Top Ten

August 31, 2011

Job action by SIAST instructors possible, radio station reports

According to documents obtained by 900 CKBI, a Prince Albert radio station, Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology instructors may undertake job action at the beginning of the school year. The documents indicate that the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees Union (SGEU) are selecting picket captains at SIAST campuses in Saskatoon, Regina, Prince Albert, and Moose Jaw. The union previously rejected SIAST's final offer of a 5.5% wage increase over 3 years. In January mediated contract talks broke down with SGEU stating it had made concessions and that the Saskatchewan government was directing SIAST's position from behind the scenes. The instructors have been in a legal strike position since last November. Canadian Press | 980 CJME

Rising university tuition fees increasing pressure on Ontario families, study finds

A new Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives report observes that Ontario's PSE financing system is becoming less equitable and more regressive for families. The report states that if a middle-income Ontario family dedicated every penny of their after-tax earnings toward their child's university tuition costs as of today, they would have to work 195 days before they paid for a 4-year degree. In 1990, it would have taken the same family just 87 days. The study offers alternatives involving the corporate and personal tax system that would roll back tuition fees to 1990 levels or eliminate undergraduate fees altogether. The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations is concerned about the study's findings, which show the province's tuition fees are disproportionately affecting low- and middle-income families. The Canadian Federation of Students calls on all Ontario political parties to adopt the report's recommendations. CCPA News Release | OCUFA News Release | CFS News Release | Read the report

Ontario Liberals pledge doubling length of teacher education

If re-elected in October, Ontario's governing Liberals would extend teachers college from one to 2 years to further improve teacher education. A 2-year program would mean that student teachers would spend more time in the classroom, thus gaining even more practical experience, the party says. Though teachers in the province already rank highly, the proposed change is said to be based on international models in nations such as Finland, Singapore, and Japan, which are leaders in standardized testing. The move would address a perceived over-supply of qualified teachers -- a two-year program would see 4,500 new teachers added to the system per year instead of 9,000. The extended program is expected to come at no extra cost to the province, which will continue to invest about $77 million a year in teacher training. Ontario Liberal Party News Release | Globe and Mail

uWaterloo, Conestoga partner on $130-million research centre for seniors

The University of Waterloo announced Monday it will house a $130-million senior health care and wellness research centre. The development on uWaterloo's north campus will involve 3 phases, beginning with a 192-bed long-term care home, to which the Ontario government is contributing $20 million in capital costs. It will include a specialized building where faculty, staff, and students from uWaterloo, Conestoga College, and the Schlegel-University of Waterloo Research Institute for Aging will work and learn with residents and staff from the adjacent care home. The other phases will entail assisted living and independent living for seniors and a primary care health centre. As part of the project, the Schlegel family, whose Schlegel Villages will own and operate the care home, will provide $45 million over 20 years to fund research chairs at uWaterloo and Conestoga, as well as $3 million for the research centre's capital costs. First-phase construction is expected to be completed by late spring 2014. uWaterloo News Release | Waterloo Region Record

York U fall enrolment largest ever

York University is preparing for the largest enrolment class in its history, with nearly 55,000 students expected this fall. The institution has increased its student intake to 11,100 spaces - including a first-year cohort of 6,100 students -- due to more applications in the university's health, science, and applied science programs. The fall class includes more than 1,500 international students, up from last year's intake of 900 students. York U also reports that the average student entrance grade will exceed 80% this year. York U News Release | Y-File

Bishop's U to welcome largest entering class

Bishop's University reports that this year's entering class is expected to be nearly 925 students -- a 10% increase over last year's entering class, making it the largest incoming student cohort in the Quebec-based institution's history. Full-time student enrolment is expected to reach 2,250, surpassing an objective set in 2009 to have 2,200 students enrolled by 2013-14. Bishop's U says the growth is extremely positive news, as funding is directly related to enrolment. Since 2009 the institution has seen significant increases in applications (32%), admitted students (29%), prospective student tours (80%), and the entering class size (21.5%). Bishop's U News Release

Centennial Progress campus opens new library and academic facility

Last Friday Centennial College celebrated the completion of its $52.5-million library and academic facility at its Progress campus in Scarborough. The 103,500-square-foot, 4-storey building features a full-service library nearly double the size of the previous library, as well as 22 classrooms, laboratory space, and a 200-seat lecture theatre. Built to LEED Gold certification standards, the facility recycles its grey water, supports vegetation on its green roof, and features a 16.5-metre-high bio-wall of live plants that can remove indoor airborne contaminants. The building gives the college the space it hasn't had to meet demand in recent years. "This campus is already fully scheduled," says Centennial president Ann Buller. "(Without the building) we would have had to say no to people who wanted to come here." Centennial Media Advisory |

Pearson, Eminata group partner on iPad-based e-textbook initiative

Pearson, a global learning company, and Eminata Group, a Vancouver-based educational conglomerate, announced that as of today, students at institutions under the Eminata umbrella -- CDI College, Vancouver Career College, and Reeves College -- will receive all of their course content via Pearson's eText for iPad application. The app presents digital content in the same high resolution as on a computer, and allows students to add notes, highlights, and bookmarks that they can access later on their Mac or PC. The partnership is the largest post-secondary institutional initiative for iPad-based e-textbooks in North America. Pearson News Release

UQAM develops mobile website

On Monday the Université du Québec à Montréal launched UQAM Mobile, the first mobile version of an institutional website among Quebec universities. Functional on Android-operated smartphones, Blackberrys, and iPhones, the mobile site allows users to orient themselves on UQAM's campus through their phone's GPS function, as well as retrieve the coordinates of another person on campus. Students can use UQAM Mobile to consult their class schedule, view the buildings in which their classes are located, and access their grades. UQAM's School of Management will soon launch a mobile version of its site, and other adaptations are in the works. UQAM News Release (in French) | UQAM Mobile

2010 high school grads say college is worth it, US survey finds

One year out of high school, most members of the Class of 2010 believe earning a college degree is "definitely" worth it, according to a new survey conducted for the US-based College Board. Of the 1,507 respondents, 86% said that a college degree is worth the time and money -- including three-quarters of those not currently enrolled in college. More than half of surveyed students who went on to college said that affording it was very or pretty challenging, while 56% of those who did not enrol cited affordability as a key factor. 83% of those who did not attend college this past academic year said they want to complete a degree someday, while one-third of such students reported finding a good job with a high school diploma. Even in the current economic climate, two-thirds of respondents said they were very or somewhat optimistic about future employment opportunities for their generation. College Board News Release | The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access) | Read the report