Top Ten

July 19, 2011

BC won't probe relationship between VCC, former building manager

BC's New Democrats are calling for a further probe of the relationship between Vancouver Community College and its former building manager, but the governing Liberals say the problems have been resolved and no more action is warranted. A recent Vancouver Courier story reported that VCC hired Burnaby-based KD Engineering to manage its buildings for 3 decades until 2006 without any bids or formal agreement, at times paying it over $1 million a year. A government audit found "significant non-compliance with life safety laws," along with "general neglect over a long period of time." BC's advanced education minister says there is "no need" for further investigation, stating that she thinks "most of the audit's recommendations were done or are in process." Vancouver Courier

Queen's faculty, staff endorse strike mandates

Members of Queen's University's 3 CUPE locals and members of the Queen's University Faculty Association (QUFA) have given their respective union executives strike mandates. At a meeting of CUPE members last week, 98% of those who voted favoured strike action. In a vote held last week, 78% of QUFA members cast a ballot; of those, 72% endorsed strike action. As of 12:01 am July 29, CUPE will be in a legal strike position and Queen's will be in a legal lockout position. Queen's News Centre

FPSE introduces new statement of bargaining principles

The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC has adopted a new statement of bargaining principles. The statement follows the university designation bestowed on 5 provincial colleges in 2008, which "has brought with it pressures to convert working conditions to the stratified tenure, non-tenure track realities of many old-line universities in Canada." The principles embrace broad access to tenure and academic freedom irrespective of the number of hours faculty work on a given campus, job protection, and a single salary scale. Inside Higher Ed

Colleges Ontario environmental scan highlights lagging resources

Colleges Ontario's 2011 Environmental Scan reports that per student revenues from operating grants and tuition fees for Ontario colleges continue to be the lowest among the provinces. Funding per student for colleges also continues to lag behind that for high schools and universities. In current dollars, the apprenticeship per diem had decreased slightly since 1995-96. After taking inflation into account, the per diem has decreased by 27%, a reduction offset in part by the student in-school fee. The scan states that for 2011-12, real operating funding per student is about 4% higher than it was in 1996-97. Colleges Ontario 2011 Environmental Scan

Ottawa announces new approach to address skills shortages

Earlier this month the federal government announced it is taking action to address skills shortages by developing a new, proactive approach to coordinate the information job seekers will need to find the employers who are hiring. The government will gather critical information and publish it on the Working in Canada website so individuals have a better picture of who in Canada is hiring and the skills that are required. HRSDC News Release | Working in Canada

Carleton architecture and urbanism school earns national accreditation

The Canadian Architectural Certification Board recently accredited Carleton University's Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism. The school is now officially licensed to train students in architecture until 2017, at which point the school will have to reapply for accreditation. In its decision the board cited the school's distinct emphasis on analog drawing and related model-making. The board also highlighted the school's various educational settings available to students, including overseas study, workshops, and elective courses. Carleton News Release

uRegina, South Korean university sign MOU

The University of Regina and Seoul-based Kookmin University has signed a memorandum of understanding that will provide opportunities for more students from South Korea to attend uRegina. It will also offer opportunities for academic and research collaborations between the 2 universities. The MOU entails a student exchange program and a joint international undergraduate degree program. uRegina News Release

New location for NSCC Amherst Community Learning Centre

Starting this fall, business students enrolled at Nova Scotia Community College's Amherst Community Learning Centre will be studying in a new space. Program demand drove NSCC to seek a flexible space that could readily adapt to demand for training, settling on the former TeleTech site within the Town Centre Mall, which is 5 times larger than the previous site. Once renovations are complete, the new location will feature 6 classrooms, 2 computer labs, a student services area, faculty space, and learning commons. NSCC News Release

Peterborough committee approves Trent private residence site plan

The City of Peterborough's planning committee has endorsed the site plan application for Trent University's proposed private student residence complex. The university has entered into a 99-year lease for the Water Street property with Residence Development Corp., which has plans for a first phase with about 310 beds, and a second phase with about 140 beds. City council will consider the site plan application at a meeting early next month. Peterborough Examiner

More Alberta high school students graduating

The Alberta government announced in June that the province's 3-year high school completion rate rose from 71.5% in 2009 to 72.6% in 2010. The dropout rate for students between the ages of 14 and 18 dropped from 4.3% in 2009 to 4.2% in 2010. The percentage of students completing high school within 5 years of entering Grade 10 remained stable at 79%. Alberta News Release