Top Ten

May 8, 2012

NS introduces legislation to enable Dal-NSAC merger

The Nova Scotia government introduced legislation Tuesday to formalize the planned merger of Dalhousie University and Nova Scotia Agricultural College. The legislation gives authority for a formal merger agreement to be signed this spring, consistent with the terms of an agreement in principle announced in late March. The target date for the merger has been moved from July 1 to September 1 to allow enough time to finalize details of the formal agreement and engage the campus in transition preparations. NSAC faculty and staff will officially become employees of Dal on September 1. NS News Release

Keyano layoffs spur concerns over arts education

On Friday, Keyano College laid off 20 employees in advance of a budget restructuring, prompting students and alumni to question the Fort McMurray-based institution's commitment to the arts in a city widely known for its industrial and trade opportunities. Early reports circulated on social media and blogs alleged that Keyano officials predominantly laid off visual and performing arts staff with just a few minutes' notice. "That’s categorically untrue," says Keyano's VP academic. "We informed each and every individual verbally and in writing. Nobody was given 15 minutes." Of the 20 individuals laid off, 7 were offered alternate positions within the college, the VP says. Keyano confirms some of the laid-off employees were visual and performing arts faculty, while others were in administrative and support positions. The college says the increasingly low enrolment in several programs prompted a restructuring of funds and reconsideration of the curriculum, which it articulates in an open letter to dispute claims made online by students and arts advocates. The arts program restructuring will happen over the next year and will shift from a diploma to a certificate program. Letter | Edmonton Journal | Fort McMurray Today

Quebec students rejecting tentative deal on tuition fees

A tentative deal regarding tuition fees in Quebec is being met with student resistance, as students in a half dozen CÉGEPs and 10 university faculties and departments voted against the agreement Monday. Student leaders have accused provincial officials of altering their verbal agreement before putting together the final draft to present to students. They have demanded that the deal be clarified to include the province's verbal agreement, made at the bargaining table, that surcharge reductions and all savings made by universities would go to reducing tuition fees. Education Minister Line Beauchamp says the deal specifies that all the money would be returned to students and it lists the concerns they have, such as advertising and construction. Student leaders express little optimism that the deal will be approved in its current form. Globe and Mail | Montreal Gazette | Canadian Press

Globe survey gauges students' willingness to strike over rising tuition fees

A recent survey of 2,200 readers indicates that students across Canada share the anxiety of their Quebec peers over rising tuition fees. Approximately 62% of PSE students surveyed said they would join a similar strike in their own province, while 32% said they wouldn't and 5.9% were undecided. 69% of responding students in Ontario, where undergraduate fees are currently the highest in Canada, said they would strike to oppose a tuition fee hike. Students in Alberta -- whose undergraduate tuition fees are also above the national average -- are much less willing to take action, with just 22% stating they would strike. Globe and Mail

NSCAD faculty vote on financial sustainability framework

NSCAD University faculty voted yesterday on the institution's financial sustainability plan, which recommends increasing tuition fees, introducing some student fees, and job cuts through attrition and fewer full-time positions. One professor told CBC prior to the vote that faculty planned to vote against the contents of the framework. Another professor said that people who teach at NSCAD were never properly consulted about the plan. A vote against the framework won't have the power to stop it, he said, but the results could influence which recommendations are eventually adopted. CBC

Mount Royal announces first full professors

Mount Royal University held a ceremony Monday to congratulate the first 16 faculty members to achieve the institution's highest academic rank of full professor. "This is a pivotal milestone in Mount Royal history because it also helps gauge our progress in creating a different kind of undergraduate university -- one that is focused on teaching and learning informed by scholarship," says Mount Royal president David Docherty. As part of the candidacy for full professor, faculty members must demonstrate excellence in teaching, in scholarship, and in service to the university. In the summer of 2009, a couple of months before Mount Royal officially became a university, faculty were able to adopt the university-style titles of assistant professor, associate professor, and "full-fledged" professor. Mount Royal News Release

"Pockets of Innovation" showcases Ontario institutions' online and mobile learning practices

Contact North -- Ontario's distance education and training network -- is celebrating the innovative work at Ontario colleges and universities in online and mobile learning in its "Pockets of Innovation" series. The series outlines each project's opportunity, innovation, outcomes and benefits, challenges and enhancements, and potential. Currently, there are 28 projects featured in Pockets of Innovation from 17 different PSE institutions across Ontario. Contact North anticipates having more than 50 projects featured in the series by the end of the year. Pockets of Innovation

CBIE launches new website

The Canadian Bureau for International Education has redesigned its website, through whose homepage visitors can retrieve information on CBIE's scholarship management services, advocacy experience and commitment, international project management experience, and professional development offerings. The homepage features recent tweets and the latest news from CBIE. The site also includes links to the bureau's Facebook page, Twitter account, and LinkedIn group. CBIE website

StFX creates Facebook cover photos for graduating class

To mark the Class of 2012's achievement, St. Francis Xavier University has created a cover photo graduates can use on Facebook to let everyone know they have officially joined the Xaverian family. StFX also has photos for alumni, family, and friends. "Future Xaverian," "Proud Xaverian. Class of 2012," and "I'm a proud Xavierian" each feature an arrow that points to a Facebook user's profile picture. The photo "From one Xaverian to another, congratulations StFX Class of 2012" includes a thumbs-up sign next to the profile picture. StFX News | StFX Facebook page

Postscript: May 30, 2012

Like StFX, Simon Fraser University has created a set of Facebook cover photos for graduating students, as well as for alumni, family, and friends. Each picture features a red arrow pointing to a queue of SFU graduates on convocation day, customized to indicate that the photo user themself, or their relative or friend, is in the queue. The University of Waterloo has also put together 3 cover pictures. One shows a series of "Ideas Start Here" buttons, another depicts the Dana Porter Library, and one states "i survived nesting season" in reference to the campus' geese population. SFU Convocation June 2012 Cover photos | Cover Photos -- uWaterloo

Virginia settles with former nursing students on accreditation lawsuit

73 former Virginia Western Community College (VWCC) nursing students have settled with the state after initiating a lawsuit claiming the students were misled after the state-run institution lost its national nursing accreditation and didn't inform them about it. The plaintiffs were in VWCC's nursing program between 2005 and 2007 and argued that the state -- through the college -- defrauded them and breached a contract for their education. The plaintiffs will share US$2.4 million under the settlement. The Roanoke Times | The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)