Top Ten

February 25, 2011

Alberta suspends PSE donation matching fund

According to the Alberta government's 2011 budget, announced Thursday, the province's Access to the Future Fund, a government scheme that matched private donations to post-secondary institutions, is on hold for 2 years to allow the advanced education and technology ministry "to focus on more immediate priorities." Provincial records show $700 million in pledges will likely remain untouched until the fund resumes. The ministry's $3-billion budget for 2011 is in line with last year's $3.2-billion budget, with the reduction due to the completion of some capital projects. While base operating funding for post-secondary schools is holding steady with the previous year, the province is providing an additional $62 million to open new buildings, address enrolment growth pressures, and foster innovation and collaboration across Campus Alberta. Alberta News Release | Advanced Education and Technology Budget | Calgary Herald | Edmonton Journal

Saskatchewan to hold public consultations on expanding degree-granting status

In response to ongoing requests from post-secondary schools and developments in higher education elsewhere in Canada, the Saskatchewan government announced Friday a public consultation process to consider expanding degree-granting status in the province. Currently, only the Universities of Regina and Saskatchewan can grant degrees other than theological degrees. The initiative has 3 components: outside consultants will be recruited to guide the project; stakeholder and public input will be sought through broad consultations; and quality standards will be developed through a quality assurance process. Saskatchewan News Release

Universities vital to Quebec's future, says premier

In his inaugural speech last Wednesday to kick off a new legislative session, Quebec Premier Jean Charest outlined 5 government priorities for the future, one of which is education. He noted that since 2003, the province has added nearly a billion dollars to university funding. At the same time, Charest remarked, societies have mobilized to strengthen their universities, a challenge to which all Quebec citizens must come together to respond. The premier said the government and the private sector will contribute more, and students will do their fair share. Quebec's universities must shine, Charest said, adding that education is an essential condition for the success of Quebec society. Premier's Speech (in French) | CREPUQ News Release (in French)

Montreal approves uMontréal Outremont campus plan

Last week Montreal city council approved the Université de Montréal's planned satellite campus to be built on the former Outremont train yards, which uMontréal purchased in 2006. Prior to construction, the land must be cleaned of decades of oil and chemicals that seeped into the ground from the rail stock. Construction of the campus should start in 2013, with the first campus building expected to open in 2015. The first facilities will house departments of chemistry, physics, geography, and biological sciences. uMontréal News (in French) | Montreal Gazette

WLU football players test clean in drug test

The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport has confirmed that all 67 Wilfrid Laurier University football players who took part in an unannounced drug test in January have tested clean. One sample returned a positive finding for a prohibited substance, but a medical review verified the finding was related to an acceptable medical prescription. WLU's athletic director says the university is pleased the tests have "confirmed that our student-athletes are making good decisions and playing drug-free." Canadian Interuniversity Sport has vowed to increase testing efforts following last year's doping scandal at the University of Waterloo, which led to a one-year suspension of the school's football team. WLU News Release | Waterloo Region Record

CUSC results show positive feedback on Christian universities

According to a sample of results of the Canadian University Survey Consortium, first-year students at Christian institutions reported the highest levels of satisfaction in several categories. Redeemer University College, The King's University College (Edmonton), Trinity Western University, and Tyndale University College have the highest percentage of students who "strongly agree" that most professors encourage students to participate in class discussions, that professors treat students as individuals, not just numbers, and that most professors are reasonably accessible outside of class to help students. Tyndale, King's, and TWU also have the highest percentage of students who are "very satisfied" with the help they received in deciding on their program and course selection, and who report that their experience at their institution exceeded expectations. 39 campuses took part in the CUSC survey last year, with more than 12,500 students completing the survey for an overall response rate of 39%. Maclean's OnCampus

AUCC outlines how universities can help address innovation challenges

In its submission to the federal government's review of federal support to research and development, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada says it wants to work with the government to help increase private sector innovation by improving access to the results of basic university research, working with other institutions to support longer-term student and graduate internships and employment experiences, and enhancing the international experience of Canadian research and business graduates. AUCC says universities can also help by conducting more contract research with the private sector. Read the submission

uCalgary School of Public Policy receives $1-million gift

TransCanada announced Friday a $1-million donation to the University of Calgary's School of Public Policy to study issues related to energy policy and regulation. The donation will create the TransCanada Corporation Program in Energy Policy & Regulatory Frameworks, a 5-year program that will develop a more efficient and predictable regulatory environment for businesses across North America. UToday

UVic celebrates 60,000th work term placement

35 years after launching its co-operative education program, the University of Victoria is celebrating its 60,000th co-op placement. Since 1976, co-op students at UVic have completed 15,000 years of work and have earned $600 million. One in 4 UVic students participates in co-operative education and more than 2,600 placements are completed annually. Last year, 1,163 different employers hired UVic co-op students and 48% hired more than one student. UVic News Release

Most foreign students in Australia pleased with overall experience, survey finds

According to a survey of more than 36,000 international university students in Australia, 86% of respondents were satisfied with their educational and living experience in the country. More than three-quarters of students said they would recommend their Australian university to future applicants. The survey also confirms there is still room for ongoing improvement, says the CEO of Universities Australia, which conducted the survey. For example, he notes, the survey "identifies mismatches between students' expectations of living in Australia and their actual experiences." Universities Australia News Release | The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)