Top Ten

November 26, 2013

MRU to put extra provincial funding towards popular courses

Mount Royal University won’t be reviving any of the 8 non-degree programs it suspended following provincial budget cuts in March, despite the more recent announcement of a $2-million-plus injection, reports Metro News. Instead, the institution plans to add course sections in popular areas to help students who struggle to get into general-education courses. University spokesperson Paula Arab says the $2.1 million in additional funding announced in early November only represents 2.6% of a budget that was cut down by 9.3%. “It would be irresponsible of us to restore programs that are still not properly funded,” Arab says. According to Metro News, the provincial government told MRU that the university’s plans for the extra $2.1 million are “appropriate.” Metro News

Acadia receives $1.5 million from Hong Kong alumni for welcome centre

Acadia University has received a $1.5-million gift from the Wu family of Hong Kong to construct a new Wu Welcome Centre at Acadia’s Alumni Hall. A 3,600-square-foot, 2-storey addition to the hall will welcome prospective students and their parents, visiting alumni and special guests, and serve as a venue for town and gown events, reunions, faculty meetings and other activities. The gift is from the 3 children of Hong Kong businessman Dr. Jieh Yee Wu, who are all Acadia alumni. Following approval from the Town of Wolfville, construction of the new welcome centre is scheduled for spring 2014 and should be completed by the fall. Acadia News Release

SIAST gets $1.12 million from Husky Energy for engineering

The Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST) recently announced a $1.12-million donation from Husky Energy to support the Power Engineering program at its Saskatoon campus. A portion of the donation will go towards upgrades to the Power Engineering Technology lab, and the remaining money will be dedicated to scholarships for students seeking their third-class power engineering certification. SIAST currently halts its training over the summer because there is no place to put the energy generated by the lab’s boilers; with the planned renovations, the institution will be able to run its Power Engineering lab year round and increase lab capacity by 25%, to almost 200 students, annually. Also, the scholarship portion is being matched by the province’s Saskatchewan Innovation and Opportunity Scholarship Program, which means up to 10 scholarships will be available per academic year over the next 5 years. SIAST News Release

CapilanoU faculty launch court action following program cuts

The Capilano University Faculty Association (CFA) this week announced that it has filed a petition in court over CapilanoU program cuts made by the board of governors in June. The CFA alleges that the cuts were made “without effective input and consultation from the university's senate,” which is the requirement under the University Act. The board of governors voted to cut programs in art, technology, and science at campuses in North Vancouver, Squamish, and the Sunshine Coast. “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,” said CapilanoU officials at the time. CFA News Release | Vancouver Sun

Alberta to review PSE tuition scheme

The Alberta government will in the next several months announce details of a review of the province’s tuition scheme, and PSE students are pushing for a role in the discussion, reports the Calgary Herald. Minister of Advanced Education Thomas Lukaszuk says “any topic of discussion is fair game,” including tuition. “I’m open to discussing it, blowing [tuition] up and see how we put it back together. If tuition is appropriate then at least we will have gone through the process of examining it and satisfying ourselves that it is.” Currently, PSE institutions in Alberta cannot increase tuition more than the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in any given year. The province earlier this year froze tuition, covering a $16.5-million increase due to inflation. The Alberta Students’ Executive Council (ASEC), which represents 180,000 students across Alberta, is proposing that tuition increases remain tied to CPI, but with a cap of 4.64%, or double the 20-year CPI average of 2.32%, “to keep hikes predictable and sustainable.” Calgary Herald

VIU to offer new 5-year education program at Cowichan campus

Vancouver Island University's Cowichan Campus in Duncan, BC will begin offering a 5-year Bachelor of Education degree program starting September 2014. "The job market on Vancouver Island is fairly tight though very many of our students still get jobs here, but for others who are willing to travel afield always, there is still work available,” says VIU Dean of Education Harry Janzen, when asked if there is still a call for teachers with schools closing. "We're not adding a new program overall at VIU. We're moving part of our program down there. We're not actually increasing the number of teachers that we graduate every year." VIU Education Advisor David Sufrin says the new program’s students will get opportunities to complete teaching practicums in various schools in the Cowichan region, elsewhere in BC, and even internationally. Victoria Times Colonist

MUN libraries adopt innovative ebook purchasing program

Memorial University Libraries have adopted a new electronic resource system, Demand Driven Acquisition (DDA), which will “provide seamless access to an expanded selection of ebooks” and “achieve the best possible value for [its] expenditure.” Under the program, the library only purchases ebooks when it receives a high volume of views or downloads. Until then, a fee, which is a small portion of the value of the book, is paid based on the amount of volume. “This program will allow us to expand the content we make available immediately, while also being progressively more targeted with our purchasing budget," says Louise White, an Associate University Librarian at MUN. The university’s VP Research Richard Marceau says the program aligns with the broader goals of the Research Strategy Framework announced last spring. MUN News Release

uRegina business school launches new legacy program

University of Regina’s Paul J. Hill School of Business has launched a new Hill Legacy Program to “connect past and present students of the school.” Incoming Hill students will receive a “Hill Legacy Pin” to wear at functions and events, which distinguishes them as Hill business students. On graduation day, students return their pin during a special reception, and then receive their “Hill Alumni Ring.” The gold pin, featuring the name “Hill,” comes in a velvet and satin-lined case. uRegina News Release | Paul J. Hill Newsletter

MBA grads getting hired despite slow economic recovery

The highest percentage of MBA grads since 2009 is finding well-paying jobs, according to a new survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council. 92% of 2013 graduates from full-time, 2-year MBA programs reported they were employed – up from 85% in 2009. By comparison, 82% of respondents who graduated from full-time, one-year MBA programs found work in their field, compared to 74% 5 years ago. “In a sputtering economic recovery we heard from employers earlier in the year [that] they are prioritizing MBA hires because they had to do more with less,” says GMAC Director of Research Communications Michelle Sparkman-Renz. 57% of those employed graduates entered 3 sectors: products and services, finance and accounting, and consulting. The data are based on responses from 915 alumni from 129 business schools worldwide. Although the survey didn’t isolate Canadian data, the Globe and Mail reports that the results are consistent with hiring trends in Canada. Globe and Mail

University in Cyprus to start accepting bitcoin payments

The University of Nicosia in Cyprus has announced it will start accepting bitcoins as an alternative way to pay tuition. Bitcoin is a completely digital form of currency that operates on a decentralized, peer-to-peer network. According to the university, it is the first in the world to accept bitcoins as payment. uNicosia's Chief Financial Officer Christos Vlachos says the move will help foreign students who face difficulties and excess fees using traditional banking to pay for programs and/or online degrees. uNicosia is also offering a new Master’s degree in digital currency. Vlachos is encouraging the Cypriot government to “set up a regulatory framework to attract digital currency trading companies and boost the bailed-out country's foundering economy.” CBC (Canadian Press)