Top Ten

October 28, 2013

Ontario announces $16.5M French-language PSE plan

The Ontario government last week announced an Action Plan for French-language PSE, which aims to “increase access to French-language PSE and services in central and southwestern Ontario.” The plan includes: a total of $16.5 million to help universities and colleges expand their French-language programs and services, including expansions already started at YorkU, Collège Boréal and La Cité collégiale; allowing all francophone institutions, including uOttawa and Laurentian, to be eligible for funding to deliver French-language programs in central and southwestern Ontario with a partner college or university located there; encouraging partnerships among bilingual postsecondary institutions, and employment and training services organizations, to further increase French-language programs; establishing an advisory body on French-language education; and reviewing YorkU Glendon College’s capacity to deliver even more French-language programs. In May, Ontario expanded a grant for francophone students in Ontario who travel at least 80 kilometres to attend full-time studies in French. Ontario News Release

McMaster receives more than $24M in automotive partnerships with feds, Chrysler, industry

McMaster University has announced a $24-million+ partnership with the federal government, Chrysler and auto industry leaders, to develop energy-efficient, high-performance electrified and lighter-weight vehicles. The first project, worth more than $18 million, will see Chrysler Group invest $9.25 million in cash and in-kind contributions, an additional $8.9 million from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and further funding from the university to develop the next generation of electrified powertrains and powertrain components. The other 2 projects will see researchers work to leverage the weight-saving properties of aluminum and magnesium alloys for vehicle production, which hold great promise to replace steel in car parts, and consider the social costs and benefits of electric mobility in this country, enabling manufacturers to better design and market electric vehicles that respond to the needs of Canadian consumers. McMaster Daily

uLethbridge still dealing with budget shortfall

The University of Lethbridge is looking for ways to cut an additional $2.6 million from its budget this year, and an expected $6 million next year, reports the Lethbridge Herald. Due to provincial government cuts, uLethbridge had to find $11.8 million in cuts this year, resulting in voluntary staff retirement packages, maintaining vacancies, and the implementation of definite layoff days for members of the Alberta Union of Public Employees at uLethbridge. Budget subcommittees have prepared reports suggesting increasing revenue generation, reorganizations, finding efficiencies, and administrative cuts. uLethbridge and its faculty have agreed on a 1-year, 1% rollback on base salary, with no cost-of-living increase, and many administration employees will have their salaries frozen. Nancy Walker, VP Finance and Administration, said that further positions may need to be cut, but that they are hoping to do it “through attrition or some sort of reorganization.” Lethbridge Herald

FNUniv loses government tenant

First Nations University is looking for a new tenant after the federal government announced that it would not be renewing a rental agreement for space at FNUniv’s Regina campus. Estimates suggest upwards of $1 million in annual revenue will be lost until a new tenant can be found. According to the communications manager for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s Saskatchewan office, FNUniv did not submit a proposal to extend the rental agreement through the official channels, although the university’s acting President, Juliano Tupone, said that verbal and written communications with AANDC stated “the university’s intention to extend the rental agreement.” FNUniv’s Board of Governors has had its terms extended after a vote by the Chiefs of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations. Board member David Sharpe said that “they have a plan and need 3 more years to find stable funding sources.” Regina Leader-Post | CBC

STU agrees to lowered tuition cap

St. Thomas University and the New Brunswick Department of PSE, Training, and Labour have established a 5-year tuition fee schedule that will see the 2013–14 tuition fee increase of $434 adjusted to $250. In each of the following 4 years, tuition will be increased by no more than 3% plus $170, based on the provincial average tuition increase of publicly funded universities. For the current year, STU will credit the accounts of full-time students to reflect the $184 reduction from the increase previously approved by the university’s board of governors. STU News Release

NS university libraries devise plan to offload books

A consortium of Nova Scotia university libraries are proposing to create a central repository that would house roughly one-fifth of their collections, freeing up needed space. The majority of about 2 million off-loaded books, journals and other materials would remain accessible through the central library, but the duplicates would be discarded. The freed space would not in every case be used for books; as library collections are increasingly being digitized, universities also want to use the space for collaborative learning and study space. The proposed repository would occupy up to 22,500 square feet in a former government archival building in Halifax’s Woodside Industrial Park, and cost up to $300,000 a year to operate, plus leasing costs. However, it would free up 57,000 square feet of combined space across university libraries. The group’s next step is to ask the government for a funding with which to move forward with the plan. Globe and Mail

CAFA launches new campaign to protest provincial cuts to PSE

The Confederation of Alberta Faculty Associations (CAFA) has launched a new campaign entitled, “Alberta’s Universities Support Everything,” to protest recent university funding cuts in the province. The initiative “argues that Alberta’s universities are the foundation of economic and social life, and that cuts put the province’s future in danger.” The campaign includes an interactive website, www.NotOneMore.ca, which explains how AB’s universities contribute to the province’s economy in several specific areas. The site also features a pre-written letter to either Premier Alison Redford or Enterprise & Advanced Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk that can be sent directly from the webpage. OCUFA News Release

New uOttawa classroom gives law students taste of courtroom

The University of Ottawa has recently opened a new courtroom and adjoining classroom that will give students a taste of a real courtroom, which is a first-of-its-kind at a Canadian university, according to the Ottawa Citizen. Sitting judges will hear regular cases, including motions, appeals, judicial reviews, and applications, and law students will observe the legal hearings from a classroom behind one-way glass. The students and their professors will be able to discuss and critique proceedings as they take place, and later review cases with participating judges and lawyers. Most of the money required for the new rooms – about $700,000 – was raised through the legal community and friends of Ian Scott, former Attorney-General of Ontario, and after whom the rooms are named. uOttawa Law Website | Ottawa Citizen

Queen’s student develops app to promote peer-to-peer learning

Students at Queen’s University are developing an app that will allow students to provide real-time feedback to professors, as well as ask live questions, hold in-class discussions, and record lectures. The app, NPulse, was originally envisioned to allow students to rate professors, but developer Amin Nikdel said as they started “doing a great deal of research, [they] saw how much more [they] could add and how useful a product like this could become.” NPulse is a resource that can be used by both students and faculty, and is currently in trial with several Queen’s professors to allow for development and improvement before being launched. Queen’s News

Sault College and Welsh university partner to offer transfer opportunity

A new partnership between Sault College and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David will allow Sault’s 2-year Fitness and Health Promotion diploma students to transfer credits to uWales, study at the uWales campus, and receive a BSc (Hons) degree in Health and Exercise Referral. “This partnership is the only one of its kind in an Ontario College,” notes Health Wellness and Continuing Education Dean Fran Rose. Also, if the students choose, they can apply to complete a master’s degree in their second year at uWales. Sault News Release