Top Ten

April 5, 2013

Portage College closing Vegreville campus, cutting jobs

Alberta-based Portage College has cut 10% from its 2013-14 budget. The reduction of more than $4 million to Portage's budget translates into job losses, one campus closure, a campus reduction, and a shift in the delivery of academic upgrading. The budget eliminates 15 full-time positions: 9.9 faculty and 4.5 non-instructional positions. The leased facility in Vegreville will not be renewed, while the leased facility in Bonnyville will be reduced in size by more than one half. Portage did not cut any programs in balancing its budget. Portage College News Release

UBC board approves International College program

UBC's board of governors has given its support to the creation of a new Vancouver campus program that will attract a greater diversity and number of international students. Presently known as International College, the program will begin recruiting students and faculty this fall and will welcome its first cohort of 300 students in August 2014, a number that would grow progressively to 1,000 by August 2016. Students admitted to the 12-month program need to meet the same academic requirements as other undergraduate students, although the English proficiency required is slightly lower. These students will take first-year credits in the arts or science faculties, and if successful will move to a second year at UBC, in one of a number of degree programs. Initially the International College will offer first year in the arts and science faculties, but other faculties will be added in the future. UBC News Release

Education squeeze in Surrey

Surrey is stuck in an education squeeze. The booming BC municipality is home to the largest number of youth in the province, who have limited access to local PSE. In her annual address last week, Mayor Dianne Watts stressed that Simon Fraser University's Surrey campus needs 2,500 more student spaces and Kwantlen Polytechnic University another 3,500 to meet demand. With limited spots, admissions are increasingly restrictive with rising entrance grades. SFU president Andrew Petter would like to accommodate more local students, and has been lobbying the province to make good on a 2006 MOU to increase the campus's funded full-time equivalent spaces from 2,500 to 5,000 by 2015, starting with 800 new spaces in 2013. Operating at 102% funded capacity, Kwantlen's space crunch has meant waitlists for in-demand programs. One student says he's seen evidence of campus crowding; more than once he has had to delay courses or take them at the Richmond campus when the Surrey campus courses were full. Kwantlen president Alan Davis says that kind of outcome is "ridiculous" and contrary to the community-focused education his university strives to provide. Vancouver Province

USB unveils new 5-year strategic plan

Last week Manitoba-based Université de Saint-Boniface launched its new 5-year strategic plan. Built around the theme "Je me vois ici" ("I can see myself here"), the plan will guide the university's growth into 2018. The plan's 4 pillars are an environment of choice, research, recruitment, and engagement. As per the strategic plan, by 2018 USB will have created an environment of choice for French-language PSE through its continued quality programs and services; USB will strengthen its local, national, and international reputation through research; the university's robust and personalized recruitment will target the students of Manitoba's French schools and immersion programs as never before; and long-standing partners, USB, and its community will bolster their ties and their engagement to ensure their mutual development. USB News Release | Strategic Plan (in French)

BC distributes $7 million for targeted regional skills training

BC Premier Christy Clark announced Thursday that students throughout the province will have increased access to regional training opportunities as a result of $7 million in one-time funding to 19 PSE institutions. Coming from the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Development Agreement, the funding will allow the individual institutions to target specific short-term training that is needed to meet the labour market needs of industry in their region. As part of the overall funding, $1 million is being provided to support short-term training that aligns with the outcomes from the Regional Workforce Tables. Additionally, $900,000 is being earmarked to support short-term training related to the activities of BC's Centres of Training Excellence. BC News Release

$2-million donation to Ivey supports new building

BMO Financial Group has made a $2-million donation to the Ivey Business School at Western University in support of the school's new building. In recognition of the gift, the main auditorium in Ivey's new building will be named the BMO Financial Group Auditorium. The auditorium is a 2-level, 7,200-square-foot facility that seats up to 640 people. Featuring the latest in videoconferencing technology, the auditorium will be used for special occasions and host distinguished speakers. Ivey News Release

MSVU billboard for wall to honour women criticized for featuring only men

The absence of women on a Halifax billboard that advertises Mount Saint Vincent University's bid to raise money for its Women's Wall of Honour has prompted a spirited debate on social media and criticism from abroad. "Idiotic billboard celebrating women shows three grinning dudes in suits," reads a website headline from the New York-based magazine Adweek. One of the men appearing on the billboard says one of the goals of the campaign is to get more men to contribute. An MSVU spokeswoman says the billboard is part of a larger print and online campaign that also features images of prominent women. When asked about the negative attention MSVU is getting, the spokeswoman said the intention of the campaign was to generate discussion and awareness. While some on Twitter took shots at the campaign, others supported it, with one person tweeting: "Refreshing that accomplished men unite and advocate to honour women." Canadian Press

NSCAD to launch "I AM NSCAD" alumni campaign

To draw attention to the entrepreneurial spirit and ingenuity of art and design graduates, the NSCAD Alumni Association will launch later this month the I AM NSCAD campaign. To boost awareness of the contributions of NSCAD University and its alumni, graduates will be asked to display an "I AM NSCAD" decal in their shop, studio, booth, or office. The buttons and decals were designed by a current NSCAD student using the "Granville" font designed especially for the university. A 2011 survey of NSCAD alumni revealed a high level of satisfaction among graduates for their educational experience at NSCAD. 40% of respondents identified themselves as entrepreneurs in the creative economy. The survey found that students who are drawn to NSCAD often decide to stay in Nova Scotia and set up business. NSCAD News

Report estimates 70% increase in oilsands hiring in next decade

New industry projections suggest Alberta's oilsands will see a 70% increase in hiring over the next decade. In its annual labour demand outlook, the Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada estimates there will be 31,850 job openings in the oilsands between 2012 and 2022. Half of these will be new positions created as a result of industry expansion, while the remainder will be due to normal turnover and retirements. The council's executive director says the latest analysis foresees oilsands employment growth happening even more rapidly than the council predicted last year. To address ongoing concerns about labour and skills shortages, the industry will need to look outside western Canada for talent, she says. One of the barriers right now to recruiting in eastern Canada, the executive director says, is public perception of the oilsands. The associate dean of SAIT Polytechnic's MacPhail School of Energy says that in response to industry demand, SAIT has committed to doubling the size of its power engineering program. PetroHRSC News Release | Calgary Herald

Food software takes top prize in Dal mobile app competition

"DalEats" is the winner of Dalhousie University's second-annual mobile application competition, which challenges students to develop in less than a month a functioning app that benefits some portion of the Dal community. A computer science student took home the top prize of $750 for her food app that allows students to track their dining on campus. The second prize of $500 went to "Tiger Connect," which allows students to collect social media feeds related to Dal and pick the ones they want to follow in a single convenient location. The third prize of $250 was awarded to "DalScholaris," which lets users stay logged into EZproxy, which provides remote access to electronic library sources, while searching for results on Google Scholar, meaning they don't have to enter their Dal credentials multiple times. Dal News