Top Ten

April 13, 2011

Saskatchewan advanced ed minister criticized over handling of college merger problems

Saskatchewan's NDP advanced education critic says he was shocked by Advanced Education Minister Rob Norris' handling of the revelation that Glen Kobussen, who was appointed to lead Carlton Trail Regional College and St. Peter's College as they attempted to merge, had a criminal record for fraud. The governing Saskatchewan Party knew in May 2010 about Kobussen's record. While Norris says he thought at the time it was "profoundly unsavoury," he acknowledges the province did nothing in response to the knowledge. The NDP's critic says Norris "needs to take responsibility. He knew about this, he knew about the problems and did nothing." Last month the government announced the merger would not be allowed after a review raised concerns over college governance and leadership issues, prompting further investigation. Kobussen was terminated by Carlton Trail and placed on administrative leave from St. Peter's. Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

Pending layoffs as Cambrian strives to balance books

Following the announcement of 17 pending faculty and support staff layoffs, Cambrian College president Sylvia Barnard says it is proving difficult to balance the books. In December, the Ontario government announced an additional $1.8-million grant reduction for Cambrian, which Barnard says left everyone unprepared. Among the steps taken in light of the grant reduction is the changing of the delivery of business, English, and communications programs. The actual individuals who will be laid off have still not been determined. Cambrian has been working to convince the province to take a look at the college's funding allocation, which Barnard says "doesn't work." The college anticipates its proposed budget will be approved, after which it will look at the current funding model and plan out what is going to have to happen next. Sudbury Star

uSask language program cuts revisited following petition

A University of Saskatchewan language program is being overhauled after rumours of major cutbacks led to a student petition with nearly 2,000 signatures. Among the speculated reductions were the cancellation of German classes and a large increase in class size for lower division language courses. The College of Arts and Science is one of many colleges on campus working to reduce costs, says the vice-dean of humanities and fine arts, who adds that uSask committed to keeping all language courses currently offered in the program, but not all of them will be taught every year. Advisers are meeting with students individually to determine which courses are essential to next year's schedule. At McGill University, students are urging senior administration to reconsider proposed cuts to foreign language programs. Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

uWaterloo suspends student car team over unauthorized photo-shoot

The University of Waterloo's engineering faculty has suspended the Formula SAE team until June 1 in response to an unauthorized photo-shoot that took place last month in the Student Design Centre. As part of an entry into a charity calendar competition, a female student on the team was photographed posing beside the student-built racing car, in a bikini and high heels. In a memo about the suspension, uWaterloo's engineering dean assured students they would still receive credit for their work during the term. The team's faculty adviser says he's very proud of the students, who have "admitted the mistake, they've accepted responsibility," and have informed sponsors that the car will not be entered into an international contest being held next month. uWaterloo Formula Motorsports website | Waterloo Region Record

SIAST launches internationalization strategy

On Tuesday, the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology unveiled a strategy to better compete in the international student market. The strategy includes a proposed $15-million residence at the Palliser campus in Moose Jaw, where strong programming in business and engineering technologies is expected to draw international students. Other initiatives include articulation and partnership agreements with Saskatchewan universities and dedicated academic ESL programming. The institution expects foreign-student enrolment to exceed 450 students by September 2013. SIAST News Release

University enrolment must rise to ward off labour shortage, says AUCC

According to a new Association of Universities and College of Canada report, Canadian university enrolment must increase by 1.3% annually to produce enough skilled workers to meet demand and fill hundreds of thousands of positions that will be left vacant this decade by retiring baby boomers. All provinces are facing a decline in the 18-to-21 age cohort in coming years, although it is expected to be less severe in BC than anywhere else, the report observes. At the same time, the number of visa students and newcomers to Canada with a university degree, which has nearly tripled during the past decade, will remain strong. Vancouver Sun

HEQCO paper examines Ontario grad enrolment trends in last decade

A summary research report by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario observes the province has outpaced the rest of Canada in graduate enrolment growth over the last decade, with doctoral and master's enrolments having risen by 67% and 51%, respectively. The paper notes there has been a huge growth in enrolments among 22- to 29-year-old students, and that more grad students are studying full time. The research also shows Ontario universities responded to the enrolment growth by developing new programs and broadening field of study choices. The paper suggests more could be done to enhance the understanding of this topic in the province. Summary | Read the report

Ontario undergraduate applications from non-secondary students highest in last decade

New statistics from the Ontario Universities' Application Centre show that as of April 5, provincial universities have received 112,047 undergraduate applications from non-secondary students, the highest figure recorded for April in the last 10 years. Non-secondary applications are up 7.8% over April 2010. The number of applications from secondary students currently sits at 391,756, up 1.8% compared to this time last year. Overall, Ontario universities have received 503,803 applications, up from 488,626 recorded in April 2010. OUAC Undergraduate Application Statistics -- April 2011

uOttawa president encourages young Canadians to vote

Students from a number of post-secondary institutions across Canada have staged, or plan to stage, "vote mobs" to encourage youth to participate in the upcoming federal election. In a video response to his school's vote mob, University of Ottawa president and former Liberal cabinet minister Allan Rock points out he worked on Parliament Hill for 10 years and went through 3 federal elections, "and I can tell you every single vote counts." Rock says that in the last election, just 37% of young people voted -- "we have to do better than that." He calls on all other university presidents to encourage their students to vote. uOttawa website | Globe and Mail |

"20 Under 20" program pays students to quit school, start own company

PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel is co-creator of the "20 Under 20" program, whose premise is to pick the best 20 kids under the age of 20 and pay them $100,000 over 2 years to leave school and start a company instead. The program aims to poke a hole in the higher education bubble, whose excesses, like those of the housing bubble, "were always excused by a core national belief that no matter what happens in the world, these were the best investments you could make." While controversial for many in the press, the program has been well received by plenty of students, their parents, and people in tech. Thiel received over 400 applications, most of which were from very high-end schools. TechCrunch says the program has a clear bias toward talent, and talent tends to be found in private universities. Thiel says that to start a new path, it makes sense to begin with people who have all the options. TechCrunch