Top Ten

January 10, 2011

The challenges Canadian PSE will face in 2011

In an interview with University World News, CAUT executive director James Turk says his association will continue to advocate for better funding of Canada's university sector. The funding, he says, has been diminishing in real government dollars for the past 15 years, with tuition fees continuing to make up for most of the lost funding. Also important is the need to demonstrate how the federal government has been overly involved in setting the research agenda. While tri-council saw significant cuts in 2009 and a slight increase in 2010, new funding has been going to specific sectors such as automotive, forestry, and business. For the CFS, the focus this year will be on growing student debt. Both Turk and the CFS worry about the kind of access high fees mean for Canada's large Aboriginal community, for whom PSE funding is capped at an annual 2% growth. University World News

New CFI president's vision for foundation

In an interview with University Affairs, Canada Foundation for Innovation president Gilles Patry, who took the helm of the foundation in August, says he sees his mission as assessing and marrying the needs of the federal government, provinces, and institutions. The former University of Ottawa president believes CFI must continue with its slightly shifted direction to acknowledge the need for operation support as well as infrastructure funding. He is asking the federal government for $750 million in the 2011 budget, to be spent over 5 years, starting in 2013. Of the total "ask," $150 million would be allocated to CFI's Infrastructure Operating Fund. Patry points to South Korea and Finland as examples of countries that offset declining business R&D investments with public investments in education and research institutions, and believes Canada should adopt the same strategy. University Affairs

uCalgary provides update on West Campus project

A tree-lined street where people could meet for lunch, shop for groceries, or do some window shopping close to work or home is the inspiration behind the first phase of the University of Calgary's plan to develop its West Campus lands. The university plans to start with a town centre, which will have a Main Street theme and provide another major entrance to campus. The long-term development plan for West Campus will continue to unfold this year after the Alberta government approved the creation of an arms'-length development corporation that will manage the project as trustee of uCalgary's property. UToday

NWCC appoints new president

Northwest Community College's board of governors announced yesterday the appointment of Dr. Denise Henning as the institution's new president and CEO, effective March 1. Henning will come to NWCC from University College of the North, where she has served as president and vice-chancellor since 2006. A Cherokee/Choctaw originating from Creek County in Oklahoma, Henning has held various senior appointments at the University of Regina and First Nations University of Canada. She succeeds Stephanie Forsyth, who left NWCC in September to become president of Red River College. NWCC News Release

Petition launched to save historic library at Mount Allison

An online petition has been launched in an attempt to save Mount Allison University's Memorial Library from demolition. The Save the Memorial Library Committee set up the petition a few days ago and as of 6 pm Sunday, there were 131 signatures, with the goal of gathering 10,000. The Memorial Library was built in 1927 as a tribute to students and alumni killed during World War I. Mount Allison has plans to build a new centre for both fine and performing arts, and the plans do not include restoring or renovating the Memorial Library building. Times & Transcript

Lakehead Orillia campus runs new marketing campaign

Lakehead University's Orillia campus has launched a new marketing campaign to help recruit prospective students and raise awareness about the expanding campus, which opened its new academic building in September. The campaign focuses on the benefits of studying at Lakehead -- Orillia. The campaign theme, "Be yourself and more," is what students feel they can be and accomplish at the institution. The campaign includes a video highlighting students, faculty, and staff, along with Lakehead's mascot Wolfie, who gets involved in campus-wide rock-paper-scissors competition with the dean of the Orillia campus during a tour of the new academic building. Lakehead News Release | Watch the video

Shares of for-profit schools drop as Strayer Education reports enrolment decline

Shares of for-profit institutions and training schools tumbled yesterday after Strayer Education Inc. stated new student enrolments for its winter semester dropped 20%. That's a marked change from last year, when new student enrolments jumped 16% during the winter term. If the trends of Strayer's winter semester continue throughout 2011, total student enrolment will be down 5%. Rising student loan defaults and increased government regulations have begun to weigh on for-profit institutions' enrolment rates following years of double-digit increases in enrolment. This past fall, the University of Phoenix warned that it expected new student enrolments to drop 40% during the fiscal first quarter as it revised its practices amid heavy criticism from politicians and consumer advocates. Associated Press

British students could finish academic education at 14

Under coalition plans, British students will be able to leave academic education at 14 in favour of vocational training at specialist institutions. Up to 70 technical schools teaching practical skills could be opened before the next election, according to the former Tory education secretary who is heading the plan. He says the schools are a movement designed to tackle a shortage of young people with vocational skills. Critics worry the plan would create a two-tier system, with less able students at risk of being pushed into vocational courses and students forced to make important decisions about their future at too young an age. The coalition has pledged to open technical schools in at least a dozen cities across England. The Guardian

Consortium aims to help universities map global activities

A new international consortium has been formed to develop an open-source software platform and common data standards for tracking and mapping post-secondary institutions' global activities. The UCosmic Consortium builds on an online international-data-management system developed at the University of Cincinnati in 2006. The system has proven useful to Cincinnati by allowing departments to combine resources for graduate-student recruitment to focus on strong international feeder institutions. The consortium is open to universities, associations, foundations, government agencies, and independent IT consultants worldwide. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

Canada tops US in online video site use

A survey of Internet users in Canada, the US, and the UK found respondents in Canada were most likely to visit online video websites in general, with just 30% never visiting, compared to 35% in the US. Internet users in Canada also checked the websites most frequently. Online video site users in Canada were more active in forwarding a video link to others, and were more likely to have received links to video content. In another survey, 41% of Internet users in Canada said they watch more online video now than a year ago, while 7% reported watching less. Video viewing frequency was highest among young people, with nearly half watching videos online at least once a day. eMarketer