Top Ten

January 16, 2012

Arson connected to JIBC investigation

The RCMP have confirmed that an arson in West Vancouver Friday morning is connected to the ongoing investigation of criminal activity that has victimized individuals linked to the Justice Institute of British Columbia. The arson brings the number of victims connected to the investigation to 14. JIBC says it continues to be in close communication with the RCMP and fully cooperate with the investigation. RCMP News Release | JIBC News

uAlberta faces third year of tight budgets

University of Alberta students face larger classes and will see fewer professors as the institution deals with its third tight budget in as many years. uAlberta's provost says the institution is "very seriously concerned" about the impact of another year of "flatlining" revenues from both tuition and the provincial government, as well as declining investment income. Administrators have told deans to plan for further budget tightening in 2012 as the upcoming provincial budget is expected to hold the line on university operating grants. That funding represents approximately 65% of uAlberta's budget. The institution needs about a 4% increase annually to keep up with inflation and operating costs. If the provincial operating grant is frozen again, as expected, that will result in another 2% across-the-board cut for uAlberta. Edmonton Journal

TÉLUQ to return to independence

The Quebec government announced last week its intention to give Télé-Université (TÉLUQ), a distance-education provider, its previous status of college and therefore its full autonomy within the Université du Québec network. In the meantime, current students will receive a diploma from the Université du Québec à Montréal, with which TÉLUQ merged in 2005, even after the return of TÉLUQ's autonomy. Students admitted later will receive a diploma from uQuébec's board of governors, as is the case with other institutions in the uQuébec network. Coinciding with TÉLUQ's 40th anniversary, the return to autonomy will allow the institution to address more effectively its mission of teaching, research, and service to society. TÉLUQ News Release (in French) | Le Devoir (in French)

uWinnipeg considers purchasing downtown Bay building

The University of Winnipeg is in talks to buy the iconic downtown Hudson's Bay Company building. The institution has a pressing need for more real estate as it continues to expand its presence in the west downtown area, but instead of renting it wants to own its spaces. A uWinnipeg official says if the institution was to purchase the 75,000-square-foot facility, it would like the Bay to stay put, as the building is far more than the university needs. CBC

"Do we really need three new university campuses in Ontario?"

Writing for the Toronto Star, former Seneca College president Rick Miner says it's unlikely the Ontario government's plan for 3 new university campuses will address the challenge of more than 700,000 Ontarians being unemployable by 2021 because of insufficient education and training. Even if the new campuses are developed as teaching-oriented universities, they will eventually become "real" universities, with all the associated research and administrative costs, argues Miner, who writes that the added expenses for new university spaces is not likely to significantly change the number of individuals who are properly trained for the workforce. To increase PSE attainment levels, the government should focus on delivering higher education to people who, traditionally, would not have pursued any education past high school, says Miner. "Rather than being university fixated, let’s refocus the debate on models and approaches that break the mould and put students and our economy first." Toronto Star

R&D spending in PSE up 1%

Canada's gross domestic expenditures on research and development are expected to total $29.9 billion in 2011, a 2% increase from preliminary expenditures for 2010, reports Statistics Canada. The higher education sector projects spending of $11.3 billion, an increase of 1%. This sector's spending continues to experience steady, albeit modest, yearly increases. The PSE sector projects R&D funding at $5.2 billion for 2011. Statistics Canada

UBC Vancouver to introduce non-academic code of conduct

As of this month, the University of British Columbia's Vancouver campus will implement a new, detailed non-academic misconduct policy based on what the institution has deemed a successful model at the Okanagan campus. Students involved in a punishable activity will deal directly with a representative from the VP Students Office. At this stage students may accept responsibility for their actions and help decide what they should do to make amends. For more severe cases, UBC will establish a President's Non-Academic Misconduct Committee composed of students and a committee chair that will undertake an investigative process. The new policy is slated to be fully integrated by September 2012. The Ubyssey (student newspaper)

AUS introduces tougher penalties for headshots

Atlantic University Sport has instituted new tougher penalties for headshots with the hope that they will reduce the number of student athletes being seriously injured every year. "Any time a student misses school, it's a big issue," an AUS spokesman says. "We have to remember that our student athletes are students first." The new rules apply to all sports where players risk concussions. CBC

York U launches "President for a Day" contest for undergraduates

In what could be a first for Canada, York University president Mamdouh Shoukri plans to swap roles with an undergraduate student for a day and learn what student life is like. On February 28, Shoukri will attend the classes and other campus commitments of the winner of the "President for a Day" contest, in which participants must submit a resumé and a 500-word written or video essay answering the following question: "What would be your top three priorities that would directly impact students if you were appointed president of York University?" That same day, the winning student will be required to attend the president's meetings and take care of his other obligations and duties. The deadline for entries is February 6 and the winner will be announced on February 17. Y-File

Technology enhances educational experience, Concordia research finds

In a 40-year retrospective on the impact of technology in classrooms, Concordia University researchers suggest that technology delivers content and supports student achievement. The research brought together data from 60,000 elementary school, high school, and PSE students, and compared achievement in classes that used computer technology to those that used little or none. In the classrooms where computers were used to support teaching, the technology was found to have a small to moderate impact on learning and attitude. Researchers also found that technology works best when students are encouraged to think critically and communicate effectively. The research team now plans to evaluate what technologies work best for what subjects. Concordia News Release