Top Ten

June 23, 2015

NSERC announces $340 M in research funding for 71 institutions

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has announced that it will award $340 M to 3,800 academic researchers at over 70 Canadian universities. The funds will support long-term projects by researchers, postdoctoral fellows, and students primarily through NSERC’s Discovery Grants program. Minister of State for Science and Technology Ed Holder said, “Today’s investment in more than 3,800 researchers at 71 universities across the country ensures Canada has a broad base of talented men and women whose research continues to push the boundaries of knowledge [and] creates jobs and opportunities while improving the quality of life of Canadians.” NSERC Release

Many people overestimate cost of an education based on sticker price, Universities Canada president says

In a recent speech before the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, Universities Canada President Paul Davidson said that many people are “too fixated on the price tag” of postsecondary education. Davidson said that many calls for lower tuition neglect the broad range of scholarships, bursaries, and other financial aid options that can help offset the cost of an education. “Tuition is not an insurmountable barrier,” he said. “Our studies and other studies show that people overestimate the cost of higher education and underestimate the earning premium that they will achieve as the result of attending a university.” Some students took exception to Davidson’s remark; Michaela Sam, Chair of the Canadian Federation of Students-Nova Scotia, said that the comment “disregards the reality that students face today.” Metro News

Laurentian announces balanced budget for 2015–16

Laurentian University’s board of governors has approved its $147.7 M budget for 2015–16, marking the fifth consecutive balanced budget adopted by the institution. The budget increases funding to several priority areas, including a 12% increase to graduate students to support an increase in enrolment over the next four years. The budget for student services was also increased by 14%. “We are well-positioned to move forward with a balanced and strategically-focused growth plan that responds to the needs of the communities we serve today and in the future,” said Laurentian University President Dominic Giroux. Laurentian News

RRC inks agreement with China’s Shenyang Institute of Engineering

Red River College has signed a new agreement with the Shenyang Institute of Engineering (SIE) in China. The agreement allows the two institutions to offer joint diplomas in Electrical Engineering Technology, Power Engineering Technology, and Hospitality and Tourism Management. Students and instructors from both institutions will have the opportunity to participate in study abroad and exchange programs. “This new agreement will allow us to continue to offer high quality education to our students, and to grow our international education program here in Manitoba,” said RRC Interim President David Rew. RRC News

National Aboriginal Day celebrated by PSE institutions

On the heels of the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s summary report, this year’s National Aboriginal Day, held on Sunday, was an opportunity for PSE institutions and individuals to emphasize their commitment to reconciliation. Edmonton’s NorQuest College was a sponsor of the Aboriginal Day Live celebration held in the city, and was holding its own celebration on campus yesterday. Many other institutions held events on campus to commemorate the day and issued statements outlining initiatives designed to welcome and support Indigenous students. The National Aboriginal Caucus of the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) issued a call to governments to increase access to PSE for Aboriginal students and to fulfill the recommendations of the TRC report, a call echoed by the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT). To mark the occasion, the St Lawrence College Foundation announced the creation of two new bursaries designed to support Indigenous students at the college. NorQuest News | CFS News Release | UFV News | uManitoba News | SLC News Release | CAUT News | CBC | ICTMN

Outgoing uAlberta president reflects on her time in office

In a conversation with the Edmonton Journal, outgoing President Indira Samarasekera reflects on the goals she brought to the University of Alberta ten years ago. One was to place uAlberta within the top 50 ranked universities in the world. Samarasekera cites provincial funding cuts and lack of new full-time faculty hiring as the main factors that prevented the school from reaching this goal, stating that, “if, over four years, we had invested in professors, we could have been in the top 50.” On June 30, Samarasekera leaves uAlberta for a new position at the Liu Institute for Global Issues at UBC. Edmonton Journal

Demand for continuing education growing for Canada’s 50-plus cohort

The Globe and Mail examines how Canada’s colleges and universities are reporting steady or growing demand from the 50-plus cohort for professional development credentials, through both in-class and online programs. Lorraine Carter, President of the Canadian Association for University Continuing Education, said, “There are pockets of universities looking to reach out to, and to support, workers who want to extend [their careers] or pursue something new.” According to the article, a primary reason for this new interest in continuing studies is that many of Canada’s baby boomers cannot afford to retire at 65 or earlier, due in part to the financial crisis of 2008. Globe and Mail

Millennials not as entitled as some may think, UBC study finds

A recent study from UBC finds that millennials (people born between the early 1980s and 2000s) might not warrant the “entitlement generation” label that many have applied to them. The study found that governments currently spend three times as much on a retiree as they do on someone under 45. Paul Kershaw of the School of Population and Public Health at UBC said of this discrepancy, “I think that’s one of the places where actually we need younger Canadians to feel more entitled. More entitled to have a world of politics that works for them simultaneously while it works for others, including the people that they love, like their parents and grandparents.” Kershaw also noted that according to existing polls, millennials value money and wealth much less than those over 45, citing fulfillment and making a difference as their highest priorities. CBC

Will the web save or kill academic journals?

In an interview with Wired Magazine, Vincent Larivière, of the University of Montreal’s School of Library and Information Science, has expanded on the results of his study on scientific publishing, released earlier this month. Remarking on the apparent paradox between the rise of the Internet and publisher consolidation, he noted that “what prevailed is indeed the commercial publishing model and not the independent publishing model.” Larivière is ultimately unsure about the future, noting the rise of several open journals such as PLOS One, while admitting that the open source model of journal publication is not for everyone. WIRED

Deal to keep Sweet Briar College open approved by VA judge

A deal has been reached allowing Virginia’s Sweet Briar College to remain open. Financial difficulties prompted an abrupt announcement by the board earlier this year that the college would be forced to close. This announcement sparked a significant outcry by alumnae, who began a fundraising campaign entitled Saving Sweet Briar. The deal, approved Monday morning by a Virginia judge, will rely on $12 M in donations from the group and require a lifting of restrictions on the college’s $16 M endowment. The deal was “an answer to the prayers of many and a powerful validation of the value of fighting for what you believe in,” according to Sarah Clement, Chair of Saving Sweet Briar. The Chronicle of Higher Education | Inside Higher Ed | CNN | Reuters