Top Ten

August 19, 2010

FNUC announces 29 layoffs in institutional restructuring

Yesterday the First Nations University of Canada announced a restructuring of the institution aimed at reducing $3 million from its operating budget by the end of the month. The budget reductions will be achieved in part by eliminating 46 positions, including 29 layoffs (10 faculty and 19 administrative staff) announced yesterday. Duplications of administrative services will be reduced, and operations will be centralized at the Regina campus. Expenses relating to staffing changes will be covered through the sale of the Saskatoon campus property. FNUC has received an offer to purchase the building, where the university will remain a tenant for at least one year. About 20% of the student body will be affected by the changes and already have been or will be contacted over the course of the next week. The next phase of FNUC's restructuring includes implementing governance reform, establishing a new board, and recruiting a permanent president. FNUC News Release | Q&A | Watch the announcement

uLaval proposes businesses help finance Quebec university system

Appearing before the Quebec National Assembly's Committee on Culture and Education Wednesday, Université Laval rector Denis Brière, who spoke on behalf of the university and its student organizations, proposed the establishment of a measure in which companies invest a certain amount of their payroll into the Quebec university system -- an action that would eliminate the problem of chronic underfunding. Brière said university funding is a societal choice and should be a responsibility shared by all of those who benefit by the education provided and research conducted, including businesses. uLaval News Release (in French)

uWaterloo releases report on review into football program

On Wednesday, the University of Waterloo released a report based on a review into its suspended football program in relation to the use of banned substances. Among the recommendations are better education on the health effects and ethics of using banned sustances; better, low-cost screening methods in order to deter the use of banned substances; and good processes for addressing suspicions or allegations involving the use of banned substances while also protecting individual rights. Coaching staff have been reinstated to their duties after the review found no fault in their conduct. uWaterloo News Release 1| uWaterloo News Release 2 | Waterloo Region Record | Read the report

NBCC appoints inaugural president

New Brunswick Community College announced yesterday the appointment of Marilyn Luscombe as the inaugural president and CEO of the community college network, which, along with its francophone counterpart, now operates independently from the provincial government. A native of Newfoundland and Labrador, Luscombe is currently president of BC-based Selkirk College, and has served as VP academic at College of the North Atlantic. Luscombe recently completed half of her 6-year elected tenure as board chair of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges. NBCC News Release

SMU breaks ground for Homburg Centre for Health and Wellness

Construction got underway yesterday for Saint Mary's University's $8-million Homburg Centre for Health and Wellness. The facility is named after Homburg Canada CEO Dr. Richard Homburg, who has contributed $5 million to the project. The centre will consist of a 20,250-square-foot addition and 3,340-square-foot renovation to SMU's existing Tower athletic facility. The Homburg Centre will also be the new home of the university's Centre for the Study of Sport and Health. SMU News Release

Record number of students expected at John Abbott College

The number of full-time students expected this year at John Abbott College is at 6,027, over 425 students above capacity. In order to accommodate the record number of students, the CÉGEP has rented space at a high school located next to its campus. "We are doing everything we can to accommodate everyone," says the college's dean of academic systems. Due to an influx of 300 students, Dawson College is renting additional space at an entertainment centre in downtown Montreal. West Island Gazette

Enrolment among Maritimers declines at MUN

A 2007 MPHEC report identified the enrolment of Nova Scotia residents at Memorial University as a significant contributor to the downward pressure on enrolment at NS universities at the time. The report, along with several news reports, linked the tuition freeze at MUN with the 884% increase in the number of Maritimers studying full-time at the university since 1999-2000. While the Maritime migration continued to increase up to 2008, more recent figures from MUN show a decline in Maritime student enrolment as of 2009, particularly among NS students. Adventures in Canadian Post-Secondary Education (Dale Kirby's blog)

Earthquake may be impacting number of Canadian study visas for Haitians

The Toronto Star reports that the earthquake in Haiti in January appears to be affecting students who come to Canada to study. While family means to send their children to Canada have in some instances been wiped out, there are indications the country is issuing fewer study permits or visas. Just 19 permits have been issued since the quake up to the last week of July, compared to 149 in 2009. Because the visa office in Port-au-Prince was destroyed in the quake, Canada has recommended people go through the Dominican Republic to acquire their permits. Aside from all the other requirements, this adds a minimum $500 in costs for the applying student, says a Haitian source familiar with the situation. Toronto Star

Georgia college boosting student retention with faculty smartphone program

As part of a multi-tier effort to improve retention, Georgia Gwinnett College offers its faculty members smartphones and encourages them to respond to any calls or texts from students within 24 hours. So far the program is working, the college says. The retention rate for returning sophomores stands at 75%, double the average rate for noncompetitive-admissions colleges in Georgia, and on par with many public institutions with competitive admissions. In engagement surveys, Georgia Gwinnett students have reported "feeling that faculty care about and are accessible to them." The program has not been a burden on faculty, according to professors interviewed by Inside Higher Ed. Faculty have the autonomy to outline expectations -- and limitations -- to students on a class-by-class basis. Inside Higher Ed

Facebook introduces Places feature for mobile devices

Facebook announced Wednesday a new product called Facebook Places, through which users can share where they are and the friends they're with in real time from their mobile devices. With Places, users have the option to share their location by "checking in" to that place and letting friends know where they are. Users can see if any of their friends have also chosen to check in nearby. Places is only available in the US at the moment, and the company expects to make it available to more countries. Facebook Blog