Top Ten

February 4, 2013

UBC female tenure-stream faculty receive 2% pay raise

UBC has promised all female tenure-stream faculty members a 2% pay increase by the end of February, which is expected to cost the institution about $2 million this year. But the total cost of the pay hike should prove much higher as it is retroactive to July 1, 2010. The pay increase comes as a result of internal equity studies that found that female professors of all ranks earned $3,000 less on average, a gap that could only be explained by gender after accounting for other factors. Salary top-ups targeting gender salary gaps are not uncommon in PSE, but many of those efforts have only increased the salaries of those calculated to be underpaid, while UBC’s approach is unusual in awarding all 800 women in tenured or tenure-track positions a raise. Globe and Mail

UPEI vet college still waiting on funding agreement

The University of Prince Edward Island’s Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC) and the Atlantic provinces are still trying to negotiate a new funding agreement for the college. The last agreement for the AVC, which is supported by all Atlantic provinces, expired in April 2011. Newfoundland and Labrador officials say that province’s portion of the agreement is being evaluated as part of its regular budget preparations. AVC’s dean is optimistic a new agreement will be reached, even though some provinces are experiencing a financial crunch. CBC

Ryerson acquires 2 new downtown properties

Ryerson University has acquired 2 properties in downtown Toronto that will help meet growing student demand. The 2 sites were purchased from Infrastructure Ontario for $32 million. The larger of the 2 properties has a 5,400-square-metre footprint and is the only substantial undeveloped parcel of land within the campus precinct. The other site provides Ryerson with an additional 750-square-metre lot. Until capital funding is available, the larger site will operate as a parking lot, which Ryerson will add to its pool of parking services. Ryerson News

Saskatchewan economy will suffer without new labour supply strategy, report suggests

Saskatchewan will need a new strategy for supplying labour if the province's economy is to continue on its path of accelerated growth, concludes a new report published by the University of Calgary's School of Public Policy. The report evaluates Saskatchewan's labour situation and what the province has done, or has planned, to ensure positions get filled. To avoid an economically damaging labour supply shortage, the report recommends the Saskatchewan government adopt a number of policy measures. These include speeding up current plans for changing the PSE system so as to encourage students to seek out programs and opportunities that align with labour demand. Another recommendation is to focus on attracting 15- to 24-year-old males to join the labour force as this group is particularly underemployed. School of Public Policy News Release | Report

uToronto study proposes keeping students in secondary school longer, better “at-risk” programs

New research from the University of Toronto suggests raising the age at which students can legally drop out of school could determine their future earning power and quality of life. Consistently, studies observe large socio-economic gains for students who stay in school longer; however, the benefits of keeping reluctant students in school longer is not universally accepted. The key, according to the uToronto paper, is a “carrot-and-stick” approach that pairs an increase in the legal dropout age with enhanced programs to target at-risk students long before they decide to drop out. Secondary schools that offer vocational training, school-to-career programs, and career academies that combine traditional classroom learning with on-the-job experience may help to prepare students for a range of opportunities, including PSE and careers. UTM News

US law school applications down but Canadian programs holding steady

New data from the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) show the number of people applying to US law schools has dropped by 20% from last year, following a decline of nearly 14% from 2011. In Canada, law school application rates have remained relative steady. According to the LSAC, the number of Canadian law school applicants fell by 4% from 2012. An associate dean at the University of Toronto’s law school says Canadian law school application rates are resilient for 2 main reasons: on average, tuition is much more affordable in Canada, and the job market for Canadian law graduates is better in many Canadian legal markets. Canadian Lawyer

New CIS head aims to keep top high school athletes in Canada

Pierre Lafontaine, the newly appointed CEO of Canadian Interuniversity Sport, says one of his priorities is ensuring more of Canada’s top secondary school athletes attend university here rather than head to the US. A major selling point of NCAA institutions is they can offer Canadian athletes full sports scholarships and the opportunity at a free education; in Canada, the maximum a student-athlete can expect is to have tuition and mandatory fees covered in an academic year. The scholarship issue “needs to be addressed,” Lafontaine says. But beyond that, he adds, it’s simply a matter of doing a better job of selling what Canadian universities have to offer. CIS will soon unveil a new TV deal that Lafontaine feels offers the organization a chance to get more exposure for its various sports. Globe and Mail | Toronto Star | Canadian Press

uOttawa to revisit new campus pub policy

The University of Ottawa has torn up a list of new rules to control how alcohol is served on campus to go back to the drawing board with student consultation this time. The student federation had criticized the original draft, claiming some of the proposed rules went too far. uOttawa administration decided Friday to review the policy from the start along with students. A uOttawa spokesman says the current liquor policy, which dates back to 1975, needs updating to promote accountability and responsibility. Measures that had been on the table included banning shots or shooters and limiting beer pitchers to groups of 3 or more people. A student federation spokeswoman says Ontario liquor laws, under which the campus pub operates, are enough to maintain safety. She says staff members are trained to watch out for excessive drinking. uOttawa hopes to finalize a new policy by the spring. CBC

uWindsor upgrades mobile app

The University of Windsor has released a new version of the myUWindsor mobile application to increase the value of its service to students. With the upgraded app, students receive a push notification of new uWindsor messages and learning management system notifications. Other new features include a quick connection with the library, the latest news from the student newspaper, and a subscription to uWindsor’s emergency notification system. uWindsor Daily News

US grads using GRE scores in job market

Some US PSE graduates are looking to boost their chances of getting hired in a tough labour market by offering their scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The standardized test, which was designed to help in graduate-school admissions decisions, also seems to be of growing interest to employers, some of whom are using GRE scores to help them sort through large numbers of applicants for scarce positions. Some PSE researchers were amused, and others appalled, to learn that GRE scores are being used in the labour market. Some scholars say employers would be ill served using the scores to screen job applicants. Only a subset of college students who may apply to graduate school take the GRE, thus the exam tends to represent a narrow segment of high-ability students. Some researchers say businesses would be better off focusing on applicants' non-cognitive characteristics, such as resilience, creativity, and the ability to take directions. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)