Top Ten

March 24, 2010

PSE high priority in Saskatchewan budget

According to its 2010-11 budget, the Saskatchewan government will provide $556 million in operational funds to the province's post-secondary institutions, an overall increase of 5% over last year. The budget allocates $97.7 million in support for students through student loans, grants, bursaries, the Provincial Training Allowance, and the Graduate Retention Program. The province will introduce several enhancements in student financial assistance, such as allowing full-time students to earn as much as they choose during their study period without affecting their student loan eligibility. An additional $16.3 million in core funding will be provided to universities, limiting the average tuition increase to about 5%. Other initiatives listed in the budget include $7.9 million in additional training seat expansions for doctors and registered nurses, $1 million in new operational funds for the University of Saskatchewan-based Canadian Light Source, and increased measures to promote international education in Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan News Release

Saskatchewan to reinstate funding for FNUC

The Saskatchewan government will restore funding to the First Nations University of Canada after a working group reached an agreement Tuesday on the process for the reorganization and future operation of FNUC over the next 4 years. With FNUC already a federated college of the University of Regina, the agreement expands the relationship so that uRegina will also provide oversight and management for FNUC’s administrative and financial affairs. Under the agreement, provincial funds would flow to a national accounting firm in year one, and in the following years to uRegina. Saskatchewan News Release | uRegina News Release | Globe and Mail | Regina Leader-Post | CBC

Coulter's uOttawa talk cancelled over security concerns

Organizers of right-wing US pundit Ann Coulter's speech at the University of Ottawa, scheduled to take place Tuesday evening, cancelled the event due to security concerns after hundreds of students gathered at the entrance of Marion Hall to protest the lecture. In an interview with the Ottawa Citizen about the cancellation, Coulter said "this has never, ever, ever happened before -- even at the stupidest American university." Canadian conservative political commentator Ezra Levant blames the uproar on the uOttawa VP who wrote to Coulter asking that she exercise restraint in her talk at the university. In a letter to the VP, the Canadian Association of University Teachers says it feels he owes an apology to Coulter. uOttawa states it has always promot ed and defended freedom of expression, and did not at any time oppose Coulter's appearance. Join the conversation among subscribers to Academica's Top Ten and weigh in on the issue. uOttawa News Release | Ottawa Citizen | Associated Press | Read the letter from CAUT

uRegina professors oppose university's Project Hero participation

16 University of Regina professors have written to the school's president outlining their concerns over the university joining Project Hero, a free scholarship program for children of fallen Canadian Forces personnel. They state the program glorifies military action, and they don't want their university to take part in it. One political science professor says the program's name celebrates military intervention abroad. "We think this is a glorification of the Afghan effort." As an alternative to Project Hero, the professors say there should be universal access to PSE. CBC

Division over rumoured name for Nipissing/Canadore Learning Library

Although Nipissing University and Canadore College have not made an announcement regarding the name for its $25-million shared Learning Library, there is a rumour that the facility will be named after former Ontario premier Mike Harris, resulting in divided opinion among students and the community. Students have created Facebook groups on the rumoured naming, one for and one against. The Nipissing student who launched the group opposing the library being named after Harris believes the move would damage the university's reputation and hinder recruitment efforts. The group supporting the naming makes note of Harris' connection to North Bay and his commitments to education while premier. The Anishinabek Nation states that a Harris Library would be an insult to First Nations citizens across Ontario, referring to the Ipperwash Crisis. Anishinabek Nation News Release | | 600 CKAT | "Nipissing Students (and Friends) against the Mike Harris Library" Facebook group | "Nipissing Students (and Friends) in Support of the Mike Harris Library" Facebook group

Increases in operating grants not enough, say Manitoba universities

"It still leaves us with a challenge," says University of Manitoba president David Barnard on the province's latest budget, which includes a 4.5% increase in post-secondary operating grants, down from a 6% increase the year before. The increases would give uManitoba about another $17 million, but the institution has said it needs nearly $37 million to maintain the status quo. Barnard has not said how much his university will have to cut to break even. While he would not disclose what the University of Winnipeg needed from the province to avoid cuts, the school's vice-president of finance says it could work with the increases within its budget. The VP says uWinnipeg will have to leave some vacant jobs unfilled, and there will be spending cuts all over campus. Winnipeg Free Press

Ontario should add funding to traditional PSE system before creating online university

CAUT executive director James Turk says the Ontario government should focus on adding funding to its current bricks-and-mortar university system rather than building a virtual university, as proposed in the province's throne speech earlier this month. Perhaps the government sees a online institution as a way to address the need for more university spaces in the GTA, says Turk, adding that it is not a cheaper option. Some educators note that traditional and virtual universities have similar costs, as professors, books, multimedia, and a system to deliver online education are all still needed. Guelph Mercury | Canadian Press

SSHRC distributes $10 million in Major Collaborative Research Initiative grants

On Tuesday, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council named the 4 projects receiving $10 million in Major Collaborative Research Initiatives grants, which support leading-edge, multidisciplinary research projects led by scholars at Canadian institutions. Each initiative will receive close to $2.5 million over 7 years. The applicants receiving the funding are from McGill University, York University, and the University of Ottawa. SSHRC News Release

uCalgary appoints engineering dean as president

Yesterday the University of Calgary's board of governors endorsed Dr. Elizabeth Cannon, the current dean of the institution's Schulich School of Engineering, as the university's next president, effective July 1. A graduate of Acadia University and a uCalgary triple alumna, Cannon will become the first female president of the institution. Cannon succeeds interim president Dr. Warren Veale, who took over after Dr. Harvey Weingarten, the president-elect of HEQCO, stepped down as uCalgary's leader. uCalgary News Release

College-based missed connections, dating sites gaining popularity

College-based imitators of the missed connections site are popping up on campuses across the US, part of a trend that has seen many students' love lives follow their social lives to the Internet. Students are increasingly registering at online dating sites. For example,, which caters to 18- to 25-year-olds, has 500,000 users and targets college students in particular. Another type of matching service, dubbed the "crush finder," allows students to list their crush in order to cross-reference with others' lists, disclosing the names of the secret admirers only where the feeling is mutual. Inside Higher Ed