Top Ten

November 25, 2010

uWindsor warned of $70-million faculty pension shortfall

While the University of Windsor says it can balance its budgets through 2012, the institution's number crunchers are forecasting a $70-million shortfall in faculty pension funds, which could see a return to deficits. uWindsor's chief planning officer calls faculty pensions "a significant issue" that could see the costs increasing from 6.5% of operating budgets to upwards of 10% by 2013. President Alan Wildeman predicts pensions will be an issue when administration sits down for contract talks with the faculty association. Wildeman says management may have to consider such measures as proposing different pension plans for newly hired employees and that any changes to the plan will be a bargaining issue. Windsor Star

Ryerson profs threaten to walk out over students' unruly behaviour

Ryerson University's student paper reports that in an announcement posted on Blackboard last month, a pair of first-year engineering instructors announced 2 measures to address the "constant disruptions" in general chemistry lectures. One of them is a 3-strike policy -- after 3 warnings the professor would walk out and it would be up to students to learn the rest of the material on their own. The other is to make exam questions harder since "the class appeared to know the material well enough so as not to listen during lecture." Ryerson president Sheldon Levy says professors should ask the university for support before walking out. "Walking out doesn't sound to me like it would be in our policy," he says. The Eyeopener (student newspaper) | Maclean's OnCampus

Space crunch at English CÉGEPs tapering off

The enrolment crisis that affected English CÉGEPs last spring does not seem to be repeating itself for the winter term. West Island CÉGEPs are reporting more normal figures, both in terms of applicants and the number of students admitted. In the spring, Montreal-area CÉGEPs were turning hundreds of applicants away due to a surge in applications. To ease the space crunch, the Quebec government allocated $1 million to allow the 3 Montreal Island English CÉGEPs to accommodate more students for this fall. The colleges say their numbers are pretty average for January. Montreal Gazette

Saskatchewan makes amendments to University of Regina Act

The Saskatchewan government has introduced amendments to the University of Regina Act to allow the institution to improve its governance processes and become more efficient. Amendments to the act include repealing the visitor section and enabling uRegina to adopt new processes for election of the chancellor and senate representatives. uRegina initiated the request for the updates to the legislation, and the amendments were met with general support from stakeholders during the consultation process. Saskatchewan News Release

Centennial joins Scholars at Risk Network

Centennial College has joined the international Scholars at Risk Network, which provides a safe haven and support to academics and graduate students who have fled conditions of political oppression in their native country. Centennial is the first and only Canadian college in a worldwide network of over 200 universities and colleges that offer a supportive environment where scholars can continue their research, develop skills, and explore teaching opportunities. Centennial is one of 5 PSE institutions in Canada taking part in the global project, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. Centennial News Release

STMU appoints new president

On Wednesday, St. Mary's University College, a private, Catholic-based liberal arts institution in Calgary, announced Dr. Gerry Turcotte will assume the role of the institution's president, effective July 1, 2011. Originally from Montreal, Turcotte has spent the last 25 years in Australia in a number of academic and administrative roles, most recently as associate provost and executive director of the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Notre Dame, Australia's only private Catholic university. Turcotte will succeed Dr. Terry Downey, who has been president of STMU since 1999. STMU News Release

Trend in foreign-born presidents at Canadian universities

On his blog, University Affairs' Léo Charbonneau notes that Cairo-born Dr. Alaa S. Abd-El-Aziz, University of Prince Edward Island's president-designate, joins other foreign-born Canadian university presidents such as UWO's Amit Chakma, uWaterloo's Feridun Hamdullahpur, York U's Mamdouh Shoukri, uAlberta's Indira Samarasekera, and UNBC's George Iwama. Charbonneau also points out that most of them came to Canada initially for their graduate studies and stayed. Charbonneau writes that there has been much talk lately within the PSE sector and government circles about Canada needing to attract the best and brightest from around the world. "If these individuals are any indication, we are succeeding at least in one arena." Margin Notes (University Affairs blog)

Niagara College-Anishinabek partnership focuses on PSE programs for Aboriginal students

Niagara College has signed a new partnership agreement with the Anishinabek Education Institute to promote excellence in PSE within First Nation Anishinabek communities. The agreement will allow for the development of native specific programs and the continued development and delivery of accredited PSE programs. It will also ensure quality programming for Anishinabek students, improve accessibility and retention to PSE training programs, respond to employment and training needs with Anishinabek communities, and contribute to Anishinabek advancement toward self-governance, economic development, and self-sufficiency. Niagara College News Release

Conestoga business management program earns Six Sigma accreditation

Starting next year, graduates of Conestoga College's Business Administration program in Materials and Operations Management will have an additional credential to offer potential employers. The Six Sigma Yellow Belt certificate will be awarded to all program graduates who successfully complete project-based courses in Lean Concepts & Continuous Improvement and Value Stream Mapping. The Six Sigma material and applied projects included in the course material will "provide students with the knowledge and practical skills to immediately add value in any organization." Conestoga News

Aboriginal teens hopeful, uLethbridge study finds

According to a new University of Lethbridge survey, the vast majority of Aboriginal teenagers across Canada are dreaming big when it comes to their futures, but despite their hopes and aspirations, large numbers already suspect those dreams may not realize. The surveyed teens' top values are family life, friendship, freedom, and being loved, while their top goals are getting a good education and being successful. Despite hurdles such as money, lack of social support, and fear for one's safety, Aboriginal youth exhibit the potential for resilience. They have high hopes when it comes to education, careers, home ownership, being more financially comfortable than their parents, having good and lasting relationships, having children, and being involved in their communities. uLethbridge News