Top Ten

October 12, 2012

uMontréal students pass motion asking for rector's resignation

Students at the Université de Montréal, still upset over what they call an excessive police presence on campus as students returned to class in late August, passed a motion last week asking for rector Guy Breton to resign. "It would have been sufficient to have security handle it," says the secretary-general of uMontréal's student association. "The way it was handled was excessive." A uMontréal spokesperson says Breton has no intention of resigning. The incident took place on August 27 and 28, when approximately 50 students -- who were unhappy about returning to school to make up for time lost during the previous term's tuition conflict -- were greeted by about 100 police officers trying to make sure no one was prevented from going to class. "Police should not have been asked onto campus for something like this," says the student association official, explaining that students just wanted to express their disapproval of the rector's actions. Montreal Gazette

Concordia student representatives raise concerns over university president's salary

News of Concordia University president Alan Shepard's compensation package has raised eyebrows among some student leaders sitting on the board of governors. The Montreal Gazette reports that Shepard's compensation entails a base salary of $357,000 a year plus several perks: eligibility for a performance bonus of up to 20% of the annual salary; a $4,200 per month housing allowance; and French classes for him and his family. "Administrators are paid quite a bit in institutions that are struggling for money," says the graduate student representative on Concordia's board. "This is a problem throughout Canada," says an undergraduate student representative. Universities say they need to pay market value for good administrators. The Gazette reports that McGill University principal Heather Munroe-Blum earned $369,250 in 2011 plus an additional $120,481 in compensation. University fiscal management has been a growing concern. In March, then-Quebec education minister Line Beauchamp fined Concordia $2 million over its severance package spending. The university recently adopted recommendations from an external audit on senior administrator settlements. Montreal Gazette

NS offsets drop in 2013-14 university operating grants with University Excellence and Innovation Program

The Nova Scotia government announced Friday that the 2013-14 operating grants to universities will total $314 million. The amount is approximately $10 million below last year's distribution; however, the government has allocated $10 million in funding from the University Excellence and Innovation Program, leaving universities with the same overall funding. The $25-million program supports partnerships between universities that help identify areas to reduce costs, expand inter-university cooperation, and foster innovation and educational excellence. The Canadian Federation of Students argues that the operating grant decrease -- which follows funding cuts of 3% in 2012-13 and 4% in 2011-12 -- "will be passed directly onto Nova Scotia students and their families through fee increases and a diminished quality of education." NS News Release | CFS News Release

Mount Allison completes JUMP Campaign early with $96 million raised

Mount Allison University wrapped up its JUMP Campaign Friday -- 2 years ahead of schedule and $10 million over target. The largest campaign in Mount Allison's history, JUMP was launched in 2004 with the goal of raising $86 million over a 10-year period. Instead, the $96-million total was reached in just 8 years. Of the money raised, more than $30 million is being added to Mount Allison's endowment funds. More than $13 million of that was directed toward student scholarships, bursaries, and awards. At $122 million, Mount Allison has the second-largest university endowment per capita in the country. JUMP has also provided funding for significant capital projects, such as the Wallace McCain Student Centre, the Ron Joyce Centre for Business Studies, the Harold Crabtree Aqualab: Centre for Aquatic Sciences, and the new Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts, for which Mount Allison held a sod-turning ceremony on Friday. Mount Allison News Release (JUMP Campaign) | Mount Allison News Release (Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts)

Brock launches Goodman School of Business

Brock University announced Friday that its Faculty of Business has been renamed the Goodman School of Business after the family of chancellor Ned Goodman. Brock president Jack Lightstone says the naming decision follows a transformative gift made to the school by the Goodman Foundation. Brock is respecting the Foundation's wishes not to disclose the amount. Lightstone says the university will benefit by being able to fund a number of initiatives, such as academic research, community outreach and business development activities, as well as scholarships and awards. He notes the donation will also "advance discussions" about a new facility for the school. Goodman has agreed to serve as an adjunct professor in the business school, giving future students access to his many years of business and investment experience. Brock News

Milton campus a key subject in WLU's draft SMA

"Government support for a Laurier campus in Milton is the single biggest question confronting Laurier in its role within Ontario's PSE system," states Wilfrid Laurier University in its proposed strategy mandate agreement, noting that "a timely resolution of this question is our highest immediate priority." The document says "the proposed Milton campus plays a central role in our plans to innovate, improve productivity, and enhance student access, choice and affordability." WLU states that its long-term goal of 3 major campuses (Waterloo, Brantford, and Milton) in the range of 12,000 to 18,000 students each "means that Laurier students will have access to the academic and research resources of a large university, connected to a rich array of community and PSE partners, regardless of where they are enrolled. It also allows Laurier to retain its most distinctive attribute: exceptional education and personal development at a scale that emphasizes community and focused excellence in research." WLU SMA

CSA responds to Ontario's PSE discussion paper

In a report prepared in response to the Ontario government's PSE discussion paper, the College Student Alliance offers several recommendations to the province under the categories of expanded credential options and supplements; credit transfer, credential compatibility, and student mobility; year-round learning; quality teaching and learning outcomes; technology-enabled learning opportunities; entrepreneurial and experiential learning; and tuition framework. CSA's recommendations include expanding college degree programs as well as Ontario's dual credit program; prioritizing students traditionally underrepresented in PSE in the development of the Ontario Online Institute; implementing a tuition freeze for a period of 2 years, during which different policy options should be examined; and government and institutions creating a standard definition for experiential learning. Report

uManitoba breaks ground for Active Living Centre

The University of Manitoba held a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday to begin the construction of its new $46-million Active Living Centre. The 4-storey, 100,000-square-foot facility will feature a high-performance training facility for elite athletes, a state-of-the-art 200-metre indoor running track, and a 12-metre climbing wall. The open-concept centre, with a glass-exterior design, will also house an Applied Research Centre; a workout, strength, and conditioning facility; and a gathering area for students. The eco-friendly Active Living Centre is slated for completion in 2015. uManitoba News Release | Winnipeg Free Press

MUN Science to benefit from NL's compensation in Hebron dispute

The Newfoundland and Labrador government will collect $150 million in compensation from ExxonMobil after both parties settled their dispute concerning in-province fabrication of a third offshore drilling equipment module for the Hebron Project. The NL government announced Thursday it will use the payment to make strategic investments in the province's healthcare and education systems, including the development of core science infrastructure at Memorial University. MUN president Gary Kachanoski says the province's announcement provides the institution with certainty that funding will be there as the university moves forward with its core science infrastructure plan. NL Premier Kathy Dunderdale says planning for the projects funded by the settlement will start immediately, but work on the projects will not begin until 2016, which is when the province will receive the settlement. NL News Release | MUN News | CBC

Rotman adds video component to application process

The University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management has supplemented its standard written application with a video component. Rotman's new video applications require candidates to respond to 20 random questions about their interests, passions, and personality. "They're sort of first-date conversation, getting-to-know-you questions," says the school's recruitment director. "There shouldn't be any preparation needed." Applicants have 60 seconds to ponder their answer and 90 seconds to respond. Applicants do not have the chance to change their answer. Candidates must still write 2 short essays, but the video gives them a chance to flaunt their creative side, the recruitment director says. Fairly new in Canada, the video application concept has been used for years in the US. Rotman used the videos for the first time this year and the recruitment director is excited about the results. "I think we'll see an increase in the calibre of candidates who come in with a great sense of self-awareness and confidence in their own abilities." Toronto Star