Top Ten

April 28, 2014

TWU law school battle not over yet

Last week, Ontario’s law society voted 28–21 against accrediting the controversial proposed law school at Trinity Western University in BC. Members of the Law Society of Upper Canada’s (LSUC) board of directors voted to decide whether graduates of TWU’s proposed law school, set to open in 2016, would be allowed to practice in Ontario. “I cannot vote to accredit a law school which seeks to control students in their bedrooms,” said one member of the LSUC. The law school had previously been approved by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, and earlier this month, BC’s law society voted to accredit graduates from the program. However, a petition with over 1,300 signatures has been submitted to the LSBC, prompting a special general meeting to review the accreditation decision. Faculty members at the University of Manitoba have spoken out against the law school at TWU, and will call on the Law Society of Manitoba to hold public consultations before deciding whether to accredit TWU graduates in Manitoba. Nova Scotia’s law society decided on Friday to approve TWU's accreditation on the condition that they remove the prohibition against same-sex intimacy from the school's community covenant.CBC | National Post | Globe and Mail (BC) | Globe and Mail (NS) | Winnipeg Free Press

Manitoba pays more for tuition rebates than for university operating grant increases

The cost of tuition rebates in Manitoba nearly triples the cost of operating grants increases provided by the province to its universities, says a new report. According to the province’s figures, it paid out $36.8 million in rebates in the 2012 taxation year, and has paid out a total of $104.6 million to graduates since the rebate program began in 2007. An additional annual advance rebate program, capped at $500 per student, was introduced in 2010, at a total cost of $5.7 million. Meanwhile, Lloyd Axworthy, President of the University of Winnipeg, says that the university will have to cut spending by $2-million. Manitoba currently prohibits universities from increasing tuition beyond the rate of provincial economic growth. Axworthy claims that this puts uWinnipeg in particular in a precarious position: on a per-student funding basis, he says, uWinnipeg lags behind other Manitoba universities. Winnipeg Free Press

Lethbridge College breaks ground for new trades facility

Lethbridge College is breaking ground on its new Trades and Technologies Renewal and Innovation Project, a $65-million building project that will add over 15,000 square metres of classroom space. Part of Lethbridge’s Possibilities are Endlesscampaign, the new facility will allow an additional 880 students to receive hands-on training and experience in the skilled trades and technology fields, including electrical, welding, agriculture equipment, automotive service, parts, heavy equipment, wind turbine technology, engineering design, interior design, geomatics, and civil engineering. The college estimates the facility will be complete and ready to welcome the first students in fall 2017. “When the trades and technology facility opens its doors Lethbridge and Campus Alberta will have a world class teaching and learning space that will prepare highly skilled graduates for Alberta’s trades and technology-related fields,” says Premier Dave Hancock. The province of Alberta provided $56 million for the project. Lethbridge News Release | Global News

Indigenous education program at Brandon University threatened by low enrolment

The Program for the Education of Native Teachers (PENT) at Brandon University is in danger of being discontinued due to low enrolment numbers. PENT is offered through the Faculty of Education and offers students intensive, culturally-relevant education from April to July, with students returning to home communities to complete practicums during the rest of the academic year. With program costs climbing, tuition has increased to $750 per course; this year, the program enrolled 110 students—the bare minimum necessary to keep it running. PENT’s administrators are looking “outside the box” at ways to keep costs down and increase enrolment. Program Director Ken Friesen stated the next 2–3 years are critical, as enrolment numbers must increase in order for the program to continue. "There's a real need for this type of program and for this kind of teacher and educator," he said. CBC

WLU announces new golf management specialization for MBA program

Wilfrid Laurier University is launching a unique specialization within its Master of Business Administration (MBA) program: Management in the Golf and Resort Industry. Beginning in August, the new program will allow MBA students to “develop and apply management skills within the context of the global golf and resort industry.” The program is being developed in partnership with the Golf Management Institute of Canada (GMIC), which was founded by WLU alumnus Grant Fraser (BBA ’87). An advisory board of professionals from the golf and resort industry will help guide the program and future developments. “We are excited to be working with our golf and resort industry partners to be the first to offer this kind of specialization in an MBA program,” said Hugh Munro, Director of WLU’s MBA program. “Our goal is to develop managerial talent to enhance the performance of those firms operating in this challenging global industry, and to provide exciting career opportunities for our graduates.” WLU News Release

Students protest as uWindsor approves tuition increases

The board of governors at the University of Windsor has approved tuition and fee increases for the 2014-15 school year. Students were on hand to protest the decision to hike tuition by the maximum allowed by the provincial framework. Domestic undergraduate students in most programs will see a 3% increase, with students in business, engineering, computer science or law seeing a 5% increase in the first 2 years, and 4% in years 3 and 4. Domestic graduate students will see increases of 3–5% also. International student tuition, which is not subject to provincial limits, will see increases ranging from 4.9–10%, depending on program and area of study. Increases were also approved for residence, meal plan and other ancillary fees. “I’m disappointed to hear costs are going up again,” said Rob Crawford, President of uWindsor’s student alliance. “The real problem is [that] the funding model being used for post-secondary education is unsustainable.” Students at the University of Guelphalso unsuccessfully protested tuition hikes recently. uWindsor News Release | CBC |Windsor Star | Metro News

Brescia profs take FRESH program to high school

2 professors in Brescia University College’s Food and Nutrition program have received $50,000 in funding from the Ontario Ministry of Education to launch a peer nutrition education program at a London high school. The FRESH program was created by Paula Dworatzek and June Matthews. Using a combination of a website, social media, and a frequent-buyer incentive program, FRESH encourages consumption of healthier options on campuses. “Young people want to learn food skills through hands-on, school-based, learning opportunities delivered by their peers. Our program can meet that need,” said Matthews. The funding comes from a provincial Healthy Eating in Secondary Schools grant program, and will provide high school students with mentoring and orientation that will help students become healthy food advocates. If successful, the FRESH program may expand to additional high schools. Brescia News Release

Nova Scotia to invest $3.7-million in graduate scholarships

Nova Scotia has announced new scholarships for graduate students conducting research in the province’s priority sectors. The initiative, which will be phased in over 4 years, will give graduate students the opportunity to apply for 310 annual scholarships valued at $10,000 to $15,000 each. The scholarships will be allocated to universities based on the number of enrolled graduate students. It is hoped that the initiative will help attract and retain students in Nova Scotia. “These scholarships will support graduate students as they do their research, and they’ll also boost Nova Scotia’s economy as that research turns into new products and more opportunity,” said Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan. The $3.7-million investment in the scholarship program comes after Nova Scotia cancelled a graduate retention rebate program and eliminated interest on provincial student loans. The scholarship program, initially proposed by Students Nova Scotia, was developed in collaboration with the Council of Nova Scotia University Presidents.Nova Scotia News Release

Public forum participants in US see college as more than skills training

A new report claims that for many Americans, college is about more than job training. The report collected findings from 115 public forums conducted across the US; 40% of the participants were students and 20% were faculty members. The report’s authors say that the opinions of forum attendees often diverged from those of policy makers. Many attendees felt that while increasing graduations in STEM fields was a laudable goal, it was not a pressing one; they also suggested that STEM students could benefit from exposure to a broader course of study. Generally, participants favoured a classical liberal arts model of college as an opportunity for exploration. The report’s authors note that few of the participants—including faculty members and administrators who attended the forums—had deeply considered developments such as MOOCs or competency-based education; moreover, the authors note that most participants “seemed to be at a very early stage of their thinking” on issues like the rising cost of PSE. The Chronicle of Higher Education | Full Report

A vision of the future of higher ed

An article in the “Futurist Forum” section of Fast Company offers what it describes as “bold predictions for the future of higher education.” The article foresees curricula becoming increasingly multidisciplinary, citing the emergence of “incubator spaces” that “empower students to utilize design thinking as a means to create solutions, solve problems and make jobs not take jobs.” The article goes on to suggest that universities will need to find a balance between MOOCs and traditional learning, but also argues for the need for greater investment in technology such as augmented reality devices but also information security. The author predicts that universities will move from enrolment-based to performance-based funding models that will factor in idea incubation and corporate support. Student recruitment and retention will become increasingly important in the future; the author expects universities to differentiate themselves based on the life experience and wellness options that they can offer. Fast Company