Top Ten

May 14, 2012

Quebec education minister resigns

Quebec Education Minister Line Beauchamp has quit her cabinet post and is leaving politics, stating that she has done all she can do to resolve the student strike over tuition fee increases. Beauchamp said Monday she resigned because she believes student leaders do not have the will to reach a solution. Beauchamp said she was not resigning due to violence and intimidation related to the class boycott this spring. Montreal Gazette | CBC | CTV | Canadian Press

UCN struggling to find Aboriginal instructors

The Winnipeg Free Press reports that University College of the North is struggling to find Aboriginal faculty who understand the north and are committed to staying in the region. Academic sources allege there is internal turmoil and tension driving both non-Aboriginal and non-northern Aboriginal staff out of the Manitoba-based UCN. The Free Press reports that UCN has faced rapid turnover in senior administrators and faculty, and still does not have a president nearly 19 months after forcing out Denise Henning. UCN officials say the institution will only succeed and serve the community if it develops academic staff who come from the north and want to build their lives in the region. Winnipeg Free Press

Manitoba introduces legislation on university tuition fee increases, funding

The Manitoba government introduced Thursday a bill that would help keep future university fee increases in line with the rate of inflation. The legislation would allow the province's Council on Post-Secondary Education (COPSE) to deduct from a university's operating grants if the university increases fees above the rate of inflation. However, universities would be able to apply for a waiver for fee-increase limits for certain professional degree programs. The bill would also require COPSE to ensure universities know how much funding they will get in operating grants for 3-year periods. The Canadian Federation of Students' Manitoba chapter criticizes the legislation, arguing that it lacks accountability measures and offers little protection or assurance for students in professional programs. Manitoba News Release | CFSMB News Release | Winnipeg Free Press

NSAC staff raise concerns about benefits in Dal merger

Nova Scotia Agricultural College staff worried about losing benefits when the institution merges with Dalhousie University made their case to the provincial legislature's law amendments committee Friday, to no avail. NSAC employees said the merger legislation should explicitly protect benefits, such as the public service award given to civil servants. NDP MLAs on the committee said current legislation does, effectively, protect the benefits. The public service award and other benefits will be in the agreement between the province and Dal, says Dal's provost. Chronicle Herald

Ontario PSE institutions should prepare for enrolment decline

Ontario PSE schools are next to be hit by ebbing enrolment, predicts demographer David Foot. "We didn’t prepare for (enrolment decline) at elementary schools and high schools, let’s at least do it at college and university," Foot says. McMaster University's engineering dean says he does not doubt Foot's predictions, but other issues, such PSE participation rates, need to be factored in. In anticipation of an enrolment decline, Mohawk College has boosted its international marketing, and has created programs and bursaries to help attract local teenagers who don't plan on attending PSE. Redeemer University College has not taken measures to offset shrinking enrolment, since the institution expects the effects will be minimal. Since it fills a unique niche in terms of its faith-based perspective, Redeemer will never have the kind of enrolment numbers that McMaster and Mohawk experience, says a Redeemer official. Hamilton Spectator

Queen's leases rooms at hotel for grad students

This fall, Queen's University will offer new graduate student accommodations at the Confederation Place Hotel in downtown Kingston. Leasing 54 rooms to start at the hotel adds to the diversity of Queen's grad student housing offerings at John Orr Tower and An Clachan, which together are home to nearly 400 students and their families. Queen's is planning a modest enrolment increase for this September and wants to ensure space on campus for incoming undergraduate students. The current Graduate Residence will be home to first-year undergraduates, and Queen's is also adding new beds for first-year undergraduates as part of an expansion of Waldron Tower. Queen's News Centre

Ontario profs, academic librarians concerned about university quality, survey finds

In a survey of more than 2,300 Ontario university professors and academic librarians, 42% believe that quality has declined at their institution. 68% of respondents believe class sizes have increased over the past 5 years, 83% report budget cuts in their department, and 76% report an increased use of part-time faculty at their university. 73% of respondents report an increased workload, which for many (41%) means less time to interact with students outside of class. The survey also found that respondents value teaching and research equally, although they believe their commitment to teaching is not always shared by their university. OCUFA News | Survey Results

NSCAD receives $3.4 million in donations to support students in financial need

A pair of anonymous donors has given a total of $3.4 million to NSCAD University to establish a new bursary endowment fund that will benefit generations of NSCAD students. Of the donations, $3 million will go toward the fund, while the remaining $400,000 will be used to bolster recruitment efforts. NSCAD News

COU launches campaign to connect university researchers to the public

Yesterday the Council of Ontario Universities launched "Research Matters," a new province-wide campaign that speaks to daily issues and reflects the full diversity of university research. Beginning with a website and blog, the campaign will continue through 2012-13 with public events across Ontario designed to allow the public to engage directly with university researchers. COU News Release | Research Matters

Purdue unveils international online-education project

Indiana-based Purdue University announced Friday plans to experiment with online courses aimed at a global audience. PurdueHUB-U will serve up modular online courses with video lectures, interactive visualizations, and tools for students to interact with each other and their instructor. PurdueHUB-U's leaders hope the project will improve face-to-face classes and bring in revenue by attracting students worldwide. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)