Top Ten

May 22, 2013

Layoffs at UPEI

Layoff notices were issued yesterday to 35 University of Prince Edward Island employees as part of the institution's efforts to eliminate a $9-million shortfall. In a letter to the UPEI community, president Alaa Abd-El-Aziz said despite all efforts to mitigate consequences to faculty and staff, layoffs were needed. Many of the staff affected are represented by CUPE. The union has requested a meeting with PEI's premier and finance and advanced learning minister to discuss the situation at UPEI and to lobby for more financial support for the university. CBC | Charlottetown Guardian

Canada "treads water" in areas of science, technology and innovation

On May 21, Canada’s Science, Technology and Innovation Council (STIC) released their major report on the performance of the nation in areas of STI. Labelling Canada a mid-level performer, the report gives 5 key indicators for strategic areas of improvement, 2 of which weigh heavily on PSE in Canada: higher education expenditures on research and development (HERD) as a share of GDP, and science and engineering doctoral degrees granted per 100,000 population. The report does note that Canada has improved in regard to the science and engineering doctoral degrees category, but in order to move into the top 5 performing countries, improvements must continue to be made. In 2010, Canada sat at 15th position in this category; however, this was a 48.7% growth (science) and 38.6% growth (engineering) from 2006-2010. STIC News Release | STIC Report 

Alberta's new international strategy announced

The Alberta government recently announced a new international strategy, whose actions include a renewed effort to attract international students to K-12 schools and PSE institutions. Another action is to encourage a more global perspective through the province's education system. This will involve implementing the Alberta Abroad program, which enables graduates to work directly in specific markets to gain experience and perspective. The program is a partnership between international employers/host organizations that offers competitive work placements to Albertans in global locations for a specific length of time. Alberta News Release | International Strategy

NSERC distributes more than $413 million in grants and scholarships

The federal government announced Tuesday more than 3,800 awards to support research in science, technology, engineering, and math. Totalling more than $413 million, the awards comprise the 2013 competition results for Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Discovery Grants, Discovery Accelerator Supplements, Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarships, Postgraduate Scholarships, and Postdoctoral Fellowships. NSERC News Release

Northern College releases new business plan for 2013-14

On Tuesday, Ontario’s Northern College released the first business plan stemming from the 2013-16 strategic plan released on April 1. The plan has identified 4 key objectives in order to maintain the college’s success: Accessible Education, Signature Programs, the Northern Experience, and Aboriginal Perspectives. President Fred Gibbons spoke to the college’s continued commitment to provide high quality education and training opportunities that meet the needs of students, the labour market, and the community-at-large. A few key initiatives are to implement innovative program delivery methods, to obtain ministry approval for new programs, and to promote cultural competence and awareness across all campuses. Northern College News Release | Business Plan

Queen's University Council votes in favour of reform

Queen's University Council has voted 89-6 to adopt new bylaws and enact significant reform, resulting in Council reducing in size from nearly 200 members to fewer than 50 by 2017. The reform was undertaken as part of the overall governance evolution at Queen's, which includes a smaller, more focused board of trustees. Councillors had long been calling for a review of the body, with the goal of improving the Council's relevance to Queen's. Queen's News Centre

Carleton launches environmental sustainability strategy

Carleton University has launched a $1-million fund for students, faculty, and staff who want to pitch "green" projects to the institution, as part of a larger strategy to increase sustainable operations. Among the goals in the strategic plan on sustainability are increasing the diversion of waste to 60% by 2015 and developing a Climate Action Plan by 2014 with clear targets for reduction. The plan includes in-depth assessments by engineers and auditors of each of the campus's 44 buildings to identify opportunities and initiate conservation initiatives. Carleton News Release | Ottawa Citizen

uCalgary hopes to start engineering school expansion soon

University of Calgary officials are planning to ramp up expansion of its Schulich School of Engineering "as soon as possible," despite receiving less than one-third of the needed funding for the project from the Alberta government. uCalgary is exploring "bridge funding" opportunities, according to documents presented to the board of governors. The project would see the school bring in 10% more undergraduate students, says the engineering dean. Metro Calgary

Ontario offers more support to francophone PSE students

The Ontario government recently announced new support to help more francophone students study in French in the field of their choice. Starting in 2013-14, francophone students in Ontario who travel at least 80 kilometres to attend full-time studies in French will qualify for the Ontario Distance Grant, regardless of where they live in the province. The grant will expand opportunities for about 1,000 more francophone students to study in French anywhere in the province. While the Canadian Federation of Students' Ontario chapter is encouraged by the announcement, it says the grant will not offset past cuts to assistance for students wishing to study in French. Last year the government cut the Fellowships for Studying in French in order to offset the costs of the Ontario Tuition Grant. Ontario News Release | CFS-Ontario News Release

Teen social media use evolves

A recent US survey by PEW Research Center has found that today’s teens are sharing more personal information about themselves than they have in the past, but at the same time, they are more aware of their audience and are using privacy settings and network controls to determine who sees this information. 91% of teen Facebook users now post a photo of themselves (compared to 79% in 2006), and 20% of teen users post their cell phone number, up from 2% in 2006. The survey also found that teen users are becoming less enchanted with Facebook, largely due to the growing adult presence, the posting of inane details by friends, and the “drama” that is created and circulated on Facebook. The survey also found that more teens are moving to Twitter and other social media sites (Tumblr, Snapchat), with 24% now using Twitter compared to 11% in 2006. However, where a majority of teen Facebook users have their settings set to private, a majority of teen Twitter users have public tweets (64%). The survey also found that only a small number of respondents expressed concern with third-party access to personal information; 40% said they were “very” or “somewhat” concerned with third-party access. PEW News Release | Associated Press | PEW Report