Top Ten

April 13, 2015

RCMP investigating after body discovered on UBC President's property

Vancouver RCMP are investigating the discovery of a body on the lawn of the home of UBC President Arvind Gupta. Neither the cause of death nor the identity of the deceased had been released at press time; however, RCMP spokesperson Drew Grainger said that "the scene revealed signs of a sudden and unexpected death" and that the death is "suspicious in nature." Grainger added that there is "no indication that this person is related to the President or the President's family." Gupta is currently in China on university business. Globe and Mail | National Post | Vancouver Sun

Postscript: April 27, 2015

The British Columbia Coroner's Service has determined the identity of a body discovered on the grounds of UBC President Arvind Gupta's residence on April 9th. The deceased has been identified as 66-year-old Roderick Bruce Cortner, who was the subject of a missing persons release on April 6. Police said that foul play has been ruled out as the cause of death. CBC

NS budget allows one-time "market adjustment" of tuition fees

Students are likely to be among those hit the hardest by Nova Scotia's new budget, presented on Thursday. The budget will allow the province's PSE institutions to implement a one-time market adjustment to tuition fees before restoring the current 3% cap on tuition increases for domestic students; the cap on increases for out-of-province and graduate students has been eliminated. University operating grants were increased by 1%, and the budget provides $1.6 M to convert some student loans into grants. Both Students Nova Scotia and the Canadian Federation of Students - Nova Scotia decried the new budget, arguing that it will significantly increase the cost of an education and push students out of the province. Globe and Mail | Chronicle-Herald (1) | Chronicle-Herald (2) | StudentsNS News Release | CFS-NS News Release

uManitoba monitored volleyball team after allegations of verbal abuse

The Winnipeg Free Press reports that the University of Manitoba carefully monitored its women’s volleyball team for abusive behaviour this winter. The monitoring began in response to complaints by the majority of the 2013–14 team, winners of the national championship, about verbal harassment by Coach Ken Bentley. University spokespeople said that they took the complaints very seriously and launched a formal investigation, resulting in the plan to monitor the team environment. No problems were reported this season, said uManitoba Director of Marketing and Communications John Danakas, but officials will continue to keep an eye on the team environment. Winnipeg Free Press

Plans for new ECUAD campus unveiled

Emily Carr University of Art + Design has revealed plans for its new Great Northern Way campus. The 285,000-square-foot, 4-storey building will include public galleries, flexible space for student exhibitions, a 400-seat theatre with adaptable seating, and many large windows and 3 atria to provide year-round natural lighting to the entire building. The new campus is designed to encourage transparency and collaboration among students and faculty, but is also meant to revitalize the East Vancouver neighbourhood in which it will be located. The $122.1 M project has been largely funded by the province; ECUAD has raised $17 M of the remaining $21 M through private donations. Construction will begin this summer with a target completion date of summer 2017. Globe and Mail | Vancouver Sun

UFV, Abbotsford partner on UDistrict planning project

The University of the Fraser Valley has launched a collaborative project with the City of Abbotsford to shape the UDistrict, the neighbourhood adjacent to the UFV campus. Together, UFV and Abbotsford will integrate the UDistrict Neighbourhood Plan and the UFV Abbotsford Campus Master Plan, working in concert to manage growth and redevelopment. "UDistrict will connect our campus and community, building on the best of what our residents, businesses, students, teachers, and researchers bring to the social, cultural, and economic development of our city," said UFV President Mark Evered. Community consultations for the project are already underway. UFV News

Fleming, YorkU each launch new training initiatives

Fleming College and York University's Osgoode Professional Development (OsgoodePD) have each announced new educational initiatives that are reportedly unique in Canada. Fleming College will offer a 2-semester post-graduate certificate program on labour inspection and auditing, public and worker safety, and environmental compliance. In a news release, Fleming said that "no other program in Canada offers this level of comprehensive training in this field." OsgoodePD has launched a new online exam preparation course for internationally trained lawyers. The course will offer a multi-media learning experience including quizzes and assessments for lawyers who are newcomers to Ontario and who wish to qualify to practise in the province. Fleming News Release | YorkU News Release

CICan report shows growth in support for applied research

Colleges and Institutes Canada has published its latest annual report on applied research in Canada. According to the report, federal funding for applied research in 2013–14 was up 19% over the previous year, and funding from the private sector was up by 9%. Institutional investment in applied research was also up, increasing by 6% to reach $52 M. 5,633 companies partnered with colleges and institutes, a 3% increase, with 77% of applied research partnerships being with small- and medium-sized enterprises. 32,093 students participated in applied research, a 9% increase from 2012–13, and 7,639 students received support for entrepreneurial initiatives, an increase of 52%. CICan News Release | Full Report

OUSA issues policy paper on tuition

The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance has published the third of a series of spring policy papers, this one focusing on tuition fees. OUSA cites patchwork regulation, a lack of transparency and accountability, and restrictive payment processes as being among the primary issues affecting tuition fee policies in Ontario, as well as pointing to the increasing financial burden being placed on students. They recommend that tuition be regulated by the province, and that tuition increases should not exceed the Consumer Price Index. Moreover, they call for a tuition freeze, an increase in provincial contributions to PSE institutions' operating grants, an activity-based funding model, stronger dialogue around how tuition dollars are spent, fairer payment processes, and a new model of student payment for education. OUSA Blog | Policy Brief | Full Report

All levels of government benefit from investing in universities

Universities deserve more support from all levels of government, writes ATB Financial economist Todd Hirsch. Hirsch argues that universities constitute a "special category" of PSE institutions that "deliver true benefits to all 3 orders of government." He says that universities improve cities' economies and international reputations, and that municipal governments can support universities through careful urban planning. At the federal level, Hirsch emphasizes that universities offer Canada the opportunity to make significant contributions to the advancement of humankind. But, Hirsch says, provincial governments have the most to gain from a strong university sector: universities develop "creative, innovative, and imaginative thinkers," support applied research, and serve as catalysts for innovation and economic diversity. Globe and Mail (Subscription Required)

LinkedIn ranks 4 Canadian universities among top 5 for volunteerism

LinkedIn has released new data on the volunteer activities of 10 million of its members who have added the “Volunteer Experience and Causes” section to their profiles. Millennials make up the majority (71%) of LinkedIn members who say they are involved with volunteer activities, with Canada and Western Europe having the highest proportions of socially-minded members. 4 of the top 5 PSE institutions attended by these members are located in Canada, with Wilfrid Laurier University in first place. WLU emphasizes integrated and engaged learning and encourages students to take part in volunteer activities and other co-curricular activities. The University of Victoria, Dalhousie University, and Simon Fraser University ranked third, fourth, and fifth, respectively. LinkedIn Blog | WLU News Release