Top Ten

April 18, 2011

Dal's spending on senior administrators questioned

Student and faculty groups are wondering why Dalhousie University's spending on senior administrators has risen significantly at a time when the institution is looking at increasing tuition fees for several programs and considering far-reaching budget cuts. "This shouldn't be happening," says a Canadian Federation of Students representative. Documents obtained by the Chronicle Herald show that between 2005 and 2010, spending on salaries for the president and associate and assistant vice-presidents more than doubled, from just over $1.4 million to almost $3.5 million. During that period, 5 new positions were created and filled through reassignment. A Dal official says salary increases are in line with institutions across Canada, and the increased number of senior administrators is necessary to achieve Dal's ambitious fundraising and research targets. The Association of Nova Scotia University Teachers' president questions the advantage of having more senior administrators, suggesting "a lot of these appointments have very little impact on the quality of education and quality of research." Chronicle Herald

uManitoba professor in PhD dispute will not get raise

University of Manitoba math professor Gábor Lukács, who is suing the institution in order to rescind a PhD awarded to a student who had twice failed a critical exam and claimed to suffer from extreme exam anxiety, believes the university's decision to deny him a pay increase is a part of an ongoing attempt to punish him for bringing the academic controversy to light. uManitoba can cancel faculty members' salary increases if their performance is "found not to be satisfactory," and must inform them of its decision in writing. Lukács says he only learned he wasn't getting the raise when he saw his most recent pay stub. The professor agrees uManitoba was using his 3-month suspension for disclosing details of the student's circumstances as the basis to deny his raise, but pushes back against the suggestion his performance may not have been satisfactory. The institution defends its decision to award the student a PhD as it was legally bound to accommodate the student's disability. Winnipeg Free Press

Saint John private college closes suddenly

The sudden closure of the Saint John campus of the Academy of Learning, which operates dozens of franchises across the country, has left 25 students in limbo, as officials with New Brunswick's PSE department explore options that would allow the students to continue their training. The Academy of Learning closed last week due to financial reasons. A department spokesperson says school management has been working cooperatively with the department to find ways for students to complete their training. Telegraph-Journal | CBC

UNB student union opposes planned Currie Centre fee

The president of the University of New Brunswick Student Union (UNBSU) says it appears the institution will move ahead to include a $150 fee to help pay for the Richard J. Currie Centre in budget proposals coming back to the board of governors next month. The student leader says the union is disappointed that there has been no consultation with students about the fee. According to UNBSU policy, non-tuition related ancillary fees should be student approved and under student control. While a UNB spokesman says no final decisions will be made until the budget is approved, the student union president says the institution has unilaterally added ancillary fees charged to students on top of their tuition. In 2009, UNB tacked on a $50 fee to cover costs for the student health centre, a fee from which students saw no increased benefit, the student leader argues. UNBSU News Release | Daily Gleaner

HEQCO survey examines universities' challenges in making large classes more engaging

Trying to make large classes more meaningful is a challenge more Ontario universities face: 14 of the province's 19 universities reported at least 30% of their first-year lectures last year had over 100 students, 5 more institutions than the year before, a Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario survey found. While large classes are not necessarily unmanageable, HEQCO's vice-president of research says "the larger the class, the more difficult it is for a teacher to get beyond the traditional lecture method and use techniques that promote deep learning, and if that doesn’t happen, the quality can start to deteriorate." The survey notes that larger classes bring more students with special needs to a setting already challenged by a generation considered to have a shorter attention span and less class decorum.

Colleges Ontario launches ad campaign targeting Aboriginal people

Yesterday Colleges Ontario kicked off a $400,000 multi-media advertising campaign called "Break Your Own Trail," designed to encourage Aboriginal people throughout the province to explore the career opportunities available through PSE. Since 2008, Colleges Ontario has been running province-wide campaigns promoting the value of college education. The new campaign was developed to speak to some of the distinct issues Aboriginal people face when they are considering higher education. Co-funded by Ontario's 24 colleges and by the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities, the campaign will run this spring and again in the fall. Colleges Ontario News Release

RDC recruitment campaign allows prospective students to test gut factor

Red Deer College sees its spring recruitment campaign, "You've Got Guts," as a way to address the desire to make the right choices and not fail, says the college's director of marketing, communications, and student recruitment. The college is challenging prospective students to push their boundaries, and the campaign does it in a fun way, she says. At, players can test their gut factor and enter to win a draw for $5,000 toward tuition if they enrol within the next 2 years. The site calculates an individual's gut factor based on choices made in several scenarios -- players must decide, for example, if they'd rather wax their body hair or admit to being a Justin Bieber fan. The multi-media campaign runs until June 30 in central Alberta. RDC News Release | "You've Got Guts" creative samples |

uCalgary business students assess Project Next

For a year-end assignment, students in a University of Calgary marketing course were asked to critique the institution's latest strategic initiative, Project Next, and provide a marketing plan for it. A recurring theme through most of the student presentations was a need to better connect with the student body and their vision for uCalgary's future. While students applauded Project Next for incorporating social media, they criticized a lack of relevant content and connectivity between sites. From the student point of view, what's next for Project Next is that engagement needs to continue. A shortlist of students' video spots for Project Next is available on YouTube. UToday

Sault College redesigns website

Sault College has launched a new-look website, whose homepage features a graphic of 10 individuals standing on a sketched path. Visitors to the site can click on the picture of 5 of those individuals to access videos as well as links to information about athletics, student services, accommodations, and the college's location. Other homepage features include a news ticker, a link to information about Sault College's campus redevelopment project, and links to the school's social media accounts. Sault College website

Mohawk College students develop 3 lip dubs in 24 hours

In a 24-hour period, 100 first-year broadcasting students at Mohawk College filmed 3 lip dubs at the school's Fennel campus for a year-end class project. The songs students selected are "Jumpstart" by These Kids Wear Crowns, "Revolution" by the Beatles," and "We'll be Alright" by Travie McCoy. All 3 lip dubs will be entered into an international contest through University LipDub. Mohawk Matters | MohawkBroadcastingTV YouTube channel | University LipDub