Top Ten

May 4, 2015

NL budget cuts funding, but maintains Canadian undergraduate tuition freeze

Newfoundland and Labrador released its 2015 budget on Thursday, including significant cuts and higher taxes and fees. Memorial University will see more than $20 M cut from its budget, and provincial spending on industrial training programs will shrink from $769 M in 2014–15 to $724 M. Nevertheless, NL will spend $20 M to help "revitalize" its apprenticeship system; the budget will also maintain the tuition freeze for Canadian undergraduate students at MUN and for students at College of the North Atlantic. The budget also includes $12.6 M to help replace some provincial student loans with up-front, non-repayable grants. NL News Release | NL Budget Fact Sheet | The Telegram | CBC | Globe and Mail

MB budget makes student loans interest-fee, with slight operating grant increases

Manitoba released its 2015 budget on Thursday. The budget makes student loans interest-free, as promised in Premier Greg Selinger's November throne speech. University operating grants will see a 2.5% increase, and colleges' operating grants will receive a 2% increase. Tuition fee increases will remain capped at the rate of economic growth. The budget allocates $4.5 M to the development of a new PSE strategy that will reportedly address matters including improving Aboriginal enrolment. The budget also increases Aboriginal Academic Achievement Grants and offers additional funding for adult learning centres in the province. MB News ReleaseWinnipeg Free Press (1) | Winnipeg Free Press (2) | CBC | Globe and Mail

QC Education Minister questions departure bonus for uBishop's Principal

Quebec's Education Minister François Blais has raised questions about a departure bonus reportedly due to Bishop's University Principal Michael Goldbloom. According to the Journal de Quebec, Goldbloom is eligible to receive $622,000 upon the end of his contract in 2018. "It's impossible to explain to the population this kind of arrangement," Blais told reporters. "This is a university that tells us, 'We don't have resources. We've been cut. We cannot balance our budget. All of that and they plan to pay the Principal two years' salary." uBishop's has not yet commented on the matter. Blais's comments come following a controversy over executive compensation at Western University. CBC   

Postscript: May 7, 2015

Bishop's University Principal Michael Goldbloom has announced that he plans to  forego one of two years' severance pay provided in his contract. Goldbloom's severance pay had been questioned by Quebec Education Minister François Blais.In a statement, Goldboom said, "although the provisions of my contract are consistent with the norms for university heads in the rest of Canada, I have decided that it will be best to forego the additional leave ... It would not be possible for me to continue as Principal if I am compromised in my ability to represent the university in what will be critical negotiations with the Quebec government." CBC

McGill's Schulich School of Music receives $7.5 M gift

Montreal philanthropist Elizabeth Wirth has made a gift of $7.5 M to McGill University's Schulich School of Music. McGill's New Music Building will be renamed for Wirth in recognition of her generosity. Wirth's contribution will be used to support three new initiatives: a suite of student awards, a new student initiatives fund, and a $25,000 annual prize in vocal performance. Wirth, a McGill alumna, has long been a supporter of the music school. “I am grateful to Elizabeth Wirth for her years of impassioned and generous support to the Schulich School of Music of McGill University,” said McGill Principal Suzanne Fortier. McGill News Release | Montreal Gazette | CBC

Concordia UC is now Concordia University of Edmonton

Concordia University of College of Alberta is now Concordia University of Edmonton. The institution received permission to change its name in June last year; the re-designation became effective on May 1. A press release said that the new name "positions us as a one-of-a-kind institution: a publicly funded, independent university committed to professional preparation and community service at the regional, national, and international levels." The change is also meant to reflect the institution's commitment to meeting the changing needs of the 21st-century learner.Concordia Edmonton News Release

Keyin College to take over Western College in Stephenville, NL

Keyin College,a private college in Newfoundland and Labrador, has announced a new partnership with Stephenville, NL's Western College. Through the partnership, Western College, an independent career college, will be re-branded as Keyin College Western Campus. The campus will begin offering Keyin programming in September. Keyin President Des Whelan said that he is pleased to see Keyin return to the western side of the island after its Corner Brook facility closed in the late 1990s. Keyin currently has nine campuses and seven adult learning centres in NL. Western Star

WLU pilot program helps students forced to withdraw

A new initiative at Wilfrid Laurier University will provide a new option to students who were required to withdraw from the institution due to a lack of academic performance. Previously, such students had to complete 2 courses at another PSE institution before reapplying for full-time status at WLU; only 10% ever returned. The Strategies for Academic Success project aims to increase that number. It will allow students to stay at WLU to upgrade by participating in two six-week skills-based courses on critical academic skills, with close involvement from peer mentors and academic advisers. Students will then apply what they learn in a half-credit course. The three-year pilot program will launch this fall. WLU News

WesternU launches campus-wide wellness program

A new program at Western University promotes wellness across the entire campus community. The Living Well @ Western initiative encourages staff, faculty, and students to participate in a variety of healthy physical, cultural, and intellectual activities. The program meets a need identified in a campus survey that showed that 81% of faculty and staff wanted to be more physically active, and that 59% were looking for new ways to manage stress. Activities will include everything from yoga and gardening to music and comedy.  “This is a unique program because it not only incorporates physical activity, but focuses on many other aspects of wellness,” said Ann Hutchison, Senior Human Resources Advisor at WesternU. WesternU News

International student enrolment grew faster at ON colleges than at universities in last decade

Data shared on the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario's (HEQCO's) It's Not Academic blog sheds light on the growth in international enrolment at Ontario's publicly funded colleges and universities. The data show that in the past decade, the rate of growth in international enrolment at colleges has generally exceeded the rate of growth at universities. The growth in college enrolment spiked in 2010; HEQCO attributes this to the 2009 introduction of the Student Partners Program, which expedites the Canadian study permit process for citizens of India and China.HEQCO Blog Post

More US institutions turning to social media for fundraising

The results of a new survey from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) show that a growing number of US educational institutions are turning to social media to enhance their fundraising efforts and to measure outcomes. 57% of respondents said that they used social media for fundraising in 2015, up from 47% in 2014. Nevertheless, social media campaigns brought in just a small portion of fundraising dollars: 85% of those who used social media fundraising said that it accounted for 5% or less of their institution's total. The survey also found that more institutions are turning to images and video for their fundraising campaigns, with fewer relying on text. Moreover, 22% turned to "social media ambassadors" to help promote their initiatives. CASE News Release