Top Ten

June 1, 2010

43 layoffs at uAlberta

To date, the number of University of Alberta staff who have received involuntary layoff notices, and were unable to be redeployed to other existing positions within the institution, is 43. uAlberta's provost says there will be more layoffs, but the total number of affected employees is expected to remain relatively low. Between 50 and 75 people are expected to lose their jobs. The provost says a great deal of work has been done to minimize job losses at the university. Among the programs aimed at reducing job cuts is a voluntary retirement incentive program. 181 uAlberta employees have opted to take early retirement under the program. uAlberta ExpressNews

uToronto dorm residents challenge "eviction" over G20 summit concerns

A student living in the University of Toronto's Woodsworth College Residence has spearheaded a letter-writing campaign to the university's vice-provost of students, challenging uToronto's decision to "evict" residents due to safety concerns for the upcoming G20 summit, during which time uToronto will be closed. The student believes the university is in breach of the occupancy agreement it has signed with the residents, and is not providing them with sufficient compensation for the move. The letter writer questions the relocation of residents to a dormitory located between Queen's Park and the Toronto Convention Centre, given that Queen's Park is the designated protestor zone and the convention centre is likely to be the focus of the protest. Toronto Star

NB community college network now autonomous

On Monday, New Brunswick's community college system officially became 2 autonomous institutions after final legal details were worked out this past weekend. Now operating independently from the provincial government, the New Brunswick Community College and the Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick networks will each be led by a president and governed by a board of governors. NB's minister of PSE says there are several advantages to college autonomy, such as having easier access to federal government and private-sector funding, and the ability to work more closely with industry to develop more applied and technical programs that will prepare students for in-demand jobs. NB News Release | Times & Transcript

uCalgary, TRU sign law school agreement

On Monday, leaders of the University of Calgary's law school and Thompson Rivers University signed a partnering agreement to establish Canada's first new law school in over 30 years. The licensing agreement will provide TRU with an existing common-law curriculum that will enable the law school to begin teaching its first class of about 60 students in fall 2011. TRU's law school will adapt uCalgary's curriculum, making some changes to account for differences in provincial legislation existing on either side of the Rocky Mountains. Upon completion of the program, graduates will earn a TRU Juris Doctor (JD) degree that recognizes the collaboration with uCalgary. uCalgary News

Durham College board approves "ambitious" business plan

Durham College's board of governors recently passed the school's 2010-11 business plan, which college president Don Lovisa calls "a very ambitious project." The plan includes 10 core areas of focus for business operation in the next year, and will be tracked and reviewed to make sure goals are achieved and remedial action is taken if necessary. Part of the plan entails implementing a 5-year strategic enrolment management plan. Other goals include launching a fundraising campaign late this year to reach a $3-million goal by March, introducing new signs to raise the college's profile, developing an internal branding plan for the school's spaces, and enhancing its athletic leadership profile. Durham Region News

NSCC president retires

Nova Scotia Community College's board of directors announced Monday the retirement of NSCC president Dr. Joan McArthur-Blair and the appointment of Don Bureaux as acting president of the college, with both developments effective immediately. After leading NSCC for the past 5 years, McArthur-Blair has decided to retire for personal reasons. Acting president Bureaux has been a member of the NSCC executive team for the past 2 years, most recently as vice-president, academic. A search for a new president has already begun, and the process is expected to take the better part of a year. NSCC News Release

Outgoing uMontréal rector reflects on role of universities

In an interview with the Montreal Gazette, departing Université de Montréal rector Luc Vinet says Quebec and the rest of Canada have a lot of catching up to do with the US when it comes to masters and doctorate holders -- an important measure for the new knowledge economy. "We need to be in the elite group," Vinet says, and part of the answer lies in better funding and more research space for graduate students. An advocate of "knowledge diplomacy," Vinet suggests governments make it easier for universities to address the world's biggest problems. "Universities have a responsibility to attack those problems, in educating our students and making them citizens of the world, but also in advancing solutions." Montreal Gazette

Vale supports Aboriginal student outreach at Cambrian

Mining company Vale has contributed $500,000 to Cambrian College to fund outreach, recruitment, and educational initiatives aimed at supporting Aboriginal students in their exploration of and transition into post-secondary programs. Vale recently made a $2-million donation to fund a mobile trades training trailer, developed by Cambrian as a way to bring classroom education to those who find it difficult to come to classrooms in Sudbury. The trailer was recently deployed in Kirkland Lake, where it was used to train apprentices from the Matachewan Aboriginal Access to Training for Mining Jobs Strategy. Cambrian News Release

MUN microsite features video stories from DELT students

Memorial University's Distance Education and Learning Technologies department has launched an online portal with video testimonials from a selection of its students. In their respective videos, the 8 profiled students, all of whom reside in Newfoundland and Labrador, explain why distance education works for them. The videos are complemented by paragraphs in which the profiled students describe how they have benefited from distance education. MUN News Release | The Course of Choice

Today's college students less empathetic than previous generations

New research from the University of Michigan observes that college students today are not as empathetic as their counterparts of 20 or 30 years ago. The study found that compared to college students of the late 1970s, students today are less likely to agree with such statements as "I often have tender, concerned feelings for people less fortunate than me" and "I sometimes try to understand my friends better by imagining how things look from their perspective." Researchers suggest there may be several reasons for a decline in empathy among young adults, such as the recent rise of social media, a hypercompetitive atmosphere, and inflated expectations of success. University of Michigan News Release