Top Ten

September 16, 2014

New UBC President pledges $100 M increase to research funding

Arvind Gupta, UBC’s newly-installed President, has pledged to increase the institution’s research funding by $100 M. Gupta also committed to increase student scholarships and bursaries, double the available internship and co-op programs, provide more student housing, improve existing physical and mental health facilities, and improve sports venues and cultural outlets, as well as working to build new community partnerships across the province and develop more research and learning alliances internationally. “Excellence in research is what distinguishes great institutions from the rest,” said Gupta. “It’s what puts our students at the cutting edge of knowledge, so they have access to the latest discoveries and revelations.” Gupta also acknowledged his goal of bringing UBC from one of the top 25 universities in the world to one of the top 10. Gupta noted that his goals would be realized through entrepreneurship, consultation, and a “clear focus on success for students.” UBC News | Globe and Mail

MUHC receives $16 M for new Cedars Cancer Centre

The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) last week received several significant donations, marking the completion of its The Best Care for Life campaign. It was also announced that the new MUHC Cancer Centre, to be located at McGill’s new superhospital, will be known as the Cedars Cancer Centre, in recognition of the continued support of the Cedars Cancer Institute, a member of the Rossy Cancer Network (RCN). Cedars' mission is to support comprehensive cancer care for all cancer patients. In addition to its previous donation of $30 M for the creation of the RCN, the (Larry and Cookie) Rossy Family Foundation committed $12 M; a further $4.6M was committed by private donors Andrew Lutfy and Andy Chelminski. “This modern centre will allow our medical professionals to continue to be pioneers in cancer diagnosis and treatment while providing patients with the highest level of care and support. Patients and their families will benefit from having everything they require in one location, in a space that has been conceived and designed to optimize as much as possible the patient experience,” said Armen Aprikian, Chief of MUHC’s Cancer Care Mission. MUHC News Release | Montreal Gazette

$10 M donation to Queen’s will benefit nursing, surgery

Canadian business leader, veteran, and philanthropist A Britton Smith has donated $10 M to Queen’s University. The donation includes $9 M for the School of Nursing and Department of Surgery and $1 M towards the Richardson Stadium revitalization project. The donations will support the establishment of the Sally Smith Chair in Nursing, the Smith Chair in Surgical Research, and the Britton Smith Chair in Surgery, as well as a chair in orthopaedic research and a nursing endowment. The donation is the largest ever received by the School of Nursing at Queen’s. “On behalf of faculty, students and staff, I want to thank Brit Smith for sharing our vision to support excellence in health care. His generosity will strengthen the School of Nursing and Department of Surgery in their quests to advance care, education and research. Ultimately, our patients will be the greatest beneficiaries,” said Richard Reznick, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences. Queen’s News

Dawson College marks anniversary of shooting with new Centre for Peace Education

Quebec’s Dawson College has announced that it will establish the Centre for Peace Education to commemorate the 8th anniversary of the deadly on-campus shooting that injured 20 people and killed one student. The centre’s core offering is a certificate program in Peace Studies that will educate students in violence prevention and conflict resolution and allow them to view other courses and programs through the lens of peace and nonviolence. The new certificate program “aims to prepare students to work for justice and to prepare for peace in any context, whether in their personal or professional lives, their communities, in society, or on a global scale.” CBC

Promotional campaign to highlight value, contributions of CEGEPs

La Fédération des cégeps has announced the launch of a new promotional campaign that will highlight the contributions of CEGEPs to Quebec. The 3-year campaign will culminate with a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the CEGEP system. In the first year, 4 public service announcements will be released via traditional media channels as well as on the web. Commercials, video clips, and banners will focus on the advantages of a quality CEGEP network to the province and will also feature a number of specific institutions. The campaign will communicate to audiences the importance of CEGEPs to the economic, social, and cultural life of the community, as well as the importance of general education and technical training to students. Moreover, the campaign will emphasize that CEGEPs serve as an important springboard to further PSE. CEGEPs have lately become an issue in Quebec politics, with the youth wing of the province's Liberal party calling for their eliminationFédération News Release

uOttawa “Defy the Conventional” campaign to help break stereotypes of the university

The University of Ottawa launched its new positioning campaign on Monday, focused on the theme “Defy the Conventional.” A new website,, was launched to showcase campus innovators. The first of 3 phases of the campaign will run until December, and will feature stories about "quirky" uOttawa icons. Among the persons and programs being profiled are cancer researcher John Bell, law professor Carissima Mathen, and the university’s INSPIRE lab. “I’ve been amazed as I’ve travelled the country and met with key stakeholders that people don’t have a good idea what the University of Ottawa is all about. We haven’t been really good at telling its story,” said VP External Relations Louis de Melo. He says that the new campaign is “not so much a tag line, it’s not a marketing campaign, it’s about the substance behind it. What is really the essence, the DNA of the University of Ottawa?” The campaign will run over the next 2 years. “This will position us favourably as we compete for the best faculty members out there, the best researchers, and certainly the best students to choose U of Ottawa as their first choice,” de Melo said. uOttawa News Release | Ottawa Citizen |

Osgoode Hall to pilot income-contingent loans program for JD students

Osgoode Hall Law School at York University has announced the launch of a 5-year pilot program intended to improve financial accessibility for Juris Doctor (JD) students. Beginning in 2015, a minimum of 5 JD students will receive income-contingent loans to pursue their education. They will not pay tuition while attending the school, but will instead repay the institution when their income reaches a level at which they can afford to do so. Should their income never reach that level, their loan will be forgiven. “This program will provide an entirely new way to access legal education, and when combined with bursaries, scholarships and graduation awards, will advance our goal that every admitted student should be able to obtain legal education at Osgoode regardless of financial means,” said Osgood Dean Lorne Sossin. The income-contingent loan program will receive $1 M in initial funding and will be evaluated over a 5-year period to ensure that it is meeting the school’s goals for accessibility and inclusiveness. YorkU News Release | Sossin Blog Post

Academics protest audit of CCPA

A group of more than 400 academics have signed an open letter to the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) in opposition to an audit of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). The group alleges that the audit is politically motivated and that the CCPA was targeted for its left-leaning perspective. According to reports, the CRA had justified the audit of the CCPA by claiming that the material on its website was “biased” and “one-sided.” But critics of the audit say that the organization was singled out for its criticism of the Conservative Party of Canada. “It hit a raw nerve among academics,” said organizer Louis-Philippe Rochon, an economist at Laurentian University. “The idea that if we reach a conclusion other than the official doctrine of the government, our research is somehow biased and political.” The CCPA, like many think-tanks in Canada, is registered as an educational charity and as such is prohibited from engaging in partisan activities such as endorsing candidates for public office. Globe and Mail | National Post | CTV News

Chinese consulate meets with BC ministry over strike concerns

The Vancouver Sun reports that the government of China is “concerned” about the ongoing British Columbia teachers’ strike. According to the Sun, representatives of the Chinese consulate met with members of BC’s Ministry of Education after several Chinese parents asked the consulate to intervene. There is currently no end in sight to the ongoing job action. The BC government had previously set a goal of increasing the number of international students by 50% over 4 years. In Vancouver alone, nearly 1,500 international students each pay $13,000 in annual tuition fees to attend public school; there are approximately 14,000 international K-12 students province-wide. Beyond tuition fees, international students are seen as valuable for their contributions to the economy through living expenses as well as their importance as potential immigrants to Canada. China has historically been a leading provider of international students in the province. The impact reaches beyond K-12 education as well; 43% of independent business owners who responded to a Canadian Federation of Independent Business survey said that they believe the strike will hurt them if it continues. Vancouver Sun

Whitman School of Business adopts the Hogwarts approach to professionalization

The Whitman School of Business at Syracuse University in New York is taking a page out of the Harry Potter series to help motivate its students. This week, the school will assign its undergraduate students into 4 “houses” for the year, with each being led by a faculty advisor. Students in each house will compete for points by attending optional lectures, obtaining extracurricular certificates, or by participating in other career-building activities. Students will report their progress using a smartphone app, and the house that wins the most points over the school year will be awarded a cup and get to attend a party with the school’s Dean. “Focusing particularly on soft skills and extracurricular experiences, our goal was to develop a program that would ensure our undergraduates leave Whitman with a sustainable competitive advantage throughout their lives and careers,” said Associate Dean Amanda Nicholson. The gamification program is described informally as the Potter Plan but is officially known as the Goodman IMPRESS program. BusinessWeek Whitman News Release