Top Ten

November 29, 2012

uMontréal and affiliates launch $500-million fundraising campaign

Yesterday the Université de Montréal and its affiliated business and engineering schools -- HEC Montréal and Polytechnic Montréal -- kicked off a $500-million fundraising campaign under the name "Campus Montréal." The campaign -- the most ambitious ever to be conducted in francophone academia -- has already garnered $199.5 million in its silent phase. Funds raised will be invested in 4 major sectors: a bursary fund for students (30%), research projects (35%), infrastructure (25%), and the student environment (10%). uMontréal News | Montreal Gazette

Across-the-board cuts not an option at UoGuelph, says president

Members of the University of Guelph community participated in a town hall meeting Wednesday to learn more about plans to trim $34 million from the institution's operating budget over the next 4 years. UoGuelph president Alastair Summerlee attributed the shortfall and decline in revenue to a number of factors, such as a government funding freeze and an enrolment reduction. He said there is pressure from the general public for the institution to maintain high quality programs while keeping costs down, as well as pressure from students to keep tuition fees low. Summerlee says increasing enrolment is not an option because UoGuelph is already approaching its infrastructure limits. "If you do cross the board cuts all you do is weaken everybody." Guelph Mercury

CAGS maintains decision to drop grad student seat from board

At the Canadian Association of Graduate Studies (CAGS) conference earlier this month, there was heated debate over the matter of student representation, but a decision taken last year, to remove the graduate student seat on the CAGS board, was maintained. Last year's decision "came down to us not having confidence that the representative was truly representative of all grad students," says CAGS's newly elected president. The Canadian Federation of Students' chairperson says removing the seat sends a negative message to students, and argues that advocacy work about graduate studies should also include graduate students' perspectives. CAGS's president says she doesn't see these perspectives as always compatible. "We thought it was healthier for us, and more forceful for us, to be lobbying on behalf of graduate studies, not necessarily on behalf of grad students. These are maybe subtle distinctions." The CFS chairperson disagrees: "To see graduate studies as separate from graduate students is like discussing research without considering the researcher." Meanwhile, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, which never held a seat on the CAGS board, is urging CAGS to be more inclusive of graduate students. That last thing CAGS is interested in is excluding students, the president says, noting that it is trying to seek more space for them in the CAGS conference agenda. University Affairs

SLC outlines virtual hospital learning model in draft SMA

In its proposed strategic mandate agreement, St. Lawrence College discusses the concept of a virtual hospital under its priority objective regarding technology and learning models. Through a virtual hospital, students are exposed to the full range of human conditions, many of which are not encountered in clinical placements. SLC states it is already using elements of the virtual hospital, which, as it evolves, can reduce the number hours of clinical placements required for students in health care and community service programs. While the college's PN, BScN, and BPsych programs are consistently oversubscribed, enrolment is capped by placement opportunity availability. SLC says use of the virtual hospital will allow it to amortize conventional placement opportunities and grow its health-care enrolment. This approach to education offers significant opportunities for productivity gains, but it must first be endorsed by several accrediting bodies, SLC states. With such endorsement in place, this learning model could be adopted by every educational institution offering health-care education. SLC SMA

Report offers recommendations to strengthen aerospace skills base

"Labour market forecasts indicate that specialized and experienced aerospace workers will be in short supply over the coming decades, particularly in engineering, technology, and supervisory occupations," states the national Aerospace Review report, released yesterday. The report recommends that federal programs be used -- in collaboration with industry, academia, unions, and provinces -- to promote STEM studies generally, and aerospace and space careers specifically, among youth; to help PSE students acquire relevant experience; to bridge new graduates into the aerospace and space workforces; and to bring skilled aerospace and space workers from abroad when efforts to develop labour supply in Canada do not keep up with demand. The report notes a new aerospace campus is being proposed for Toronto, with proponents including Centennial College, Ryerson University, and the University of Toronto. As noted in one submission to the Aerospace Review, the proposed campus "would leverage Ontario's very best educational institutions in a unique partnership designed to innovative new technologies, aid in workforce training and skills development, and participate in supply chain development activities." Aerospace Review News Release | Report | Centennial News Release | Ryerson News Release

Lakeland raises nearly $5 million in 2011-12 fiscal year

Lakeland College reports that from July 2011 to June 2012, it had received or had commitments for gifts and pledges totalling more than $4.7 million. 38 new student financial awards were established with 858 awards distributed for a total value of $758,497. This is the most awards distributed to students to date and the highest total dollar amount awarded to students in the Alberta-based institution's history. Lakeland started its fundraising efforts with a focused campaign last year and will maintain it leading up to the institution's centennial year in 2013. The college is also in the midst of raising funds for the construction of a new Petroleum Centre at its Lloydminster campus. The total estimated cost to construct the facility is $20 million. The college has so far raised more than $12 million for the project. Lakeland News Release

uCalgary partner in $3-million initiative on math education

A new partnership between the University of Calgary's Faculty of Education, Canadian Oil Sands Limited (COS), and other organizations strives to take an innovative approach to math education, making it more accessible, interesting, and enjoyable to students from kindergarten to Grade 6. The overall objectives of the Math Minds initiative are to strengthen numeracy among elementary students and to help establish Calgary as a centre of excellence in math education. COS's $3-million commitment will enable uCalgary's education faculty to create a unit focused on math education, which will include a director, a postdoctoral fellow, and a graduate fellow. COS News Release | UToday

Mount Royal student pays tuition with coins to protest new credit card fee

Mount Royal University recently made changes to its fee payment options, implementing an additional fee of up to 1.89% of the cost of tuition for students paying with a credit card. To protest the new charge, a second-year student paid his tuition in full at the Registrar's Office Wednesday using about 230 pounds of coins. The student hopes his peaceful stance will catch Mount Royal's attention. "I'd like them to reverse the decision," he says. "I know the U of C's done it in the past and they experienced something similar to this. Hopefully they'll learn from a little coin." A MRU official says the institution understands it is not a convenient or happy change for students, and that it's done its best to make people understand the reason for the change and to make as many options available as possible. The student association opposes the credit card fee, which works out to approximately $60 per semester. CTV

Holland College signs agreement with top US music school

Holland College has signed an agreement with Boston-based Berklee College of Music to offer the US institution's curriculum in Charlottetown. Under the agreement, students who complete the 2-year music performance program could apply to continue their studies at Berklee. 2 more years of study there would earn them the same degree as their peers who study all 4 years in Boston. A Holland College music instructor says the deal will make the PEI institution an attractive alternative, especially to people who want to study contemporary music at the PSE level. Acceptance into Berklee is far from guaranteed for Holland College graduates. Every year, 7,000 applicants audition and interview to get into Berklee, whose reputation has been built on the more than 200 Grammys won by its alumni. CBC

UVic teacher education initiative attempts to better integrate learning spaces

Most existing teacher education programs wait to give in-class practicums to pre-service teachers. A University of Victoria initiative tries to better integrate the 2 primary learning spaces -- the university and the classroom -- by putting prospective teachers in the school in their first semester to make instant connections between theories of learning and practice, and better incorporate the principles of 21st century teaching and learning into UVic's teacher education program. This semester, the Teaching Reynolds UVic Project -- an initiative with Reynolds Secondary School -- gave 16 prospective high school English teachers weekly opportunities to immerse themselves in school and classroom life, receive mentoring from experienced teachers, and meet a range of educators in a variety of education contexts. UVic Media Tips