Top Ten

November 29, 2013

uWindsor to consider measures to deal with projected deficit

The University of Windsor will have to consider cost-cutting measures to deal with a projected $1.8-million budget deficit, President Alan Wildeman told the uWindsor Board of Governors this week. Wildeman cites the new provincially-mandated tuition increase cap of 3% from 5% for the deficit. “We have to adapt to it, and we have to in one year. That’s the kind of realignment targets we’d have to look at if we’re going to address this. We have to spend more time drilling down on where we can find that and it’s going to be a challenge. We need to do it as carefully and as measured as we can do it,” said Wildeman. He added that the situation is not unique to uWindsor, and explained that “you can go to all of the universities across Ontario and they are all saying this is the impact it’s having on us.” This year uWindsor welcomed a record 14,100 full-time and graduate students to its campus, which helped ease the fiscal pressure somewhat. But Wildeman says the university is being conservative about its enrolment projections for 2014-15, not wanting to “make assumptions that might not come true.” Windsor Star

CBU to consider new strategic direction to deal with demographic shift

Cape Breton University is considering its options for dealing with a projected local demographic decline that could see the current 3,200-person student body decreased to 2,500 students. CBU President David Wheeler recently told the Sydney and Area Chamber of Commerce that the university could either accept the declining numbers or develop a more aggressive marketing strategy to grow its international student body by 900, and domestic enrolments by 600. “We do believe that with smart and creative marketing and recruitment we could deliver these numbers,” Wheeler said. “It would involve significantly improving our recruitment from local high schools.” Other targets Wheeler suggested include increased retention rates, launching new programs and expanding its MBA program. “We can launch masters programs in topics like tourism, renewable energy, sustainable energy, where we have a real set of aces to play as an institution as we already have lots going on in those topics, where we know that’s part of building the industries of the future,” said Wheeler. CBU is currently seeking community feedback on these strategic considerations. Cape Breton Post

uMontréal receives $8.76 million for HIV research

The Université de Montréal and Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM) have received $8.76 million in funding from the Canadian government for HIV research. Professor Éric A. Cohen will lead the “CanCURE team” of researchers, whose mission is “to develop a sterilizing and/or functional HIV cure.” “We are going to focus…on characterizing the mechanisms of HIV latency [the ability of a virus to lie dormant] and persistence despite antiretroviral therapy, to develop ways of testing possible cures, and on generating innovative therapeutic approaches that can be tested in human clinical trials,” says Cohen. A further $2 million is being awarded to a research team at the Université de Montréal and CHU Sainte-Justine, which is looking specifically at mother-to-child HIV transmission. uMontréal News Release

uAlberta opens new diamond-research lab

The University of Alberta has opened a new diamond research lab that will support the development of new methods for dating diamonds, advance our understanding of diamond deposits deep underground, and aid scientists and industry in determining which deposits are economically viable. The Arctic Resources Geochemistry Laboratory, part of the Canadian Centre for Isotopic Microsampling, is the largest of its kind in Canada and among the best-equipped labs in the world, according to uAlberta. It includes 2,200 square-feet of work space and an adjacent 1,300 square-foot facility that houses 6 mass spectrometers and laser sampling systems. The lab also contains a sophisticated air-handling system capable of taking air that has roughly 10,000,000 particles per cubic foot and purifying it to zero, as the work requires a completely clean environment. uAlberta received $10 million from the Canada Excellence Research Chairs program for the new facility. uAlberta News Release | Edmonton Sun

York’s Glendon College receives $1.25 million for public affairs programs

York University’s Glendon College has received a $1.25-million donation from BMO Financial Group for public affairs programs, coinciding with the inauguration of the BMO Financial Group Skyroom, BMO Financial Group Lecture Hall and L. Jacques Ménard – BMO Financial Group classroom. $750,000 of the donation will go towards the development of public affairs programming, and $500,000 to fund visiting professorships. The inauguration of the new facilities recognizes “the continuing and long-lasting support BMO Financial Group provides to Glendon College and particularly to the Glendon School of Public and International Affairs.” “The support of the BMO Financial Group has played a critical role in enabling the Glendon School of Public and International Affairs to pursue its unique mandate of preparing a new generation of fully bilingual leaders for Canada's public life,” says Glendon Principal Kenneth McRoberts. YorkU News Release

Concordia learning software could improve high school dropout rate

A team of researchers from Concordia University has developed an online tool that facilitates learning and teaching, and that could help improve high school dropout rates. The Electronic Portfolio Encouraging Active and Reflective Learning, or ePEARL, is bilingual, online software that encourages self-regulated learning in students. It provides electronic tools that allow students to take control of and evaluate their own learning and behaviour. The ePEARL software comes in versions for students from kindergarten through high school, and for adult learners and educators. The creators are actively collaborating with 5 school boards in Quebec. Canada's high school dropout rate has declined steadily, according to Concordia, reaching a low of 7.8% in 2011-12. However, Quebec has lagged behind; according to a recent poll published for the Lucie and André Chagnon Foundation, 25% of 20-year-old Quebecers do not have a high school diploma. Concordia News Release

BC study abroad consortium launches new website for students

The British Columbia Study Abroad (BCSA) Consortium has launched a newly-designed website that connects students to BC study abroad programs by providing information on short-term study abroad opportunities, and helping students apply to their program of choice. The concise new site lists study-abroad options by location or discipline, and includes information on financial assistance and other helpful tips for students interested in studying abroad. “We continue to work with Consortium institutions to provide students (and parents) a wider variety of field school options…and enhance the ability of smaller institutions to create their own international programs and be able to attract students from all across the province,” says Randall Martin, Executive Director, British Columbia Council for International Education. BCCIE News Release | Website

US faculty, administrators on PSE innovation

A survey conducted by the Chronicle of Higher Education and Pearson reveals that administrators and faculty don’t always disagree when it comes to innovation in PSE. The survey was completed by nearly 1,200 faculty members and a sample of some 80 presidents of 4-year colleges in the US. The survey revealed that both faculty and administrators believe that faculty should be the drivers of change in PSE, but that presidents don’t see faculty fulfilling that role currently. It also shows that both groups believe governments currently “have too much to say” about how to drive innovation. The study also found that both faculty and presidents see blended learning, adaptive learning, and interactive technology as the most promising types of innovation, but are wary of innovations that threaten the business models of their institutions (such as MOOCs and competency-based degrees). Both faculty and administrators agree that discussions on innovation should focus on changes in teaching and learning models, but that in reality, they are focused on technology and cost cutting. Full Report

Globalization, PSE expansion causing global “chaos”

The world’s university system is in “chaos because of the globalisation and enormous expansion of higher education,” according to Philip Altbach, Director of the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College. Altbach warns that because these 2 trends are being ignored, the international PSE sector has “a lot to worry about.” “The developing and emerging economies are subsidising the rich countries by educating many through the bachelor’s degree and then losing them,” argued Altbach at a recent symposium. He also warns that “massification” has led to an “overall decline in quality” because “people with a broader mix of abilities now have access to university.” Since governments don’t have the money to support this expansion, tuition fees have risen and the idea of PSE as a public good has “greatly weakened.” While Altbach acknowledges that there were also many benefits to globalization and expansion, he believes that “too many in the higher education community do not recognise the deep problems that we face in the current era.” Times Higher Education

Entrepreneur to sell clothing sporting “Maple Spring” red square symbol

A Montreal-area entrepreneur has turned the red square used as a symbol for the “Maple Spring” student uprising into a brand, creating a line of polo and T-shirts donning the red square. Raymond Drapeau filed a trademark application for the design last year at the Canadian Intellectual Property Office and got tentative approval last month. “I saw the red felt squares and said to myself, ‘we could broaden this a little bit and put it on shirts',” says Drapeau. He also says he doesn’t want to “raise the ire” of the student associations that used the symbol, and is interested in eventually working out a deal with them. An official from one of the main Maple Spring student groups said “the matter is being studied and there won’t be any comments for the moment.” Drapeau has launched a website with the slogan “show your colours” on which to sell his shirts. Globe and Mail