Top Ten

May 18, 2011

Thousands sign petition opposing flat fees at uToronto

The University of Toronto Students' Union has collected more than 4,000 signatures from university stakeholders opposing the proposed flat fee tuition model for arts and science students and delivered the petition cards to the office of president David Naylor. The petition, part of a broader "Stop Flat Fees" campaign, calls on uToronto administration to take measures to ensure education is accessible, collaborate with students, faculty, and staff on future proposals, and see public-sector funding increase. UTSU News Release

TRU announces Old Main expansion project

On Tuesday, Thompson Rivers University unveiled plans for a $20-million revitalization of its Old Main building, which will include 40,000 square feet of new learning space that will house the institution's new law faculty. In order to minimize impact to the campus and student body, construction of many of the components will occur offsite during the winter of 2011-12. Onsite construction will begin in April 2012, with the completion of the shell slated for June 2012. TRU News

Construction of uWaterloo Stratford campus imminent

Construction equipment is expected to move on to the former Cooper property in Stratford as early as this week, where crews will soon start work on the new University of Waterloo Stratford campus. The 3-storey, 42,000-square-foot facility is expected to be completed by summer 2012, in anticipation of students arriving that fall for the master's program in digital innovation and bachelor of global business and digital arts programs. Stratford Beacon-Herald

BCIT launches marine simulation centre

On Tuesday, the British Columbia Institute of Technology opened a multimillion-dollar leading-edge marine simulation centre at its Marine Campus in North Vancouver. The completion of the simulator project gives the institution the highest degree of simulation response in the world and the capacity to serve the training and research needs of the marine industry in BC and across North America. The centre features 7 new ship's bridges, North America's only 360-degree tug towboat bridge simulator, a ship's main bridge simulation environment, and an engine room simulator. BCIT News Release

Saskatchewan, FSIN partner on education task force

The Saskatchewan government and the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations have established a joint task force whose goal is to help identify solutions for eliminating the current gaps in education and employment outcomes for First Nations and Métis people in the province. The task force will focus on several key goals, including increased high school and PSE completion rates. The 3-member task force will be appointed by the end of summer, with public consultations slated to begin this fall. A final report is expected in August 2012. Saskatchewan News Release

Majority of Canadians polled say governments not doing enough to make PSE affordable

A majority of Canadians believe governments are not doing enough to make higher education affordable, according to a recent poll conducted for the Canadian Association of University Teachers. 57% of respondents are willing to pay higher taxes to support PSE. As for the most important way to help improve access, almost half of those surveyed support a tuition fee freeze, while 37% say fees should be lowered. The majority of Canadians polled say university and college administrators care mainly about the bottom line rather than about quality of education. 52% of respondents say that, if faced with government funding cuts, institutions should cut administration costs first, compared to 12% who believe fees should be raised, 13% who say salaries should be cut, and 14% who say increasing class sizes is the answer. CAUT News | Poll results

QS releases natural sciences rankings

The QS World University Rankings by Subject -- Natural Sciences are out, the third in a series of rankings based on universities' subjects. Carleton, Dal, McGill, McMaster, Queen's, SFU, uAlberta, UBC, uCalgary, UoGuelph, uManitoba, uMontréal, uOttawa, uToronto, UVic, uWaterloo, UWO, and York U placed among the top 200 institutions in one or more natural science subjects: chemistry, physics and astronomy, metallurgy and materials, mathematics, environmental sciences, and earth and marine sciences. 2011 QS World University Rankings by Subject -- Natural Sciences

Funding cuts threaten export success of UK universities, report warns

A new report observes that UK's international PSE market is "a highly knowledge-intensive export industry" and is a prime example of innovation in the public sector, but government funding cuts put that under threat. The report states the UK's main competitors -- including Australia, Germany, and the US -- "have all increased public sector funding for higher education to stimulate economic growth." Funding uncertainties for UK institutions "should be viewed as cause for concern," with future sharp cuts in capital funding "a particular worry," the report says. Other concerns cited include the end of funding under the prime minister's initiative to promote UK abroad, and the recent tightening of visa rules. Times Higher Education | Read the report

Distance ed enrolment rises at US community colleges

In a new US survey, community colleges reported a 9% increase in their distance education enrolments from fall 2009 to fall 2010. 39% of responding 2-year institutions noted that this was "typical growth for distance education classes." 37% attributed the growth to the "downturn in the economy," and 12% cited a "new enrolment initiative." 81% of the institutions surveyed reported that they offer at least one "online degree," a 6% increase over the previous year. 21% offered hybrid courses, up 15% from the year before. More than two-thirds of respondents reported that "demand exceeds their distance education class offerings." Inside Higher Ed

US woman claims college forced her out over Facebook hearsay

A former Community College of Allegheny County student claims she was wrongly forced out of the Pennsylvania-based institution's radiology program over a Facebook posting by someone apparently passing along gossip regarding comments the woman made to her sister about the odd behaviour of a hospital technician she was shadowing for her course work. In her lawsuit against the school, the woman alleges that college officials questioned her about the post, told her she had violated school policy, and said she could either withdraw from or fail the course. Claiming the college denied her due process, the woman is seeking damages for the alleged civil rights violation, as well as tuition reimbursement and the cost of having to attend a new institution and any money she will lose by delaying her career in radiology. Associated Press