Top Ten

May 20, 2015

uManitoba trims $14.4 M to achieve balanced budget

The University of Manitoba's board of governors voted yesterday on a balanced budget that includes $14.4 M in cuts. Faculty budgets will be cut by as much as 3.97% overall, while administrative departments will be trimmed by between 4% and 4.45%. International undergraduate student differential fee surcharges will increase by between 10% and 18% depending on the program. The budget reflects savings achieved through a voluntary retirement program as well as through a 2.5% increase in grants from the province. Students held a "funeral for education" prior to the board meeting to protest the cuts. Winnipeg Free Press

MacEwan raises tuition, application fees amid budget uncertainty

Students at MacEwan University will pay a bit more in tuition and application fees next year as the institution looks to find $5 M in savings to achieve a balanced budget. MacEwan plans to increase tuition by 2.2%, and will also eliminate 41 positions, 34 of which are already vacant. Application fees for Canadian students will increase from $70 to $110, while application fees paid by international students will drop from $140 to $110. President David Atkinson said that the institution has been forced to make the cuts due to a combined grant decrease of 4.5% over the next two years; he noted that it is difficult to plan ahead given that Alberta does not currently have a provincial budget in place. Edmonton Journal

Union representing federal scientists looks to protect members' ability to communicate about their work

Canada's federal government is being pushed by public-service unions to include in collective agreements language that would ensure that researchers can speak openly about their work, publish their results without censorship, and better collaborate with their peers. A section of a new collective agreement proposed by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) would allow scientists to express themselves on scientific matters provided that they make it clear that they are expressing their own views and not speaking on behalf of the government. The clause responds to communications protocols that compel scientists employed by the government to defer to communications specialists when asked to share their expertise with the media. Globe and Mail

UBC, uManitoba celebrate high number of Aboriginal MD graduates

Both the University of Manitoba and UBC are celebrating Aboriginal medical school graduates this month. At uManitoba, this year’s medical school graduation boasts the largest number of self-identified Aboriginal graduates in the last five years. All nine students will stay in Manitoba for their residencies, with five entering family medicine. This year’s med school graduation at UBC will see five Aboriginal students graduate, marking an important milestone for the Aboriginal MD admissions program. In 2002, the faculty set a goal of graduating 50 Aboriginal MDs by 2020; this has now been reached, five years ahead of schedule. This story also appeared in Academica's Indigenous Top TenuManitoba News | CBC | UBC News

HEQCO report looks at risks and benefits of technology-enhanced instruction

The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) has released a new report summing up the findings of 16 projects on technology-enhanced learning. The report says that technology should be implemented intentionally, with a clear objective in mind. The simple presence of technology was rarely found to add anything to instruction; technology should instead be treated as a tool to accomplish some desired goal. Moreover, faculty and teaching assistants must be provided with ample training on new technology so that they are able to help students with it. The report also notes that many HEQCO-funded studies reported methodological challenges around student participation and retention, possibly due to poor integration of the technology into course structures. HEQCO Summary | Full Report

Carleton President calls for entrepreneurship program for students with disabilities

Carleton University President Roseann O'Reilly Runte has called for the creation of an entrepreneurship program for students with disabilities. She notes that people with disabilities represent 15.5% of Ontario's population, and that when offered access to PSE, they succeed at a higher rate than students without disabilities. However, Runte points out that people with disabilities are statistically not as successful finding employment or starting their own businesses. She argues that the systematic exclusion of people with disabilities denies society the benefits of their creative input, and comes at the cost of countless innovations as well as lost income. Runte proposes the creation of a program in entrepreneurship for students with disabilities, arguing that it will "create extraordinary economic and social returns." Hill Times (Subscription Required)

Funding adaptive measures for students with disabilities is a critical investmen

Jérôme Archambault, President of the Quebec Association of Post-Secondary Students with Disabilities (AQEIPS), has contributed an op-ed to the Montreal Gazette arguing for the importance of investing in students with disabilities. Archambault is responding to a recent article in Le Journal de Montréal that questioned adaptive measures, such as differentiated instruction or specialized software, that are offered for students with learning disabilities or attention-deficit disorders. Archambault says that the number of students using such services has been increasing rapidly in recent years because such tools have made it possible for them to pursue an education when they might once have been considered unable to do so. He argues that adaptive measures and support services are important education investments that help students find meaningful employment. Montreal Gazette | Le Journal de Montréal

CBU President eyes collaboration with MUN's Grenfell campus

Cape Breton University President and Rethinking Higher Ed contributor David Wheeler believes that similarities between Cape Breton and Newfoundland and Labrador make his institution and Memorial University's Grenfell campus natural partners. Wheeler says that the many similarities between the two institutions—including their similar approaches to business education, their relationships with Mi'kmaq culture, and their interest in environmental research—create a strong match. "Collaboration is always built on shared values," he said. "I think there are a lot of shared values here." Wheeler is making a trip to meet with MUN officials, and said he would also like to connect with other community stakeholders. He suggested that joint efforts in overseas recruitment, international campuses, and online education are all possibilities. Western Star

Entire first-year MFA class at USC's Roski School withdraws in protest

The entire first-year class of the master of fine arts program at the University of Southern California's Roski School of Art and Design has withdrawn to protest changes made to the school's curriculum and to funding packages. The curriculum changes include a shift in emphasis from fine arts toward art and design, a move that has come with an increased focus on technology. In an open letter, the students note that the institution's administration "made it clear ... that they did not value the program's faculty structure, pedagogy, or standing in the arts community." They also point to what they describe as "a larger system of inequity," including the growth of the number of administrative positions and increases in executive salaries. The Chronicle of Higher Education | Los Angeles Times | Open Letter

Florida university repurposes parking garage to advise commuter students

Florida Atlantic University is offering a new service to commuter students: drive-up advising services. Two parking garages on campus now pull double duty, with offices previously designed to process parking payments providing space for advising staff to meet commuting students. The idea was at first pitched as a joke, but university staff realized that the plan could make use of underused security huts. Advising services are available in the lots from 5 to 7pm from Monday to Thursday, reaching students who are leaving campus for the evening or arriving for night classes. Within a few months, advisers had spoken to more than 500 students, most of whom had never previously met with an academic adviser. Inside Higher Ed