Top Ten

August 30, 2011

US campuses clean up, assess damage following tropical storm

Downgraded from a hurricane as it travelled along the Eastern Seaboard over the weekend, Tropical Storm Irene left US colleges with the task of clearing debris and assessing damage. Like many other institutions, North Carolina's East Carolina University was closed Monday so repairs could continue uninterrupted by traffic; workers there removed fallen branches and uprooted trees, and cleaned up water damage to some residence units. Several institutions experienced telephone and power outages, as well as loss of Internet connection. The storm has led many colleges to push back beginning of classes and residence move-in dates. While some campuses experienced minor damage, others were not so lucky. At Vermont-based Castleton State College, the storm turned a stream into a river that flowed across sports fields and over a parking lot and burst into the basement of the institution's athletics complex, which houses locker rooms and football equipment. "We'll basically have to gut the facility and start from scratch," says a Castleton State official. The Chronicle of Higher Education (August 28) | The Chronicle of Higher Education (August 29)

Former NB PSE minister worries Tories will wipe out Liberals' initiatives

Donald Arseneault, who served as New Brunswick's post-secondary education, training and labour minister in the previous Liberal government, says the governing Tories' minister, Martine Coulombe, is not listening to students and is undoing the work of the past government. The PC government ended a tuition and ancillary fee freeze and reintroduced the parental contribution to the provincial student loan assessment -- reversing Liberal initiatives Arseneault says were designed to make higher education more accessible. Last week Coulombe met with New Brunswick Student Alliance (NBSA) members and student union representatives from across the province to discuss the Tories' changes. The NBSA says it was not able to convince Coulombe to change her mind about the parental contribution. With accessibility his biggest concern, Arseneault worries the government will start clawing back on some other programs, such as the Timely Completion Benefit. Daily Gleaner | NBSA News Release

Dal prof quits over parking space shortage at university

Dalhousie University professor Dan Middlemiss says a severe parking spot shortage at the institution has forced him to resign. After waiting for over an hour in line Monday to buy the first available parking passes, Middlemiss decided to quit. Parking has always been a problem at Dal, he says, but this time he simply had enough. With 2,000 parking spaces for 17,000 students and 3,000 employees, Dal has revised its pass selling policy. Instead of overselling general passes by 65%, the university is now overselling by 20% to 30% in order to have fewer people eligible for the same number of parking spaces. Dal plans to transform one of its largest lots into a reserved parking area for about 200 drivers and install over 100 new bicycle racks. A long-term plan calls for more bike racks, transit passes for staff, and a large parking garage. CBC | Dal News

Postscript: Sep 1, 2011
Dalhousie University has reversed its decision to limit the number of general passes it sells for its campus parking spots following protests when the passes sold out earlier this week. Dal's vice-president of finance and administration acknowledges that the move will not help address the ongoing parking shortage, and that announcing the change days before classes begin was not a good idea. A Dal professor has quit over the campus parking situation. Chronicle Herald

Low tuition costs, student mobility priorities in Manitoba NDP 4-year vision

As the Manitoba election approaches, Premier Greg Selinger has released his vision for the province in 2015. Under the priority of jobs and training opportunities, the governing NDP pledges to facilitate credit transfer between colleges and universities, help recent graduates stay in the province, and create more jobs for First Nations and M├ętis residents through innovative training. The party promises to continue to limit tuition fee increases, while also giving colleges and universities the stable funding they need to offer excellent programming. Other PSE-related initiatives outlined in the document include making it easier for students to graduate without a mountain of debt, providing more training close to home for rural students, and helping rural students attend PSE away from home if they wish to do so. Greg Selinger News | Read the document

CMEC gives jurisdictional updates on activities regarding credit transfer

On Monday the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada released a report providing a summary of the actions undertaken by member jurisdictions of the CMEC Working Group on Credit Transfer, which was established in April 2002. According to the document, each jurisdiction has reported making progress in its credit-transfer system and in mechanisms within its PSE sectors. Jurisdictions that had well-developed credit-transfer systems when the initiative began have continued to expand and enhance those systems. Jurisdictions with less-developed transfer strategies have made progress, with achievements including the introduction or expansion of online transfer guides, increased number of agreements in targeted program areas, and broader acceptance of credit-transfer opportunities. Read the report

StatsCan releases preliminary data on university faculty salaries for 2010-11

Yesterday Statistics Canada released information on the salaries of full-time teaching staff at 62 universities for the 2010-11 academic year. According to the salary scales included in the preliminary report, the highest salary among full professors was reported by University of Waterloo affiliate Conrad Grebel University College ($170,391), while the lowest salary among full professors was reported by University of Saskatchewan affiliate Horizon College and Seminary ($42,000). Statistics Canada | Read the report

High demand for BVC career programs

Bow Valley College reports that it continues to see strong fall application and enrolment numbers in its career programs. The Calgary-based institution says its strong enrolment is based on the addition of a new Justice Studies Diploma with specializations in Correctional Studies, Law Enforcement or Youth Justice, as well as a Business Administration Risk Management specialization and an Aboriginal Addictions Counselling program. BVC has added more seats to in-demand career programs such as its Business Administration Diploma and Health Care Aide Certificate program. In addition to its offerings in Calgary, the college is expanding its online and blended programming in regional communities. BVC News Release

UBC completes Biological Sciences Complex renovation

On Monday the University of British Columbia unveiled its renovated Biological Sciences Complex, whose west and south wings received a $61.8-million makeover that provides more than 2,200 undergraduate students and 370 researchers, staff, and graduate students with new research labs and classrooms featuring the latest sustainability features, including one invented at the institution. The project is part of the second phase of UBC Renew, a multi-stage plan to renovate and refurbish -- rather than demolish and rebuild -- aging facilities at the Vancouver campus. UBC News Release

York U law school unveils new building, website

On Monday York University Osgoode Hall Law School welcomed new students in its new facility, in which some work remains to be done (the cafeteria and library are slated to open later this week). Meanwhile, new video screens in the building's atrium are showing colourful "before" and "after" shots of the $50-million renovation and expansion project. Monday also marked the launch of Osgoode's new website, which features student-focused pages, social media content, and enhanced search capabilities for material such as faculty publications and e-resources. Y-File | Osgoode website

AUCC launches new website

This week the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada unveiled a redesigned website, whose homepage features a rotating graphic banner showcasing the association's University Commons blog, its recent pre-budget submission, and the cross-Canada tour of Ursula, its mascot. The homepage includes recent news, a link to AUCC's Twitter account, and links to data on university enrolment, blog entries from Students for Development interns, and University Affairs, the association's magazine. AUCC website