Top Ten

September 14, 2011

McGill student leaders, MUNACA dispute university's stance that all is fine during strike

McGill University student leaders are upset that school officials have been saying that everything is fine at the institution despite what they say are countless disruptions to campus life -- including reduced operating hours for libraries and administrative services -- since the McGill University Non-Academic Certified Association (MUNACA) began a strike 2 weeks ago. "It is shocking the university is saying everything is okay when the reality is the university is running at reduced capacity," says a student society executive. "When they say it's business as usual, it's simply not true." MUNACA's president also challenges administration's stance that services have not been seriously been affected by the job action. "It's not going as smoothly as they like us to believe," he says. McGill's vice-principal of administration and finance acknowledges that it is not business as usual as the university, but the situation is not calamitous. "We're making do and trying to minimize the impact," he says. Montreal Gazette

Performance-based rebates part of Manitoba Liberals' PSE pledges

On Tuesday Manitoba Liberal Leader Jon Gerrard announced a $57-million PSE package he says is unprecedented in the province's history. Under a Liberal government, students who perform well in grade school would be eligible for financial credits toward their PSE tuition, and PSE students with a high GPA would be eligible for an in-school tuition rebate. The party also proposes a grant in the first year of higher education for students who demonstrate leadership. Gerrard says the Liberals would cap tuition at the level of inflation, provide free bus passes for PSE students, and exempt colleges and universities from paying payroll taxes, a move he speculates would save millions of dollars annually. Manitoba Liberals News | Winnipeg Free Press

AUCC launches online resource to help universities improve quality of undergraduate education

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada has revealed an new online resource called Great Beginnings: Enhancing quality and innovation in undergraduate education, which was developed after an AUCC-led workshop on transforming undergraduate education held in March. The resource features case studies of good practices in undergraduate education, a report on the workshop, a bibliography of related articles and publications, and news items on the subject. AUCC News Release | Great Beginnings

PSE the best investment one can make, says TD Economics report

Student debt loads and the recent weakness in the youth job market has led some to wonder whether a diploma or degree is worth the cost -- a perspective that is "fallacious," argues a new TD Economics report. The report acknowledges that "the immediate cost can be daunting and the resulting debt can be a major burden"; the main problem is that the benefits -- resulting in a higher standard of living -- accumulate over a person's lifetime while the cost is upfront, suggesting that the investment likely needs financing through family, government support, or private borrowing. The sad reality, the report says, is that most Canadians, and especially those from low-income households, overestimate the cost and underestimate the benefits from higher education. The report states the criticism that young people are taking on debt but gainful employment is unavailable is based on perceptions on the current state of the job market, and that the observed weakness in youth employment is often overstated. Read the report

uSask enrolment increases for third consecutive year

The University of Saskatchewan reports that fall enrolment is up for the third straight year. To date, enrolment has risen 3.5% over the same period last year. This growth will bring uSask's student population to well over 20,000 once fall semester registration is completed next Monday. Although the exact number of foreign students is not yet available, early figures show that international-student numbers will increase this year, with China, Nigeria, India, Iran, Bangladesh, and the US being the top 6 nations from which international students are coming. uSask News Release

SFU enrols 73 new Aboriginal students this fall

Early fall enrolment numbers show about 51 new undergraduate students of Canadian Aboriginal descent are attending Simon Fraser University, and 15 of them were admitted through the institution's Aboriginal Undergraduate Admission Policy. SFU has admitted 22 new graduate students of Aboriginal descent, bringing a total of 73 undergraduate and graduate students of Aboriginal descent entering the institution this fall. SFU aims to bring its Aboriginal student population up to 10% more than its current number in accordance with the institution's 3-year academic plan. SFU News Release

uWindsor arts, social sciences faculty adopts tool to identify, help students at academic risk

The University of Windsor's Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences has launched a new "early warning" system targeting first-year students at risk of flunking out. After logging into the system, instructors can flag the name of any student who received a grade in the D to F range on the first assignment of the term that counts for 10% or more of their final grade. Students identified with having 2 or more failing grades in separate courses will be contacted by a departmental academic advisor and asked to come in for counselling so they can get back on track. The faculty's associate dean of administrative affairs says he hopes that by giving advice before the voluntary withdrawal deadline, students will get the assistance they need, perform better, and have a more successful first year. uWindsor News Release | Windsor Star

George Brown College president on bringing student life to Toronto's waterfront

In a recent interview with the Globe and Mail, George Brown College president Anne Sado discusses the institution's $175-million waterfront campus, set to be completed a year from now. The college was looking for additional space and few options were available at its existing campus, she says of taking George Brown to the waterfront. The college had a vision for a new health sciences building designed to support the type of interprofessional education it wanted to offer its students. The need for more space was "huge," Sado says, as George Brown has a very large, growing health program. She "absolutely" envisions the campus as part of a larger waterfront plan. "The life that students coming and going for so many hours every day is going to bring is very positive." Globe and Mail

NBCC opens Allied Health Education Centre in Saint John

On September 1 New Brunswick Community College officially opened its Applied Health Education Centre, located at the University of New Brunswick's Saint John campus. Having received $18 million in provincial funding, the 43,000-square-foot centre will house NBCC's health-related programs, which include licensed practical nursing, medical laboratory technology, and respiratory therapy. The 3-level facility will allow for expanded learning opportunities by collaborating with the Dalhousie Medical School, the Saint John Regional Hospital, and UNBSJ. NB News Release

Ryerson athletics department launches new brand

Ryerson University's Department of Athletics and Recreation has revealed a new logo ahead of the upcoming Rams season. The university says the "determined ram" is a modern look for the department, reflecting the Rams' future era in sports. The new design, the institution says, "embodies the emotion and energy of Ryerson while getting students pumped for competition." The university's athletic director says he has "heard the font described as: funky, edgy, and innovative -- I think these are great words that represent our university and our students." Ryerson News