Top Ten

October 8, 2010

Ontario minister defends lobbying on behalf of Algonquin College

Last Thursday, the Ontario NDP released documents showing that provincial Infrastructure Minister Bob Chiarelli lobbied the government on behalf of Algonquin College before he won his seat in a by-election in March. According to the documents, Chiarelli ended his 3-year relationship with Algonquin in late January, one week before he was acclaimed as the Liberal candidate in an Ottawa riding. Chiarelli defends his involvement with the college, stating that 95% of the work he did for Algonquin involved no communication with the Ontario government. Earlier last week, the NDP identified 9 provincial colleges and universities that retained lobbyists. Ontario NDP News Release | Globe and Mail | Ottawa Citizen

For-profit PSE partnership proposal debated at Carleton

Carleton University has struck a 23-member working group to consider a proposal from Navitas, an Australian-based for-profit education company, to establish a college for foreign students on campus. The partnership could be one cost-effective way for Carleton to attract more international students, but opponents worry the plan will mean job losses and further privatization on campus. The president of CUPE 2424, whose members at Carleton have approved a strike mandate, says the proposal could represent "a loss of quite a few jobs to a company that boasts not being union." Navitas has established programs at SFU -- where foreign-student enrolment has nearly doubled in the last 4 years -- and at uManitoba, whose administration was criticized for negotiating the deal without informing the campus community. Ottawa Citizen

Enrolment rises at Quebec universities

According to figures from the Conference of Rectors and Principals of Quebec Universities, total enrolment at provincial universities is up 3.7% this year, following a growth of 3.8% in 2009. The number of students who have enrolled at the undergraduate level for the first time has risen by 5%. Women are accounting for 58.5% of enrolment at the undergraduate level, 56.7% at the master's level, and 48.4% at the PhD level. International-student enrolment at Quebec universities is up 5.4% from fall 2009. CREPUQ News Release (in French)

Douglas College hits record enrolment

BC-based Douglas College reports that enrolment at the institution has hit an all-time high. This fall, over 10,000 students are registered at the college's campuses in New Westminster and Coquitlam, an increase of 5% over last year. This is the first time enrolment at Douglas College has surpassed the 10,000 mark. The previous enrolment record was set in the fall of 2002, with 9,825 students enrolled. Douglas College News Release

uRegina releases draft master plan

Last Thursday, the University of Regina unveiled to the public the draft of its master plan, which includes many additions to the main campus, such as enhanced entrances with new gateway parks, streetscaping, and wayfinding signage. Other projects proposed include a north campus ceremonial green, a plaza for the athletic precinct, and 4 residential buildings that link Campion College, Luther College, and the First Nations University of Canada with the main campus. uRegina's vice-president of external affairs says sustainability measures, more places to walk, and better public transit access were the major points that arose from the master plan consultation. Regina Leader-Post

UoGuelph opens Pathobiology and Animal Health Laboratory

Last Thursday marked the opening of the University of Guelph's $62-million Pathobiology and Animal Health Laboratory, which will house about 250 researchers, technicians, and educators dedicated to understanding animal illnesses that impact human health. The 126,000-square-foot, 4-storey facility features a 120-seat lecture theatre, flexible lab space, seminar rooms, teaching labs, and office space. UoGuelph president Alastair Summerlee says the structure places Guelph at the forefront of improving the health of animals, humans, and the environment. UoGuelph News Release | Guelph Mercury

Winnipeg mayor promises $2 million for uWinnipeg rec centre

Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz says the city will pledge $2 million toward a soccer facility at the University of Winnipeg if he is re-elected later this month. The university is designing a new $20-million recreation centre that will include an indoor soccer field, a sport-training facility, and possibly a parkade. Winnipeg will devote $2 million toward the project in the 2011 capital budget, Katz promises. Winnipeg Free Press

More students in Calgary, Victoria using campus food banks

To cope with rising tuition, fewer summer jobs, and less financing, more university students in Calgary are turning to campus food banks. In August, the University of Calgary's food bank handed out 253 hampers to needy students -- an increase of 140 over the previous academic year. One food bank employee say this is the first year the food bank has had empty shelves. As a result of more students seeking handouts, food bank co-ordinators at Mount Royal University say they are low on basic staples such as canned meats and vegetables. In Victoria, representatives of Camosun College's student society say the campus food bank stock is being cleared out weekly. Calgary Herald | Victoria Times-Colonist | C-FAX 1010

Youth employment in Canada declines

The employment rate for 15- to 24-year-olds in September was 54.5%, down from 55.4% in August, according to new data from Statistics Canada. Last month, employment among 15- to 24-year-olds dropped by 42,000, with the decline concentrated in Ontario. Losses in recent months have erased gains from the beginning of the year, bringing youth employment back to levels of a year ago. Youth in Newfoundland and Labrador made the most gains in September with a 5.8 percentage point increase in the employment rate in this age group, and Manitoba recorded the highest youth employment rate, which sits at 62%. Statistics Canada | Labour Force Survey

British survey reveals international students' priorities in deciding study destinations

According to the latest edition of the British Council's Student Decision Making Survey, which includes information collected from over 115,000 students in 200 countries over the last 3-and-a-half years, prospective students seeking to study in Australia or Canada, for example, are more inclined to see opportunity to work while studying as a key consideration. Overall, the cost of studying overseas does not factor strongly when students are choosing a study destination. Fewer than 2% of respondents choose "obtaining visa" as a top priority, but the visa process becomes more of a concern between 12 to 18 months before the start of courses. Academica Group, in partnership with the Canada India Education Council and Maple Leaf EduConnect, is launching a major study of prospective international students in India this fall. Contact Bruce Thompson to find out how you can get involved. Times Higher Education