Top Ten

June 12, 2013

Program cuts official at Capilano U

The board of governors at BC’s Capilano University voted last night to cut programs in art, technology, and science at campuses in North Vancouver, Squamish, and the Sunshine Coast. The cuts are meant to address an existing budget deficit of $1.3 million. Students and faculty have been protesting the proposed cuts for a number of weeks, and the board had earlier voted to postpone the budget decisions in order to look at alternatives. According to Capilano U, “rather than do across-the-board cuts, which affect quality for every student, we are suspending intakes in some programs and reducing classes in some areas.” Students already enrolled in affected programs will be able to complete necessary courses to finish the program. North Shore Outlook | Capilano U Budget Update 

Ivey raises $206 million

The Ivey Business School at Western University has raised $206 million during its “Campaign for Leadership,” exceeding a $200-million goal set in 2006 and marking the largest fundraising effort in the school’s 90-year history.The campaign has impacted every area of the school – enabling growth, enhancing students’ experience and ensuring excellence in everything the school does,” says Ivey’s dean Carol Stephenson. It also allowed Ivey to construct a building to reunite HBA, MBA, MSc and PhD students under one roof. WesternU News Release

Humber cancels Orangeville building plans

Humber College has decided not to construct a campus in Orangeville, according to the Caledon Enterprise. At a town council meeting Monday night, Humber president Chris Whitaker announced that the college would no longer pursue building on the 28 acres of land that Orangeville had donated to the school in 2005. The new building would have served 2,000 students, but the current satellite campus at a local recreation centre has so far only attracted 200 students. Humber will return the donated land, and will explore ways to increase student numbers at the current site, which can hold a maximum of 450 students. If the addition of new programs leads to enrolment over 450, Humber could build onto the recreation centre to accommodate more students. Caledon Enterprise

$5.5-million gift expands uCalgary’s genetic research capabilities

A $5.5-million gift from the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation has allowed the University of Calgary to purchase 3 next-generation genome sequencers. This technology will allow researchers at uCalgary and Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute (ACHRI) to identify new genes that contribute to the development of diseases, and to move genomic testing into mainstream clinical care. “We have hundreds of unique cases in Alberta where patients are suffering from genetic diseases that we don’t know much about; we can’t name it, we don’t know how to treat it, and we don’t know how it’s inherited,” says Dr. Francois Bernier, head of the Department of Medical Genetics at uCalgary. uCalgary News Release

Study suggests uToronto medical lecture biased

A new study published in the Journal of Medical Ethics suggests that second-year medical students may have been subjected to biased information regarding pain medication, specifically oxycodone. The author, Dr. Navindra Persaud, suggests that there was “influence by a pharmaceutical company” on the lecture material and reference book issued to students in a mandatory course. The original lecturer has defended both the lecture and the printed resources, stating that he “had total control over what the content was... [and] it was based on the best knowledge that we had available at the time.” uToronto has since taken measures to remove the resource and alter lectures, in addition to implementing guidelines to “safeguard against similar issues in the future.” Toronto Star | Global News

Edmonton high school students rally for change

High school students in Edmonton left class en masse and gathered at the Alberta legislature to protest recent provincial cuts to education budgets. The event, called "Taking Back our Education," argues that although high school students cannot vote, they should still have a voice when it comes to decisions about their education and their futures. The event was supported by organizations such as the Alberta Federation of Labour, the Alberta Liberal party, and the NDP education critic. The Alberta minister of education was out of town and did not attend. Student participants say that cuts are affecting administration, programs, and athletics. Edmonton Journal

New uMontréal affiliate’s mental health databank kicks off with $1-million donation

The Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal has announced a new database that will collect medical, psychosocial and human biological material data for mental health research. The Université de Montréal-affiliated institute received a $1-million donation from Bell’s "Let’s Talk" initiative for the new database. “Already, researchers around the world have demonstrated a strong interest in this data,” says Denise Fortin, director general of the Institute. "In all, more than 80 researchers, clinicians and staff helped build this project and 24 psychiatrists are committed to providing the required medical data.” uMontréal News Release (in French)

New book schools students on graduating with less debt

A new book published by 2 University of Manitoba graduates gives students advice on how to avoid accumulating huge amounts of debt while pursuing PSE. More Money for Beer and Textbooks offers tips on various ways to keep student loan debts down, while still enjoying the university experience. Top advice includes living at home to save money on living expenses, applying for scholarships and bursaries regardless of grades, finding gainful summer employment, and buying cheap beer. The authors both graduated without debt, and now offer “a viable guide to having fun in school without breaking the bank.” Toronto Star

2-year degree among ideas for radical innovations to Welsh higher education

The Welsh government has said it will look at “radical” innovations in higher education, including the idea of a 2-year undergraduate degree, in order to “plan for an unpredictable future.” The Welsh Labour administration yesterday released a draft policy statement that took into account an earlier report by the Institute for Public Policy Research, which predicted an “avalanche of change in higher education under the pressures of technology and new providers.” Another possibility includes “having a smaller number of research-intensive institutions in Wales with others focusing on provision of world-class teaching and learning experiences.” These proposals come at a time when the Ontario government is proposing its own transformation of PSE policy. The former McGuinty government proposed a controversial idea of a 3-year degree, which the current premier has agreed to look into, and several PSE experts have called for greater differentiation between research- and teaching-intensive universities in the province. Times Higher Education

Star professors create online not-for-profit university

Two professors from Virginia’s George Mason University have started their own online university, and they don’t ever intend to make any money from it. Marginal Revolution University co-founder Tyler Cowen states, “We think learning on the Internet, like blogs, is not something you can charge for.” They are aiming at a “less-affluent global market” for their courses, targeting people who cannot afford traditional PSE, as well as professors who would offer “flipped” classrooms: students would review the Marginal Revolution University lectures, then attend classes for discussion and application of lessons. Cowen intends much of his lecture material to be used as a “video textbook” for his own flipped lessons at George Mason. Inside Higher Ed