Top Ten

June 7, 2011

PSE groups respond to federal budget

There is mixed reaction from post-secondary organizations over the reiteration of the 2011 federal budget Monday. Several groups welcome the increased investment in the 3 major granting councils, funding for research chairs, and funding to develop and implement an international education strategy. The Canadian Association of University Teachers says the Conservative government is ignoring rising student debt levels and tuition fees, and failing to provide sufficient funding for scientific research. While it is pleased to see positive reforms to the Canada Student Loan Program, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations says the budget offers nothing new to address the accessibility of the country's higher education system. With the reiteration of its budget, the federal government missed another opportunity to address the student debt crisis, says the Canadian Federation of Students. Department of Finance News Release | ACCC News Release | AUCC News Release | CAUT News | CBIE News Release | CREPUQ News Release | CFHSS News Release | Polytechnics Canada News Release | CASA News Release | CFS News Release

Former FNUC student on trial for defrauding student government

A former president of the First Nations University of Canada's Saskatoon campus student council is on trial this week, accused of defrauding the council of about $35,000 by writing cheques to himself between August 2006 and February 2007. 32-year-old Blue Pelletier was charged in summer 2009 after police investigated a complaint laid against him by the student council's former secretary in 2007. Regina Leader-Post

More compensation demanded over UPEI retirements

A human rights hearing began Monday to determine how much more money the University of Prince Edward Island may have to pay 3 additional professors it forced to retire at age 65. UPEI is already appealing an order to pay $700,000 in damages to the first group of employees who won discrimination complaints. Whatever decision the human rights panel reaches, payment of the claims is not guaranteed. The university is appealing the claims of the first group of professors before PEI's Supreme Court, which will decide whether any payment is warranted. CBC

Ontario to add 6,000 graduate spaces

Of the 60,000 new college and university spaces committed to in its 2011 budget, the Ontario government announced yesterday that 6,000 of these spaces would be for new graduate students. The Ontario Graduate Caucus of the Canadian Federation of Students is concerned that the government's announcement to expand graduate enrolment does not address issues of quality and accessibility faced by graduate students. "If the province wants to remain competitive in the knowledge-based economy, graduate students need the financial support to conduct relevant research and complete their degrees," says the chairperson of the caucus. Ontario News Release | CFS News Release

BC completes evaluation of 2007 Aboriginal PSE strategy

BC's advanced education ministry has completed its evaluation of the 2007 Aboriginal Post-Secondary Education Strategy and Action Plan. The report states that significant progress has been made as a result of the strategy initiatives, and recommends renewing, with some modifications, most of the funded initiatives. Strategy initiatives included piloting 3-year Aboriginal Service Plans at 11 public PSE institutions with a goal of increasing access, retention, and success for Aboriginal learners; reducing financial barriers through targeted scholarships; and enhancing opportunities for Aboriginal culture to be reflected within institutional infrastructure by funding Aboriginal gathering places. The evaluation identifies several areas for improvement, such as ministry and public PSE institutions' partnerships and engagement with Aboriginal communities. BC Ministry of Advanced Education website | Read the evaluation

Michener revises admissions process

In 2008 the Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences decided to make the change from traditional one-on-one interviews when it piloted the multiple mini interviews (MMI) admissions process with 2 programs. All 10 of the Toronto-based institution's full-time programs participated in the MMI process for the first time this year. Designed to rate candidates on their interpersonal skills, professionalism, and ethical/moral judgment, the MMI process can assess up to 200 people a day using a 4-cycle model. Each cycle has 5 circuits and each circuit can accommodate 10 applicants with 8 interview stations and 2 rest stations. Application numbers this year are high: 2,993 candidates applied, but just 790 were given the chance to be interviewed. With just 353 seats available in the fall term, it is clearly a competitive process, says Michener. Michener News Release

Med school curricula reform needed to produce more tech-savvy doctors

In an effort to redress deficiencies in the ability of future doctors to use electronic technologies for health purposes, Canada Health Infoway and the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada will explore curricula reform at national medical schools. The project will be guided by committee including faculty from 5 medical schools. The aim is to encourage medical schools to embed training on effective use of information technologies into existing courses, rather than developing new ones. CMAJ News

PSE not a high priority for Ottawa, CCAE conference delegates told

Speaking at the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education conference in Quebec City Monday, Toronto Star political columnist Chantal Hébert told delegates that the new majority Conservative government has priorities other than education on the horizon. The commitment to fund health care as its current level provides "an ideal shield for cuts everywhere else," and "education is not far from the top of the list of potential casualties," Hébert says. She urges education advancement professionals to seek out and cultivate those who might be "friends of education," and willing to speak for it, among provincial and federal governments and the official Opposition. CCAE News Release

McMaster develops mobile campus map

McMaster University has developed a mobile application called MacMap, which helps individuals find their way around campus. With the app, users are able to search for and locate buildings on campus and get directions from their current location. MacMap features include HSR Bus stops, McMaster Shuttle stops, and emergency phone locations. McMaster UTS website | MacMap on iTunes | MacMap for BlackBerry

Apple reveals iCloud

On Monday Apple Inc. unveiled a new service called iCloud, which will push a user's existing iTunes library onto Apple's servers, allowing users to access music from various devices. A user's photos, word documents, and other information will also be accessible, removing the onerous task of hooking devices up to a PC to download music and other files. The free service will replace Apple's $99-per-year MobileMe, the company's previous, failed attempt at cloud-based information sharing. Globe and Mail | Associated Press | iCloud