Top Ten

April 29, 2013

Campus Manitoba to close offices, increase online delivery of programs

Manitoba’s advanced education minister announced last Friday that as part of the government’s efforts to find efficiencies and modernize services, Campus Manitoba will close inefficient offices and move to online delivery of programs. Over the last 10 years, the number of students taking courses at the 14 Campus Manitoba satellite offices has dropped dramatically as more people are choosing to take the online courses in their homes and attend satellite classes and campuses through University College of the North, Red River College, and Assiniboine Community College. The minister said this latest change is part of the government’s ongoing efforts to streamline services and find savings for Manitoba taxpayers. This Campus Manitoba initiative will save Manitoba taxpayers an additional $300,000 by eliminating the need for an office operating grant, she added. Closure of offices will be staggered beginning in June of 2013. Manitoba News Release

Job vacancies, program cuts at CNC

Last Friday the College of New Caledonia’s board of governors approved a balanced budget for 2013-14. The budget for the entire college totals just over $56.7 million. The operating fund budget totals $47.5 million, with a projected surplus of $17,654. “We were able to eliminate the projected $1 million deficit with very minimal impact to students and employees,” said CNC’s president. To find the necessary savings, CNC re-allocated unused budgets to areas that were underfunded, the college will delay filling vacant positions, and will not be replacing employees on leave. In addition to a 2% tuition hike and the issuing of 4 layoff notices to faculty members, more money was saved by reorganizing support areas, and equipment budgets were reduced. Some low-enrolment courses will be discontinued and the college advertising budget will be reduced. CNC News Release | Prince George Citizen

Capilano U art students protest possible program loss

Capilano University students took sledgehammers and chainsaws to their own art pieces last Thursday to protest the proposed cuts the school has made in wake of a $1.3-million budget shortfall. The students also posted a video on YouTube on behalf of the Save the Capilano Studio Arts movement that states students and faculty weren’t given any notice of the proposed cuts by the administration, as well as posted a Facebook link to sign an online petition to save the arts program. About 220 classes will be affected. Programs potentially falling under the axe on the North Vancouver campus include studio arts, textile arts, medical office assistant, interactive design, and applied business technology programs. There could also be a reduced number of courses in the arts and sciences, including commerce transfer and computing science transfer programs, Capilano U stated on their website. North Shore News

French studies waning at PSE institutions across Canada, say administrators

Government cutbacks across the university sector have led institutions to re-examine their humanities and, in particular, language programs. Officials speculate the waning interest in PSE French programs stems in part from student worries about the labour market, and what their degree will be worth once they enter the work force. At Queen’s University, officials too have decided to temporarily suspend admissions to their graduate programs in French studies. There has been a 60% decline in the applicant pool since 2008, says its dean of graduate studies – and that’s not unique to Queen’s. "In talking to my colleagues across the province and indeed from other provinces as well, many of them do report that there have been declines in languages quite generally." Several months ago, the University of Regina's senate voted to end the school's Bachelor of Francophone Studies program due to a continuing lack of interest in it. uRegina's Bachelor of Arts in French program and Baccalaureat en education program continue to enrol and graduate students. Globe and Mail

uAlberta pulling plug on 20-year acupuncture program

The University of Alberta is shutting down an acupuncture program designed for doctors and other health professionals to incorporate an aspect of eastern medicine into their repertoires. Launched in 1991, the Medical Acupuncture Program has trained close to 1,000 health professionals, including doctors, dentists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and chiropractors. “It’s sad to see for such a program that has been running for more than 20 years that has given service to so many people,” said the program’s founder. “It’s a well-established, reputable program that is not only known provincially but also nationally and internationally.” The move comes as uAlberta grapples with a substantial funding cut from the provincial government, although it is unclear if the acupuncture program is a casualty of the budget or simply a change in academic direction. The program will end as of June 2013, after which its founder said he hopes to quickly find a new place to host it. Edmonton Journal

uCalgary initiative boosts Aboriginal medical student admissions

According to Ian Walker, director of admissions for undergraduate medical education at the University of Calgary, the school has seen a sharp increase in the number of admitted Aboriginal applicants since it began a new initiative aimed at levelling the playing field. The new data – presented this week at the Canadian Conference on Medical Education in Quebec City – showed it’s possible to increase enrolment of Aboriginal students without changing the admission standards for all students or setting aside reserved spots for those with Aboriginal background, said Walker. Since 2010, uCalgary has been using a scoring system that compares and ranks Aboriginal applicant MCAT scores and grade-point averages against a historical data set of Aboriginal applicant scores, rather than against the non-Aboriginal applicant pool. There’s no difference in the average grades received by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students in their first year of medical school. In fact, said Walker, those students who would not have gotten into the medical school using the old admissions method actually very slightly outperform the class average. Calgary Herald

Brock’s new b-school dean sets sights on building school’s profile, new facility

For Don Cyr, the new dean of the Goodman School of Business at Ontario-based Brock University, raising the profile of the program and securing funding for a new building are top priorities. “Because of our fast growth, the awareness of the school and its accomplishments in research and programs is not at a level that matches where it is,” says Cyr. Initially established as a departmental program, the Goodman school now has almost 100 full-time faculty and 3,000 students. The school puts an emphasis on co-op education and service learning placements. Last fall, with a gift from Brock chancellor Ned Goodman, the school planned to push ahead with a new building. But progress has been slow, in part because of leadership changes at Queen’s Park, says Cyr. This month, the Goodman school submitted a revised proposal to the province for a $59-million building of 100,000 square feet, with a possible opening in 2016. The school has raised $24 million privately but is seeking $35 million from the province. Globe and Mail

Trent Oshawa approves 2013-17 strategic plan

Last Friday, Trent University’s board of governors approved in principle the Trent Oshawa Strategic and Business Plan for 2013-17. The goal for Trent Oshawa moving forward is to offer an unparalleled education, grounded in the social sciences and humanities, in the Durham region and eastern GTA. 7 areas of development are set out in the plan, covering academic programming, the student experience, enhanced campus identity and profile, and governance. The plan aims at both increasing the number of student applicants who make Trent Oshawa their first choice, and improving student retention by enhancing the quality of the learning experience. New programming in high-demand areas, such as social work and interdisciplinary offerings, is a key component of the plan. The plan also calls for building on the relationship Trent has with Durham College and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, and developing new partnerships and complementary program delivery. Trent News Release

UCN cuts ribbon on new research library

Manitoba-based University College of the North held a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week as it celebrated the opening of its new research library named in honour of the late, long-serving MLA Oscar Lathlin. The 16,400-square-foot research library includes a campus commons area for students, computer workstations, study areas and rooms for private meetings. It serves the 2 main campuses and 12 regional centres across the north. The library is part of a major expansion of the UCN campus at The Pas, supported with a $15-million investment by the province. It was also done with the help of generous donations from members of the community including Evans Premachuk, Opaskwayak Cree Nation and the family of Oscar Lathlin. The expansion includes a new 6,500 square foot child-care facility, an Aboriginal centre and centralized administrative offices. Manitoba News | UCN News Release

Program for at-risk high school students a success, say Western U and TVDSB

An innovative partnership – the first of its kind in Canada – to help at-risk high school students is being hailed a success by the Thames Valley District School Board and Western University. Now completing its first year, the School Within a University program is offered to up to 25 Thames Valley students experiencing exceptional change or challenges and who are at risk of not completing their Ontario Secondary School Diploma. The program gives these students the chance to complete their final high school courses required for graduation, as well as earn a university credit on Western U’s campus at no cost. Of the 21 students currently enrolled in the first cohort, 15 have applied to college or university. According to the SWAU program’s teacher, because of its success, Western and TVDSB have committed to making it an annual offering. Western U News Release