Top Ten

May 4, 2012

CLASSE seeks free university tuition in Quebec by 2016

The student group CLASSE presented Thursday a 2-phase counter-offer to the Quebec government which would result in the complete elimination of university tuition fees by 2016. CLASSE proposes a series of measures to offset the loss of tuition fees, such as cutting research funding and university advertising budgets, and freezing administrative wages and the construction of satellite campuses. To pay the full costs of eliminating tuition fees, the group calls for "the restoration of the capital tax on financial institutions." Having long maintained that tuition fee increases are non-negotiable, Education Minister Line Beauchamp calls CLASSE's counter-offer a disappointing repeat of previous demands, and notes that her officials have contacted FEUQ and FECQ to discuss their proposal for a council on university management. Students have held nightly demonstrations in Montreal since talks broke off between the government and the 3 student groups. About 1,000 students marched in their underwear Thursday evening, calling for more "transparency" from the province. Montreal Gazette | CBC | Canadian Press

StatsCan discontinues survey of full-time PSE teaching staff

Statistics Canada released Thursday its final issue of "Salaries and Salary Scales of Full-time Teaching Staff at Canadian Universities," as the agency has discontinued its Full-time University and College Academic Staff System. "This is very disturbing news," writes University Affairs blogger Léo Charbonneau, as the survey tracked much more data than just professor salaries. Among the information collected, he notes, were gender, age, department, principal subject taught, salary and administrative stipends, unpaid leave, citizenship, and province or country of degrees earned. Charbonneau also points out that StatsCan's Education Matters publication has been discontinued as well. The Canadian Association of University Teachers has written to Industry Minister Christian Paradis urging him "to reconsider this ill-conceived decision." CAUT states in its letter that "it is particularly ironic that this decision has been made at precisely the same time as it is widely recognized that knowledge and education are one of the key building blocks for long-term and sustainable growth." Margin Notes (University Affairs blog) | CAUT Letter

TRU Old Main building revitalization begins for law school

Thompson Rivers University has begun the first phase of a 2-part overhaul of its Old Main building, which will house the institution's law school. The $10-million first phase entails the construction of the outer shell of the additional 2 stories onto the existing 2-floor facility. That phase is expected to be completed within a year. In the meantime, TRU is working on raising another $10 million to fund the second phase, which involves the inner part of the building. TRU aims to have the project completed to host the third year cohort of its law school at the end of 2013-14. Kamloops Daily News

uToronto law school to offer free LSAT prep course for low-income students

The University of Toronto's Faculty of Law is the first Canadian law school to offer a free Law School Admission Test preparatory course for low-income students.  The assistant dean of students says some prospective students from inner-city schools have told her they cannot afford prep courses, whose fees range from $500 to $1,000, so they do not bother writing the LSAT and do not apply to law school. "Law schools need to be more sensitive to certain demographics; we need to proactively identify these groups, and find out why they are not applying to law school," says the assistant dean. The prep course will run once a week from June to October, and students with at least a 78% undergraduate average, who are in third or fourth year, and who receive the Canada Grant for Low-Income Families are eligible. uToronto Faculty of Law News

Report gauges students' perspective on BC's admissions and transfer system

Based on an analysis of the 2011 BC Diploma, Associate Degree, and Certificate Outcomes (DASCO) Survey, a recent report observes that BC's admissions and transfer system is working very well for students who continue their studies after having studied in the province's college, teaching-intensive university, and institute sector. While very few respondents expressed dissatisfaction with their overall transfer experience, their reasons for dissatisfaction highlight a need for: increased access to knowledgeable and service-oriented academic advisors; improved accuracy, accessibility, and timeliness of transfer information; and increased opportunities to transfer credits among institutions in BC's PSE system. Results from the 2011 DASCO survey are available online. Report | DASCO Key Outcomes Indicators | CNC News Release

Majority of 2010 NBCC/CCNB grads continue to find work in province, survey finds

According to an annual survey of graduates of New Brunswick Community College and Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick, the percentage of employed graduates working in the province was 94% in 2011 for NBCC graduates, and 95% for CCNB graduates. The level of employment related to training in the reference week was 79% in 2011 for NBCC graduates and 81% for CCNB graduates. NB News Release

Public sector attracting Canadian business students

A volatile economy and high unemployment are increasingly driving Canadian business students to consider employment in the public sector, which they view as a beacon of security and opportunity for career development. Polled on their most ideal employers, 3,500 business students placed numerous public-sector organizations in the top 20. Ranking third overall, the federal government is seen as a more ideal employer among business students than any of Canada's Big 5 banks and highly reputable companies such as Microsoft and Facebook. Other public-sector institutions within the top 20 include the Canada Revenue Agency, the Bank of Canada, and provincial governments. Financial Post

SMU adds co-op option to BA program

Saint Mary's University's Faculty of Arts has secured approval to add co-operative education to the Bachelor of Arts degree as an optional enrichment program. The institution's new BA/Co-op degree will alternate periods of full-time study with 3 months of practical experience in the workforce, providing students with up to 3 paid work placements relevant to their undergraduate education and/or future careers. "Increasing Co-op opportunities for our Arts students fits well with our emphasis on offering a diversity of learning opportunities at Saint Mary’s," says SMU's VP academic and research. SMU News Release

VIU faculty share teaching suggestions in online collection

Vancouver Island University faculty have a new resource to engage with students in their classrooms through Teaching Tips from the Trenches, an online collection of suggestions and ideas. Tips include using speed-date learning for students to share personal experiences, silent brainstorming to encourage participation from reserved students, and producing "word clouds" at the beginning and end of courses to show new understanding of topics. The director of Innovation and Excellence in Learning @ VIU got the idea for the resource after learning about another institution's practice of distributing cards to professors with exercises and techniques that can be readily experimented with in the classroom. VIU News | Teaching Tips from the Trenches

Scholar-oriented social networks proliferate

The past 5 years have seen the proliferation of faculty-networking sites, which typically offer users a way to organize their research, set up personal profiles, and search for individuals with similar academic interests. While the number of such sites is growing, and their registered-user figures rank in the millions, their impact on PSE is less clear. Some academics who are already feeling overwhelmed by the demands of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs, and e-mail either stay away from the scholarly social networks or experiment with them and then let their accounts remain inactive. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)