Top Ten

November 17, 2010

Dal asks NS government for pension relief

Dalhousie University is asking the Nova Scotia government to give it more time to restore its underfunded pension plan. Without solvency relief, Dal says it would have to make a $12-million solvency repayment in 2011. "Given the current climate, that would be challenging to make up in terms of revenues," says the university's assistant vice-president. The most recent valuation put Dal's "solvency deficit" at $129 million, which the institution must repay according to provincial law. Dal is asking for a one-year solvency repayment holiday and 9 years to make it up. The university has argued that since it is not going to cease operations immediately, it should not be subject to the solvency test. Last spring, the province turned down Dal's request to be exempted from the solvency test. CBC

Saskatoon grants uSask warehouse to house proposed architecture school

The City of Saskatoon has donated the John Deere building, a 100-year-old downtown warehouse, to the University of Saskatchewan to serve as the home of the proposed school of architecture, a program currently under consideration by the Saskatchewan government and in the midst of uSask's own approval process. If the program is approved, the university is aiming to have an architecture school running by 2013. Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

Australian institution expanding programs, facilities in Burlington

Australia's Charles Sturt University (CSU), a non-profit, public university with a campus in Burlington, Ontario, is expanding its Burlington offerings to create 3 new undergraduate business degrees and another in forensic biotechnology. The institution is also waiting on approval for a new nursing degree and looking into other fields. CSU's growing curriculum means the school needs more space. The institution is now completing a $1.5-million, 11,000-square-foot expansion of its existing space, which will bring its capacity to 500 students. With CSU projecting up to 3,000 students within the next 5 years, the school is already looking at its next expansion, possibly to a free-standing, purpose-built facility. Hamilton Spectator

CFS releases vision for higher education in NL

Yesterday the Newfoundland and Labrador chapter of the Canadian Federation of Students launched its province-wide "Fund the Future" campaign and policy document. The policy document recommends the provincial government progressively reduce tuition fees with the goal of ultimately abolishing them for domestic and international students at all public PSE institutions in NL. Other recommendations include expanding the current needs-based grants program, removing "tools" and "equipment" from "books" in the needs assessment formula and increasing the total allotment, eliminating the pre and during study contributions from the needs assessment formula, increasing core funding for Memorial University and College of the North Atlantic, and increasing core funding for university-based research and development. Read the report

Carleton student association decertifies pro-life club

The Carleton University Students' Association (CUSA) has notified Carleton Lifeline, a pro-life student group, that the organization will not be given club status or funding unless it revises its club constitution. In an e-mail to Carleton Lifeline, CUSA states the group's club constitution is in violation of the association's anti-discrimination policy, and if the group submits a constitution that meets CUSA's criteria by today, the club will be recertified for this semester. Carleton Lifeline's president assumes CUSA's action is related to an incident involving the club last month in which the president and 4 other students were arrested on campus for attempting to display graphic posters. Carleton Lifeline News Release | National Post

Graduates give Alberta PSE system top marks in survey

According to the Alberta government's latest Graduate Outcomes Survey, 9 out of 10 PSE graduates from the 2007-08 academic year are satisfied with the overall quality of their education experience. 94% of respondents said they would recommend the institution they attended, and 88% would recommend the program they completed. Most graduates surveyed felt their school offered them an opportunity to improve themselves, and most also said it provided them with a desire to continue learning. 87% believed the financial investment in their studies was worth it for the benefits gained. Alberta News Release | Read the survey report

Selkirk College unveils plans for Studio 80 renovation

BC's Selkirk College has revealed the new design for its Nelson campus performance space. The new Studio 80, now undergoing an upgrade in conjunction with the attached student residence, will feature an extra 24 seats, better soundproofing, and a "warm, vibrant" red colour scheme. The upgrade will see the stage set back slightly, with a green room, dressing rooms, and storage space taking the place of the old backstage area. While the old Studio 80 was named for the year in which it was built, the naming rights for the new space will be sold to finance the renovation. Nelson Star

Saskatchewan offers fast-track residency to international graduate students

The Saskatchewan government announced Tuesday a change to the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) student category for master's and PhD graduates applying for permanent residence in the province. The change allows master's and doctoral graduates to apply for permanent residence immediately upon completion of their studies, while giving them time to transition into a career related to their discipline. Saskatchewan News Release

Ontario teens who gamble at greater risk for substance abuse, suicide attempts

A new study from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health shows that 29,000 Ontario students in Grades 7 to 12 reported behaviours indicating they are gambling problematically. The report also found that over two-thirds of these students reported problems with substance use and/or alcohol use, and a quarter reported a suicide attempt in the past year. Delinquent behaviours were also common in problem gambling students, including theft and selling drugs. This group was 11 times more likely to report involvement in gang fights and carry a handgun, and were 20 times more likely to report selling drugs other than cannabis. The most commonly reported gambling activities among students were betting on card games and buying lottery tickets, while the least common were Internet gambling and gambling in casinos. CAMH News Release | Canadian Press

Online enrolments in US up 21%

According to a new report from the Sloan Consortium, online college enrolments in the US grew by 21% to 5.6 million last fall, the biggest percentage increase in several years. At the same time, the report's authors say online enrolment growth might begin to slow down in the near future, as the biggest drivers of growth face budget challenges and stricter recruitment oversight from the US government. Almost one million more students took a course online in fall 2009 than in the previous year, the biggest numerical increase in the 8-year history of the report, and the largest proportion increase (21.1%) since 2005. Since 2002, online enrolments have grown at more than 9 times the rate of general enrolment. Nearly a third of college students in the US take at least one online course. Inside Higher Ed