Top Ten

October 9, 2013

uCalgary receives $142.5 million from Alberta for engineering expansion

The University of Calgary has received $142.5 million from the Alberta government for the expansion and renovation of the Schulich School of Engineering. The $158.3-million expansion will allow the school to increase its capacity by at least 400 additional undergraduate and graduate students, helping meet industry needs and allowing students to apply research to “address societal challenges, and drive research and innovation that will give Alberta a competitive edge.” The remaining $15.8 million needed for the project is provided by the Engineering Leaders campaign, which has raised $54.3 million so far. Construction will begin immediately and the building will open in 2016. uCalgary News Release

Ontario proposes tuition relief measures

The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) has proposed several measures to address concerns heard during roundtables on technical tuition-related fees, including raising the threshold for flat-fee tuition charged only to students with 70% or more of a full course load in 2014-15, and raising the threshold to 80% in 2015. The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) has pressed MTCU to do more to address flat fees. Some universities are currently under a flat-fee moratorium, and MTCU’s proposal includes lifting the moratorium and placing those universities under the 80% by 2015 threshold policy. OUSA is calling on Ontario to extend the existing moratorium on flat fees, while simultaneously raising the threshold to 80% for institutions that use this billing practice. Other policy changes proposed in the report include requiring institutions to pay for stand-alone online evaluation materials through operating funds or provide students with a partial refund or upfront discount; and to regulate deferral fees to ensure that students unable to meet tuition costs by payment deadlines do not pay additional fees. Toronto Star | OUSA News Release

uOttawa to offer reduced tuition to international students in French programs

The University of Ottawa announced this week that it will “substantially” reduce tuition fees for international undergraduate or graduate students who wish to study in French, in an attempt to promote the use of French on the world stage. Beginning in 2014-15, new international students who are eligible for the tuition fee waiver will pay the same amount as Canadian students, a savings of over $10,000 per year. uOttawa’s 2011 strategic plan, Destination 20/20, included goals to double the number of international graduate students it attracts, and to increase its international undergraduate population by 50% in the coming years. uOttawa News Release

New PSE policies promised by incoming Liberals in NS

The Nova Scotia Liberal Party, led by Stephen McNeil, won the provincial election Tuesday with a majority government, winning 33 of the 51 seats in the NS legislature. Higher education policy changes in the Liberals’ platform include eliminating the interest on the provincial portion of student loans, new graduate scholarships for research and innovation, and up to $120,000 in tuition relief to 25 new doctors per year for 4 years, in exchange for a 5-year commitment to practice in under-serviced communities in NS. CBC | NS Liberal Party Website

SIAST reorganizes management to focus on health, safety, facilities

The Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology today announced a restructuring that will increase its on-campus health and safety, and facilities management capabilities. SIAST will be adding a manager in each of these areas at all of its 4 campuses, while eliminating 4 campus director positions. Earlier this year, SIAST commissioned a consulting firm to review its senior management structure and identify best practices in contemporary organizational design that would support SIAST’s strategic goals. SIAST News Release

Holland College joins Berkleeā€™s international network

The School of Performing Arts (SoPA) at PEI’s Holland College has signed an agreement to become an international partner with Boston-based Berklee College of Music. The Berklee International Network (BIN) has 19 institutions worldwide and “is designed to promote the effectiveness of contemporary music education among members and to advance the value of contemporary music education in the world.” The partners support educational exchanges and provide opportunities for musical diversity to students and faculty. Holland’s SoPA began offering Berklee curriculum at its Charlottetown campus last fall as part of a transfer agreement. Holland College News   

CAUT releases report on Ontario Veterinary College

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) has released a report based on its 2011 investigation into faculty grievances at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) at the University of Guelph. The report states that “poorly communicated and implemented changes to the college's operational model have led to a general malaise," and makes 21 recommendations that include audits, public discussions, new executive roles, and various process and planning changes. "We've already moved forward with 2 external reviews to address issues that the senior administration and the dean of OVC appreciated existed in the college," said Charles Cunningham, VP Communications and Public Affairs. "The report was not a surprise to us, but we certainly take it seriously." Guelph Mercury | CAUT Report

Carleton introduces Career Startup web portal

Carleton University’s Co-op and Career Services has launched a new website designed to help students transition from school to the workforce. Career Startup is based on the career development cycle and provides students with a “road map for their journey of career discovery.” The website breaks down the career journey into 4 phases (Prepare, Explore, Develop, Launch), giving a description, suggested activities, and links to related resources for each phase. The web-tool can be used by the students alone or with the support of a career counsellor. Carleton News | Career Startup website

Mental Health campaign addresses youth suicide

The charitable organization Partners for Mental Health has launched a new campaign to call on the federal and provincial governments to help prevent suicide among Canadian children and youth. The Right By You campaign is lobbying the federal government for a $100-million investment over 4 years in a new National Youth Suicide Prevention Fund; the campaign also calls on provincial governments to double the number of children receiving mental health services, treatment and support by the end of 2016. The campaign has an undetermined time period, which will allow lobbying efforts to take hold and possible policy changes to take effect. The campaign includes a petition to the federal government, a website with toolkits for organizations and individuals to spread awareness, and a campaign video. Ontario recently launched a new mental health help line for PSE students called Good2Talk.  Marketing Magazine | Campaign website

Desire2Learn launches MOOC-enabled platform

The Canadian course-management company Desire2Learn this week launched a new MOOC-enabled version of its online-learning platform. “The [learning platform] is all about the learner,” says Desire2Learn President and CEO John Baker. “It empowers institutions to harness the power of technology and the trends transforming education – such as ad-hoc group collaboration, social media, BYOD mobile strategies, MOOCs and predictive analytics.” Baker explains that all of these technologies, including Google docs and an e-textbook feature, will be available under one login. Desire2Learn News Release | Chronicle of Higher Education