Top Ten

September 24, 2012

CLASSE pushes for free university education in Quebec

Now that the newly elected Parti Québécois government has cancelled the university tuition fee increase in Quebec, the student group CLASSE is turning to free education as its long-term goal. The group says free education is entirely achievable and used a demonstration attended by several hundred people on Saturday to highlight the issue. The PQ government has said it favours indexing tuition to the cost of living but has promised to call a summit on university financing. CLASSE will counter indexing tuition in favour of "education that is free -- not only from tuition fees -- but also from corporate influence," says a group spokesman. CLASSE argues that free university education would cost $700 million annually, representing less than 1% of the total government budget. That money could be generated through better management of universities, cutting funding for scientific research that profits the private sector, and reinstating the capital tax on businesses that was eliminated in 2007. CLASSE expressed its mission, as well as hailed its victories, in an op-ed published in Saturday's Toronto Star. The group responded to critics of the Quebec student movement, stating that "if we are guilty of anything, it is of questioning the dogmas of the rich and powerful, who have spent the last decades trying to lower our expectations for what is politically possible." Canadian Press | CBC | Montreal Gazette | Toronto Star

$28 million for trades training facilities at Okanagan College

The BC government announced Friday a $28-million investment to expand and renovate trades training facilities at Okanagan College's Kelowna campus. In addition to the renovation and retrofitting of existing facilities, a 2-storey addition will more than double the size of the Trades Complex, providing needed student space and innovative classrooms for trades and technology programs specifically focused on skills development, training, and upgrading. Trades training at the Kelowna campus has more than doubled over the past decade, requiring the addition of 2 off-site leased facilities. The renewal project will bring more than 750 students back to the college's main campus. BC News Release

UoGuelph places first in report on Canadian universities' inventiveness

The University of Guelph ranks first when measured both by invention disclosures per-faculty and disclosures per-funding in new inventive university rankings compiled by The Impact Group. "Invention disclosures" refers to the requirement that researchers disclose to their institution all ideas emerging from their research that may have commercial potential. The other institutions to round out the top 10 by faculty are Queen's, UVic, McGill, École de Technologie Supérieur (ETS), uManitoba, UBC, uAlberta, uMontréal, and uToronto. Among the top 10 by income are UVic, ETS, SMU, uManitoba, Queen's, Lakehead, Dal, Ryerson, and Western U. UVic Media Tips | Report

uWindsor to refund unauthorized digital material access fee to thousands of students

The University of Windsor will refund thousands of students for a fee it was not allowed to implement for digital course material. The institution will refund on average $70 to approximately 3,000 students. The amount students were charged varied by course ($15-$85) to gain access to digital content and mandatory tests that were used to calculate a portion of a grade. uWindsor is only refunding fees paid for the fall semester when a new Ontario tuition framework took effect. The refund will cost uWindsor approximately $210,000. The university will have to examine its budget to see if it can afford to pay these costs going forward. uWindsor has formed a committee comprised of administrators and deans to figure out what the institution will do next fall. uWindsor has to decide whether it will limit the use of required online materials or find the funding to pay for it. Windsor Star

Atlantic education and training ministers discuss high-school-to-PSE transition

At the Council of Atlantic Ministers of Education and Training meeting Friday in Charlottetown, the ministers discussed improving outcomes in education and skills training, as well as facilitating a successful transition of high school graduates to PSE studies. The ministers are increasingly concerned that too many public school students do not pursue studies past secondary school and/or delay their PSE for an extended period of time. Moving forward, the ministers agreed to further explore specific short- and long-term targeted initiatives, and directed officials to report back on strategies that can be undertaken provincially or regionally to promote a smooth transition of secondary school graduates to higher education. CAMET News Release

$2.2-million bequest supports MHC health studies

Medicine Hat College has received its largest single donation ever in the form of a $2.2-million bequest that will benefit the institution's Division of Health Studies. Medicine Hat resident Ron Rodgers left the donation in memory of his wife Wilma prior to his death in 2011. The gift came as a surprise to MHC's foundation, as Rodgers had left no prior indication to the foundation office of his planned bequest. The donation will be used as an endowment and the interest accrued will go toward student bursaries and programming costs within the health studies division. MHC News Release | Medicine Hat News

$1-million donation to NLC supports skilled worker development in northern BC

BC Hydro is providing $1 million in funding to the Northern Lights College Foundation over a 5-year period to support the development of skilled workers in northern BC, targeting students who may not otherwise have access to PSE. The foundation will use the donation to provide student bursaries, focusing on recruitment and retention. Half of the funding for bursaries will be dedicated to Aboriginal students. Bursary applications will start being accepted in early 2013, with awards being distributed for the fall 2013 academic year. BC Hydro and NLC are working together to identify the skills and trades that would benefit most from the bursary funding. NLC News Release

UBC working on new admissions policy that considers Grade 11 marks

During the BC teachers' strike earlier this year, UBC's senate approved a policy allowing applicants to be considered using their final Grade 11 marks. The senate has decided to repeal the policy, but for the time being it is leaving the option open, reports the student paper Ubyssey. The senate is planning to adopt another policy by November to allow students to be admitted before their Grade 12 marks are in. "UBC's offers of admissions are generally considered to be much later than other post-secondary institutions, so we want to correct that," says the chair of the senate's admissions committee. "The reason that most other post-secondary institutions are faster than UBC is that...(they) use Grade 11 marks." He says the senate will have to work through the long-term intricacies of using Grade 11 marks for admissions before developing a permanent policy. UBC is consulting with the Okanagan campus, BC secondary school students, UBC students, and faculty members to craft the policy. The Ubyssey

Sault College enrolment up 32% since 2008

Sault College reports that first-year enrolment has increased by 6%. Overall enrolment at the institution is up by 2%, and the college has grown by 32% since 2008. Waitlisted programs have more than doubled since 2010, with 20 of them this year experiencing growing demand across all program areas and schools. Of the 2,487 registered students at Sault College, 793, or 32%, have relocated to Sault Ste. Marie from other parts of Ontario. Sault College News Release

uManitoba launches new online recruitment tool

The University of Manitoba has created a new online recruitment tool called UMConnect, which allows students exploring admission to uManitoba programs to get help in planning their future through personalized webpages and communications. Visitors to the portal can fill out a short interest form to create a UMConnect profile, through which they will receive information regarding their academic and extracurricular interests, scholarships, financial aid, and important dates. "This new tool gives us a real advantage, with reporting and tracking capabilities, allowing the student recruitment team to effectively guide students in making major decisions about their education and careers," says an enrolment services official. uManitoba News | UMConnect