Top Ten

February 23, 2010

Prominent Quebec citizens sign pact for competitive university funding

16 prominent Quebecers joined yesterday to present a "pact for the competitive funding of our universities." The pact calls for collective mobilization in order to boost university funding, while remaining true to fundamental values in Quebec: accessibility, fairness, excellence, and effectiveness. The pact proposes lifting the cap on tuition fees, strengthening programs supporting accessibility, and a strong government commitment to maintaining current levels of public funding. The initiative stems from a "particularly troublesome fact" that the underfunding of Quebec's universities is a "real threat" to the province's prosperity. Signatories of the pact include former Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard and past rectors of Université Laval and the Université de Montréal. Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal News Release | Montreal Gazette | Read the signatories' letter | Pact for the Competitive Funding of Our Universities (available in French only)

UPEI mandatory retirement policy deemed discriminatory

The PEI Human Rights Commission ruled last week that the University of Prince Edward Island's mandatory retirement policy is discriminatory on the basis of age under the province's Human Rights Act. The decision applies to 6 former UPEI faculty and staff members who filed complaints challenging the policy. According to a faculty association news release, UPEI had argued that the association should share in any liability as its collective agreement with the school contained the policy, but the commission found UPEI imposed the policy, leaving it fully responsible for the discrimination. UPEI president Wade MacLauchlan states it is important for the university community to reflect fully on the implications of the commission's decision. UPEIFA News Release | Update from UPEI president | CBC

Brock asked to investigate allegations of students' involvement in home invasion

St. Catharines city councillors and regional police have called on Brock University to conduct an investigation into allegations of rowdy students invading a south St. Catharines family's home and beating a man. At a meeting last night, one councillor related last Thursday's incident in which a group of students, told to be quiet by a neighbour, reportedly began swearing and threatening the man, ran across to his house, shoved the door open, punched the man, and knocked down his wife and daughter. The wife told the St. Catharines Standard the incident has convinced her family they have to move. St. Catharines Standard

UoGuelph president addresses "rumours" in campus community meeting

In the University of Guelph's first "rumour mill" meeting of the year on Monday, president Alastair Summerlee stated contract talks between the school and the College and Academic Research Group "haven't gone to arbitration," and he expects a new agreement "imminently." When asked about staff downsizing, Summerlee said UoGuelph is not considering offering more voluntary retirement packages, which nearly 200 faculty and staff took last year. The president states the institution is in the third, difficult year in a 4-year plan, and is targeting a $16.2-million budget cut this year. Responding to a question about how UoGuelph is dealing with its pension liability dilemma, Summerlee said efforts are underway to build a contingency fund. The president reported late last year that the school owes the campus pension fund over $70 million in 2010. Guelph Mercury

GPRC "ready to live lean"

While it has yet to receive information from the Alberta government as to how much funding it will get from the 2010 budget, Grande Prairie Regional College is preparing for cuts, says the school's president. Don Gnatiuk says the institution has been running scenarios of a 0% increase to -5% in anticipation of the budget. While he has not provided details on what those scenarios might include, Gnatiuk says the GPRC is "ready to live lean." Cutbacks would not affect the merger with the Fairview campus, which GPRC absorbed from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology last year. Daily Herald-Tribune

SIAST releases Aboriginal Student Achievement Plan

Yesterday the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology unveiled a 5-year, $5.5-million Aboriginal Student Achievement Plan meant to enhance Aboriginal student participation and success at the institution. While research confirms SIAST already has a number of excellent services and supports for Aboriginal students, an analysis of the findings suggest such students still face multiple barriers that may negatively affect their PSE participation and completion rates. The plan, dubbed SIAST ASAP, will focus in particular on Aboriginal student completion rates and on recruitment in areas where Aboriginal people are underrepresented. SIAST News Release | Read the plan

Redeemer appoints new president

Redeemer University College, based in Ancaster, Ontario, announced yesterday that Dr. Hubert R. Krygsman has been chosen as the institution's new president effective June 14, following the retirement of current president Dr. Justin Cooper. Born and raised in southwestern Ontario, with a masters and PhD from uCalgary and Carleton, respectively, Krygsman comes to Redeemer after 2 decades working in the American academy, where he is currently the associate provost at Iowa-based Dordt College. Redeemer News

New rector named at uMontréal

On Monday, the Université de Montréal announced the appointment of Guy Breton as the school's rector, succeeding Luc Vinet on June 1. A radiologist by training, Breton has taught at uMontréal since 1979, and has served several senior administrative positions in the university's faculty of medicine. uMontréal News (in French)

Grade 12 students in Edmonton caught cheating on math exam

Alberta's education ministry has found that 9 Edmonton high school students cheated on their Grade 12 math exam, and is investigating several more cases that may be connected. The ministry began investigating after rumours surfaced that some Edmonton students had seen or purchased copies of the test beforehand. In addition to having the 9 students' marks invalidated, the ministry may bar them from rewriting their diploma exams for one year, delaying their transition to PSE if they are going that route. A ministry spokeswoman says post-secondary institutions are aware of its investigation. Last month, close to 12,000 students across Alberta wrote the Pure Math 30 exam, which is worth 50% of a student's final grade in the course. Edmonton Journal | CBC

McMaster launches new virtual tour

McMaster University recently introduced a new virtual campus tour, providing more multimedia, interactivity, and information for visitors to the online tour site. The portal allows prospective students to take a "Guided Tour" simulating an in-person walking tour, create a personalized tour, or explore various hotspots on campus. The virtual tour has already been accessed by individuals from several communities across Canada, and in countries such as China, India, Brazil, and New Zealand. McMaster Daily News | McMaster Campus Tours