Top Ten

April 7, 2011

NSCC mulls tuition fee increase to address $5.7-million shortfall

Nova Scotia Community College is considering hiking tuition fees as it grapples with a budget freeze. The province is providing NSCC with $126 million this year, the same amount as last year. Because of rising costs, the institution faces a $5.7-million shortfall. While the college is not looking to close a campus, says NSCC's vice-president advancement, there could be staffing or programming cuts. The VP says a tuition fee increase is also possible, but students would be notified well in advance. NSCC expects to have a plan in place by early May. CBC

Concordia UC discontinues men's hockey

On Wednesday, Concordia University College of Alberta announced it cannot afford to maintain its men's hockey team -- the most expensive athletics program at the Edmonton-based institution -- and, as a result, the school will not ice a hockey team for the 2011-12 Alberta College Athletics Conference season, unless it receives some outside help. Although Concordia UC would save about $100,000 a year by discontinuing the program, "with $50,000 we think we could negotiate our way through this coming year if there were a business plan that will ensure there's going to be external funding that will sustain our hockey program." Saint Mary's University resurrected its women's hockey program last week with the help of a donation from Canadian Tire. Concordia UC News | Edmonton Journal

Conservatives pledge new loans to assist internationally-trained professionals

At a campaign stop in the Toronto area Wednesday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that if re-elected, the Conservative government would provide new loans to help newcomers pay for skills training or upgrading required before their credentials can be recognized in Canada. Harper said some internationally-trained workers have difficulty paying for tuition and other training costs associated with the foreign credential recognition process, and these bridge loans will make it easier for newcomers to find jobs that take full advantage of their experience and expertise. Conservative News Release | CBC

Manitoba funds Brandon Medical Education Study

The Manitoba government announced yesterday a $350,000 investment to determine how enhancing medical education in Brandon can help to boost the number of physicians across the province. Chaired by Brandon University president Deborah Poff, the steering committee for the Brandon Medical Education Study will comprise representatives from Brandon U, the University of Manitoba, two regional health authorities, the Office of Rural and Northern Health, and a member-at-large appointed by the Council on Post-Secondary Education. The review will include the following options: the potential for a medical school in Brandon; the potential for a satellite program expansion of uManitoba in partnership with Brandon U; and the potential for continuing or expanding existing models of rotational and educational experiences. Manitoba News Release

U of King's College appoints new president

University of King's College's board of governors announced Wednesday the appointment of Dr. Anne Leavitt as the Halifax-based institution's next president and vice-chancellor, effective August 1. Leavitt will come to King's from Vancouver Island University, where she currently serves as dean of the social sciences faculty. A graduate of McMaster University, the University of Toronto, and the University of Chicago, Leavitt has previously held academic positions at Brock University and McMaster. Leavitt succeeds Dr. William Barker, who served as president of King's for an 8-year term. U of King's College News

New uCalgary program fosters development of high-achieving students

The University of Calgary has launched a new initiative called the Scholars Academy Program, which aims to enhance the academic and professional development of the institution's best and brightest undergraduate students. Under the program, students will work directly with a dedicated program coordinator who will provide academic and scholarship support, promote community commitments, and encourage student engagement. Each year, the Scholars Academy Program will accept up to 30 students from all faculties. Half of the participating students will be in their third year, the other half in their fourth. UToday | Scholars Academy Program

Acadia, CMM sign agreement to improve PSE participation among Aboriginal students

On Wednesday, Acadia University and the Confederacy of Mainland Mi'kmaq (CMM) signed an MOU that commits both parties to work cooperatively in the following areas: increasing Aboriginal attainment of higher education; creation of holistic education systems that contribute to life-long learning and community development in Aboriginal communities; the development of curriculum and culturally sensitive materials in post-secondary schools that address Aboriginal needs; and the establishment of a connection between academic research and the needs of Aboriginal communities. The first initiative is the development of a gathering space at Acadia for Aboriginal students at the CMM. Acadia News Release

VCC develops mobile website

Prospective students looking for Vancouver Community College online can now access the institution's website through their mobile device. The design of VCC's new mobile site complements by grouping menu options into key categories, such as news, events, key contacts, tours and information session details, and a newsletter sign-up. VCC is the first post-secondary school in Metro Vancouver to have a mobile site. VCC News | VCC mobile site

19 English universities fined for over-recruitment

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is clawing back £8.1 million from 19 universities that surpassed their enrolment cap, which is imposed to limit the cost of the PSE system to the taxpayer. In addition, 33 further education colleges will lose a total of £500,000. English universities that enrol too many new full-time undergraduate students are docked grant money at the rate of £3,750 per "excess student" recruited. The funding will be withheld from the affected universities' grant payments in the last 4 months of the current school year, which ends July 31. Times Higher Education

New studies question NSSE's validity

2 new studies are raising doubts about whether there really are positive correlations between National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) measurements and the outcomes that tend to be most important to post-secondary institutions: retention and graduation. One study found no relationship between total NSSE scores in the survey's various subcategories and either GPAs or graduation rates. The research did find positive outcomes in those areas associated with a few survey questions. A second study exploring the relationship between NSSE sub-scores found them only "minimally predictive" of first-year grades and "not at all predictive" of third-semester retention. The first paper notes the way college administrators and trustees have come to rely on the survey as an all-purpose measure of quality, when it is not as focused on solely academic measures as some might believe. Inside Higher Ed