Top Ten

September 28, 2010

NS university presidents, faculty, students critical of O'Neill report

The Association of Nova Scotia University Teachers (ANSUT) says Tim O'Neill's review of the province's university system amounts to "proposals that compromise access and reduce the range of choice," and the report is a "massive step in the wrong direction." ANSUT says proposals for some institutions to merge or cut programs "are hardly likely to attract increased student enrolment." Alexa McDonough, outgoing interim president of Mount Saint Vincent University, rejects the report's claim that the institution is in serious financial trouble, despite MSVU never having operated in the red. MSVU's administration plans to issue a public response to the report to counter what it views as misconceptions about the institution. Student leaders say they will challenge the deregulated tuition plan outlined in the report. ANSUT | CBC | Halifax Chronicle-Herald (MSVU) | Halifax Chronicle-Herald (tuition)

Cost concerns, loan aversion create barriers to PSE, report finds

Concerns about the costs of PSE and loan aversion may be discouraging some from pursuing higher education, according to a new report sponsored by HEQCO. The study shows that students from lower-income families, those with less educated parents, Aboriginal students, and boys are more likely to take cost into account when considering PSE. Given the relatively high degree of loan aversion overall, the report notes, a number of individuals, particularly those who have few alternative funding sources other than educational loans, may find PSE to be unaffordable and thus not enrol. The report suggests that higher levels of targeted grants could encourage students from lower-income backgrounds and those with less educated parents to pursue PSE. Loan aversion could be addressed through a wider range of options for students to fund their education, such as co-op programs. Research summary | Read the full report

First-generation students at no greater risk of leaving PSE than others

A new MESA Project research brief finds that first-generation students are not more vulnerable than others when it comes to leaving PSE without graduating. Though first-generation students may compare slightly unfavourably to non-first generation students with respect to studying and grades, the former are actually less likely to leave PSE in first or second year without graduating, and this finding is consistent for college and university students. One important finding, the brief states, is that parental education does not appear to be a particularly good marker for determining which students are inclined to leave PSE without graduating. Read the research brief

Enrolment rises at uRegina

Preliminary enrolment figures at the University of Regina are up for the second year in a row. Enrolment at uRegina itself is set to increase by about 4% compared to last year, and when combined with overall enrolment, including the institution's 3 federated colleges, it is on track to grow by approximately 2%. This means that enrolment across the entire university will surpass 12,000 for the first time since fall 2006. uRegina president Vianne Timmons attributes the growth in part to a number of student-focused changes at the institution, such as the UR Guarantee. uRegina News Release

Brantford rejects Mohawk College's Expositor building proposal

According to documents obtained by the Brantford Expositor, Brantford city council has rejected behind closed doors a non-negotiable proposal from Mohawk College to move its campus into The Expositor building downtown, deeming the $13.5-million price tag too steep. Due to the rejection, it will be up to the next city council to find an agreement that would keep the college in Brantford because the current one is now lame duck during the fall municipal election. Mohawk may consider leaving the city if it is unable to relocate the campus into the city's core. Brantford Expositor

uOttawa may lose federal funding over construction delays

Months of delays on the University of Ottawa's $112-million Vanier Tower could mean its federal funding will be cut off in the spring. The project received $30 million from the Knowledge Infrastructure Program, which stipulates that costs must be incurred by the end of March 2011. uOttawa broke ground the day after the funding announcement, but almost immediately, workers encountered problems. The delays mean uOttawa will not complete the project by September 2011, as originally planned, and might also mean March's funding deadline will pass before the institution can spend all the federal funding dedicated to the project. A uOttawa official says the institution is optimistic that financial requirements can be met by the deadline. Ottawa Citizen

Trend in Canadian universities providing upscale dorms

Many universities in Canada are providing upscale student residences at premium prices, incorporating more flexible, welcoming spaces with a higher proportion of single rooms. As institutions renovate or consider building new residences to replace aging infrastructure, they are heeding student feedback, opting to cater to their needs and wants. Increasingly, institutions are starting to rely on the private sector to handle residence construction and management. Upscale residences, such as former hotels, don't necessarily generate a profit for a school due to high acquisition and maintenance costs, says McGill's executive director of residence administration, but they do provide an important year-round revenue stream that a school might otherwise lack, while also attracting amenity-loving students. Globe and Mail

StatsCan releases preliminary data on faculty salaries for 2009-10

Yesterday Statistics Canada released a preliminary report on the salaries of full-time teaching staff at 31 Canadian universities for 2009-10. Full professors at the University of Calgary, including medical/dental, earned an average $163,928 in 2010, the highest average salary among full professors at the institutions included in the report. Among the lowest-paid full professors are those at Cape Breton University ($97,947) and Trinity Western University ($79,404). Statistics Canada | Read the report

More campus employers conducting "social recruiting," CACEE report finds

Campus recruiters are reducing traditional branding activities at post-secondary institutions, turning instead to social networks to conduct "social recruiting," according to the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers' 2010 Campus Recruitment and Benchmark Survey Report. 34% of recruiters turned to social networks this year, up from 23% in 2009. Top performing graduates from 2010 reported receiving multiple job offers, leaving employers to turn to second tiers of candidates, or missing their marks altogether. 72.5% of new graduate jobs were filled this year, down from 77% in 2009. The report predicts the Class of 2011 will experience a flat job market, with frozen starting salaries, sluggish hiring rates, and disappearing signing bonuses. CACEE News Release

More minorities, women attending college in the US

Growing numbers of post-secondary students in the US are women or members of minority groups, as shown by government figures published by The Chronicle of Higher Education in this year's Diversity in Academe report. In 2008, minority students accounted for 37% of all undergraduates, up from 22% in 1988. Women now receive the majority of degrees, figures show. In 2007-08, 57% of bachelor degrees, 62% of associate degrees, and 51% of doctorates were awarded to women. Over a 6-year period, starting in 2001, white students graduated at higher rates than did black, Hispanic, or American Indians. Students attending selective institutions graduated at much higher rates than at schools that accepted all applicants. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)