Top Ten

March 26, 2012

Dal, NSAC to merge this summer

The Nova Scotia government and Dalhousie University announced Friday an agreement in principle to merge Nova Scotia Agricultural College with Dal in Truro-Bible Hill. NSAC will become the Faculty of Agriculture within Dal. The province's Department of Agriculture, Dal, and NSAC will collaborate on the transition until July 1, the effective date of the merger. NS News Release | Dal News

UCN students sue institution over midwifery program

4 former University College of the North midwifery students are suing the institution, alleging that UCN failed to hire sufficient instructors and provide adequate supervision, and neglected to ensure students attended the required number of births to complete their courses. The plaintiffs also claim they were not allowed to continue their studies after UCN relocated the midwifery degree program to Winnipeg in 2010. UCN states that "it was a term of the contracts" between the students and the institution that "the courses scheduled to be delivered in each term of the program were subject to change" without notice. The statement of defence also notes that UCN provided financial aid to the students to accommodate changes in the location of certain portions of the program. Although the program will have operated for 6 years by the fall, it has yet to see a student graduate, which is unlikely to occur until 2013. The program's director says UCN may not be in a position to admit new midwifery students until as late as 2014, in large part due to a shortage of midwives able to help students with practicums. Winnipeg Free Press

Charges laid against CÉGEP occupiers

Charges have been laid against 29 individuals alleged to have participated in an overnight occupation last month of Cégep du Vieux Montréal, as part of a protest that ended with 37 people, including 8 minors, being arrested. The individuals arrested were eventually released. The occupation-type demonstration followed a general-strike vote by students at the CÉGEP. As a group, the individuals charged are accused of participating in an unlawful assembly and 2 counts of mischief, which allege they prevented other people from having access to the campus, and that they caused more than $5,000 in damage. Meanwhile, Concordia University administration will now begin to lay charges under its Code of Rights and Responsibilities and Security Policy against those who block access to the institution's premises. Montreal Gazette | Concordia Notice

Canadian youth need more help in job market

With regard to Canada's youth employment rate, which is double the overall jobless rate, Youth Employment Services' president says the "situation is bad, because we need our young people in the workforce, we need their energy and new ideas and we need them to pay taxes." Organizations such as YES are pushing the government and the private sector to take more action by introducing more accessible co-op and professional job placements. Today's youth are in a uniquely difficult situation, says a TD economist. In a recent report, he found that increased competition leads PSE graduates to take jobs further away from the subjects of their degrees, or pulls them out of the job market altogether. While Canadian youth still fare better than many of their international peers, YES' president contends that the situation here is not being adequately addressed. There are more unemployed youth than the recorded figure, as a lot of young people aren't collecting Employment Insurance or welfare, she says. Only youth who collected are recorded in Canada's unemployment figures. CBC | TD report

Saskatchewan NDP criticizes province's PSE spending

Saskatchewan's NDP opposition argues that the governing Saskatchewan Party is shifting its financial problems to the University of Saskatchewan with its new capital plan. The province's latest budget includes a plan for capital spending at uSask that increases the amount of money the institution can borrow, with the province providing funding for principal and interest payments instead of upfront grants. Officials interviewed by the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix gave few details about the plan as it is still in development. "It creates an inaccurate picture of the province's finances," the NDP's PSE critic says. "The catch is that as debt levels increase on campus, there's a greater pressure to increase tuition or cut services." Still studying the budget, the NDP plans to press the government for more details about the capital funding plan. Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

OCUFA budget brief calls for more than $1.5 billion in new investment for universities

In advance of Ontario's 2012 budget, which will be tabled today, the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations has released its plan for accessible, affordable, and high quality university education. In its brief, OCUFA argues that the provincial government must reject the "austerity agenda" that followed the release of the Drummond report and commit to creating a successful economy and vibrant society. The brief recommends a $1.3-billion increase in operating grants by 2020 to bring per-student net operating revenue in line with the rest of the country. The funding boost would go toward funding a tuition freeze and hiring 6,000 new full-time professors, resulting in improved affordability and quality. Also advocating for a restoration of research funding and new investments to renew aging campus infrastructure, the brief calls for an overall new investment of $1.54 billion in Ontario universities. OCUFA News | Budget Brief

McMaster downtown health campus project moves forward

McMaster University and the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board have solved the challenge of finding swing space for the board's headquarters, allowing McMaster's downtown health campus project to proceed at the board's current location. The school board will temporarily relocate its offices to 3 nearby locations in the downtown core. The downtown health campus will see 54,000 patient visits annually, provide physicians to 15,000 residents currently without a family doctor, serve 4,000 students, and be home to 450 McMaster employees. McMaster Daily News

$2-million donation supports McGill-industry collaboration and entrepreneurship

A $2-million endowed donation from alumnus William Seath will now allow McGill University's engineering faculty to place greater emphasis on the "development" aspect of research and development. The new William and Rhea Seath Awards in Engineering Innovation will support and recognize annually 2 individuals in the faculty -- either undergrads, graduate students, or professors -- who are conducting groundbreaking research with the potential for entrepreneurship. Another portion of the donation will support a full-time Industrial Research Development and Engagement Officer in the faculty. McGill News Release

Carleton opens RIM Teaching and Collaborative Research Centre

Last Thursday, Carleton University celebrated the opening of its RIM Teaching and Collaborative Research Centre, whose goal is to keep engineering and industrial design students at the forefront of smartphone technology and design. With support from Research in Motion, the centre will be used for research, teaching, outreach activities, technology demonstrations, and short courses for students and researchers working on mobile technology and wireless communication. RIM is equipping the centre with software, BlackBerry smartphones and PlayBook tablets on which students can experiment and develop applications. Carleton News Release

Higher fees for master's courses a deterrent, UK study finds

According to a new study, higher tuition fees for UK master's courses are deterring students from continuing their studies, particularly those from poorer backgrounds. Conducted by a PhD student at the London School of Economics, a fee analysis finds that the average cost of taught postgraduate study increased from approximately £3,200 in 2003-04 to £4,300 in 2009-10. The study observes that a 10% increase in postgraduate tuition fees is associated with a drop of between 1.7% and 4.5% in the probability of a student continuing their studies. The research states that undergraduates from poorer backgrounds are less likely to pursue postgraduate study than wealthier students, even after controlling for their prior academic performance. According to the study, students from the poorest socio-economic groups are between 1.8% and 2.4% less likely to continue their studies than their wealthier peers. Times Higher Education