Top Ten

December 12, 2011

uRegina report shows provincial funding disparity between institution, uSask

The University of Regina is concerned with the amount of provincial funding it receives compared to the University of Saskatchewan. A recent uRegina document found that in the 2009-10 budget year, uRegina received provincial funding of $9,377 per full-time student, compared to $13,314 for uSask. In response to the report, uRegina president Vianne Timmons stresses that the Saskatchewan government has been listening to the institution's "need list," and that she does not want to see uSask lose any funding. The province's advanced education minister acknowledges there is "contested terrain regarding the amount of funding" between the 2 institutions, but notes uRegina and uSask have different roles reflecting their statuses as a comprehensive university and as a medical/doctoral university, respectively. The minister says the current government "has worked very hard to be fair to both -- with the knowledge that there’s always more to do." Regina Leader-Post

uAlberta arts faculty stakeholders seek alternatives to potential staff cuts

Writing for the Edmonton Journal, a group of graduate students in the University of Alberta's arts faculty comment on the Faculty of Arts Administration Process Review Project (AdPReP), the faculty's response to a $1.5-million cut in its operational budget, which could lead to support-staff layoffs in the new year. To the many students, faculty, and staff who have formed a coalition in support of arts faculty staff, "the AdPReP process stems from misplaced priorities and has thus far proved unreceptive to alternatives." The students write that "if AdPReP proceeds without reform and 15 staff cuts are imposed through this top-down process -- literally decimating administrative support -- some students may regret their decision to come here and actively discourage others." While there are no easy solutions to the complex problems faced by the arts faculty and uAlberta, the writers state that "all possible alternatives to staff cuts should be fairly considered and discussed at the department level before we make irreversible decisions that we may later regret." Edmonton Journal

Cumberland College celebrates new Nipawin campus

Friday marked the official grand opening of Saskatchewan-based Cumberland College's new Nipawin campus. The 1,576-square-metre addition to the Central Park Learning Centre features 9 classrooms, a computer lab, shop area, tutorial and study spaces, a conference room, a student lounge, and administrative spaces. The new campus will allow Cumberland to increase the number and type of training programs currently offered in Nipawin, particularly in the areas of energy, hydro, mineral, and mining sector training. Saskatchewan News Release

$13 million for skills training programs in BC

The BC government announced Friday an investment of more than $13 million in new employment skills training in regions throughout BC. Through the province's Employment Skills Access Initiative, eligible individuals are provided with tuition-free, group-based training at public PSE institutions to prepare them for entry or re-entry into the workforce. BC News Release

Campus Freedom Index measures state of free speech at Canadian universities

Developed by the Calgary-based Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, the 2011 Campus Freedom Index measures the commitment of 18 Canadian public universities, as well as their student unions, to uphold the right of students to express their beliefs, opinions, and philosophy on campus in a peaceful manner. The index assigns rankings in 4 categories: university policies and principles; university actions and practices; student union policies and principles; and student union actions and practices. In the 2 university categories, SFU, UWO, uToronto, uManitoba, MUN, and uSask were ranked as the best, while Dal, Queen's, uOttawa, uCalgary, and Carleton were listed as the worst. In the 2 student union categories, the student unions at SFU, UBC, uManitoba, and uToronto were listed as the best, while those as uOttawa, uCalgary, Carleton, MUN, and Lakehead were ranked as the worst. 2011 Campus Freedom Index | Report

PSE institutions scooping up XXX domain names to protect reputation

Some Canadian post-secondary schools are purchasing domain names that end with XXX in order to prevent Internet "squatters" from linking their institution with lewd content. Domain-name buyers include the University of Alberta and Grant MacEwan University, which have no intention of using the websites they have acquired. "Of course, the reason we would do this as an institution is to protect our reputation," says a spokesman for MacEwan, which registered 5 domain names. "We feel it's something that's necessary," adds the spokesman. "Because once something like this is out there, it's virtually impossible for us to do anything about it." Simon Fraser University has also bought triple-X domain names, which its chief information officer says was an obvious and automatic step in defending the institution. Edmonton Journal | Metro Vancouver

21 Canadian universities make Leiden Ranking

The Leiden Ranking is a global university ranking that uses a sophisticated set of bibliometric indicators to rate scientific performance to list the world's top 500 research universities. Unlike the rankings by Times Higher Education and QS World, the Leiden Ranking does not use reputational surveys or data provided by the institution themselves. 21 Canadian universities make the 2011-12 ranking. They are uToronto (87), UBC (103), McGill (140), McMaster (145), SFU (177), uOttawa (199), UVic (200), uMontréal (226), uLaval (249), Queen's (251), uAlberta (254), UoGuelph (273), uSherbrooke (286), uWaterloo (289), Dal (300), York U (318), UWO (330), uCalgary (337), Carleton (338), uManitoba (356), and uSask (424). University World News | Leiden Ranking 2011/2012

TRU enhances educational partnerships in Colombia

Thompson Rivers University officials travelled to Colombia this month to strengthen partnerships with PSE institutions in the Colombian cities of Medellin and Bogota. TRU has signed agreements with Universidad EAFIT to offer a dual bachelor's degree in Computer Science & Systems Engineering and to facilitate the exchange of students between the institutions. An agreement signed in Bogota will enhance educational ties through a scholarship program with the Columbian Institute of Education Credit and Technical Studies Abroad. Also on the agenda is an agreement to be signed with Universidad La Sabana to explore areas of cooperation. TRU News

Durham College eligible for SSHRC funding

Durham College's Office of Research Services and Innovation is now eligible to apply for research funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada through the Connection and Insight programs. The college says its diverse programs in the arts, communications, health, justice, media, sciences, and technology make it an ideal candidate to help advance social sciences and humanities research, particularly in SSHRC-identified priority areas of Aboriginal research, Canadian environmental issues, digital economy, and innovation. Durham College News Release

Niagara College adopts new sustainability targets

Last week, Niagara College launched a set of 5-year sustainability targets aimed at reducing the institution's environmental footprint and developing a renewed focus on environmental issues at the college. The institution has committed to reducing its paper consumption by half and achieving a 65% diversion rate for waste, while cutting its electricity consumption by 10%, its greenhouse gas emissions by 10%, and its water consumption by 5%. Niagara College has also developed a website dedicated to environmental issues at the institution, where students, faculty, and staff can sign an online pledge to strive for sustainability in all areas of their lives. Niagara College News | Sustainability Website