Top Ten

April 6, 2011

PEI budget includes 3% increase in PSE operating grants

As outlined in its 2011 budget, tabled yesterday, the Prince Edward Island government will increase operating grants to post-secondary institutions by 3% in the coming year. The province will provide Holland College with $1.1 million for operating and financial costs at the college's new West Prince Regional Learning Centre in Alberton, slated to open in September. The PEI government has increased funding for student aid by 55%, from $4.7 million in 2007 to $7.3 million last year, and in the coming year it will maintain its support at this higher level. Budget Address

Free choice should be maintained for CÉGEP entry, Conseil says

The Conseil supérieur de la langue française advises free choice for entry into Quebec's CÉGEPs, allowing students graduating from francophone high schools to continue enrolling, if they want, in English colleges. "There are limits to legislative constraints," says the Conseil's president, who adds that new restrictions on English schooling could spark a "backlash," breaking the province's language balance. The Conseil unveiled its recommendations to Quebec's minister of culture and language, who notes that 96% of francophone students and 63% of allophones -- those whose first language is neither English nor French -- choose French CÉGEPs anyway. The Parti Québecois MNA who made the proposal to extend Bill 101 rules to colleges is disappointed the Conseil ignored research he used to make his case that Montreal will be 75% English-speaking by 2030 unless action is taken to reinforce French. Montreal Gazette | Conseil report (in French)

McGill students challenge proposed merger of language departments

On Monday, a McGill University student launched a petition protesting the institution's plan to consolidate the German, Hispanic, Italian, and Russian/Slavic departments into a single discipline, while restricting access to those courses to students enrolled in language study programs. The petition, which 300 students signed little more than a day after it launched, calls on McGill's principal and provost to reconsider cuts to foreign language courses. The associate dean of arts says the measures, which should be approved by McGill's governors later this spring, have the unanimous support of the faculty council, and most students in the programs are happy with the changes. "Well, I see the cuts to foreign language instruction as hurting McGill's reputation," says the student who initiated the petition. Montreal Gazette

Green Party pledges to make PSE more accessible, affordable

Campaigning at the University of Victoria last week, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May announced her party's support for accessible and affordable higher education in Canada. The Greens are in favour of boosting federal transfer payments to provinces to counteract the overall rise in tuition fees, as well as reducing student debt by forgiving portions of student loans. The party is proposing a Canadian National Student Loan and Bursary Program, which would provide $900 million in bursaries over 3 years for students in need. The Green Party would create a Youth Community and Environmental Service Corps, which would provide federal minimum wage employment for 40,000 youths between the ages of 18 to 25 for 4 years. At the end of each year-long program, each participant would receive a $4,000 tuition credit. Green Party News Release

Polytechnics Canada outlines priority action issues for federal parties

Polytechnics Canada has laid out a number of priority action issues it urges all federal parties to incorporate in their campaign platforms for education, skills training, research, innovation, and commercialization. These include renewing the Canada Social Transfer to ensure adequate and stable funding earmarked for PSE, creating Industrial Research Chairs at colleges and polytechnics, ensuring that a National Digital Skills Strategy directly recognizes college contributions to the information communications technology sector, and increasing the completion rate for mature apprenticeship students through targeted support mechanisms. Polytechnics Canada has posted background material for all 10 action issues on its website. Priority Action Issues | Backgrounder

Ryerson unveils design for new Student Learning Centre

Yesterday Ryerson University revealed the design of its $112-million Student Learning Centre, to be built at the corner of Yonge and Gould Streets in Toronto. The 8-storey, 155,463-square-foot facility will feature a glass façade, an elevated plaza, a bridge to the existing library, and a range of academic, study, and collaborative spaces. The transparent glass skin of the centre will feature a surface design that will create varying light qualities within the interior space. The facility will be LEED Silver compliant, and at least half of the roof will be a dedicated green roof. Construction on the Student Learning Centre is slated to begin late this year, with a targeted completion date of winter 2014. Ryerson News Release | Toronto Star | Student Learning Centre Media Room

Mohawk College student government donates $1 million to support campus revitalization

The Mohawk Students' Association (MSA) is making a $1-million donation over the next 4 years out of its surplus from its campus operations in support of the ongoing revitalization of Mohawk College's Fennell campus. A new outdoor plaza to be built next to the MSA Student Centre will be named in honour of the association's investment in campus renovations, which to date have included the new Mohawk Learning Exchange with a 2-storey library and a suite of classrooms. Mohawk College News Release | Hamilton Spectator

Student's death ends annual drinking party at STU

The drinking-related death of a St. Thomas University student last October has changed a campus tradition that began in 1988. Every April 6, Harrington Hall residents used to spend the day drinking, but the residence's student president says that all changed this year following the death of Andrew Bartlett, a rookie volleyball payer who had been drinking heavily at the team's initiation party and suffered fatal head injury after falling down stairs at his apartment. The men's volleyball team was suspended for violating STU's statement of conduct, which bars team initiations. This year, recycling money collected supported non-alcoholic activities, a decision by which all campus residences agreed to abide. CBC

New format, features for Maclean's Guide to Canadian Universities

Being distributed across the country this week, the Maclean's Guide to Canadian Universities has been transformed with a new look and new content. Now more compact compared to a standard Maclean's issue, the guide's coverage has jumped from 69 schools to 81. In response to reader feedback, the new guide features more finance-related content, and has approximately 350 photos of campuses and campus life. A new element features a Maclean's intern who travelled across the country to get the scoop on 25 universities and residence life from undergraduate students. There are also iPad videos to supplement that coverage. Marketing Magazine

Report urges Alberta to raise legal dropout age to 17

According to a new report from the United Way of Calgary and Area, teenagers who quit high school cost taxpayers billions and face obstacles to completing their education that can easily be removed. The report recommends the Alberta government raise the legal age to drop out of school from 16 to 17, extend the age cap for publicly funded high school from 19 to 24, establish a dedicated youth opportunities secretariat, and develop a provincial youth employment strategy. In 2009-10, the high school completion rate in Alberta was at 71.5%, one of the lowest in the country. Calgary Herald | Read the report