Top Ten

April 8, 2014

Faculty issue non-confidence motions at 2 NB universities

The Faculty Council at Mount Allison University have voted 60-1 in support of a motion of non-confidence in the academic leadership of President Robert Campbell and Provost Karen Grant. The non-binding motion was meant to raise concerns around transparency and administration’s “commitment to academic quality and disrespect for faculty.” Likewise, faculty from 4 departments at the University of New Brunswick have passed motions of non-confidence or issued statements of concern regarding President Eddy Campbell and the administration at UNB. According to UNB’s Campbell, the motions of non-confidence “show that more needs to be done to smooth over the problems with the university’s faculty,” and that there needs to be improvement to the lines of communication at UNB. Administrators at UNB have been holding meetings on campus to answer questions around the labour dispute that occurred earlier this year, and will continue to hold information sessions for faculty. MTA also experienced a faculty strike this year. CBC (MTA) | CBC (UNB) | Argosy (MTA student newspaper) | The Brunswickan (UNB student newspaper)

McGill Principal wants university to be a better partner to Montreal

McGill University Principal Suzanne Fortier wants to make McGill a better partner for Montreal, a statement she delivered as part of her first speech to the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. Fortier noted the increasingly important role that universities play in surrounding communities, listing several recent revitalization developments that institutions have begun in Montreal, including the Université de Montréal'sOutremont campus. “My objective is that McGill be part of the team: the team that prepares the ground as we move forward in a knowledge-based society, the team that makes Montreal a cultural metropolis, the team that invests in the future, the team that makes Montreal shine on the international stage,” Fortier said. McGill remains interested in taking over the soon-to-be vacant Royal Victoria Hospital site, added Fortier, and would use the space to establish a teaching, research and meeting centre, or Carrefour, that would connect Quebec and the world. Fortier also commented that any urban development project at the site would involve community consultation. McGill News Release | Montreal Gazette

YorkU explores expansion into York Region

York University is actively looking to establish a new campus in the York Region, announced YorkU’s President Mamdouh Shoukri at a March Senate meeting. YorkU is currently seeking a municipal partner in the region before preparing a formal proposal for the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities; several municipalities have already registered their interest in hosting a YorkU campus and have begun preparing presentations for YorkU representatives. “The potential for a new York University campus in York Region is one more significant development in the University’s overall York Region strategy, to forge strong connections between the University, Seneca College and all of our surrounding municipalities,” said Shoukri. YorkU has formed a steering committee tasked with planning and preparing YorkU’s proposal to MTCU. Information sessions for the YorkU community will be held in April or May. Ontario released the Major Capacity Expansion Policy Framework in December, which outlines the selection process and proposal criteria for institutions wishing to expand. YorkU News

Postscript: June 26, 2014

York University, in partnership with Seneca College, has announced that Markham Centre has been chosen as the ideal location for a new YorkU campus in Ontario’s York region. YorkU and Seneca will now prepare a formal proposal to submit to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities under the Major Capacity Expansion Policy Framework. YorkU hopes to have 5,000 students at the new campus within 5 years of its opening. YorkU News Release | Seneca News

Dal offers new leadership and communications certificate for science students

Dalhousie University has developed a new certificate program for students in the Faculty of Science that will help students gain valuable leadership and communication skills. The new Certificate in Science Leadership and Communication, reportedly a first of its kind in Canada, is broken down into 5 components: leadership skills development, communicating science, ethics in science, understanding the nature of science, and practica in leadership and communication in science. The certificate has an interdisciplinary approach, with 28 courses from 12 departments to choose from, and will prepare students to explain science to experts and non-experts alike. “The idea is to enable these students to be better filters and better advocates for science,” says Anne-Marie Ryan, one of the team members behind the new program. Dal News

STMU announces tuition and fee freeze

Calgary’s St Mary’s University College has announced it will freeze tuition and fees for the 2014-15 school year. Mark Charlton, VP, Academic, reassured the campus community in a press release that the tuition freeze will not mean a decrease in the college’s offerings. Charlton noted the launch of a new Liberal Studies degree and an expansion to the BEd program next year. “We are committed to ensuring that St Mary’s continues to offer an outstanding education at an affordable price,” said St Mary’s President Gerry Turcotte. “The need for a post-secondary education has never been greater and we want to help meet that need.” The college is also reporting a 17% increase in enrolments for 2013-14 and a 40% increase in applications for the fall semester. STMU News Release

AB institutions increase number of seats for learners

Several PSE institutions in Alberta have announced expanded programs as a result of increased provincial funding for the 2014-15 year. The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) will expand 7 high-demand programs between now and 2017 to accommodate an additional 390 students. The University of Lethbridge is increasing the number of seats in the Bachelor of Education program and will launch the new Bachelor of Health Sciences (Aboriginal Health) and Bachelor of Therapeutic Recreation programs, upon approval. Bow Valley College will add 100 seats to several certificate and diploma programs, with more growth planned for the future. “Alberta has one of the best post-secondary systems in Canada but we can always do more to increase access for students and foster collaboration between institutions,” said Premier and Minister of Innovation and Advanced Education Dave Hancock. “That’s why we are creating more spaces so students can get the learning opportunities they want to pursue their dreams and increasing funding to create new programs and stimulate collaboration in the Campus Alberta system.” NAIT News Release | uLethbridge News | BVC News Release

Humber signs MOU with Jamaican University of Technology

Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning has signed an MOU with the University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech) that will provide the 2 institutions with opportunities for collaboration and the development of initiatives to benefit students. Humber and UTech hope to develop global education pathways and further exchange opportunities for students and staff. “International partnerships like this expand the experiences of students through international transfer agreements and study abroad opportunities. Faculty gain exposure to diverse academic and professional practices by taking part in global research and the design/delivery of academic programs,” said Humber’s Dean, International Diane Simpson. “We have a long history of international partnerships and strong ties with Jamaica and the Caribbean. Students from the region choose Humber because of its world-renowned reputation, diverse program offerings, and global learning opportunities,” she added. Humber News Release

Ontario celebrates steady graduation rates and releases vision for future

Ontario’s high school graduation rate has remained stable, with a 5-year graduation rate of 83% and a 4-year rate of 75%. This represents a 15% and 19% increase from 2003-04, respectively. Ontario credits initiatives such as the Student Success Strategy with the increase in graduation rates. Programs designed under this strategy, such as the Specialist High Skills Majors and Dual Credits programs, will be expanded in the future as part of Ontario’s renewed vision for education, “Achieving Excellence,” announced yesterday. The vision will also focus on improving graduation rates (with a goal of 85%), increasing learning opportunities outside the classroom, expanding health services for students and families, and encouraging active lifestyles. “We all want every child and student in Ontario to gain the knowledge, skills and personal characteristics that will allow them to be successful, productive and actively engaged citizens. This plan will help us work with the education sector to ensure our young people have every opportunity to succeed,” stated Liz Sandals, Minister of Education. Ontario News Release (graduation) | Ontario News Release (vision)

STEM fields see US enrolment growth

A new US study suggests that enrolment in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields has increased, particularly in engineering and biology. The report, presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, collected data from a national pool of freshman and found that those planning to enroll in STEM fields has increased, while enrolments in applied fields such as education and business have declined. The growth was not consistent across STEM fields, with engineering seeing a 57.1% increase, biology 28.2%, the physical sciences 11.1%, and mathematics 12.6%. The report also found that the increases in enrolment were fairly even across genders, indicating that gender gaps have not significantly improved. Co-author Jerry Jacobs noted that “those who want more STEM students should focus on attracting more female students, some of whom may not feel encouraged in the area.” Inside Higher Ed

AAUP report finds salary increases outpaced inflation

The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has released its annual faculty salary report, “Losing Focus: The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2013-14,” that reveals an average 2.2% increase in faculty salaries over last year, the first time in 5 years that salary increases have outpaced inflation. However, the report also reveals inequalities in the salary increases awarded associate professors and those in the ranks directly above and below them; where associate professors have seen an average salary increase of 5.6% since 2000, salaries for assistant professors have risen 9% in the same time period, and salaries for full professors have increased 11.7%. Competition for new faculty often results in salary packages that rival those offered to established associate professors. The report also suggests that athletics programs are not generating enough revenue to fund themselves, and that funds are being diverted from instruction to athletics programs. The study did not include part-time professors. Inside Higher Ed | Chronicle of Higher Education | AAUP report website