Top Ten

June 8, 2015

Nipissing budget invests in faculty positions and recruitment, but includes tuition increase

Nipissing University's board of governors has approved the institution's 2015–16 budget. The budget projects a deficit of over $5 M, significantly smaller than the $11.8 M projected deficit from the 2014–15 fiscal year. The budget includes a recovery plan to address the deficit, with a plan to increase revenue through recruitment and retention, the expansion of some academic programs, and increased research revenue. In addition, Nipissing students can expect to pay 3% more for tuition in 2015–16. The budget also includes investments in financial aid and new faculty positions in nursing, business, and criminal justice. Nipissing also announced that it will wind down its operations at its Muskoka campus, where it currently offers programs in Child and Family Studies and Culture and the Arts. Nipissing News Release (Budget) | Nipissing News Release (Muskoka)

CapilanoU support staff withdraw overtime services

Members of the Canadian Office & Professional Employees Union (COPE) Local 378 at Capilano University have withdrawn all overtime services from the institution as part of an ongoing labour dispute. The union, which represents CapilanoU's support staff, gave the institution 72-hour strike notice on June 1 and instituted the ban on staff overtime as of Thursday afternoon. A statement issued by CapilanoU indicated that the labour action is not expected to affect students enrolled in summer classes. The union said that outstanding issues include benefits, sick leave, minimum hours worked, termination of employees on leave, and language over layoffs. CapilanoU faculty initiated strike action in April, reaching a tentative agreement on May 23. CapilanoU News Release | COPE 378 News ReleaseNorth Shore News

Postscript: July 24, 2015

Capilano University and the Canadian Office and Professional Employees (COPE) Union, Local 378 have ratified a new agreement, bringing about an end to six weeks of labour action. The new contract includes a 5.5% pay increase over five years, and runs through 2019. “I think there was some give on both sides… Honestly, I think we just came together in the middle to do what was best for our students,” said Capilano Academic Vice-President Rick Gale. North Shore News

RADIUS SFU, BDC partnership will support social entrepreneurship

Simon Fraser University's RADIUS Ventures has signed an agreement with the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) that is designed to help support social entrepreneurs. Under the terms of the partnership, BDC will donate a portion of every loan fee to RADIUS Ventures, which will use the funding to support its Slingshot venture accelerator program. In addition, BDC and RADIUS will collaborate on a series of workshops, addressing issues including globalization, strategy and growth management, IT infrastructure, Certified Beneficial Corporation (B Corp) certification, and financing. The program is part of a pilot launched by BDC to provide lending services for social and environmental projects in British Columbia. SFU News Release

Niagara College opens new Aboriginal student centre

Niagara College has opened the new Aboriginal Student Resource Centre at its Niagara-on-the-Lake campus. The Centre will be run by the college’s First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Student Services team, and will offer space for cultural programming, Elder visits, and workshops and events as well as a library of Indigenous-themed resources. Both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students and staff are welcomed by the Centre, which is designed to enhance relationships across the institution and with the community. Niagara’s Aboriginal Liaison and Recruitment Manager Donna Gerber noted that the space will also help recruit Aboriginal students and support them throughout their programs. Niagara College News | St Catharine's Standard

FNUniv learns from past to prepare for future

As the First Nations University of Canada approaches its 40th anniversary in 2016, President Mark Dockstator and his colleagues are preparing for the institution to take on an “expanded role” in Canadian society. Dockstator recently told University Affairs that he foresees the institution acting as a “mediator” and source of academic research for parties wishing to work with Aboriginal groups. FNUniv has also launched a new marketing campaign with the goal of increasing enrolment, and is developing a non-credit executive training course for non-Indigenous business leaders. Dockstator pointed to previous issues at FNUniv as a learning experience, stating, “I think the increasing enrolments are reflective of a successful turnaround … The confidence in the institution has returned.” University Affairs

Academic Matters focuses on contract faculty in new issue

Academic Matters, the magazine of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA), has devoted its latest issue to the international challenge of contract faculty in academia. Andrew Robinson shares his personal experience with the frustrations and conflicts associated with contract employment, and Craig Heron describes the evolution of Ontario’s faculty associations. Looking abroad, Jonathan White provides a perspective on the rise of “zero-hours” contracts in the UK, and Jeannie Rea discusses the casualization of academic work in Australia. While the issue presents a “stark view” of these issues, writes editor-in-chief Graeme Stewart, “it also presents ideas for facing up to these challenges.” Academic Matters (Editorial) | Academic Matters (Full Issue)

Practicums help meet need for dietitians in rural and remote communities

Practicums could help fill a need for dietitians in Canada's rural and remote areas. Dietitians are in high demand in many Canadian communities, especially given food security issues in places like Nunavut. Canada's PSE institutions are working to fill the gap. UBC's dietetics program, for example, has placed 11 of 34 students each year in health authorities that support rural and remote communities. Many of the students who complete their practicums in these areas return to the communities upon completion of their programs. The Northern Ontario School of Medicine also offers a dietetic internship focused on rural communities, as does Acadia University. Metro News

Ottawa Citizen exposes market for bogus impact factors

The Ottawa Citizen publishes important scientific research relevant to a global audience—at least according to one black-market rating agency. As part of its ongoing coverage of predatory academic publishing, the newspaper contacted a rating agency in India called the International Institute of Organized Research. In exchange for $40, the institute promised to add the newspaper to an "official" registry of academic journals, and offered an impact factor of 4.335. The Canadian Medical Association Journal has an impact factor of 5.5; even a 1 is considered respectable. The Citizen joins illustrious publications such as Elixir, which recently published pieces defining "team spirit" in sports and allegedly disproving most of Einstein's research. Ottawa Citizen

TEC Edmonton featured in BIOTECanada magazine

TEC Edmonton’s plan to make Alberta a world leader in healthcare innovation has been featured in BIOTECanada. A joint venture between the University of Alberta and the City of Edmonton, TEC Edmonton received funding from the Canada Accelerator and Incubator Program (CAIP) to improve business innovation and productivity. TEC Edmonton's Health Accelerator aims to become a "one-stop shop" to encourage the development and commercialization of innovative medical products and practices from Alberta's universities and from outside the academic community. BIOTECanada

$400 M donation to Harvard stirs controversy

On Wednesday, Harvard University announced that it had received a $400 M donation—its largest ever—from hedge fund manager John Paulson. Critics immediately questioned the wealthy donor’s decision to donate such a large sum to one of the wealthiest universities in the world. “There’s literally not another university in America that needs that money less,” said Kevin Carey of the New America Foundation. Harvard has not yet responded to the criticism. However, under similar circumstances in the past, the institution has emphasized that donations help cover costs not fully funded by tuition and research grants. Inside Higher Ed