Top Ten

October 12, 2010

MSVU faculty respond to O'Neill report

In reaction to Tim O'Neill's review of Nova Scotia's university system, the Mount Saint Vincent University Faculty Association (MSVUFA) firmly opposes a merger with another university now or in the foreseeable future. The merger recommendation stems from a prediction that MSVU would be at risk for low enrolments, and, subsequently, of financial difficulty. The MSVUFA takes issue with these premises, as the institution has a balanced budget and enjoys a surplus, and enrolments have grown significantly this fall. The faculty association also refutes the report's argument that MSVU relies heavily on part-time enrolments, or that there would be little opportunity to attract part-time students in the province if the traditional full-time high school cohort were to contract. Read the response

NL releases review into salary errors at CNA's Qatar campus

Yesterday the Newfoundland and Labrador government released a report on over-billings College of the North Atlantic made to the State of Qatar. The review found that CNA paid employees in accordance with signed contracts; however, some salary offers were higher than allowed under the comprehensive agreement with the State of Qatar, resulting in an over-billing of $5.5 million. According to the report, CNA made errors in the interpretation and application of the comprehensive agreement. The report found no evidence of deliberate misstatement of the amounts reviewed. The report includes recommendations to correct the weaknesses identified within CNA in relation to operations at the Qatar campus. The province also released the college's response to those recommendations. NL News Release

uWindsor support staff set strike deadline

In a vote over the weekend, members from 4 groups of support staff at the University of Windsor voted 96% in favour of setting a strike deadline of October 21. Outstanding issues include pensions, job security, wages, and benefits. Both the union and uWindsor have pledged to negotiate this week to try to come up with an agreement. Should there be a strike, all frontline services will be impacted, such as services to students and campus security. CAW News | Windsor Star | CBC

SIAST support staff approve strike mandate

Professional services staff at the Saskatchewan Institute for Applied Science and Technology have given their negotiating committee a strike mandate, voting 78% in favour of strike action. The committee's chair says the approximately 720 employees deserve a fair wage increase, adding that support staff at the Universities of Regina and Saskatchewan have received substantially higher wage increases than what those at SIAST are being offered. Bargaining is set to resume today. SGEU News Release | Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

Academica profiled in University Affairs

In an interview with University Affairs, Academica Group's Rod Skinkle and Ken Steele discuss findings from the most recent University/College Applicant Study. When asked what motivated them to go to university, 99% of respondents cited either "career preparation" or "career advancement." The biggest change in the last 20 years, Rod notes, is the heterogeneity of university applicants, with there being more non-traditional students, more students of various immigration backgrounds and ethnicity. The top factors when choosing a university are overall institutional reputation and quality of faculty, specifically teaching abilities. Academica's research shows that new Canadians are much more likely to say they want to commute to university and live with their parents. Over the next decade, Ken sees a reinvention of the lecture, potentially less interest in traditional humanities programs, and continued, and likely increased, labour unrest on campuses as universities undergo significant changes. University Affairs

Manitoba Law Society to offer loan forgiveness to students from remote communities

The University of Manitoba's law faculty and the Law Society of Manitoba have launched a program that will see students from remote Manitoba communities receive free legal education. Under the Law Society's "Forgivable Loans Program," if the admitted students return to their home communities after graduation, 20% of their tuition and living costs while attending school will be reimbursed annually for 5 years. It is hoped that after 5 years, the lawyer will be well established in the community and will likely live there. The law faculty anticipates that 2 students a year will benefit from the program, which hopes to welcome its first students next September. Law Society of Manitoba News | uManitoba News Release

uAlberta looking to break down degree programs with certificate system

The University of Alberta is working with the provincial government in creating a new kind of certificate that would make earning a degree more manageable for students. Likely to be the first in Canada, the proposed certificate system would break down current uAlberta degree programs into smaller parts for students unable to commit the time and resources needed for a multi-year program. The certificates would serve as building blocks toward a degree. The initiative is part of the university's effort to fight Alberta's low PSE participation rate and to attract more high school students into university and keep them there. Edmonton Journal

UBC opens Simon K.Y. Lee HKU-UBC House

At its Vancouver campus last Friday, the University of British Columbia celebrated the opening of the Simon K.Y. Lee HKU-UBC House, which was made possible by a $4-million donation to establish an international student residence providing students from Hong Kong, particularly those from the University of Hong Kong (HKU), with the opportunity to study at UBC. The House incorporates 100 residence spaces in the Marine Drive residences, and includes the Simon K.Y. Lee Global Lounge and Resource Centre and the Simon K.Y. Lee Hong Kong Ballroom. UBC News Release

Centennial College launches office in Istanbul

Last Thursday, Centennial College opened its Istanbul International Education Resource Centre in Turkey's largest city. The centre aims to promote the institution among Turkish students, providing services such as counselling and assistance in application procedures. Centennial currently has academic co-operation agreements with several universities in Turkey. Hurriyet Daily News

UQAM science faculty launches promotional campaign

Having faced a decline in undergraduate enrolment in recent years, the science faculty at the Université du Québec à Montréal is running a promotional campaign aimed at strengthening its visibility and relevance of its programs. The campaign focuses on 4 typical profiles that reach the motivations of students in sciences -- the "visionary," the "adventurer," the "creative," and the "entrepreneur." These profiles are personified by 4 students in the faculty, who express what motivates and inspires them. In video clips, the students praise the faculty's strengths, highlighting the quality of training offered, the competency of faculty and staff, and the modern equipment in laboratories. The campaign is being deployed in bus shelters around Montreal-area CÉGEPs and in certain specialized media. UQAM News (in French)