Top Ten

May 27, 2013

Brandon U trims budget, but avoids job eliminations

Brandon University has announced a budget cut of 3%, which does not include the elimination of jobs. Instead, measures to trim $1.23 million include leaving some positions vacant or filled by part-time employees for periods of up to a year. "No teaching positions were eliminated, no layoffs occurred at our university," the VP of finance and administration said Sunday. The university also reports that it has recovered about half the students lost because of Manitoba's longest-lasting faculty strike during the fall of 2011. Other changes to the budget include making tuition refunds available to students only for the first 3 weeks of classes, down from the current 4, and an increase of $3.5 million to the university’s operating budget. Winnipeg Free Press

Olds College delivers student access-focused budget for 2013/14

Olds College has released a surplus budget for the 2013/14 year, following a 9.3% combined reduction in Alberta government funding announced in March. The college kept students as well as teaching and learning the focus of the budget, and plans to grow enrolment in the 2013/14 year. The 5 highlights of the budget are improved access to learning opportunities, sharpened focus on “Institutes” and “Centres of Excellence,” substantial increases in commitment to revenue through targeted fundraising and enterprise resource management, a staff reduction of 25 positions or 7% of current FTEs, and results-based reviews going forward. Olds College Media Release

PSE Minister yet to sign off on cuts announced by Alberta PSE schools

Alberta Advanced Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk says he hasn’t signed off on any proposed cuts announced by the province's cash-strapped universities and colleges. Following the $147-million, 6.8%  decrease in operating grants announced in the 2013 budget, Lukaszuk asked institutions to “look through their budgets line by line with the view of a student as their No. 1 priority, and minimize the impact to students as much as possible." In recent weeks, PSE schools across the province have declared deep cuts to make up for the reduction to their operating budgets, and Lukaszuk vows to go through their formal plans “very, very thoroughly” as he receives them. Calgary Herald

UPEI cuts AVP Graduate Studies position, moves grad studies office

In another cost-cutting measure, the University of Prince Edward Island has removed the position of Assistant Vice-President Graduate Studies. UPEI is also relocating the Office of Graduate Studies. Services offered to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows by this office will continue from its new location within the Research Services department in the Office of the Vice-President Research. As part of efforts to eliminate a $9-million shortfall, UPEI recently issued 35 layoff notices. UPEI News Release

Manitoba has no intention of expanding shop courses, despite trades deficit

Manitoba Education Minister Nancy Allan says the provincial government has made a strong commitment to preparing students for a career in the trades, where jobs are abundant, but that she has no intention of making shops a core subject in any grade. In a province where shop classes of any kind are offered in barely one-third of junior high and middle schools, trades institutions are asking government what they are doing to better prepare youth for educational alternatives to university. "We're trying to improve the perception of technical/vocational for the public and for parents -- not all parents see technical/vocational as a first option. There's still the perception that the No. 1 choice is university and the second is the trades," says the director of the instruction, curriculum and assessment branch at the Ministry of Education. "We are working with industry to make sure the programs are relevant." Winnipeg Free Press

Lambton College to roll out mobile learning in 10 programs

Starting this fall, Lambton College, in Sarnia, Ontario, is rolling out mobile learning to 10 of its full-time programs, including business, developmental service worker, and nursing. Students entering these programs will have to purchase either a laptop or a tablet computer. New students will tap into numerous electronic textbooks and mobile applications. A Lambton official says students will often find savings in using e-textbooks in the long run. Lambton officials have already committed to introducing mobile learning to a dozen more programs in fall 2014. As part of its strategic plan, Lambton commits to becoming a mobile learning college by 2016. Sarnia Observer

BMO poll reveals how businesses rank personality, skills and education when hiring students

Personality traits outrank both credentials and education for many employers looking to hire new graduates, according to a new BMO Financial Group survey. The new report revealed that 30% of employers rank personality traits as the most important quality in a candidate. 26% rank a candidate’s skill set as most important, and only 15% say work experience is the most important factor. Recommendations/references and degree earned/school attended made the bottom of the list at only 8% and 3%, respectively. The report also looked at how these criteria ranked specifically in the manufacturing and service industries. Skill set ranks highest among employers in the manufacturing sector, although surprisingly, this sector places more importance on personality traits than does the service sector (31% and 28%, respectively). BMO Financial Group News Release

What the UK can learn from university fundraising in Canada

Writing for The Guardian, Andrew Derrington of the University of Liverpool reflected on his participation in a recent CASE fundraising study tour, which brought European participants to Canada. Derrington writes that the McMaster University's health science dean's "account of his work with donors made it clear that listening to donors and understanding what they are interested in, is as important as talking." Wilfrid Laurier University president Max Blouw spoke about how a successful campaign must be rooted in reality. University of Waterloo's alumni affairs director told tour participants about his research on using "elite" alumni to engage disconnected graduates and gradually get them on board. Derrington also mentions the University of Toronto's $2-billion "Boundless" campaign, which he says "is directly linked with academic mission, and shows that smaller universities can have no excuse for lack of coherence in their campaigns." Derrington wonders: "So could the UK emulate what the Canadians have achieved? The more I think about it, the more I think we could. And if we learn from their mistakes rather than repeating them, we could do it faster." The Guardian