Top Ten

April 14, 2015

uMoncton releases deficit budget, plans to freeze wages

Université de Moncton has released its 2015–16 budget, which will carry a deficit of approximately $1 M. President Raymond Théberge pointed to the freezing of both tuition and provincial grants to PSE institutions in the recent provincial budget as reasons for the deficit. The dual freeze will result in a reduction of $1.9 M for uMoncton. Wages for senior administrators and executives at uMoncton will be frozen as of May 1; the university will also negotiate with the union locals to freeze the wages of faculty and staff. In addition, some administrative and support positions will not be renewed. Théberge also acknowledged a second year of declining enrolment was likely, and said that uMoncton was looking at ways to attract more students. CBC | uMoncton News (in French)

ON partners with 6 northern colleges to increase access to in-demand programs

Ontario has announced $3.6 M over 3 years towards a partnership between 6 northern colleges that will expand access to in-demand programs for northern residents. Collège Boréal, Cambrian College, Canadore College, Confederation College, Northern College, and Sault College will work together to design and deliver shared programming that will allow students to take courses at any of the participating institutions towards credentials in 8 subject areas: business, hospitality, media arts, health, community services, technology, trades, and aviation. The institutions will each contribute $1.2 M over 3 years to the initiative, called the Northern Colleges Collaborative Programming Project. The colleges recently worked together on the Study North Initiative which aimed to raise the profiles of northern institutions. ON News Release | Canadore News

Niagara College receives largest-ever private donation of $1.2 M

Niagara College has received a donation of $1.2 M towards its Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre, reportedly the largest corporate donation ever received by the college. The gift, from the Walker family and Niagara-based Walker Industries Holdings Ltd, launches Niagara’s “Achieving Dreams” campaign, which aims to raise $7 M. The college will name the new centre after the Walker family. Construction has begun and is expected to be complete by early 2016. The Ontario government also recently committed $4.2 M towards construction of the new centre. Niagara College President Dan Patterson noted the gift would benefit not only the college, but also the local manufacturing sector. Niagara College News | St Catharines Standard

Manitoba reports highest job growth in country

Manitoba added more jobs to the economy in the last year than any other province, according to new data released by Statistics Canada. The province added 19,200 new jobs over the 12-month period from March 2014 to March 2015, a growth rate of 3.1%. The growth was more than triple the national average and a full percentage point higher than any other province. MB and Saskatchewan were the only 2 provinces to post substantial growth; they also have the 2 lowest unemployment rates in the country. 16,200 of MB's new jobs are full-time positions, with the majority in construction or health care and social assistance. 3,800 of the new jobs are in the education sector. StatsCan Daily | Winnipeg Free Press

New report suggests students choosing academic stream too young

A new report by Ontario’s People for Education suggests that the practice of choosing academic or applied streams in grade 8 is putting some students at a disadvantage. The study found that students who chose applied courses in grade 8 were much less likely to attend university, and that a larger proportion of students from low-income households were enrolling in the applied stream. In addition, the report states that courses are not covering the same essential concepts regardless of stream, and that stream choices made in grade 8 were carrying through the remainder of high school, even though students have the ability to transfer to another stream. The report authors recommend delaying course decisions that are potentially binding until after grade 9. CBC | Toronto Star | People for Education News | Full Report 

Alberta students increasingly considering US universities

Alberta’s PSE institutions are facing increased competition from south of the border, reports the Calgary Herald, as more students than ever are considering attending a US school. The US College Expo was held in Calgary for the first time ever last weekend, in response to growing interest from Calgary students and families. Rising academic requirements at AB’s larger universities, high tuition, and overcrowding are leading many high school students to look elsewhere. A spokesperson from the company that runs the Expo noted that many smaller US institutions consider attributes and soft skills beyond academics when considering applications. Of the countries supplying the most foreign students to the US, Canada now ranks fifth. Calgary Herald

Female mentors, role models would help attract women to STEM fields

In order to attract more women to the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields, there need to be more female role models and mentors in those fields, suggests Elena Di Martino, a professor of civil engineering at the University of Calgary. The lack of female role models in STEM fields was recently explored in a blog post by 3 Canadian statisticians who looked at the number of female engineering professors at the top 20 Canadian universities (by size of engineering departments). They found that only 2 universities—uOttawa and uVictoria—had more than 25% of professors who identified as female. uAlberta was at the lower end of the scale, with just under 10% of professors teaching engineering identifying as female. A recent US study found gender bias in hiring led to fewer women employed in STEM fields. StarPhoenix

Panel recommends ways to improve processes for integrating immigrants into workforce

The federal Panel on Employment Challenges of New Canadians has released a report that explores ways to improve the process of getting internationally trained immigrants into the Canadian labour force. The report looks at current barriers and makes a number of recommendations such as developing pan-Canadian standards for occupations so that people can assess their credentials before moving to Canada, and developing a broader strategy for alternative careers with more regulator involvement. The federal government also announced support for 2 new initiatives, one led by the Medical Council of Canada and the other by Engineers Canada, which will more quickly and efficiently evaluate the credentials of internationally trained doctors and lawyers. Several Canadian universities have launched initiatives to help internationally trained doctorslawyers, and midwivesCanada News Release | Full Report

Faculty salaries in US outpace inflation for second year

Faculty salaries at US PSE institutions rose faster than inflation for the second year in a row, according to the annual “salary survey” released by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). This year’s survey, titled “Busting the Myths: The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2014-15,” found that salaries for full-time faculty members were up 1.4%; however, they are still earning slightly less than before the recession, when adjusted for inflation. There is a wide variance of salaries based on the type of institution and faculty rank, with associate professors experiencing slower growth than others; disparities in pay between men and women also exist at almost every institution. The annual survey does not account for salaries of part-time or adjunct professors. The Chronicle of Higher Education | Inside Higher Ed | Full Report

Low-cost degree program in Texas to see first graduates

USA Today is highlighting the Texas Affordable Baccalaureate Program, a low-cost degree program introduced in January 2014 in response to calls to create a $10,000 degree. Since 2011, 13 colleges and universities in Texas have worked to create low-cost degree options, largely for students who have already completed some credits during high school or previous studies. Next month will see the first batch of students graduate from the program. Although the students can study at their own pace, the average number of completed credit hours is higher than the national average. Students must score 80% or higher to pass a course in order to ensure the integrity and quality of the program. USA Today