Top Ten

March 28, 2012

Ontario PSE stakeholders react to provincial budget

The Ontario government's 2012 budget outlines a plan to eliminate the provincial deficit by 2017-18, and among the actions is to extend the pay freeze for executives at hospitals, universities, colleges, school boards, and agencies for another 2 years. The government remains committed to its tuition grant, and plans to introduce measures to boost apprenticeship completion rates. Understanding the tough choices the province has had to make in its budget, the Council of Ontario Universities welcomes the government's continued commitment to support projected enrolment growth. The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations is disappointed with the budget, stating that it effectively cuts university resources while signaling more government intervention in labour relations. Student groups also criticize the budget, in particular cuts to financial aid and capital funding. Ontario News Release | 2012 Ontario Budget: PSE and Training | COU News Release | OCUFA News Release | CFS News Release | CSA News Release | OUSA News Release | Globe and Mail | Toronto Star

NB invests more than $1 million in new community college seats

According to its budget, tabled Tuesday, the New Brunswick government will invest approximately $105 million in 2012-13 to implement legislative and government commitments. Among them is a $1.2-million investment in 231 new seats at New Brunswick Community College and Coll├Ęge communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick. Other education-related investments include $2.5 million for inclusive education and $2.5 million for elementary literacy. NB News Release

Concordia, McGill criticized over response to students' on-campus protests

Some Concordia University and McGill University students and professors are accusing the institutions of using scare tactics and intimidation in response to peaceful protests on their campuses. The criticism follows smaller but more militant groups of students opposing tuition fee increases targeting business and educational institutions. At McGill, 3 students have been barred from campus for 5 days for their strike-related activities. McGill's associate vice-principal sent a memo to students and staff stating that disruptions of university operations -- such as preventing classes from continuing -- are a violation of the student code of conduct and subject to discipline. At Concordia, a McGill student was reportedly hit in the face by a security guard when she tried to film him. A YouTube video of the incident led to an impromptu protest at the university. Students also criticized a new Concordia policy that threatens disciplinary action against students who block access to campus premises. Students and some staff call the reactions excessive, while the institutions say they are trying to protect the rights of students who want to go to class. Montreal Gazette

UC Berkeley chancellor on tuition policy and PSE disinvestment

In an interview with Maclean's, University of California, Berkeley chancellor Robert Birgeneau discusses what he has borrowed from his time as president of the University of Toronto to address Berkeley's budget crisis, such as aggressive investment to generate additional income. Berkeley decided to significantly increase its number of out-of-state and international undergraduate students, who, under California law, must pay the real cost of education. Supporting the California approach, Birgeneau says such a model "can represent a major source of income" for flagship Canadian universities. With appropriate government investment, Birgeneau says, Canada's flagship institutions can compete head on with not just the top universities in the US, but also Cambridge and Oxford. He says there has been a progressive evolution in North American society to view PSE more as a private than a public good. The fact that Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum accused US President Barack Obama of being elitist for thinking that people should get a college education "shows how far we've evolved in a negative direction." Maclean's

Maritime university enrolment up despite decrease in local student numbers

Despite a drop in the number of Maritimers in the region's universities, the total number of students has risen in recent years. Data from the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission show that enrolment growth in regional universities has been fuelled by an increase in the number of students from outside the Maritimes, as well as an increase in the number of graduate programs. More than 30% of students are from outside the region, compared to about 20% a decade ago, and graduate student enrolment has risen by 46% in the last 10 years. International students represent one of the fastest growing groups of students enrolled at Maritime universities, rising nearly 14% in 2010-11 over the previous year, and 150% over 10 years. At the undergraduate level, the number of Maritimers enrolled in regional universities has decreased by 7% since 2000-01. Much of the decline in undergraduate home province enrolment has happened over the past 5 years, and largely concentrated in New Brunswick (a 12% decrease) and in Nova Scotia (an 11% decrease), while remaining fairly stable in PEI (up 3%). MPHEC News Release | Report

Loyalist marketing campaign promotes expanded School of Media Studies

Loyalist College is running a new marketing campaign in support of its School of Media Studies, which is expanding to 13 full-time programs as of September 2012. The multi-media "Plan on It" campaign revolves around a microsite where prospective students can learn about Media Studies programs and the careers toward which they are geared. When an individual shares the microsite with friends on Facebook or Twitter, he or she has a chance to win an iPad 3. For people who visit the site and respond to the prompts, there are additional prizes, including an iPad 3, a MacBook Pro, and a number of tuition rebates. To help build interest, Loyalist is also rolling out traditional radio and print advertisements. Loyalist News Release | Plan on It

OISE, Shanghai Normal University sign agreement on teacher education

The University of Toronto's Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and Shanghai Normal University (SHNU) have signed a memorandum of agreement that will provide significant benefits to both institutions. "Internationalizing the B.Ed. program will increase opportunities for international students, educational leaders and for OISE students," says OISE's registrar. "Down the road this relationship will help OISE expand internship opportunities in China for our own students." Both institutions expect increased collaborations at the graduate level and further opportunities for teachers-in-training and school leaders in both Canada and China. A key university in Shanghai city, SHNU is recognized for teaching training and liberal arts, concentrating on undergraduate education. OISE News

SFU signs MOU to foster student engagement in sustainable urbanism

Simon Fraser University and The Prince's Foundation for Building Community have signed an MOU to develop a global knowledge network that advances sustainable urban development. The collaboration will see both parties develop an integrated curriculum by adapting and expanding existing learning resources for sustainable urbanism, urban design, and urban economic development. The parties will also explore ways to expand the university's development of online education resources, such as integrated distance education, in sustainable urbanism. The Prince of Wales created the foundation in 1987 with the goal of a future where everyone participates in making their communities more sustainable. SFU News Release

Parents' involvement in college students' lives not a hindrance, survey finds

New US research observes that college students whose parents were significantly involved in their lives did not hinder their progress. Although nearly 88% of parents surveyed reported being either somewhat or very involved throughout their child's college years, the researchers say the term "helicopter parents" is a misnomer. The study found that students in the sample (those whose parents were involved in their business) scored better on a scale measuring 4 areas key to personal development -- academic autonomy, healthy lifestyle, life purpose, and mature interpersonal relationships -- than did their non-sample peers. Researchers found that parents rarely intervened or solved problems for their students by contacting the PSE institution, but when they did, it was often for issues involving financial aid or bill pay. Parents intervened for one of 5 reasons: to seek or provide information, to seek understanding, to provide assistance or advocacy, and to register an opinion. Inside Higher Ed

College Board launches new admissions site

The College Board, the company behind the SAT and advanced placement exams, has introduced a website that centres on the qualitative elements of the college-search process. "Big Future" features a college-search function, information about majors and scholarships, and an "action plan" that guides users through the various phases of the admissions process. Visitors to the site can watch more than 100 short videos in which PSE students and admissions experts share their thoughts on a variety of topics, such as financial aid, campus visits, and student mobility. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access) | Big Future