Top Ten

March 26, 2010

$166 million for Canada Research Chairs

On Friday, the federal government announced an investment of $165.5 million in 187 newly awarded or renewed Canada Research Chairs at 44 universities across the country. The funding also includes an $8.8-million investment from the Canada Foundation for Innovation for research infrastructure. Industry Canada News Release

Mixed reaction to PSE investment in Ontario budget

While Colleges Ontario and the Council of Ontario Universities are praising the provincial government for its commitments to higher education in the 2010 budget, faculty and students groups have mixed reactions. On the province's pledge to add 20,000 new college and university spaces, the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations states there is no mention of hiring additional professors needed to teach these new students. Although student groups welcome measures to increase spots for students and create a credit transfer system, they say the budget fails to address tuition fees and financial assistance. Colleges Ontario News Release | COU News Release | OCUFA News Release | CFS News Release | OUSA News Release | CSA News Release

uRegina profs criticized over Project Hero opposition

Veterans and politicians say they are dismayed that a group of University of Regina professors has asked that the institution withdraw from its participation in Project Hero, a scholarship program for children of fallen Canadian Forces personnel, arguing that the program glorifies military action. The Royal Canadian Legion disagrees, stating the issue is not about Afghanistan, but about properly caring for soldiers and the families of those who don't return from combat. Some Saskatchewan-based MPs are demanding the professors issue a public apology to Canadian military families. uRegina says it will keep the scholarship. Canadian Press | Regina Leader-Post | CBC

uManitoba to propose tuition hikes for professional programs

At a town hall meeting last Thursday, University of Manitoba president David Barnard said the institution will propose massive tuition hikes for its professional schools to the province next month. Medicine is looking to double its fees over 4 years, management is seeking 55%, and dentistry wants 40%. While he promised to consult students on the proposed professional fee increases, Barnard said uManitoba will not guarantee holding a student referendum on the matter, as has been done previously. Barnard also stated that the university has implemented a hiring freeze, asked every faculty and department to cut 5% of its budget, and learned that a market rebound means the school needs $5 million less than expected to put in its pension fund. Winnipeg Free Press

uWinnipeg freezes senior administration salaries

The University of Winnipeg announced Friday that its senior administrators -- the president, vice-presidents, associate VPs and equivalents, and deans -- will take a pay freeze in 2010-11 in an effort to balance the operating budget. These measures are in response to the Manitoba government's latest budget, whose PSE measures are not enough to meet all of the institution's budget needs for the coming year, says uWinnipeg president Lloyd Axworthy. Nearby uManitoba recently approved a salary freeze for members of the executive group and senior administrative academic group. uWinnipeg News Release

uAlberta to discontinue funding for health ethics centre

At the end of June, the John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre will lose its funding from the University of Alberta's Health Sciences Council, which represents 8 different faculties. The council, which gives the centre $56,000 a year, estimates operating costs run at 3 times that much once space and in-kind funding are factored in. The council has no intention to close the ethics centre, but to find a new host faculty. The centre's supporters are going to various faculties at uAlberta to see if any of them will adopt the centre and provide replacement funding. Edmonton Journal

uWindsor launches mentorship program to reduce first-year attrition

This fall, the University of Windsor will introduce a mentorship program in which senior students will be partnered up with first-year students in an effort to reduce the number of first-year students who do not return after their initial year. While the drop-out rate at uWindsor is not as high as it was a generation ago, the university is worried about the reasons students are leaving, such as lack of interest, financial considerations, language concerns, and difficulty balancing school with work. uWindsor's vice-provost of students and registrar says the students who drop out tend to be college transfers, foreign students, and part-time students, including adult learners. "We know that most students who are coming out of Ontario high schools will be successful if they want to be. It's some of the other populations that are increasingly concerning us." CBC

Laurentian continues push for architecture school

Laurentian University president Dominic Giroux is "cautiously optimistic" that the university will able to launch its proposed architecture school in September 2011 as planned at a temporary site in downtown Sudbury. The goal is to have a permanent site ready in 2013-14. The business case for the school calls for $35 million for the permanent location and $9 million for startup costs and the temporary site. The City of Sudbury, as well as other funding agencies and private-sector partners, have come forward with funding. Laurentian needs to raise about another $21 million for the project. Sudbury Star

RDC bookstore campaign wins award

Red Deer College's bookstore has received the US-based National Association of Campus Stores Foundation 2010 Innovation Achievement Award for its innovative method of promoting environmental responsibility while raising funds for its scholarship program. Under "The Scholarship's in the Bag" initiative, customized reusable bags were sold in the bookstore and library to replace traditional plastic bags, and 50 cents from each bag sale is contributed to the RDC Bookstore Scholarship Fund. Since the program's launch in 2009, the bookstore has raised $1,450, doubling the number of book scholarships previously offered. The $5,000 award from the NACS Foundation has been put towards the scholarship fund. RDC News Release | NACS News Release

UVic concludes feral rabbit pilot project

The University of Victoria announced last week that it has concluded its pilot project designed to reduce the feral rabbit population on campus. The contracted wildlife damage control company did not reach UVic's goal of capturing, sterilizing, and relocating 150 rabbits. The company had captured 51 rabbits, but could not relocate them to several area sanctuaries as originally planned. The company was permitted to release 40 of the sterilized rabbits back on campus. The university will continue to work with BC's environment ministry and the BCSPCA on a long-term plan to reduce the on-campus feral rabbit population. UVic News Release