Top Ten

February 26, 2010

Campuses fear for research budget amid national deficit

As the federal government prepares to battle a record deficit, post-secondary schools face the prospect that new facilities funded by the Knowledge Infrastructure Program will not be matched with new research investments in the upcoming budget. Some say that without serious new funding, Canada could lose ground, especially as the US makes research investment a priority. Academic groups such as CAUT have pressed for new funding for the 3 granting councils, stressing that it is essential to prepare for a new post-downturn economy. ACCC has also called for an increasing share of council funding f or applied research. Academics are still reeling from last year's budget, which outlined a $148-million cut to the granting councils over 3 years. Globe and Mail

Future of Mohawk College's Brantford campus uncertain

While Mohawk College still wants to move its Brantford campus downtown, it may consider leaving the city if that is not possible, says Mohawk Brantford's dean. The Elgin Street campus was recently turned down for federal stimulus funding to move the school into the core. If the college cannot achieve its "No. 1 priority" to relocate the campus, "then in fairness to our students, Mohawk must investigate other opportunities." The dean says the college's inability to reach an agreement with Brantford to purchase the Elgin Street campus as part of the deal to bring the campus downtown also "contributed to us not moving forward." If the school cannot secure relocation funding at once, Mohawk may consider moving its Elgin Street programs to other campus locations. Brantford Expositor

Ontario MPPs denounce Israeli Apartheid Week

Last Thursday, members of Ontario's legislature passed a motion to condemn Israeli Apartheid Week, a campus event kicking off today at post-secondary institutions in 35 cities around the world. The MPP who initiated the resolution wants the event's name changed, noting that "it is close to hate speech" to liken democratic Israel to apartheid-era South Africa. Although he was not present for the vote, Training, Colleges, and Universities Minister John Milloy acknowledges the concern about the event's title. "I think what the goal has to be is to make sure that there's not hatred on campus -- nothing that would make a student feel threatened." Toronto Star

BC overrules UVic's proposed fee for athletics facility

BC's advanced education ministry has overturned the University of Victoria's proposed $55-per-term fee in support of a new $58-million athletics and recreation facility, stating that the fee does not fit within the ministry's tuition limit policy. UVic's graduate student union challenged the fee, which in a fall referendum slightly more than half the student body, but less than a quarter of grad students, approved. The university might now have to re-assess how to fund the athletics facility. Victoria News

UWO ombudsperson calls for improved academic accommodation for students with disabilities

In her 2008-09 annual report, the University of Western Ontario's ombudsperson points to a rising number of complaints from students with disabilities regarding their privacy and dignity being respected by instructors. Students reported that instructors made reference to their disability and need for accommodation in front of classmates, and being told granting their recommended accommodation would be unfair to other students. The ombudsperson states that conversations about a student's need for accommodation should be made in private, and chairs and academic leaders have a responsibility to make sure students are getting their appropriate academic accommodations. Western News | Read the ombudsperson's report

OCUFA study shows importance of public funding for universities

new research report from the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations stresses that continued government investment is needed to ensure provincial universities can steer through challenging economic times. Unlike in the US, the study finds, public funding means endowment funds represent only a small part of Ontario universities' budgets, which has helped insulate the schools from the serious impact of the recession experienced at American universities. The report notes that decisions about PSE funding are primarily political, and are influenced, but not directly affected, by economic conditions. Despite a budget deficit, OCUFA's president says the province must renew its commitment to PSE to prepare students for the knowledge economy, and ensure Ontario remains a research and innovation leader. OCUFA News Release | Read the report

IT dropouts at PEI institutions compounding labour shortage

The drop-out rate among information technology students at the University of Prince Edward Island and Holland College is making it more difficult for local industry to recruit the staff it needs to grow, with some companies being forced to either hire from overseas or turn down contracts. UPEI's computer science department chair and a Holland College instructor both say some students leave because they decide IT is not what they want to do, or they find it too difficult. Both institutions are trying to recruit more students though open houses and Facebook, and making efforts to ensure prospective students are prepared for the program. CBC

uCalgary receives $3-million municipal investment in Nickle Arts Museum

The City of Calgary has approved a $3.2-million contribution towards the completion of the Nickle Arts Museum at its new location in the University of Calgary's Taylor Family Digital Library. The building is slated to open in the spring of 2011. In its new site, the museum will join the Rosza Centre, the Reeve Theatre, and Hotel Alma as a focal point for cultural activities in Calgary's northwest. uCalgary News

Seneca launches co-curricular record

Seneca College is recognizing the extra-curricular involvement of its full-time students with the new Co-Curricular Record (CCR) program, which documents a student's non-academic on-campus activities and accomplishments while studying at the college. The CCR is divided into 4 areas: activity participation, awards, leadership experience, and professional development. Students must apply for their CCR online, and once all activities have been verified, they can request to have the CCR printed. uCalgary also runs a co-curricular record program. Seneca Co-Curricular Record

Ivey develops smartphone app

UWO's Richard Ivey School of Business recently launched a free smartphone application for the iPhone and BlackBerry called "Ivey MBA," which allows students and prospective applicants to receive instant updates from the school's social media channels. The app will push news feeds from Ivey, as well as Twitter feeds and blogs posted by both the admissions team and current MBA students. With the app, users can view and register for upcoming events, and access the Ivey MBA Recruitment & Admissions YouTube channel. Ivey News Release