Top Ten

February 11, 2011

Conservatives accused of digging up dirt on "Liberal" uOttawa professors

A pair of University of Ottawa professors who are vocal critics of the federal Conservative government claim they have become targets of a new political imitation tactic after they received notice of unusually massive freedom-of-information requests at uOttawa, asking for details of their employment, expenses, and teaching records. Under Ontario law, the person or persons behind the requests remain anonymous, but the professors, frequently castigated as Liberal sympathizers by the governing party, believe it is part of a wider campaign to silence university voices that may be critical of the Conservatives. When asked about the requests, a party spokesman said "not from us." One of the professors says uOttawa has been very supportive in its handling of the requests. "They seem to agree that it's meant to clamp down on academic freedom in some way." Toronto Star

London guarantees $10 million for Fanshawe arts campus project

In a vote Thursday night, London city councillors were near-unanimous in backing Fanshawe College's proposed School of Applied and Performance Arts, although the support came after some sharp debate. Councillors unanimously confirmed a $10-million commitment endorsed by the previous council. A second $10-million investment is not guaranteed, mostly over the fact that provincial funding for the downtown campus project has not yet been committed. With provincial and federal funding the biggest issue, council endorsed committing the additional $10 million pending a legal agreement with Fanshawe that eases those concerns. London Free Press

One Arrow First Nation concerned over proposed St. Peter's College, CTRC merger

In an op-ed published in Friday's Saskatoon Star-Phoenix on the proposed merger of Carlton Trail Regional College (CTRC) and St. Peter's College (SPC), Chief Dwayne Paul of the One Arrow First Nation says if the dissolution of CTRC does not include provincial regulations mandating SPC to follow the Regional Colleges' Act, "there is a real risk that adult basic education and many other programs will be in the hands of a privately controlled board and institution." No longer will Saskatchewan residents, through the province's advanced education ministry, have a say in what programs will be offered in the Carlton Trail region and at what cost, Paul argues. He suggests the dissolution of CTRC could have a far-reaching impact not only on those in the area, but also for Saskatchewan's other regional colleges. Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

FNUC celebrates one-year anniversary of student movement to save institution

First Nations University of Canada students and staff gathered Thursday to celebrate their accomplishments. A year ago, FNUC students rallied to keep the Saskatchewan-based institution open after it lost more than $12 million in provincial and federal funding. The student movement included a 72-day-long "live-in" at the university. University of Regina president Vianne Timmons, who was honoured in a special ceremony for her continued support of FNUC, says one year later, the institution is in great shape. "They've restructured. They're now sustainable. They went to the province with a balanced budget and (didn't ask) for an increase." FNUC interim president Shauneen Pete says enrolment has increased to over 600 students this term, and she believes that number will continue to increase. Regina Leader-Post

envision>SFU campaign invites public to help shape institution's future

On Thursday, Simon Fraser University president Andrew Petter launched envision>SFU, a campaign to involve the public in shaping the future of the institution. Through in-person encounters and online engagement, Petter is posing 10 strategic questions, including: What is distinctive about SFU? How can SFU increase its impact and relevance? What prospects and opportunities is SFU missing? For the next three months, the president will meet with students, faculty, parents, alumni, community groups, high schools, mayors and councils, Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trades, First Nations communities and more. SFU News Release | envision>SFU website

UOIT appoints new president

On Friday, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology announced that Dr. Tim McTiernan will be the third president and vice-chancellor of the Oshawa-based institution, effective July 1. Currently a senior administrator at the University of Toronto, McTiernan will succeed president Ronald Bordessa, who completes his term on June 30. A graduate of Trinity College in Dublin and the University of British Columbia, McTiernan has over 25 years of senior-level leadership and administrative experience spanning the areas of higher education; innovation; research administration and commercialization; and social and economic development. UOIT News Release

CUSB names health science building after philanthropist Desautels

Winnipeg-based Collège universitaire de Saint-Boniface announced Thursday its new health sciences building currently under construction will bear the name "Pavillon Marcel-A.-Desautels," after CUSB alumnus and philanthropist Marcel A. Desautels, whose contributions to the field of PSE total $100 million. To date, Desautels' donations to CUSB total $2.5 million, which includes his $1-million lead gift to the institution's VISION campaign, of which Desautels is also the chair. CUSB News Release

Canada not getting full value from business investment in university R&D, says report

Despite Canadian businesses spending nearly $1 billion annually on university R&D -- more than most of the developed world on a per capita basis -- there is little evidence Canada is getting the full economic and social value from all that funding, according to a new report from the Centre for the Study of Living Standards. The findings are based on measures of business-university collaboration, such as patenting and university start-up companies. The report's recommendations include better leveraging the $370 million the federal government spends to encourage business-university collaboration and starting a national conversation on how to better manage intellectual property developed at universities. Globe and Mail | Read the report

JIBC unveils new website

Friday marked the launch of the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC)'s new-look website, designed to better serve current and prospective students, clients, donors, and other visitors to the site. The new site features in-depth articles about JIBC people and initiatives; comprehensive program and course information for the Schools of Public Safety & Security, Community & Social Justice, and Health Sciences; and links to the institution's social media accounts, including Facebook and Twitter. JIBC News | JIBC website

Cambridge criticized over proposed tuition-fee waiver

The University of Cambridge plans to charge the maximum £9,000 tuition fee, a limit approved by British lawmakers late last year, while offering an annual £3,000 "waiver" for students from households earning less than £25,000 a year. Students are said to be "furious" about the waiver plan, which would cut the present maximum bursary of £3,400. "All the university has succeeded in doing is playing the game (Universities and Science Minister) David Willets asked of it: namely, shifting the 'bursaries' so that they benefited the Treasury's borrowing figures instead of poor students' bank balances," says one student leader. There is also disquiet about such an approach at the University of Oxford, where one professor says a fee discount would be "an inefficient use of our funds as it just subtracts from government subsidy." Times Higher Education

Postscript: Feb 16, 2011
The University of Cambridge will reconsider a proposal to create a £3,000 tuition-fee waver for low-income students by cutting bursaries following criticism heard by the institution's governing council. Upset that the current maximum bursary would be cut by more than half in order to fund the waiver, students argued that Cambridge's focus on fee waivers would save the government money at students' expense. The president of Cambridge's student union says students are happy to hear the university has backed away from its proposal to reduce bursaries. "Cambridge's maintenance bursaries are hugely important to thousands of Cambridge students who depend on them, as well as to potential applicants." Times Higher Education