Top Ten

January 4, 2011

Without pension relief, UoGuelph operations "would be seriously impaired"

At a town hall session with University of Guelph employees last month, university president Alastair Summerlee noted that without the Ontario government's offer of temporary pension solvency relief to provincial universities, the institution's operations "would be seriously impaired." Ultimately, Summerlee stated, "we must restructure our pension plans." Without the relief, UoGuelph must increase current yearly payments of $22 million to $97 million. With the relief, the payments would drop to $40 million. If restructuring entails major changes requiring a new plan, the old one will have to be wound up, saddling it with debt, noted the vice-president of the university's faculty association. Guelph Mercury

School district interested in Camosun satellite campus

The Sooke School District, which serves communities near Victoria, is looking at including a Camosun College satellite campus in the plans for a projected new secondary school. The school district's superintendent says a satellite campus or whatever presence the college might have could also be located near the school, as long as it is accessible to students. Before that happens, the school district has joined Camosun in boosting its offerings in arts and science courses, with 5 available to high school students at the WestShore Centre of Learning and Training this semester. Victoria Times-Colonist

BC premier hopeful pledges $10 million for rescue training centre at Okanagan College

Should she become the leader of BC's Liberal party and subsequently the province's next premier, Moira Stilwell would pledge $10 million of provincial money to set up a Mountain Search and Rescue Training Institute at Okanagan College's Revelstoke campus. Stilwell says the facility "would provide opportunities for local people who are interested in participating in the tourism and backcountry industry." Stilwell foresees the college awarding a range of credentials, such as avalanche planner and mountain guide. Her PSE platform includes lowering student-loan interest rates. Vancouver Province

R&D spending in higher ed sector tops $11 billion

Statistics Canada reported last month that spending on research and development by the PSE sector was expected to reach $11.2 billion in 2010, representing 38% of the $29.2 billion of total R&D spending intentions anticipated in Canada for 2010. The R&D spending by the higher education sector was up 1% from 2009. The business sector was anticipated to provide $13.7 billion in R&D funds, down 2.3% from 2009. As the second largest source of R&D funding, the federal government expected to increase funding by 2.5% to $5.8 billion. Statistics Canada

UPEI launches capital campaign for nursing school

Last month, the University of Prince Edward Island kicked off a private-sector campaign to secure the remaining $3.6 million needed to fund a new facility to house the institution's School of Nursing and Department of Family and Nutritional Sciences. At the campaign launch, UPEI announced a combined $700,000 donation from Dr. Vera Dewar and the late Eileen Fulford toward the construction of the new building. Fulford's gift amounts to over $400,000 and is part of a planned donation of more than $1 million, the largest ever received by the university from an individual donor. UPEI News Release

NL launches international graduate retention incentive program

Last month, the Newfoundland and Labrador government announced a new initiative under its Youth Retention and Attraction Strategy to help international students who have graduated from recognized post-secondary schools in the province stay in NL. Under the International Graduate Retention Incentive Program, foreign students who have graduated from a recognized PSE institution can apply to receive a one-time payment ranging from $1,000 to $2,500, depending on the length of time spent studying in NL. Applicants must have been nominated through the Provincial Nominee Program, have become permanent residents of Canada, and be living and working in the province at least one year from the date of receiving permanent residency. NL News Release

CNA launches new website

College of the North Atlantic rang in the New Year with a redesigned website, whose homepage features a rotating graphic banner promoting several college programs, the school's YouTube channel, and mobile site. The homepage includes a drop-down menu for recent news release, icons linking to the college's Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts, a live-chat function, and a link to CNA's e-store. CNA website

Brescia runs "Women of Inspiration" Facebook contest

On Monday, Brescia University College launched its "Women of Inspiration" contest, a 7-week Facebook contest that will award 2 female students in Grades 11 or 12 an all-expenses-paid trip for 2 to London. Until February 22, high school students are encouraged to go to Brescia's Facebook page to submit their answers to the question, "Which female leader has inspired you?" The grand prizes include round-trip Via Rail transportation, hotel accommodations, admission to Brescia's March Break Open House, a day at the spa, and all meals for the winners and their guests. The winners will be announced February 28. Brescia News Release | Facebook contest

Trend in US institutions accepting video essays

A number of American post-secondary institutions are allowing prospective students to submit video essays with their application. Both Tufts University and George Mason University are in their second year of formally giving students the option to submit a video, and this year St. Mary's College of Maryland officials are encouraging students to submit an "audition tape" instead of a written essay. The growing popularity of video essays worries some admissions officials. Given that college applications are "absolutely confidential records," allowing prospects to post part of an application on an external site such as YouTube "punches a peek hole" into the process and allows the general public to judge an applicant, says the dean of admissions at The College of William & Mary. Washington Post

Google proposes app store for education software

Google Inc. is holding discussions with educational-software firms to help build a marketplace for online learning programs, an industry whose value was expected to approach $5 billion at the end of 2010. Games and instructional tools for teachers from some educational-software companies are already offered in the Google Apps Marketplace, an online store that launched in March. Google hopes to lure more educational developers and is ramping up efforts to generate revenue from the project. Bloomberg BusinessWeek