Top Ten

May 20, 2010

CAUT questions value of CERC program

In a statement on the Canada Excellence Research Chairs, the Canadian Association of University Teachers questions the value of a program that imposes new costs on institutions and diverts resources, fails to address long-standing gender equality concerns, and represents the latest in a series of attempts by the federal government to steer scientific research. CAUT points out that Dalhousie University will need to find $24 million over 7 years to support its appointed chair, more than double the $10 million Ottawa is providing. The association says it is "unconscionable" that no women were appointed to any of the chairs. Many in the research community are concerned about the relatively narrow focus on the environment, natural resources and energy, health sciences, and information and communication technologies. CAUT News

Space crunch at Montreal CÉGEPs

Due to a lack of space, Dawson, John Abbott, and Vanier Colleges estimate the number of refusals they have issued is between 400 and 500 altogether. Montreal CÉGEPs have signalled the problem to Quebec's education minister. The director general of Dawson College suggests one possible solution might be to add classes if colleges are given the money to operate them. The former director general of John Abbott College says the province should have lifted the enrolment cap years ago. CÉGEPs can exceed their caps by up to 10%, but anything beyond that will result in a penalty. Dawson College anticipates having 500 students over its enrolment cap, meaning it will have to return about $200,000 to Quebec. Montreal Island CÉGEPs have seen an overall 8.7% increase in applications for this fall, and nearly double that rate at English colleges. Montreal Gazette

Ontario urged to make Second Career program more accessible

Supporters of the Ontario government's Second Career program, designed to help laid-off workers acquire new skills, are counting on changes to the program to make it easier for applicants to qualify. It's expected the province will announce some minor changes to the program in the next month or so. Advocates say the changes should including removing or reducing financial barriers, increasing the amount of tuition funding, eliminating or reducing the impact of penalties for post-secondary degrees, and increasing the amount students receive for basic living expenses. Windsor Star

Ottawa, Alberta invest in uCalgary brain instititute

The federal and Alberta governments announced Wednesday a $2.3-million joint investment in the Hotchkiss Brain Institute nerve repair and regeneration facility at the University of Calgary's faculty of medicine. The funding will enable research leaders at the institute to access new resources needed to pre-clinically test new nerve regeneration technologies. Performing these tests will play a key role in enhancing the institute's capacity to efficiently translate discoveries to marketable products. WEDC News Release

CIDA invests in COTR's international efforts

Yesterday the federal government announced a $1.23-million contribution from the Canadian International Development Agency to the College of the Rockies for youth internships in Africa and the Americas and vocational training in Africa. Of the total amount, $630,000 will provided over 3 years so that 42 young Canadians can work in private-sector development, sustainable tourism, and health education in Ecuador, Peru, Kenya, and Tanzania. $600,000 will be provided under the framework agreement with the Association of Canadian Community Colleges to provide quality vocational training and skills development for workers in the tourism and mining industries in Tanzania. CIDA News Release

SAIT offers first bachelor degree

The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology has received approval from Alberta's advanced education ministry to offer its first baccalaureate degree, a bachelor of business administration (accounting). The 4-year degree is unique in that it is well-aligned with 3 professional accounting organizations -- the Certified General Accountants of Alberta, the Certified Management Accountants of Alberta, and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta. The degree will allow students to apply for several professional accounting designations or pursue graduate studies. SAIT also has proposals seeking permission to offer a bachelor of science in construction project management and a bachelor of science in internetworking. SAIT News Release | Calgary Herald

Survey reveals post-graduation intentions of Chinese students in Canada

In a new survey of international students from China studying in Canada, 51% of respondents indicate that they would like to stay in Canada after graduation, while 28% plan to return to China and 14% intend to go to another country. The majority of respondents who plan to return to China intend to work, as do those who plan to remain in Canada. Those intending to go to another nation will do so mainly for the purpose of education. The survey, conducted by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, found that Chinese students who have not yet graduated say they are more likely to stay in Canada than those who have graduated. Chinese students who studied or are studying in BC are more likely to stay in Canada and apply for the Canadian Experience Class program than their peers who study in other provinces. Read the survey

Canada's score on CCL lifelong learning index stalls

According to the Canadian Council on Learning's Composite Learning Index, the national average for 2010 is 75, unchanged from last year. Victoria is the top performing city with a score of 95, followed by Saskatoon (90), Calgary (88), Ottawa (87), and Regina (84). The communities with the greatest progress over the last 5 years are St. John's (80) with an average increase of 3.5 points per year and Fredericton (78) with an average increase of 2.9 points per year. The CLI measures youth literacy, PSE participation, high-school dropout rates, job-related training, and Internet access. CLI News Release

Fraud case raises questions about college admissions process

The case of Adam Wheeler, the 23-year-old former Harvard University student accused of forging transcripts and letters of recommendation, as well as duping Harvard out of thousands of dollars in scholarships and research grants, has prompted questions about how he could have slipped through the admissions process. The associate executive director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers says that Harvard could not be wholly blamed because "there is not any institution in this country that can afford to or does verify everything people submit. It's just not a practical possibility." New York Times | Boston Globe | Harvard Crimson

UK governing coalition could affect commitment to end tuition

A pact between the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Parties in Britain to form a governing coalition has sparked fears among the country's main faculty and student unions for its provisions relating to PSE. The terms of the coalition agreement stipulate that the Liberal Democrats can abstain from voting on divisive issues, including a possible change in university financing. Both the National Union of Students and the University and College Union are urging the Liberal Democrats to make good on their commitments to work to introduce a fairer alternative to higher tuition fees. The faculty union says it looks forward to confirmation from the Liberal Democrats that they have convinced their Conservative partners to abolish fees over an agreed timescale. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)