Top Ten

May 28, 2015

uOttawa 2015–16 budget includes 3% tuition increase

The board of governors at the University of Ottawa has approved the institution's 2015–16 budget. The budget forecasts a slight deficit of $1.9 M; to limit the deficit, the university intends to reduce planned expenditure growth and to implement a number of one-time cost reductions. In addition, the budget will introduce an average tuition increase of 3% for Canadian students and of 10% for international students. This marks the tenth consecutive year in which uOttawa has increased tuition, according to the Ottawa Citizen; however, the percentage of the budget financed by Canadian students will remain relatively stable. The budget also includes $4 M in savings achieved by deferring the hiring of new professors. uOttawa News Release | Ottawa Citizen

Contact North reports jump in student registrations

Contact North has reported a 44% increase in the number of student registrations in the winter 2015 semester compared to the previous year. 21,654 students registered for online programs and courses from Ontario's colleges, universities, and basic skills and training providers in winter 2015, up from 15,010 in Winter 2014. “Ontarians continue to recognize the benefits of obtaining a university degree, a college or high school diploma, or improving their skills or their ability to get a job, and earn a higher than average salary,” said Sylvie Lemieux, Contact North's Coordinator, Recruitment, Training & Partnerships. Contact North News Release

BC announces $6 M in funding for technology skills development

British Columbia announced $6 M in funding, to be provided through the BC Innovation Council (BCIC), in support of technology skills development. The BCIC Innovator Skills Initiative and the BC Tech Co-Op Grants Program will provide students with opportunities to enhance their skills and explore new career opportunities at small- and medium-sized technology firms, while connecting employers to a supply of talented workers. BC Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training Shirley Bond said, “this new funding will continue to help drive this development by training entrepreneurs today and generating desirable jobs for highly skilled, creative, and educated British Columbians for the future.” BC News Release

ON provides $1 M to Lakehead for expanded remote presence initiative

Ontario is providing $1 M through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) for Lakehead University to expand remote instruction initiatives in the North. The funds will be used to establish immersive technology telepresence systems in Kenora and Sioux Lookout, enabling students in those communities to access real-time classroom instruction alongside students at Lakehead’s Thunder Bay and Orillia campuses. The technology allows programs to be offered to students in these communities even if the enrolment numbers are low. Lakehead is working with Confederation College, Contact North, and the Keewatin Patricia District School Board on this project and others designed to bring PSE to learners in northern ON. | ON News Release

McGill’s Macdonald campus receives $1 M gift for community engagement centre

McGill University’s Macdonald campus has received $1 M from alumnus J William (Bill) Ritchie for the Macdonald Farm Community Engagement Centre. The Macdonald campus is home to McGill’s Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. The new $2.5 M Engagement Centre will include the Lorna and William Ritchie Education Hall, a 140-seat lecture hall that will host educational programs for children and the community. The Engagement Centre project will include the renovation of an existing stone barn and will feature a variety of displays explaining where our food comes from and the stages of food production. Ritchie, a former stockbroker who graduated from McGill in 1951, said that his four years there were the best of his life. Montreal Gazette

ON MPP proposes Franco-Ontarian university

A member of Ontario's Provincial Parliament has introduced a bill that would create a new Franco-Ontarian university. France Gélinas, New Democrat MPP for Nickel Belt, says that there is a need for greater access to university programs in French in the province. She proposes an institution with multiple campuses that would be accessible throughout ON. While there is an existing French-language university in northeastern ON—Université de Hearst—Gélinas says that her proposed institution would offer a full range of degrees and programs. "The Université de Hearst does not have the mandate to do this ... [Its] purpose is not to be a university for the entire province," she said. CBC

Businesses send execs back to school for custom education

An article in Business in Vancouver highlights the successful partnerships between business schools and organizations that serve to address specific sector or industry needs. Business schools such as Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business and UBC’s Sauder School of Business work directly with companies or sector representatives to develop custom-designed courses and programs in response to specific needs. For example, SFU’s Executive MBA in Aboriginal Business and Leadership, launched in 2012, was developed in consultation with the Haisla First Nation to address gaps in regular MBA programming. These collaborations also help the business schools attract new students in a very competitive market. Business in Vancouver

Dutch mission to Canada includes a PSE focus

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands are in Canada this week with a delegation of university and college leaders to talk student mobility. The Dutch have established scholarships to allow Canadian students to study in the Netherlands, and are expected during their three-day visit to sign a number of agreements pertaining to research and academic exchanges. Jennifer Humphries, a VP at the Canadian Bureau of International Education, emphasized the importance of such partnerships not just for fostering educational opportunities but also for cementing broader relationships between nations. Humphries hopes that this week's visit will help promote further two-way mobility between Canada and the Netherlands. Globe and Mail

Students would prefer challenging careers over steady paycheques

A new survey of more than 17,000 Canadian undergraduates has found that compared to last year, students are more interested in finding a career that challenges them and less motivated by the prospect of a stable, steady paycheque. Researchers suggest that this shift is reflective of a more robust economy: students are becoming more interested in dynamic, exciting opportunities. Meanwhile, work-life balance has slipped in terms of its relative importance to other factors, and interest in traveling has increased. The authors of the report also suggest that employers are not doing enough to differentiate themselves from one another, and that many are too hesitant to reach prospective employees via social media. Globe and Mail  

Language presents a challenge for campus sexual assault surveys

US institutions administering a sexual assault survey developed by the Association of American Universities are facing challenges around the language they use to obtain data. Most researchers agree that specific language is necessary in order to gather accurate data, but some are concerned that survey questions might drive away students who have been victims of sexual violence. There are also concerns that students may be unaware that such surveys—often referred to as "climate surveys"—will include questions about sexual assault. Others have argued that climate surveys seem to conflate a wide range of transgressions. The US Bureau of Justice Statistics has called into question its own data because it felt the language in some survey questions was "ambiguous," leading to under-reporting. Inside Higher Ed