Top Ten

November 24, 2011

CAUT condemns Manitoba's intervention in Brandon U faculty strike

In a letter to Manitoba Labour and Immigration Minister Jennifer Howard, the Canadian Association of University Teachers writes that its executive has voted unanimously for a motion condemning her decision to order striking Brandon University Faculty Association members to vote on the latest contract offer from the institution. The vote will take place next Tuesday and Wednesday in Winnipeg, then on Thursday in Brandon. "The effect of the Government’s intervention is to undermine the collective bargaining process by taking away the employer’s incentive to negotiate, and thereby likely prolonging the strike," CAUT states in its letter. The organization calls upon Howard and the Manitoba government to live up to her commitment to collective bargaining by allowing Brandon U and the faculty association to resolve the labour dispute themselves. CAUT News | CBC

Update on proposed Dal-NSAC merger

While there is still much work to be done toward a planned merger between Dalhousie University and Nova Scotia Agricultural College, the process is moving along according to schedule, says Dal's associate VP of academic programs, who is Dal's lead on the project. The parties involved -- the 2 PSE institutions and the Nova Scotia government -- hope to have next fall's cohort start their studies as Dal students. Meeting this goal will require provincial legislation to be passed next spring, meaning that a working agreement for a merger needs to be reached by year's end. The proposed governance structure would see NSAC become a campus of Dal (with a name yet to be determined). It would be led by a campus principal/dean who would oversee both the campus' academic and operational elements. The campus would also have an advisory body with government and industry representation, ensuring it fulfills its community-focused agricultural mandate. Dal News |

UWO refocuses fundraising initiative with new $750-million goal

The University of Western Ontario has refocused its fundraising campaign, hoping to raise $750 million by 2018 toward a new set of realigned goals. These targets include supporting a tripling of undergraduate student scholarships; providing over 2,000 endowed or expendable graduate student awards; adding 100 new endowed chairs; building internationally significant research clusters and developing academic programs that span faculties and disciplines; and providing an environment of support and enrichment for students to shape and enhance their ability to act as leaders in their disciplines and communities once they leave UWO. Officially launched in 2007, the campaign has so far secured $255 million in commitments (as of the end of October) toward the $750-million goal. Western News

Out-of-province, international enrolment driving NS universities' export revenue growth

According to a study conducted for the Council of Nova Scotia University Presidents (CONSUP), Nova Scotia universities generate $750 million in export revenue each year, putting the university sector among the province's top 5 export sectors. The report attributes the export revenue growth to the institutions' continued success at attracting more out-of-province and international students, who represent 43% of total university enrolments in Nova Scotia. The study warns that sustained reductions in provincial support could unintentionally harm universities by hindering their ability to continue to attract and retain students, jeopardizing the quality of the learning experience provided for students, and reducing the institutions' regional, national, and international competitiveness. The provincial government "has a critically important role to play to ensure Nova Scotia remains an education destination of choice in Canada and the world," says Cape Breton University president and CONSUP chair John Harker. CONSUP News Release | Executive Summary | Full Report

uWindsor board approves purchase of Windsor Star building

On Tuesday, the University of Windsor's board of governors voted to move the School of Social Work and the Centre for Executive and Professional Education (CEPE) to the Windsor Star building in downtown Windsor. The potential purchase of the property was first announced this past spring, with news that uWindsor would move its music, visual arts, and film production programs to the Armouries building downtown with the support of a combined $25-million contribution from the municipal and Ontario governments. uWindsor president Alan Wildeman sees the central location of the Windsor Star property between St. Clair College's Centre for the Arts and the college's Mediaplex facility as an opportunity to create synergies between the 2 PSE schools. Architectural designs for the new social work and CEPE facility, as well as for the Amouries, will be released in the coming months. uWindsor Daily News | Windsor Star

uSask celebrates completed KIP projects

On November 18, the University of Saskatchewan celebrated the completion of the upgrade and enhancement to the infrastructure and facilities at its Western College of Veterinary Medicine, providing diagnostic capacity and research in animal health, environmental health, food safety, and public health. The other completed projects funded by the Knowledge Infrastructure Program are the campus-wide roof renewal and the construction of a steam tunnel connecting the Canadian Light Source and Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization. The federal and provincial governments and uSask provided a combined $27.6-million in funding to these projects. Saskatchewan News Release

Queen's senate approves academic plan

On Tuesday, Queen's University's senate unanimously endorsed an academic plan for the institution. The plan identifies 4 core pillars of the academy: the student learning experience; disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity; reaching beyond: globalism, diversity, and inclusion at Queen's; and health, wellness, and community. Among the recommendations relating to these pillars are making the teaching and learning of the Fundamental Academic Skills (such as critical thinking and writing) a priority; encouraging inter-departmental cooperation; making the recruitment of Aboriginal students, faculty, and staff a priority; continuing efforts to attract and engage female students in science and engineering; and continuing to solicit feedback about how to make the campus more safe and welcoming. Queen's News Centre | Academic Plan 2011

Conestoga ad campaign targets both students and parents

This past summer, Conestoga College launched a multimedia advertising campaign whose primary targets are prospective students aged 18 to 24, but is also geared toward their parents, whom Conestoga's executive director of marketing describes as "the greatest influencers in a student's post-secondary decision." Focusing on the theme "What you do here...counts out there," the campaign features current students, alumni, and faculty members, and promotes Conestoga as an institution that connects life and learning by providing students with the practical knowledge and hands-on skills to succeed in the real world. Scheduled to run through the end of March 2012, the campaign covers Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, and surrounding areas. Conestoga News | Campaign Creative

System-wide reform needed to improve high school education

A new report commissioned by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario suggests that broad changes across the entire secondary school system, rather than isolated adjustments, are required to improve the system. After comparing the high school systems of Canada, England, Finland, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, and the US, the report argues that adopting small changes from other countries will not lead to success. Instead, the “key to improvement appears to be an effort across an entire system, taking into account both external evidence and local context.” The report concludes that the recent changes to the Ontario school system are causes for optimism, and that strengthening Ontario’s vocational training could further improve the province's high school system. Research Summary | Full Report

Aboriginal people fared worse than non-Aboriginal workforce in recession

Statistics Canada reports that in the economic downturn that started in 2008, employment dropped further and over a longer period among Aboriginal individuals than in the non-Aboriginal workforce in all age groups. Between 2008 and 2010, the workforce participation rate for Aboriginal youth aged 15 to 24 fell by 5 percentage points to 57%, while the rate among non-Aboriginal youth dropped 2.9 points to 64.8%. Participation rates declined fastest for Aboriginal youth in Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec. However, as fewer participated in the workforce, more Aboriginal young people were attending school. Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec saw the largest increase in their school attendance rate. The report observes that from 2009 to 2010, employment rates continued to fall among all education levels for Aboriginal core-aged workers (25 to 54 years old), with the largest declines happening among those who had completed PSE and those who had less than a secondary school education. Among non-Aboriginal individuals, employment rates rose slightly among graduates and non-graduates of secondary school. Statistics Canada | Globe and Mail | Read the report