Top Ten

February 25, 2010

Needing to find $48 million, McMaster expected to cut at least 50 jobs

In a financial update to the campus community, McMaster University's president and vice-president (academic) report that the demands on the school's finances for 2010-11 are "staggering." Forecasts indicate that 2010-11 will be the fourth consecutive year in which the university has spent more than it earned. Over this period, McMaster's expenses could exceed revenues by over $100 million. In addition to ongoing expenses, McMaster will need to find $22 million to cover the cost of inflation; $8 million to pay the pension deficit; $14 million to account for the cost of post-retirement medical and dental benefits; and $4 million to cover the increased cost of utilities, regulatory requirements, and insurance. McMaster anticipates these budget pressures will require a minimum of 50 and up to 100 positions to be cut across the university. While some cuts will be through attrition, others will result in layoffs. Most of the cuts will be in non-teaching areas. All hiring will now require the written approval of the appropriate vice-president or president. McMaster Daily News | Stoney Creek News

NAIT student union fears raises in non-academic fees

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology's student union is concerned that NAIT could see large fee increases outside the normal tuition structure, such as the proposed non-academic fee at the University of Alberta. NAIT officials have not said whether that is part of the school's plan to address a $9.7-million shortfall in provincial funding. NAIT will move ahead with a 1.5% tuition increase, the maximum allowable under provincial regulations. Edmonton Journal

uCalgary considers raising mandatory student fees

Like uAlberta, the University of Calgary is considering increasing compulsory, non-academic fees as part of the institution's effort to balance its budget. While no set amount has been decided upon, students say the proposal would see fees climb by $500. Before the board of governors approves any fee hikes, the student union's president says it should be forced to hold a referendum on the matter. uCalgary, whose board recently passed a 1.5% tuition increase, has also sent a proposal to the province to raise professional program tuition by up to 47%. Calgary Herald

UNBSJ launches $25-million fundraising campaign for University Commons

On Wednesday, the University of New Brunswick formally announced a $25-million fundraising campaign in support of the construction of a new University Commons at the school's Saint John campus. UNB has already raised over $20 million, which comprises pledges from all 3 levels of government, the private sector, and many individuals. As the university's first "green" building, the Commons will be a "library of the future" and house a number of support services, such as the Student Technology Centre and the Writing Centre. UNB News Release | Telegraph-Journal

First Nations chiefs call for more PSE funding amid PSSSP review

With Indian and Northern Affairs Canada under a government-ordered spending review, First Nations communities are concerned about the future of the INAC-run Post-Secondary Student Support Program, whose funding, an internal audit warned last year, was not being properly tracked or fairly handed out. Meanwhile, the Assembly of First Nations is pushing education to be the single top policy priority for federal and provincial funding. AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo points out that $500 million in annual funding, the majority of which should top up the PSSSP, could close the education gap between First Nations and the rest of the population at a time of an impending national labour shortage. Canadian Press

CFS-O calls for greater provincial investment in PSE in Northern Ontario

In a report submitted yesterday to Ontario's PSE Secretariat, the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario call for more dedicated funding to expand access to higher education in northern Ontario. The report makes 9 recommendations, which include establishing a funding formula granting more money, per student, to schools located in northern and remote regions of Ontario; increasing funding to expand graduate studies and the number of upper-year French-language courses; creating a new grant for all Aboriginal students who attend college or university; and increasing funding for Ontario Distance Grants. CFS News Release | Read the report

Proposed Saskatchewan architecture school could be located in downtown Saskatoon

In a talk yesterday on the economic impact a Saskatchewan college of architecture could have, proponents of the school envision the college being built in downtown Saskatoon. One idea, which would require city hall support, is locating the architecture school in a renovated city-owned John Deere building in the warehouse district. Last summer, a feasibility task force reported that the school would fit well in either Saskatoon or Regina. An undergraduate architecture program at the University of Saskatchewan would likely concentrate on Aboriginal architecture. Since the summer, there have been discussions of working with SIAST and a possible program focused on construction management at the University of Regina. Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

Record number of registered apprentices in 2007, StatsCan reports

According to Statistics Canada figures released yesterday, the number of registered apprentices in the country reached a record high of 358,555 in 2007, more than twice the number 12 years earlier. In 2007, the building construction trades were the largest trade group, with 80,205, or 22%, of the registered apprentices. Completions in apprenticeship training reached 24,495 in 2007, up from 19,725 in 1991. The metal fabricating and motor vehicle and heavy equipment trade groups have consistently had the largest proportion of completions since 1991, and each accounted for nearly 22% of the total number of completions in 2007. Between 1991 and 2007, more than 530,000 certificates were granted to apprenticeship completers and trades qualifiers, with 58% awarded to the former. Statistics Canada

Quebec doing little to encourage foreign students to stay post-graduation

Quebec Premier Jean Charest and university officials can travel the world to recruit international students, but they are doing far too little to encourage them to make their careers in the province, argues Henry Aubin in a column in yesterday's Montreal Gazette. While there's no complete lack of action to encourage foreigners to stay, writes Aubin, proposals outlined in a 2005 Montreal Board of Trade report, which noted that "no real concerted strategy has been developed" regarding the retention of international students post-graduation, remain ignored. Aubin suggests the province award scholarships to outstanding students provided they agree to remain in Quebec for several years following graduation. The best way to improve the quality -- and global reputation -- of Quebec's universities, Aubin argues, is to increase tuition fees and student financial aid, as pressed by former premier Lucien Bouchard and others this week. Montreal Gazette

uToronto runs photo, video contest for campus publication

On Monday, the University of Toronto will launch its annual Bulletin-eBulletin photo contest. The winners from 5 categories will have their photos displayed in both the Bulletin and eBulletin, and a grand-prize winner will have the opportunity for a full-page montage of photos in the Bulletin. The 5 winners will be invited to take part in A Day in the Life of U of T, a project documenting daily activities on the school's 3 campuses. New this year is a video category, in which participants are asked to produce short videos about their experience at uToronto. The winning video will be posted on the university's YouTube channel and appear in the eBulletin. uToronto News