Top Ten

May 21, 2013

uSask forms Canadian Wheat Alliance with federal, provincial governments

An investment of approximately $97 million dollars over 5 years will be used to create the Canadian Wheat Alliance (CWA) among the federal government’s National Research Council of Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Government of Saskatchewan and the University of Saskatchewan. The CWA will coordinate research and development projects aimed at improving the profitability and global competitiveness of the Canadian wheat industry, with focus on increased yields and decreased loss due to disease and extreme weather stress. The federal government has committed $85 million in funding and in-kind donations, the Government of Saskatchewan $10 million, and uSask $1.4 million per year through in-kind donations. Yield improvements are estimated at 20-30% over the next 10-15 years. The CWA will work with all levels of government as well as public and private sector groups. Saskatoon StarPhoenix

$10-million donation establishes Trottier Energy Institute in Montreal

On Tuesday, the Trottier Family Foundation announced a donation of $10 million to establish the Trottier Energy Institute at Polytechnique Montréal. The mission of the Institute is to “promote the search for solutions to help secure the future of energy in Québec, Canada and the world.” It will bring together professors and researchers from the 3 Campus Montréal institutes, as well as establish a close partnership with McGill University. This donation formalizes the alliance between the schools established by Trottier’s 2012 donation to McGill and the establishment of the Trottier Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design. The institutes will be required to carry out joint research initiatives and hold joint annual public symposia. The Campus Montréal major fundraising campaign, the most ambitious ever by a Francophone university with a goal of $500 million, has now succeeded in raising over $200 million. uMontreal News Release

Edmonton nursing students sue CDI College

Some Edmonton nursing students are taking CDI College to court to get their tuition fees back. The students allege instructors in CDI's Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) program often arrived with no lesson plans or textbooks, leaving students to watch movies and learn anatomy from colouring books. None of the claims has been proven in court. Last December, the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta suspended the permits of a number of CDI graduates. An investigation found the program did not meet education standards and the regulatory body withdrew approval for new enrolment in the program. Meanwhile, CDI's Winnipeg location is under investigation after several students in the LPN program complained to Manitoba's LPN regulatory body. A health ministry spokesperson says fall 2013 and winter 2014 enrolment has been halted. CBC (Edmonton) | CBC (Winnipeg)

Postscript: May 23, 2013

In response to media reports about complaints regarding its Licensed Practical Nursing program in Edmonton and Winnipeg, CDI College says it made the voluntary decision to suspend new enrolment in the Edmonton program, which is a partnership between CDI and Bow Valley College. It says the temporary suspension of work permits last fall was due to an administrative error regarding credentials, as graduates should have received BVC credentials. BVC has since granted these credentials and graduates have entered the field. CDI says the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Manitoba (CLPNM) recently monitored the retesting of students from Winnipeg during their clinical field placements. CDI says the CLPNM was satisfied with both the level of instruction and competency displayed by CDI students. CDI Response

UTM innovation complex receives $10 million from Mississauga

The city of Mississauga has pledged $10 million over the next 10 years to the University of Toronto Mississauga campus to build the Institute of Management and Innovation complex. The institute will house a number of industry-specific programs that combine management studies with fields like bio-pharma, environmental sustainability, and engineering. Estimates by uToronto put annual direct infusions of over $22 million into the city’s economy. Mississauga councillors endorsed the deal, stating the need for competitive hospitals and universities in order to be a “great city.” The university already has $35 million in capital funding for the construction of the project, but will seek further funding from federal, provincial, and municipal sources. The groundbreaking ceremony will take place May 23, 2013, with the complex scheduled to open in September 2014. Toronto Star | UTM News Release

uAlberta plans for $84 million in cuts over 3 years

An unexpected $55-million reduction in provincial funding has forced the University of Alberta to withdraw its original 2013 Comprehensive Institutional Plan (CIP). The amended CIP, submitted to a committee of General Faculties Council last week, proposes cutting $28 million next year from faculty, administration, libraries and IT, but still running a $44.7-million deficit. The University would then cut an additional $26 million in 2014-15, and $30 million in 2015-16. The acting provost told the Edmonton Journal that “we are an entrepreneurial university,” and that uAlberta would also look at revenue-generation options such as course-based master’s degrees. The faculty association is concerned about the prospect of “major restructuring,” faculty job losses and heavier teaching loads. Official uAlberta blog | Edmonton Journal

BCIT may consider university status

The British Columbia Institute of Technology is now looking at becoming an accredited university, reports The Link, a BCIT student newspaper. Barry Hogan, BCIT's senior director of program development, says the idea has not been proposed externally but there is talk of BCIT's need to make some changes when it comes to program recognition across Canada and worldwide -- or becoming a university. Paul Dangerfield, BCIT's VP of Education, says the talks of university status came up during discussion of the 2014-2019 strategic plan. He says the idea was brought up informally more than a decade ago. Dangerfield says BCIT's governance structure would likely change if it were to become a university. As for the name of the institution, it would not be mandatory for it to change to BC University of Technology, or something to represent that it has changed to a university. Hogan says a name change would not be appealing to the community due to the brand equity of the BCIT name. The research is still in the very early stages, but Hogan speculates if the institution does become a university, it would be about a 3-year process. The Link (student newspaper)

Job cuts at NorQuest

The board of governors at Edmonton's NorQuest College has approved a plan for a deficit budget of $1.43 million for the 2013-14 fiscal year, making way for a balanced budget the following fiscal year. Based on operational and financial necessity, NorQuest is eliminating about 50 permanent positions, of which 8 are vacant. The college also supported the early retirement of 10 employees on a voluntary basis. NorQuest News Release

$58-million pledge creates cancer care alliance in Quebec

McGill University announced a $30-million donation from the Larry and Cookie Rossy Family Foundation (LCRFF) to create the Rossy Cancer Network (RCN) a partnership between McGill University, the McGill University Health Centre, the Jewish General Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital Center. The partner foundations of McGill and the hospitals have committed to raising the $28-million balance. The aim of the RCN is to improve the quality of patient care and satisfaction, increase survival rates, and reduce the burden of cancer. The initiative will also establish a system of shared information, erasing the need for cancer patients to repeat their medical histories when they seek treatment at different hospitals. Currently, 30% of 11,000 patients diagnosed last year receive treatment at more than one hospital in the network. The RCN is part of the Quebec cancer network and supports Quebec’s recent action plan for cancer care. Montreal Gazette | McGill News Release

uCalgary to see 200 fewer Arts students next year

The University of Calgary announced on May 15 that they will be cutting 200 student positions in the Faculty of Arts by the start of next year, in addition to the 45 positions cut in nursing and medicine announced previously. University president Elizabeth Cannon stated that the original cuts in nursing and medicine were due to the end of fixed-term funding and not due to the provincial budget cuts. The university has also announced plans to cut 20 programs that have minimal enrolment, but details on which programs will be cut have not been released. Cannon reassured students that those currently enrolled in such programs would be “guaranteed to be able to finish.” University officials stated that although this year’s budget-balancing decisions were “difficult,” it is the budget for 2014/15 that will present the greater challenge. Global News | Metro News

Capilano U faculty letter expresses non-confidence in president

Prior to Tuesday's meeting of Capilano University's board of governors, an open letter to president Kris Bulcroft was circulating among faculty members who attended her employee forum last week, to be signed by those who agreed with its content. The letter expresses non-confidence in Bulcroft's leadership. (As of late Tuesday, the letter had more than 4 dozen signatures). The letter did not originate with the faculty association, but its president said the association has also expressed grave concerns about budget proposals, which mark "a shift in the values and directions of this institution," particularly the loss of some certificate and diploma courses as well as adult basic education (ABE) courses in Squamish. On Monday, the BC Supreme Court adjourned an application by the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators seeking an injunction to force Capilano U's board to postpone its vote on a budget that would eliminate some programs. FPSE says the injunction application was adjourned because Capilano has given a commitment to address the concerns of ABE students in Squamish. A Vancouver Sun reporter blogged that she received reports late Tuesday night that the board voted to postpone its decision for 3 weeks so that the senate could look for an alternative approach. Vancouver Sun | Letter | The Tyee

uManitoba braces for $5 million in cuts

Yesterday the University of Manitoba's board of governors considered a draft budget calling for the institution to slash $4.98 million from its 2013-14 budget. More than $3.9 million will be cut from academic faculties, departments, schools, libraries, and colleges. The rest of the money will come from president David Barnard's office and the budget of other senior administrators. The cuts will be spread across the university, with arts and science suffering the highest cuts. Winnipeg Free Press

NSCAD launches new strategic research plan

Halifax’s NSCAD University has unveiled its new 3-year strategic research plan. Objectives outlined in the plan include increasing the number of externally-funded research projects and applying regularly for federal, provincial, and private funds to fuel the research effort; communicating and promoting NSCAD's research strengths, expertise, and successes as a resource to government, community partners, funding organizations, and the general public; and developing and maintaining mechanisms for appointing research and post-doctoral fellows. Given NSCAD's status as an arts institution, the focus of research activities at NSCAD are more clearly identified than for an institution with a wider range of program offerings: identified strategic research foci include critical and historical research, cinematic and interactive media, digital materiality, design for health, creation and material practices, and research through design. NSCAD News | Strategic Research Plan

Controversy over staff cuts at CNA

Newfoundland and Labrador’s College of the North Atlantic has announced that the contracts of 5 temporary Resource Facilitators at 3 campuses near St. John’s will not be extended, but emphasizes that all students with disabilities will continue to be supported by remaining Resource Facilitators and Disability Service Coordinators. The staff reduction is apparently based on anticipated declines in enrolment and workloads. The clarification was sparked by accusations from the NL NDP that core programs are being eliminated, which also prompted a clarification by NL Advanced Education and Skills minister Joan Shea last Thursday. Last week, minister Shea also issued a media release and published a letter to CNA faculty defending the decision to privatize Adult Basic Education (ABE) in the province, which she says will save $5,000 per student. CNA news release | Premier’s website | Minister’s media release (disabilities) | Minister’s media release (ABE) | Minister’s open letter to CNA faculty (ABE)

Controversy over education credentials delays Ryerson honorary doctorate

Ryerson University is delaying the honorary doctorate set to be bestowed on president and CEO of Toronto Hydro Anthony Haines, at Haines’ request. The indefinite delay comes amid allegations that Haines’ CV falsely states he received a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Lethbridge. Toronto Hydro backs Haines, stating that they are fully aware that Haines did not graduate from the program in question, but that he completed a prerequisite program there, and that it is ambiguous wording in the CV that is creating the controversy. The hydro company also stated that while they don’t believe Haines is in the wrong, he preferred not to mar the “special day” for the graduates. A Ryerson spokesperson has said the matter will remain on hold until at least late June. National Post

Dal completes "Bold Ambitions" campaign with $280 million raised

Dalhousie University has concluded its "Bold Ambitions" fundraising campaign, exceeding its original $250-million goal by raising $280 million. The campaign has provided students with more access to scholarships, raising $75 million -- more than double the original $35-million goal. The campaign also garnered $90 million for academic enrichment, $45 million for program expansion, and $70 million for capital projects. Dal News

NS universities hope to avoid projected $100 million deficit

Facing a projected $100-million deficit in the next 3-4 years, the Nova Scotia government and the province’s 10 universities are working to prevent the gap in funding before it’s too late, legislature heard Wednesday. Deputy Minister of Labour and Advanced Education Sandra McKenzie said the government and the schools are exploring a variety of options, including shared services, different models of delivery and differentiation. The province cut approximately $10 million in operating grant funding this year. The Chronicle Herald

uOttawa committed to adding more residence spaces

Over the past decade, the University of Ottawa’s undergrad enrolment has grown by 10,000 -- but on-campus residence spaces have increased by just 900 beds. Landlords in nearby Sandy Hill have been converting houses into as many as 20 apartments, prompting a temporary municipal ban on the practice. “We’re definitely committed to opening new residence space,” says housing director Michel Guilbeault, who hopes to have an announcement in the very near future. New residence construction is just one of the options being considered. (In recent years, many Canadian universities have bought hotels or condos and converted them into residences, including uOttawa, McGill and uToronto. UoGuelph and Queen’s are among those that have signed long-term leases for hotel rooms to be used as residence space.) Ottawa Citizen

Provincial reluctance over Canada Job Grant program

As part of the 2013 federal budget, released in March, the proposed Canada Job Grant has come under some criticism by provincial officials. The program would provide $15,000 for skills training to employees, with 1/3 coming from federal coffers, and the other 2/3 provided by the worker’s provincial government and employer. All 4 Atlantic premiers have voiced their concerns in a statement that suggests small businesses in Atlantic Canada would not be able to afford the $5,000 per employee for re-training. They have also requested more clarity regarding the program’s design, and suggested the possibility of provincial opt-outs. Quebec, Ontario and BC voiced concerns earlier about various aspects of the unilateral program. Further criticism is focused on the airing of prime-time commercials before the program has been finalized; however, HRSDC defends the decision to air the ads, saying they want employees and businesses to be aware of the program’s potential when it is in place. CBC

Crandall U apologizes to gay community for hiring policy

Moncton's Crandall University has apologized to the gay community for a hiring policy that excludes homosexuals. In an open letter, Crandall U president Bruce Fawcett apologized for any hurt feelings from the policy. Supporters for equal rights in the LGBT community welcome the move, but say there's still more work to be done. Last year gay rights activists demanded that public funding be withdrawn from the university due to the policy. Earlier this year Crandall U announced it would no longer seek financial support from the City of Moncton. CTV | News 919

ACAD reinstates professor fired over chicken slaughter

The Alberta College of Art + Design (ACAD) announced Wednesday that they had reached an agreement with the ACAD Faculty Association and professor Gord Ferguson that would reinstate the professor to his position as professor and head of the sculpture department. Ferguson was fired over a student’s controversial art performance, but ACAD says his termination was never meant to be a reflection on academic or artistic freedom. The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) had also lobbied for Ferguson’s reinstatement, and is “delighted” that an agreement has been reached. ACAD plans to hold a symposium next year to further explore the campus community’s reaction to the performance and the subsequent discussions around it. Calgary Herald | Newswire | ACAD News Release

uLethbridge officially opens new Penny building

On May 16, the University of Lethbridge celebrated the official grand opening of the Dr. Foster James Penny Building in downtown Lethbridge. Originally gifted in 2012 by the late Dr. Foster Penny’s parents, the building will house a gallery for fine arts students, the uLethbridge alumni relations, annual giving and call centre programs, and in the future, a gift store and ticket centre for university activities. “We see this space as an excellent opportunity to further our connection with Lethbridge and the southern Alberta community,” says uLethbridge president Dr. Mike Mahon. uLethbridge News Release

Quebec announces $25-million boost in student aid

Quebec Higher Education Minister Pierre Duchesne announced Tuesday that approximately 120,000 PSE students in the province will get an additional $160 a year, or $20 per month, for living expenses, following negotiations between student groups and the government. As well, part-time students who have to travel to their university or CÉGEP will have an extra $728 per school year for travel expenses. The additional cost to the province will be about $25 million, to be paid by reducing from 20% to 8% the income tax credit parents or students may claim on tuition paid. The government is also increasing from $28,000 to $36,000 the upper limit on parents' income for a student to qualify for a bursary, or study grant, rising to $40,000 in 2014-15 and $45,000 in 2015-16. Most of the 150,000 PSE students in Quebec receiving financial aid get a combination loan-bursary. Quebec News Release (in French) | Montreal Gazette

Students seek better job preparation from universities

In a time of a slow-growth economy, students are calling for ever more work experience to be built into their education. But despite some localized efforts, such as Mount Allison University's summer internships for music, fine arts and drama students, universities have been slow to catch up with demand. "I don't get the sense that there's a gigantic expansion [of experiential learning] under way," says Concordia University president Alan Shepard. "I think there's a growing recognition that this is extremely important and valued by students, by employers, by their families." Canadian universities are hoping to increase their experiential learning opportunities, says University of Ottawa president Allan Rock, whose institution has added 500 more co-op placements in the past 5 years. But doing so costs time and money, and means hunting for worthy partners. Globe and Mail

Ivey, Rotman and Schulich make FT Top 50 Exec rankings

The Financial Times released its ranking of the Top 50 executive education programs in the world this week, and 3 Canadian universities have made the cut: WesternU’s Ivey School of Business (the top Canadian school in 23rd spot), followed by uToronto’s Rotman School of Management (25), and York’s Schulich School of Business (36). The three made the list by offering both open enrolment courses and customized management training. In particular, Rotman was ranked first in the world for teaching quality, skills acquisition, and meeting participant expectations in open enrolment courses. Officials at Rotman believe that by the end of this year, half of all executive education offerings will be open enrolment programs. The Globe and Mail

Olds College hotel to open in July

The Pomeroy Inn and Suites at Alberta-based Olds College is on track to open this summer. With an opening date slated for July 5, construction on the northwest corner of the campus continues. The Pomeroy Inn and Suites will be a 4-star, 83-room hotel, with the majority of rooms being extended-stay suites. The facility will feature a conference centre with capacity for 400, a pool with a water slide, and, to open this fall, a restaurant and pub that will showcase Olds College and local cuisine on the menu as much as possible. A key part of the project, the Brewery, which will house the Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Diploma program and also the commercial component for future Olds College beer, is approaching completion, set for early August. Olds College News Release

Report calls for revision of NS university funding, tuition fees

A new report from StudentsNS argues that Nova Scotia universities must be funded more fairly based on students' and the province's ability to pay. The report calls for a tuition freeze until the difference between the employment rates of 20- to 24-year-olds and the rest of the workforce returns to pre-recession levels. When youth employment recovers, tuition increases would be tied to inflation, recommends StudentsNS. The report also recommends that government funding for universities grow at the rate of provincial economic growth. StudentsNS News Release | Report

Lethbridge College launches $103-million fundraising campaign

On Wednesday, Lethbridge College announced the launch of their biggest fundraising campaign ever. The “Possibilities are Endless” Campaign has a total goal of $103 million, including a private-sector goal of $25 million, of which $13.3 million has already been raised. The campaign will now begin the next stage of active, public fundraising. The College will use the funds for renewing the aged trades and technology facilities, supporting the environmentally-innovative Kodiak House residence, reimagining its library and learning space, and providing better access to student awards. Lethbridge News Release

Western's CIBC Centre studies concerns over student debt, loan defaults

In a recent study by Western University’s CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity, researchers found that, on average, Canadian students faced more than $10,000 of Canada Student Loans Program debt upon graduation. They also discovered that nearly 15% of these graduates will be in default of their loan at some point within the first 3 years after graduation. The researchers found that post-education earnings of less than $10,000 per year contributed to half of the defaults, as did the inability to rely on family support during repayment. Other factors leading to debt default were overall student debt levels, degree attainment choices, institutional choices, and individual beliefs in the value of debt repayment. uWestern News Release

Queen's "Initiative Campaign" surpasses annual goal

Donations to Queen's University's "Initiative Campaign" exceeded the 2012-13 fiscal year goal, attracting a record number of donors while raising the institution's profile nationally and internationally. Donations totalling more than $67 million, well past the $60-million goal, came from more than 12,000 Queen's alumni and friends. The campaign's goal is to raise $500 million and inspire $100 million in future donation commitments, largely through estate plans. So far, more than $340 million has been donated. Queen's News Centre

Niagara College opens Segal International Centre

Last week Niagara College unveiled its new Segal International Centre at the Welland campus. The 8,000-square-foot facility is designed to accommodate the college's growing international enrolment and activities. The centre will provide a one-stop service experience for the college's international students, of which there are more than 1,700. The centre features a reception and service area that will include international admissions, housing and financial aid services, along with offices and work space for staff and ESL programs and international development projects. Niagara College News Release

New report urges greater PSE access in California

A new report from the California-based 20 Million Minds Foundation (2MMF) argues for “The Right to Educational Access” in a state where hundreds of thousands of residents have been turned away from public PSE institutions. 2MMF believes a tech disruption will improve access to higher education, particularly for high-demand first- and second-year courses. The California state senate is still considering a proposal to force public colleges and universities to accept MOOC transfer credits, but the report authors warn that MOOCs should serve merely as “a safety valve” when all else fails, and urge public institutions to do a better job at their own online offerings, inverted classrooms, and transferability of online credit. California faculty are concerned that the “Steinberg bill” would surrender too much power to the private sector, and urge increased funding for public institutions instead. Governor Jerry Brown’s revised budget proposal, released this week, includes $37 million for new higher ed technology. Inside Higher Ed | 2MMF Report

ADHD prescriptions abused for academic doping

The abuse of ADHD prescriptions as performance-enhancing drugs on campus has been in the news since at least 2007, and in early 2011 a study suggested 5.4% of McGill students had tried it at least once. A more recent study suggests that as many as 11% of students on Canadian campuses are using the drugs “off-label” for “cognitive enhancement,” and US studies find as many as 35% of students in highly-competitive institutions admit to it. Results of a UBC survey conducted this spring are not available, but a spokeswoman says she doesn't believe non-medicinal use of Adderall is prevalent at UBC. However, a UBC psychiatry professor suspects study-drug use at elite Canadian campuses is likely similar to US Ivy League institutions, and a Vancouver dealer says “It’s like steroids for the brain… the students go through that stuff like candy” (at $5 a pill). Adderall was briefly pulled from the market in 2005 because of potentially fatal side effects, and the abuse of study drugs may be linked to paranoia and hostility. No Canadian institutions have policies against study drug use, and indeed policies might be unenforceable: “You can’t take urine samples for every exam writer.” US physicians seem to believe cognitive enhancement is not unethical, and a UBC psychiatry professor believes the matter should be debated in Canada. He believes that academic doping involves not only students, but faculty as well. Vancouver Province

PSE enrolment declining across the US

An annual enrolment report issued last Thursday by the Virginia-based National Student Clearinghouse Research Center reports 18.8 million college and university students for the Spring 2013 term -- an overall 2.3% decline compared to one year ago. (This on the heels of a 1.8% decline in the Fall 2012 term.) Private non-profit universities saw enrolments grow by half a percent, but for-profit universities saw a sharp decline of 8.7% - after seeing 15% growth in 2010. Doug Lederman, writing for InsideHigherEd, observes that declining enrolments are to be expected (particularly among older students) because of an improving employment market, and that for-profit universities have also been deliberately tightening admissions to respond to government scrutiny. Chronicle of Higher Ed (free access) | Inside Higher Ed | NSCRC Report (PDF)

2 Canadian teens among 2013 class of "20 Under 20" Thiel Fellows

The Thiel Foundation recently announced the third cohort of young entrepreneurs to be awarded "20 Under 20" Thiel Fellowships. Co-created by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, the program awards recipients $100,000 over 2 years to skip higher education and focus on their work, their research, and their self-education. 2 Canadian teenagers are among this year's group of Thiel Fellows. 19-year-old Nelson Zhang of Toronto is working on a desktop fabricator for electronics, aimed at lowering iteration time and costs for hardware companies. Zhang hopes to make the design and production of physical things accessible to everyone. 18-year-old Nick Liow of Vancouver is challenging copyright by developing ways for creators to get paid for giving their work to the public domain. Thiel Foundation News Release | Toronto Star | Vancouver Sun

Durham College unveils new strategic plan

Last week Durham College released its new 3-year strategic plan. Goals outlined in the plan include establishing Ontario's first college-university laddering partnership with the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, providing students with the ability to move seamlessly from apprenticeship to PhD; ensuring the college is competitive with the PSE system by launching 4-year degree programs in strategic areas of the economy; championing, along with other Ontario colleges, the conversion of targeted 3-year advanced diplomas to 3-year degrees; and renewing existing campus space in ways that better meet students' learning, study, and service needs. Durham College News | Strategic Plan

uVirginia uses “crowdfunding” to raise research dollars

The University of Virginia announced last week that they are partnering with crowdfunding company USEED to solicit alumni and other donors for funding for research projects at the university. Crowdfunding has become popular for individual entrepreneurs to raise funds, and USEED has several partnerships with other universities -- Arizona State University, Cornell University, and the University of Delaware -- for individual projects by researchers and students. uVa’s campaign will focus primarily on university-wide research initiatives and student-proposed entrepreneurial projects. The portal will operate as a 6-month pilot program, with 10 featured research projects, 2 of which have already begun. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access) | USEED

Georgia Tech to offer MOOC-like graduate degree

The Georgia Institute of Technology, AT&T, and Udacity have partnered to offer a Master’s in Computer Science degree through a massive open online course (MOOC)-like online learning program, at a mere 1/6 of the cost of the full on-campus master’s program. It is expected that students will take 3 years to finish the program, paying total tuition of about $7,000. AT&T has donated $2 million to the program to ensure financial stability in the first year, indicating their willingness to take online degrees seriously. While critics have described the new degree program as offering a “watered-down” degree, Georgia Tech officials say this is not the case, and that the program is designed to be just as challenging as in-class instruction. Different enrolment tracks will be offered, including students seeking degrees and those who will be able to take the classes for free or to receive certification for that class for a small fee. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access) | Inside Higher Ed

Majority of recent NBCC/CCNB grads securing work in province, survey finds

An employment survey finds that high numbers of recent graduates of New Brunswick's community colleges are succeeding in finding jobs in the province. The employment rate for graduates in the 2012 reference week one year after graduation was 87% for both New Brunswick Community College and Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick. The survey found that among those working, 90% of NBCC and 91% of CCNB graduates were working in the province. The level of related employment in the reference week was 78% for NBCC and 80% for CCNB graduates. NB News Release

Niagara College broadcasts another crop of student-created ads


On May 6, Niagara College launched 4 new student-created TV spots on CHCH TV (Hamilton). Like last year’s campaign, the spots were created by third-year Broadcasting students at NC. “Dreamfinder” features a camera that magically reveals students’ future selves. “Race Day” portrays a student’s experience at NC as a sprint through exams, lab work, and performance right up to his graduation ceremony. “Rise” presents a team of skilled trades students approaching construction and automotive tasks with an action-adventure soundtrack. “Culinary Dreams” tracks a student’s experience from acceptance letter through classes at the Canadian Food & Wine Institute. The spots will air through May 26, but will remain on YouTube. Niagara College News Release

Australian universities see A$3.8 billion in cuts

The federal government of Australia released their 2013 budget last week, and the country’s higher education institutions have been hit hard. Making up nearly 10% of the overall federal budget reductions, Australia’s universities have been informed of a A$3.8-billion funding decrease. Several programs have been cut across the board, such as the 10% deduction in tuition fees offered to students who paid their dues upfront; as well, the $2,000 entrance scholarships offered to some students will now be a loan, to be repaid upon graduation and entry into the workforce. Individual universities will be responsible for determining the rest of their savings, whether through program or enrolment cuts. The flip side to the PSE cuts is the infusion of funding into the nation’s public schools as part of a national education reform policy. Chemistry World | The Australian