Top Ten

September 2, 2011

Police investigate alleged $1.2-million fraud at York U

York University officials confirm that former employees who left the institution in 2010 are under scrutiny as Toronto police investigate an estimated $1.2-million fraud allegedly committed over a 3-year period at the university. The Globe and Mail reports that a once-senior, long-term employee at York U is the focal point of the probe. Following a preliminary investigation suggesting that fraud had been committed between 2007 and early 2010, York U hired a forensic accounting firm to prepare a detailed report. In May the firm's file showed "a number of irregularities," and the institution "immediately handed over the relevant materials to the Toronto Police Service," with whom it has been working closely ever since, according to a York U statement. University officials anticipate that criminal charges will be laid, but have declined to disclose further information to avoid compromising the ongoing police investigation. York U Statement | Globe and Mail

Saint-Boniface officially a university

Collège universitaire Saint-Boniface is now Université de Saint-Boniface (USB), the Winnipeg-based institution announced Thursday. In April the Manitoba government introduced legislation to grant the institution full university status. While USB has the flexibility to widen its partnership network, it remains affiliated with the University of Manitoba. USB graduates will continue to receive diplomas from uManitoba, and faculty and staff will still enjoy the same benefits as before. USB's missions and programs remain unchanged. USB News Release

Holland College opens West Prince campus

On Friday Holland College celebrated the grand opening of its West Prince campus in Alberton, PEI. Able to accommodate up to 100 students and 14 full- and part-time staff, the new 21,400-square-foot, 2-storey campus features 2 trades shop spaces, a lecture theatre, classrooms, a student lounge and lunchroom, a staff lounge, 2 computer labs, and a resource room. Holland College president Brian McMillan says the $6-million campus will provide training for residents in the entire West Prince area. PEI News Release

Concordia board to vote on external governance review committee's recommendations

An ad hoc governance review committee at Concordia University has fully endorsed recommendations made by an external governance review committee, with some modifications, and is asking the board of governors to vote on them at the end of September. The report outlines 38 recommendations, including reducing the size of the board and strengthening the senate. The 21 recommendations concerning the board will be the focus this fall, while the senate still has to come to its own conclusions. Meanwhile, Concordia has begun the search for a new president, which will "be comprehensive in scope with an integral portion being a process of consultation." Concordia has invited members of the university community to complete a questionnaire relating to the search. Although no interviews have yet taken place, there should be some concrete news early next spring, says a Concordia official. Concordia News (governance update) | Concordia News (presidential search) | Montreal Gazette (board vote) | Montreal Gazette (presidential search)

Carleton-Rwanda journalism exchange suspended over funding shortage

Due to a lack of funds, Carleton University has suspended its Rwanda Initiative, a teaching partnership and student internship exchange program between Carleton's journalism school and the Rwandan people. The school has closed down the initiative's house in Rwanda's capital and laid off local staff after the University of Rwanda refused to keep paying rent on the house. A Carleton journalism professor who helped run the program says it costs $240,000 annually to operate the initiative, which will not continue until new funding and housing arrangements are secured. The journalism school has exhausted spare funding after its partnership agreement with the US government expired in May. Ottawa Citizen | CBC

Low educational financial literacy poses obstacle to PSE, HEQCO research finds

According to new research from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, among low-income students who pursue PSE -- whose numbers have remained static in Ontario over the last 2 decades -- approximately half are not taking advantage of government grants and loans. It may be due to a lack of financial literacy -- low-income students tend to vastly overestimate the cost of higher education, while both low- and high-income youth underestimate the economic benefits of a university education. According to the analysis, there are few programs in Canada addressing educational financial literacy and aimed at low-income youth. Researchers call for more Canadian studies on financial literacy as a barrier to higher education for low-income youth and on the effectiveness of financial literacy on helping such youth pursue PSE. HEQCO News Release | Research Summary

BVC housing project connects students with senior citizens

In collaboration with the Trinity Lodge Foundation of Alberta, Bow Valley College is piloting a student housing project at a seniors' apartment complex in downtown Calgary's East Village. In exchange for 5 hours of volunteer work each month helping senior residents, students get a subsidized rent of $300 per month. "We want to use this pilot to look at the possible synergies that could happen when two groups of people in different life cycles merge and interact," says the project leader, adding that the feedback his colleagues are receiving is that students appreciate the opportunity and enjoy the volunteer work. By the end of the year, up to 15 students could be residents, the project leader says. BVC News Release

Early figures show enrolment increase at uRegina

According to preliminary student registration numbers, as of the end of August, enrolment at the University of Regina was up by about 11% compared to the same time last year, bringing the number of students registered at the institution and its 3 federated colleges -- Campion College, Luther College, and the First Nations University of Canada -- to over 12,200 students. Overall course registrations have increased at the federated institutions, and the number of graduate students on campus has risen by more than 3%. One of the goals in uRegina's strategic plan was to stabilize its enrolments, and the institution continues to surpass that objective, says president Vianne Timmons. uRegina News Release

NB colleges anticipate strong enrolment figures

Since becoming independent of New Brunswick's community college network, the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design has invested in recruitment and marketing, and the efforts are paying off. The college projects to have at least 249 students enrolled this academic year, up from last year's 210 full-time students. New Brunswick Community College has seen a 10% increase in applications compared to this time last August -- an equivalent of 950 to 1,000 more applications. While it will be a few weeks more before NBCC will issue a report with more certainty in its figures, "we are very happy with this," says president Marilyn Luscombe. Daily Gleaner

uAlberta unveils redesigned website

Last week the University of Alberta launched a new-look site it says is not only easier to use, but also mobile-friendly and makes more room for social media. Among the new features are a look-up list of degree and continuing education programs, a video info-graph on uAlberta's national and international impact, video testimonials from students, mapping of all campuses, a consolidated news site, and a consolidated events calendar. Future Web additions will include recruitment sites for prospective domestic and international students. uAlberta News | uAlberta website