Top Ten

October 19, 2012

BC research universities' report calls for more PSE seats, financial aid

The BC government must provide more financial aid to PSE students and create thousands of new seats in university, college, and trade programs if it hopes to grow a sustainable economy, say the presidents of the province's 6 research universities. In a submission to BC's all-party finance committee, the presidents call for a $130-million investment over 4 years to fund 11,000 new spaces in PSE programs; a $51-million expansion of financial assistance to include grants, loan reductions, and graduate scholarships; and a commitment to stable funding for research and innovation initiatives that position BC as a national leader. "This is about the future...and the province needs to do better," said UVic president David Turpin. Otherwise, he said, many jobs will go unfilled because BC will not have enough sufficiently educated people to fill them, while unemployment rises, due to a shortage of skilled workers. "If we don’t take seriously the gaps that we have in the labour market over the next decade, British Columbia’s going to be in big trouble," said UBC president Stephen Toope. Advanced Education Minister John Yap said late Thursday that he had not yet had time to go through the submission. But, in general, Yap said the government is already making a significant, multibillion dollar investment in PSE, and the province is committed to balancing the budget. "We would like to do more, but we are facing tough fiscal challenges." RUCBC News Release | Globe and Mail | Vancouver Sun | Submission

Student's human-rights complaint over Carleton gender studies course dismissed

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has rejected a student's complaint against Carleton University in relation to a course on masculinity. Soon after enrolling in the class, the student got into a dispute with his professor, arguing that the class material was biased against men. Matters escalated from there, and the student eventually filed a human-rights complaint, claiming discrimination on the basis of race, ancestry, ethnic origin, sex as well as reprisal by Carleton. In May, the tribunal dismissed the student's complaint at a summary hearing, finding there was no reasonable prospect that his application would succeed. Earlier this month, it rejected his request that it reconsider its May decision. In its decision, the tribunal stated that on its own, an e-mail from Carleton's director of student affairs to university officials about the student "would not be sufficient to establish reprisal." The tribunal also found that the student was not able to establish any link between his dispute with his professor and his race, ancestry, ethnic origin, or sex. Ottawa Citizen

Dal investigates alleged hazing incident involving women's hockey team

Dalhousie University's VP of student services is interviewing members of the women's hockey team in the wake of an alleged hazing incident. A Dal spokesman says a first-year athlete approached the team's coach with concerns about the treatment of rookie players at a private house party last month. The spokesman says no one was physically hurt in the alleged incident. Team members met with the student services department last week and drafted a behavioural contract. The spokesman says players could be suspended from games or face other disciplinary actions if the allegations are found to be true, but games have not been cancelled as a result of the investigation. Chronicle-Herald | Canadian Press

Algonquin College opens Student Commons Building

On Thursday, Algonquin College officially opened the Robert C. Gillett Student Commons at its Woodroffe campus in Ottawa. The 11,000-square-foot, $52-million facility was funded through a partnership between the college and the Algonquin Students' Association. Serving as the heart of the campus, the student commons features a 700-seat auditorium, Counselling Services, the Centre for Students with Disabilities, and the Mamidosewin Aboriginal Student Centre. Built to LEED-Gold standards, the facility capitalizes on natural lighting and "greening" of the adjacent landscape to "bring the outdoors in." The student commons is named after past president Robert C. Gillett in recognition of his commitment to student success and enhancing student services. Algonquin College News Release

Northern Experience, Aboriginal Perspectives among priorities in Northern College's draft SMA

In its proposed strategic mandate agreement, Northern College outlines 4 priority objectives: Accessible Education, Signature Programs, the Northern Experience, and Aboriginal Perspectives. "The Northern Experience," the college says, "is about giving students an opportunity to customize their education with personalized attention, work experience, flexible learning solutions and a range of social engagement opportunities." Northern College proposes policy tools to encourage students to study in northern Ontario, suggesting the creation of a northern tuition tax credit. With a catchment area that includes 18 First Nations, the college states that due to upcoming major changes in northern Ontario's demographic landscape, increased enrolment will likely come from Aboriginal students. The mandate submission mentions incorporating Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge in the college curricula, which "will benefit Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students alike by fostering an inclusive environment in which participants are encouraged to question traditional assumptions, develop critical thinking skills and application to complex issues, such as discussions of environmental and community sustainability." Northern College News | Northern College SMA

Life After High School program aims to send more secondary students to PSE

A recently-completed pilot study in BC and Ontario aims to find out if helping secondary students complete PSE application forms boosts participation rates among those least likely to pursue PSE. The Life After High School program consisted of 3 workshops held during school hours. The workshops helped participants choose a PSE program, complete and submit applications, and apply for financial aid. The results are not yet known. But the proportion of students who submitted applications at the schools where the program was implemented rose in both BC and Ontario by 35 percentage points to approximately 75%, says the research director at the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation, which has been working with a University of Toronto professor on developing, supporting, and evaluating the program. The last workshop was the least attended, with just 50% of students participating compared to 90% and 75% in the first and second sessions, respectively. This could be because students were busy studying for final exams, explains the research director, or perhaps they didn't feel they would qualify to financial aid. The uToronto professor says he'd like to reduce the time students spend in workshops, possibly getting it down to one session. University Affairs

6 Canadian universities make Financial Times EMBA ranking

Led by York University's Schulich School of Business, 6 Canadian universities placed among in the Financial Times' ranking of the top 100 EMBA programs for 2012. Schulich offers its program in partnership with Illinois-based Northwestern University, with their joint program ranking first in Canada for the sixth consecutive year, and 27th overall this year. Other Canadian business schools to make the top 100 include uToronto's Rotman School of Management (29) and Western U's Richard Ivey School of Business (43). A joint program offered by the Queen's School of Business and New York's Cornell University placed 45th. A separate Queen's program came in 92nd place, followed by a joint program from the business schools at the Universities of Alberta and Calgary (99). Globe and Mail | Financial Times EMBA Ranking 2012

Royal Roads enrolment up 7%

Royal Roads University president Allan Cahoon says he is seeing positive signs again this fall in terms of enrolment. The Victoria-based institution has grown by an average of 8% in the past 2 years and enrolment is up by 7% this fiscal year. Since 1995, the year it became an accredited university, Royal Roads has produced more than 18,500 alumni active in 60 nations. "From the start our focus has been on providing relevant, applied learning, oriented to the labour market, rather than focus on the more typical generalist approach to education at traditional universities," says Cahoon, noting that 70% of Royal Roads students are pursuing graduate degrees, the highest percentage of any Canadian university. "We are committed to making our education fit the needs of our students, their communities and their employers." Royal Roads News Release

JIBC offering Canada's first Bachelor of Public Safety Administration

The Justice Institute of British Columbia has launched a new Bachelor of Public Safety Administration program, the first of its kind in Canada. "Students in the program will build their theoretical and methodological knowledge, and develop the practical skills needed for career advancement in today's inter-disciplinary public safety fields," says the director of JIBC's Justice and Public Safety Division. "Program graduates will be prepared to assume managerial, supervisory, administrative, and operational leadership roles in a public safety capacity." JIBC News Release

OUA rejects McGill football team's membership request

Ontario University Athletics has turned down a request from McGill University Redmen to play football in the OUA conference, stating that "the request for playing privileges is appropriate in circumstances when teams do not have access to sports in their own regional association." In light of the decision, McGill's football team will continue to play in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ). The Quebec conference says OUA's decision is timely, given that RSEQ has already started developing an action plan and a long-term vision for its university football league. RSEQ states that for several months, McGill has taken an active role in discussions between RSEQ and league members in order to find ways of making improvements. McGill Athletics News Release | RSEQ News Release | Canadian Press