Top Ten

October 26, 2011

Quebec professors against tuition fee increase

The Fédération québecoise des professeures et professeurs d'université (FQPPU) adopted a motion last week reaffirming its opposition to the tuition fee increase announced in Quebec's 2011-12 budget. The FQPPU worries that the fee hike could lead to a decline in enrolment, particularly among low-income students. The organization says the tuition fee increase will add to the financial burden on students and families, increase student debt, and create attendance problems. The FQPPU does not believe an enhanced loan and bursary system can meet the needs. Arguing that the province is "falsely" presenting a tuition fee increase as the only way to ensure adequate funding for universities, the FQPPU is calling for a public debate on the issue of university financing. FQPPU News Release (in French) | Montreal Gazette

uManitoba to apologize for role in residential schools

Today University of Manitoba president David Barnard will apologize to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for the institution's role in educating people who operated the residential school system. The statement is believed to be the first time a Canadian university has apologized for playing a role in residential schools. Barnard says it is especially important for uManitoba's Aboriginal students that the institution issue the apology. Indigenous achievement is one of uManitoba's top priorities, and the institution hopes the statement will help move that reconciliation process forward, Barnard says. Winnipeg Free Press

Maclean's releases 2011 University Rankings issue

The 21st annual Maclean's University Rankings issue hits newsstands today. For the seventh consecutive year, McGill University took the top spot in the medical-doctoral category. Simon Fraser University placed first in the comprehensive category for the fourth year in a row. Brock, Wilfrid Laurier, and Ryerson Universities all make their debut in the comprehensive category; they were moved from the primarily undergraduate category this year in recognition of both the number of their graduate offerings and the size of their student body. This year marks the fifteenth time Mount Allison University has taken the number-one spot in the primarily undergraduate category. The magazine ranks universities on performance measures in 6 broad areas: student/classes, faculty, resources, student support, library, and reputation. Maclean's News Release | Maclean's 2011 University Rankings

International students in Manitoba to receive free health care

Starting April 1, 2012, all international students attending high school and PSE institutions in Manitoba will receive free Manitoba Health coverage, as will their spouses and dependents. A government spokeswoman says the move is designed to give Manitoba a competitive edge in recruiting international students, whom the government hopes will reside in the province permanently. Currently, foreign students in Manitoba must enrol in the private Manitoba International Student Health Insurance Plan, whose annual premiums are tacked on to tuition fees. Winnipeg Sun

Canadian higher education sector spent $11 billion on R&D in 2009-10

Statistics Canada reports that in 2009-10, the higher education sector spent $11 billion on research and development, up 0.8% from 2008-09. Spending on higher education R&D in the natural sciences and engineering increased by 0.6% to $8.8 billion, while spending in the social sciences and humanities rose by 1.6% to $2.2 billion. The higher education sector provided $5.1 billion in self-funding for R&D in 2009-10, up 1.3% from a year earlier. The sector accounted for 46% of total funding. The federal government remained the second largest funding source for higher education R&D, contributing $2.9 billion, up 2.7% over 2008-09. This represented 26% of overall funding. Statistics Canada

NorQuest survey identifies many barriers regional learners face in accessing adult education

In its new Community Adult Learning Needs Assessment Report, Edmonton-based NorQuest College concludes that regional adult learners still face considerable obstacles in accessing further education. Issues such as lack of technology, poor Internet access, and limited e-learning opportunities may become less significant over time; however, survey respondents cited a number of barriers, such as cost and conflicting work and families schedules, that will likely persist in their pursuit of education. Both employers and community members cited awareness of and access to funding opportunities as a necessary component for supporting adult education. The report states that one possible way Comprehensive Community Institutions like NorQuest could support the reduction of obstacles for regional learners in the future would be to work with communities in developing a plan to provide student services functions, such as student aid and career planning. Read the report

St. Clair wind turbine technician program on hold until tower is purchased

St. Clair College's new 2-year wind turbine technician program is on hold as there is no funding to purchase a 25-metre tower and parts to train on -- both are critical for the second year of the diploma program. To move forward, St. Clair needs some of the mechanisms found inside the top of the turbines, as well as the tower, which costs $500,000. It the college got word that funding was coming, it would be able to run the second year of the program in 2013, says a St. Clair official. CBC

Boréal opens new restaurant

Collège Boréal has launched its new restaurant "Au pied du rocher," which will operate as a laboratory for the Chef Training program established last month at the Sudbury campus. With a menu highlighting French cuisine as well as regional and Métis flavours, the 10,000-square-foot culinary complex features wine cellars, a wine and mixology lab, a large glass-enclosed laboratory kitchen, a bakery, and 2 classrooms. Boréal News Release

SFU to offer Canada's first EMBA in Aboriginal Business and Leadership

Starting next fall, Simon Fraser University's Beedie School of Business will offer Canada's first Executive MBA in Aboriginal Business and Leadership. The program will meet an increasing need for senior-level management education for Aboriginal managers and entrepreneurs, as well as individuals and organizations working with Aboriginal communities. Classes are set to begin next September in Vancouver, and some may also be held in First Nations communities. SFU News Release

Confidence issues hindering women from becoming engineers, study finds

According to new US research, women who start college as engineering majors are less likely than men to remain in these majors and to believe they will become professional engineers due to a lack of "expertise confidence" and "career-fit confidence." The confidence issue "stems from very subtle differences in the way that men and women are treated in engineering programs and from cultural ideologies about what it means to be a competent engineer," says the study's lead author. While the researchers' sample is small (288 students at 4 institutions), they found no evidence that women's desire to have families leads them to drop their engineering major or impacts whether they believe they will become professional engineers. For both men and women, the study found no evidence that negative math self-assessment predicts persistence in engineering majors or impacts whether they believe they will work in the profession in the future. American Sociology Association News Release