Top Ten

April 16, 2012

Quebec ready to talk to students about improved university governance

The Quebec government announced Sunday that it would be willing to discuss the matter of improved governance of provincial universities with certain student groups. The announcement by Education Minister Line Beauchamp was in response to the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec's (FEUQ) resolution adopted at their annual general assembly that calls for an independent commission to improve university management. Tuition fee increases are still not up for discussion, the minister said. Beauchamp has offered to speak to FEUQ and the Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec (FECQ), but not with the Coalition large de l'Association pour un solidarité syndicale étudiante (CLASSE), an umbrella group of students organizations arranging much of the strike movement and considered relatively radical. After Beauchamp's office was vandalized Friday morning by 15 protesters, FEUQ and FECQ stated it was not in favour of vandalism or violence, but CLASSE has not condemned the vandals' actions. Montreal Gazette

Judges dismiss Saudi doctor's bid to overturn removal from uOttawa residency program

A Saudi doctor who is suing the University of Ottawa for over $55 million has lost his bid to overturn his dismissal from the university's neurosurgery residency program. A panel of Ontario Division Court judges rejected the doctor's claim that uOttawa's senate appeals committee violated procedural fairness and acted unreasonably when it upheld the doctor's dismissal from the program in January 2011. Last November, the doctor and 2 other Saudi physicians filed a civil lawsuit against uOttawa, collectively seeking over $150 million in damages for, among other things, alleged discrimination, defamation, and "malfeasance in public office." In 3 decisions dated March 29, the Human Rights Tribunal dismissed the 3 doctors' complaints, stating that it was prohibited from proceeding because the doctors had initiated civil suits based on the same facts and allegations and were seeking similar remedies. Ottawa Citizen

Positions impacted as NLC addresses budget challenges

BC's Northern Lights College has overcome financial pressures of approximately $1.9 million in reaching a balanced budget for 2012-13. To meet the budget challenges, the college has undertaken several steps, such as accepting applications for early retirement or voluntary departures from 12 employees; cancelling the Geomatics Engineering Technology program due to low enrolment; and making decisions that will result in the elimination of some current positions, and the layoff of some employees. NLC states that including early retirements and voluntary departures, 14.32 full-time equivalent positions -- at all levels of the institution -- are impacted. This includes non-unionized staff, and unionized faculty and support staff represented by BCGEU. Discussions are underway with BCGEU to provide affected unionized staff members with their options. NLC News Release

Bra photo creates controversy at TRU

A Thompson Rivers University student's photography project was reinstalled after its controversial removal from campus hallways earlier this month. The fine art student's photo of woman wearing full Islamic dress holding a bra in her hands while folding laundry was included as part of TRU's annual diploma show. The CBC reports that the picture was originally displayed with other student photos in mid-March, until some students complained and a staff member later removed it. TRU's VP of advancement told the CBC that the picture was taken down by a staff member who was acting on their own, and not in any official capacity. Once TRU learned of the action, it immediately returned the photo and made a commitment to cover any costs for its repair or replacement. "We have heard the concerns of all our stakeholders," the VP says. "We will maintain the right for freedom of expression on our campus. There was nothing condoning hatred or disrespect in this work and we stand behind it." TRU News | CBC

uCalgary kicks off North America's first global energy EMBA program

At a dinner on Saturday, 17 students and faculty in the University of Calgary's Haskayne School of Business officially kicked off the inaugural class of the Haskayne Global Energy Executive MBA program. Over 18 months, the program's students will meet 5 times and in 5 different locations around the world (Oxford, Houston, Calgary, Abu Dhabi, and Saudi Arabia). The program is the first of its kind in North America and the result of the vision set by Haskayne's dean, who recognized the need for the business school to set itself apart on an international level. Because Calgary is one of the leading energy centres in the world, the dean says it only made sense to offer this kind of a program through uCalgary. "The idea for the program came from the fact the largest industry in the world -- the energy industry -- has a unique set of problems that are not addressed through the traditional MBA curriculum. Anyone who wants to be a senior leader in the industry has to understand all the complexities of the business." Calgary Herald

Seneca identifies Peterborough as preferred location for flight school

Seneca College has selected Peterborough Airport as the preferred location for its Bachelor of Aviation Technology program. The college has been searching for a new home for the program due to the upcoming closure of the Buttonville Airport in Markham. The agreement is still not completely final, but is in the final stages, says the City of Peterborough's planning director. Seneca president David Agnew cites the recent $28 million in improvements to the Peterborough Airport and community support as reasons the institution is pursuing this opportunity further. Seneca will look to partner with Fleming College for facilities and supports for its Peterborough-based students. Seneca News | Peterborough Examiner

Fanshawe begins demolition work in new downtown building

Fanshawe College has begun its move to downtown London with the gutting of a 6-storey, 50,000-square-foot building it purchased to house a $16-million downtown arts campus. The 12-week demolition of the facility will see much of its interior demolished, the building reconstructed into a school of applied and performing arts for approximately 400 students. The first floor will feature a theatre, lounge and lobby area, and a mezzanine is being constructed between the second and third floors to serve as a student area. The property is the first step in a 10-year, multi-phase initiative by Fanshawe to move approximately 1,000 students and invest about $40 million in the downtown core. London Free Press

uWindsor pledges nearly $2.5 million to support strategic projects

In an ongoing effort to support its strategic plan, the University of Windsor has committed close to $2.5 million from its Strategic Priority Fund to support new initiatives and programs to improve the student experience, pursue strengths in research and graduate education, recruit and retain the best faculty and staff, and engage in and foster community and international partnerships. One of the projects approved for the 2012-13 budget year is 4Winds, which aims to facilitate Aboriginal participation in post-secondary STEM fields. Participating students in Grades 6 to 8 will take part in science and technology experiences that are extensions of Aboriginal cultural practices in interacting with nature for energy, food, health, and shelter. uWindsor Daily News

Northern College launches official Facebook page with photo contest

Northern College is running a "Show and Tell to Win!" contest in conjunction with the launch of its official Facebook page. Open to current students, alumni, and future students who have applied for a program starting this year, the contest encourages individuals to visit the Facebook page to submit an original photograph along with 50 to 100 words explaining "Why I chose Northern College." Contestants then recruit friends to like the college on Facebook and vote for their submission. The winners, to be announced May 11, will be selected from the entries with the most votes. Prizes include an iPad 2, a 32 GB iPod Touch, and a Canon PowerShot digital camera. Northern College News Release | Northern College Facebook page

US government considers new criteria to evaluate PSE completion rates

The US Education Department has announced it will evaluate new criteria to measure PSE graduation rates. The measurements, which are reported into the Integrated Postsecondary Educational Data System, may consider transfer students, part-time learners, and those who are not attending PSE for the first time. Community colleges have long argued that failing to account for these students lowers their completion rates, and does not recognize that many students attend community colleges with the goal of transferring, rather than graduating. While community colleges are happy with these changes, they note that the department will be "taking steps" and "examining the feasibility" of broadening the criteria, and it could be months before any changes are implemented. Inside Higher Ed