback from current students and alumni. For every ring sale, the local artisan who designed the ring will make a donation to NSAC's Alumni Family Bursary. NSAC News | NSAC Grad Ring

Female MBA grads experience inequities during career, study finds

According to a new report from Catalyst, a non-profit organization that works with businesses to increase opportunities for women, women lag behind men in both job level and salary starting from their first position after completing business school and do not catch up. Part of an ongoing study of female and male MBA alumni in the US, Canada, Europe, and Asia, the report found that women start at lower levels, make on average $4,600 less in their initial jobs, and continue to be outpaced by men in rank and salary growth. Men were twice as likely to hold CEO or senior executive positions and less likely to be at lower levels, where women were overrepresented, the report observed. The findings hold when taking into account parenthood and level of aspiration. Catalyst News Release | Globe and Mail | Read the report

Privacy commissioner questions Google Buzz about meeting Canadian requirements

Canada's privacy commissioner said Wednesday that Google Inc. should have consulted her office before adding its new social network Buzz to its e-mail service last week, and she still has questions about how the company will address alleged violations of Canada's privacy laws. Like all multinational corporations, Google must abide by Canada's privacy laws when it launches products here. Some Gmail users have alleged they were automatically assigned a network of "followers" based on the individuals with whom they communicated the most through e-mail and chat, and that by default this list of followers was included in a widely available online profile. Google has since issued a public apology, made some changes, and plans to introduce further changes to Buzz. Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada News Release | Marketing Magazine

George Washington U. mistakenly sends acceptance notices to rejected applicants

Last week, about 200 students seeking early-decision admission to George Washington University received an e-mail notifying them of their acceptance, only to receive word several hours later that the e-mail was sent by mistake and they were actually rejected. The university says the incident was a clerical mistake. There have been recent incidents of admission errors, such as at the University of Exeter, UC San Diego, and Northwestern University. Washington Post

U. of Delaware seeks student participation in musical-style recruitment video

The University of Delaware is inviting students to get involved in the production of "Delaware: The MUSICAL," a song-and-dance video highlighting why students chose to attend the institution. Spearheading the project is a pair of admissions counsellors whose "Reading Season" video, a musical about the time of year admissions offices start evaluating applicants, has received over 17,000 hits on YouTube since late November. The counsellors have created a promotional video calling for students to join the production, which, with an ensemble cast, will be fully orchestrated and choreographed. "Think 'Enchanted' meets the University of Delaware alma mater," is how one of the counsellors describes the project. Yale University recently produced a musical-style recruitment video called "That's Why I Chose Yale," which has had over 400,000 hits on YouTube. UDaily | Watch the promo video | Reading Season video