Top Ten

May 10, 2013

Job cuts, program suspensions at RDC

Red Deer College is preparing for staff layoffs and program suspensions in response to a deep funding cut announced in the Alberta budget. The 7.3% decrease in operating grants for RDC forced administration to scrape together $6 million to balance its budget as required by legislation. "Regretfully there will be job loss," says president Joel Ward. "Although we are still ensuring we meet all conditions of our employment agreements, it appears 32 people will lose their jobs." RDC is cutting its virtual assistant distance certificate from September 2013 intake, and the hospitality and tourism programs are being transferred to Olds College. The early learning and child care diploma will be suspended in September 2014. RDC will also deliver 3 other programs differently that will still be available for students through the college. About 180 full- and part-time students will be affected by the program suspensions. Affected students will be contacted by the registrar's office to advise them of the program changes and other options for continuing their learning. RDC News Release | Calgary Herald

uSask posts deficit of more than $3 million

The University of Saskatchewan's board of governors has approved the institution's 2013-14 operating budget, which contains a projected deficit of $3.3 million. uSask's provost says he hopes the institution's ongoing cost-saving measures will eliminate that shortfall by the end of the 2013-14 year. A year ago, uSask announced it would need to cut $44.5 million from its operating expenses over the next 4 years to avoid a larger shortfall. A major factor is that funding from the Saskatchewan government is rising at a slower pace than in the past. Job cuts began just prior to Christmas, and an estimated 150 positions have been cut so far at uSask. The provost says there will be further job cuts within colleges before the end of June, though he has not provided a number. Job cuts alone are not enough to make up the expenses uSask must eliminate permanently, the provost cautions. TransformUS, the university's program prioritization process that is expected to be completed by November, will be one of those cost-saving measures, as will a lean pilot project that's steering uSask toward more bulk purchasing with other colleges and universities. uSask News Release | Saskatoon Star-Phoenix | CBC

uAlberta French business course suspension upsets parents' group

The University of Alberta's Campus Saint-Jean is suspending a first-year, college-level course in business administration as a cost-saving measure, prompting a parents' group to raise concerns that French language education will be reduced further this spring. The executive director of Canadian Parents for French's Alberta branch says parents were shocked to read of the course cancellation on a blog by uAlberta acting provost Martin Ferguson-Pell. The uAlberta announcement says the business course was cancelled due to low enrolment in the past 3 years, including this year when the minimum number of students was not reached. The head of the parents' group says parents with French-speaking children will fight to get the course reinstated. Ferguson-Pell has sent letters to deans in each faculty, but so far just the arts faculty has outlined its cuts publicly. The cuts are not across the board, but uAlberta has not said which faculties will face bigger cuts. Some professors are pushing the provost to release the letters he sent to each dean, arguing those who work at uAlberta have a right to know how the budget cuts are affecting the institution. The revised budget will go to a May 22 meeting of the academic planning committee accompanied by a revised comprehensive institutional plan. Edmonton Journal

Athabasca U board turns down faculty union's "rescue plan"

Athabasca University's board of governors said Friday it respectfully cannot and will not accept the "rescue plan" motions and accompanying proposals put forth by the university's faculty association last week. The faculty association called on the board to replace the current president with an interim president chosen from among senior staff. The board said that under Alberta's Post-Secondary Learning Act, it is directed with the duty to appoint the university's president and with ultimate governance responsibility for financial matters. The act outlines the responsibilities and powers of a public institution's faculty union, which are separate and distinct from those of the board. Athabasca U's board says it will not, and should not, delegate any of its legislatively conferred duties to any other body, no more than the board would expect the faculty association to delegate any of theirs. "In the immediate future, the Board will move forward with the governance of the institution, including the presidential recruitment process and strategic direction for the future of the University," the board said, adding that the faculty association will be engaged in these processes through their duly appointed board representatives. Athabasca U Board Response

York U receives $5-million gift for Lassonde School of Engineering

The research tower at York University will be named the Kaneff Tower in honour of Ignat Kaneff, who recently donated $5 million to the Lassonde School of Engineering. This brings the donation total by the Kaneff family to almost $8 million. The new Lassonde building, set to open in 2015, will offer "a new type of engineering education," aimed at socially conscious entrepreneurial engineers. York U News Release

Tridel donates $3 million to support George Brown College "Success at Work" campaign

George Brown College has received further funding for its $60-million private-sector fundraising campaign "Success at Work." The $3-million donation from Tridel will be used for the renovation and repurposing of learning spaces in the college's Centre for Construction and Engineering Technologies at its Casa Loma campus. The college's construction management school will be named the Angelo Del Zotto School of Construction Management after CEO and Chairman of the Tridel Group of Companies and Tridel Corporation, Angelo Del Zotto. Tridel has a long partnership with George Brown and the Centre for Construction and Engineering Technologies. George Brown College News Release

Camosun 5-year energy management plan exceeds targets

Camosun College's 5-year energy plan concluded with great success. The combination of increased consumer awareness with low-energy lighting and improved ventilation has resulted in Camosun exceeding its greenhouse gas targets by more than 400%, as well as avoiding costs of more than $1 million. After successfully demonstrating that energy conservation can enhance operating budgets, Camosun will now prepare for future conservation and sustainability efforts to continue this success, including solar technologies and business practices to instill an energy culture. Camosun News Release

Portage College celebrates graduate satisfaction

Portage College has received good news in the area of graduate and employer satisfaction. In the recent Graduate Survey, which had a record 329 respondents, 85% of Class of 2012 graduates reported satisfaction with their education and 87% of graduates are currently employed, with 75% of those working in their designated field. This is in addition to the Employer Survey, which reported high satisfaction among employers of Portage graduates. The Employer Survey also reported 94% of employers would hire Portage graduates again. Portage College News Release  

Ryerson president urges government, private sector to support youth innovation

Toronto can be a big winner in the international race for digital innovation but government and the private sector need to support young entrepreneurs and become start-up friendly, said Ryerson University president Sheldon Levy in an address last Wednesday to the Empire Club of Canada. More young people are launching their own businesses, many of them digital, signalling that Canada's youth -- with the right help -- can power a globally competitive digital economy for Canada, said Levy. 4 young Ryerson entrepreneurs who have launched businesses that are earning international acclaim also spoke at the Empire Club. Their companies have been part of Ryerson's Digital Media Zone (DMZ), where demand for admission is high. Since opening in April 2010, the DMZ has incubated 84 startups, initiated more than 134 projects, graduated 25 companies, created more than 650 jobs, and hosted nearly 700 tours for visitors from around the world. Levy believes zone-based education can help stop the leakage of Canada's intellectual property to other nations by creating a place for young innovators to connect with business and investors in Canada. Ryerson News Release | Speech

Online learning reaches record numbers in Ontario

Contact North has seen an increase of 18.4% in student registrations from winter 2012 to winter 2013. The record 14,871 registrations bring the total to more than 315,000 since the program’s establishment in 1986. Contact North provides local access to education and training opportunities by bringing learning technologies and support services to over 600 small, remote, rural, Aboriginal, and Francophone communities across Ontario, through partnerships with Ontario’s public colleges, universities, public literacy and basic skills and training providers, and the government of Ontario. Contact North News Release