Top Ten

May 15, 2015

MB bill increases oversight at RRC

Manitoba has introduced new legislation that will increase oversight at Red River College. The legislation includes provisions addressing board governance and clarifying oversight of financial matters, and expands the role of the board of governors' audit committee. It also specifies new ministerial powers around fiscal accountability and transparency. In January, MB released a review of financial and human resources practices at RRC that included 45 recommendations to improve accountability at the institution. RRC board Chair Lloyd Schreyer said, "RRC is pleased that this legislation addresses the concerns of financial oversight and governance while also recognizing the important role the college plays in contributing to the well-being of the province." MB News Release | RRC News ReleaseWinnipeg Free Press

MUN exploring its options to deal with budget shortfall

Memorial University says it is working on finding solutions to a budget shortfall after the provincial government reduced the institution's operating grant. After the cuts were announced, many began to speculate that the institution would be forced to raise tuition fees. MUN President Gary Kachanoski said that the institution is still weeks away from presenting a proposal to the board of regents but noted that any increases would not take effect until the 2016 academic year in order to give students time to plan. NL's budget maintains a tuition freeze for most Canadian undergraduate students; however, the freeze does not apply to international students, graduate students, or medical students. MUN News Release | CBC (1) | CBC (2)

uManitoba partners on new cancer research facility

The University of Manitoba and CancerCare Manitoba have partnered to develop the new Research Institute on Oncology and Hematology (RIOH), bringing together all cancer research in the province. Organizers hope that by establishing an institute they will be able to attract more national funding and top researchers. RIOH will encourage collaboration and innovation along the entire spectrum of cancer research, including prevention, new treatments, and patient experiences. The new institute will operate out of CancerCare Manitoba’s Winnipeg office until the construction of a new building is completed. Winnipeg Free Press 

uOttawa announces new bilingual PhD in Communication

The University of Ottawa has announced the creation of a new PhD program in communication, reportedly the only fully bilingual communication PhD program to be offered at a single institution in Canada. The program will be structured around two key areas: media studies and organizational communication. Students in the program will develop “critical thinking [skills], as well as their ability to reflect on and solve problems affecting society, while contributing to the progress of knowledge in the field.” uOttawa News

NS company offers to pay student loan debt for new hires

An information technology company in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia is offering to pay the student loans of six new hires. SimplyCast was started five years ago by President Saeed El-Darahali, a Saint Mary's University alum; his company now employs more than 30 people, with the majority under the age of 30. 40% of employees got their start with the company as co-op work students. A student-loan recipient himself, El-Darahali calls it a “win-win situation” when a company invests profits back into its “most important asset.” Students Nova Scotia applauded the initiative and expressed hope that others would adopt similar policies, a statement echoed by El-Darahali, who noted that he unfortunately cannot hire everyone who has applied for the positions. CBC

McMaster prof asks university to save a seat for Omar Khadr

A professor at McMaster University has offered Omar Khadr a space in his classes. David L Clark, a professor in McMaster's English and Cultural Studies program, wrote to university President Patrick Deane saying that offering a spot to Khadr would demonstrate the institution's role "in fostering justice and affirming peace." McMaster has not commented on the letter, noting that it has an "open application process" but generally does not hold spots for any student. Court documents shared earlier this year indicated that Khadr would be offered a spot at The King's University in Edmonton. CBC 

Why Canada should forge stronger ties with Southeast Asia

In an op-ed for the Vancouver Sun, UBC professor Yves Tiberghien argues that a close relationship with Southeast Asia is critical for the future of Canada's economy. Tiberghien says that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is emerging as a major player in Asia alongside China and India, with its member nations experiencing significant population and economic growth. He recommends the creation of more cultural and educational exchanges between Canadian institutions and ASEAN nations. A closer relationship, Tiberghien says, would be mutually beneficial, with Canada offering expertise on natural resource management and countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines teaching Canada about multiculturalism and about balancing economic and social goals. Vancouver Sun

How business schools are supporting disadvantaged students

An article in the Globe and Mail examines some of the approaches Canadian business schools are taking to ensure that their programs are accessible to disadvantaged students. Staff at the University of New Brunswick's business school work closely with high school counsellors to get a better sense of students' needs. UNB offers small class sizes so students can get to know their classmates and professors and feel supported. Lakehead University supports first-generation, recent immigrant, and Aboriginal students by focusing on support services, as well as by offering small class sizes. Vancouver Island University is BC's leading school for waiving tuition for former youth-in-care, and has partnered with UBC on a program to increase First Nations' participation in business studies. Globe and Mail

Helfand reflects on a decade at QuestU

Rethinking Higher Ed contributor David Helfand has announced that he will be stepping down as President of Quest University at the end of August, and has reflected on his experiences in an interview with University Affairs. Helfand comments on the considerable growth of QuestU over the past decade, and outlines what he sees as the benefits of QuestU's collaborative approach to education. He also identifies what he sees as problems with the tenure system, and considers the impact of QuestU's block method in Canada as well as abroad. "I don't think we've transformed anything yet, but there's a lot of interest," Helfand says. University Affairs

US PSE enrolments drop as economy improves, demographics shift

New data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center (NSCRC) show that overall PSE enrolments in the US dropped by 1.9% in spring 2015, dipping below 18.6 million students. The decline was most pronounced among students aged 24 and older, and at two-year public colleges and four-year for-profit institutions. NSCRC Research Manager Jason DeWitt said that the drop was partially due to demographic forces—the number of high school graduates has also been declining—but suggested that the economic recovery is a more significant factor, especially at community colleges. For-profit institutions may have also been affected by negative publicity. Inside Higher Ed | Full Report