Top Ten

November 1, 2013

UoGuelph asks colleges to reduce budgets

The University of Guelph is asking its 7 academic colleges to make $24.2 million in cost reductions between 2014 and 2017 as part of efforts to make up for a $32.4-million budget shortfall. The Ontario Veterinary College has been asked to find $4.9 million in reductions by the end of 2017, while other colleges are being requested to make reductions in the $3 to $4 million range. University officials say the Program Prioritization Process (PPP), of which results were announced earlier this month, will play a fairly minor role in determining where cuts will be made, and say that the university’s long-term integrated plan will play a much larger role. "The PPP is part of the formula used, but you'll see in one of the charts that it's only about 18% of what informs the overall decision making," says UoGueph AVP Communications and Public Affairs Chuck Cunningham. Guelph Mercury

NB announces 2% funding increase, 3% tuition cap for universities

The New Brunswick government this week announced a 2% increase in funding for university operating budgets for each of the next 2 years, the first time the province has provided a university funding agreement in advance of the yearly provincial budget announcement. NB has also set an annual tuition increase cap of 3% for the next 3 years for all public universities. The NB Student Alliance has expressed disappointment with NB’s tuition cap announcement, but “remains optimistic about a forthcoming announcement related to improved financial aid in the province.” St. Thomas University announced last week that it and the government reached an additional agreement “responding to [STU’s] unique needs.” NB News Release | NBSA News Release

Yukon College receives $5.8 million for mining training

Yukon College’s Centre for Northern Innovation in Mining (CNIM) will receive $5.8 million in funding from the provincial government to assist in the delivery of trades training. The commitment will provide operation and maintenance funding over 5 years to support CNIM programming; it is in addition to the $5.6 million in capital funding previously announced, and matches federal capital funding for CNIM. The centre plans to increase the number of registered industrial apprentices and Red Seal journey-level trades people in Yukon, and to provide a venue for graduate students to engage in research related to mining in the North. Yukon College News Release | Yukon News Release

“Take Back the Night” rally at UBC responds to assaults

More than 200 people participated in a “Take Back the Night” rally at the University of British Columbia on Wednesday evening to show solidarity following 6 recent sexual assaults on the Vancouver campus. Some students told CBC news that the march is a good start, but that it is only one small part of a larger conversation about sexual assault that needs to happen more often. "I know that the news from yesterday will have increased a sense of anxiety in our wider community,” said UBC President Stephen Toope the day of the rally. “I want to reassure all of our community that we will do all in our power to increase a sense of security on the campus." RCMP Sgt. Peter Thiessen says investigators suspect one person is behind all 6 attacks, and explains that they're using crime-analysis tools to map the locations of the assaults and to help identify a suspect. CBC

UVic, Mount Allison, McGill take top spots in Maclean’s university rankings

Maclean’s magazine this week released its annual Canadian University Rankings, which lists the top universities in 3 separate categories. Of the “comprehensive” universities, those with a significant amount of research activity and a wide range of programs at the undergraduate and graduate level, the University of Victoria has taken top spot from Simon Fraser University, which has fallen to 2nd this year. The University of Waterloo remains at number 3. Of the “primarily undergraduate” institutions, Mount Allison University holds on to the number one position, with Acadia University jumping from 4th to 2nd this year. In the “medical doctoral” category, of universities with a broad range of PhD programs, research, and medical schools, McGill University, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Toronto remain in the top 3 spots, respectively, from last year. Maclean’s also offers a personalized ranking tool that allows the user to mix and match data from the most recent edition of the Maclean’s University Rankings to build a customized ranking. Maclean’s University Rankings

YorkU partners with developers and housing company on residence project

York University has made an agreement with development firm Forum Equity Partners Inc. and international student housing company Campus Suites Inc. to create a new consortium called Forum York Development Corporation (FYDC) that will design, build, finance, maintain and operate a new student housing and mixed-use building project on the university’s Keele Campus. “The Quad” will be comprised of 4 separate buildings, each including student residential space with approximately 800 beds in suite style units, and retail space at ground level. The project will also feature central courtyards, landscaped plazas, and pedestrian-friendly walkways, “all right next to the academic core of YorkU’s Keele Campus.” YorkU will lease the development site, which is currently an underutilized parking lot, to FYDC. YorkU News Release

UQAT alumni launch ad campaign

The Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue Alumni Association has unveiled a new advertising campaign to promote the impact of UQAT graduates in the region and internationally, and to coincide with the university’s 30th anniversary. The campaign includes 30-second vignettes on TV and radio, a series of posters and newspaper ads, and communication through the web and on social media. The association also created badges, reading “I'm changing the world," which alumni can download for Facebook profile pictures, wallpaper, or cell phone backgrounds. “We hope that our graduates become a source of inspiration and make people around them want to change the world in their own way by getting involved in their communities," says Simon Gaivin , Director of the UQAT Alumni Association. UQAT News Release (in French)

uManitoba launches news-sharing website

The University of Manitoba has launched a new online news site, which is “the most substantial update to uManitoba’s news sharing since The Bulletin, the university’s newspaper, was launched over 7 decades ago.” UM Today uses images, links, audio clips, video and social media feeds “to tell [its] stories in a more immediate way, and to a larger, more diverse audience.” The site also responds to whichever mobile device is used to access it, and is accessible through the university’s mobile app. UM Today

Queen's receives $1.7 million for drinking, substance abuse study in male students

Queen’s University has received $1.7 million in funding from the Movember Foundation to study excessive drinking and substance abuse among male first-year university students, part of the foundation’s $12 million donation to various men’s mental health initiatives in Canada. The Queen's project, “Caring Campus: An Intervention Project,” will look at 3 factors in excessive drinking among young men: prevention, awareness and de-stigmatization, and will also involve researchers at Dalhousie University and the University of Calgary. “The research shows [men] have a bigger problem with drinking than women do. They drink more, they get into more trouble when they drink, so they make a really good target for this kind of research,” says Heather Stuart, one of the chairs of the funding grant. The researchers hope to be able to study all first-year students at Queen’s, and make it a mandatory exercise for male first-year students. While they don’t have the official approvals from the universities for the study, they are confident the project will go ahead. Kingston Whig-Standard

Ontario students may not have literacy skills for PSE success

Ontario students preparing for college or university may not have the literacy skills necessary for success, according to a new report from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO). The project, which examined current literature and literacy data to draw conclusions about students’ readiness for PSE, found that not only are many students ill prepared for higher education, but there is also a lack of consistency in expectations for high school students. The International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) finds that not even a quarter of respondents aged 18 to 65 scored above level 3 – considered the minimum level of proficiency. Furthermore, results from the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (ALL), which was carried out several years later to follow up on IALS findings, found no substantial improvement in Canadians’ literacy skills in this same age group. The report also states that Ontario’s high schools operate with a different standard from the OECD, and that the expectations of faculty members for high school graduates set yet another standard; this lack of clarity in expectations creates challenges for both students and institutions, concludes the report. HEQCO Website | Full Report