Top Ten

June 24, 2015

uWinnipeg increases tuition 1.9%, adopts balanced budget

The University of Winnipeg’s board of regents has approved an operating budget of $125 M for the 2015–16 fiscal year. The budget adds new funds to student counselling services, academic research, and Indigenous initiatives recommended by Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The balanced budget is supported by a 4% increase in provincial funding and a 1.9% increase in domestic tuition. President Annette Trimbee said, “I know there is strong support for uWinnipeg’s unique mission, which aligns with the province’s goal of making education accessible to all.” However, uWinnipeg’s Students Association President Peyton Veitch said, “While uWinnipeg deserves credit for rejecting the slash and burn approach that we’ve seen at the University of Manitoba, this budget falls short in terms of ensuring affordability.” Winnipeg Free Press | uWinnipeg News Release

PEI’s “reality budget” increases PSE funding

Prince Edward Island has released its latest budget, which Minster of Finance Allen Roach calls a “reality budget,” citing its “economic frugality.” The budget projects a deficit of just under $20 M with less than 1% growth in program spending. However, the budget awards postsecondary institutions their first provincial funding increases since 2012. This money boosts University of PEI funding by 8% and Holland College funding by 2.5%. Much of the money for UPEI will go toward establishing a new school of engineering. CBC | Journal Pioneer | PEI Release

NS must act now to retain its youth

According to Chronicle Herald contributor John Demont, if Nova Scotia wants to maintain its economic and cultural wellbeing, it must make greater efforts to provide better opportunities for youth living in the province. Among the many causes for NS’s departing youth, Demont cited the inability of these people to find good careers and suggested that the baby boomers are at least partly to blame, saying, “the best-educated generation in history sees the baby boomers holding on to their work cubicles for dear life.” While he sees some positive action taking place, such as the elimination of interest on the provincial portion of student loans, he argues that NS will have to do a lot more in the near future if it wishes to retain its young people. Chronicle Herald

Lambton launches $45 M capital campaign

Lambton College has launched its $45 M Envision Tomorrow Capital Campaign to raise funds for several new infrastructure projects. The college will use the funds for a $30 M Centre for Health Education and Sustainable Care and a $12 M recreation and fitness complex, among other initiatives. Lambton has already received $11.4 M in funds or commitments, including a $5 M commitment from Lambton County for the health facility. “We look forward to continued collaboration with the community, working together to empower our students and building an even better tomorrow for all of us who work, live and learn right here in Sarnia-Lambton,” said Lambton President Judith Morris. Lambton News | Sarnia Observer

Langara's School of Nursing accredited for seven years

Langara College’s School of Nursing has been awarded a seven-year accreditation from the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN), the maximum length that can be awarded to an institution. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing was approved by the province in October 2013, but has pursued voluntary accreditation in order to provide its graduates a “smoother path” to further education. “This is a wonderful and remarkable achievement as few nursing programs achieve seven-year accreditation status in their inaugural application to CASN,” said Provost Brad O’Hara. “Their vision, many years of planning, and hard work have yielded an enviable result of which we all can be proud.” Langara News

HEQCO report finds tutorial participation benefits students in large classes

A new study from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO), entitled The Effectiveness of Tutorials in Large Classes: Do they matter?, has found that test performance can be improved by tutorial participation, but only for students attending multiple tutorials throughout the term. Early participation was especially important: students who did not attend one of the first two tutorials were unlikely to participate in remaining sessions. The findings are based on a study of a large introductory macroeconomics course that enrols 2,500 students in five sections; tutorials of roughly 70 students were held every other week. HEQCO Summary | Full Report

McMaster adopts new policy for discrimination and sexual harassment

McMaster University's new discrimination, harassment, and sexual harassment policy will come into effect on July 1, 2015. The policy is the product of a series of recommendations made by a cross-campus panel that has been working since January 2014. Among its features are an emphasis on education and prevention, clarification on the roles and responsibilities of those in charge of the policy’s implementation, and specific procedures for the ongoing collection and communication of campus-wide data on discrimination and harassment. The policy’s developers also asked that the university develop a plain-language guide for the policy. McMaster Release

Most UNBC alumni working in their fields

A survey of UNBC students who graduated between 1994 and 2014 found that 80% are working in their area of study. Half of the survey’s respondents said that they found work within a month of leaving UNBC. The data for this study was gathered from 1,490 respondents who represent 13.4% of alumni who graduated during the period studied. The survey contained more than 75 questions and marked the first major study of alumni experience completed at the university. UNBC President Daniel Weeks said, “it always is nice to have some objective data to kind of confirm what we think we’re doing well.” Prince George Citizen

Report finds academics facing violence and persecution worldwide

Yesterday, the international network Scholars at Risk released Free to Think, a report detailing the violence and persecution faced by academics around the world since 2011. The study acknowledges that its findings “represent only a small subset of all attacks on higher education,” yet points to “333 attacks arising from 247 verified incidents in 65 countries” between January 2011 and May 2015. The authors said, “[it is] not surprising that states and other actors who depend on controlling information and what people think go to great lengths to restrict or even silence higher education communities and their members.” Times Higher Education | Inside Higher Ed | The Chronicle of Higher Education | Full Report

College is not a commodity, writes AAU president

Hunter Rawlings, President of the Association of American Universities (AAU), writes in The Washington Post that it makes little sense to speak of PSE as a typical commodity. Rawlings argues that its value is determined instead by the efforts of individual students, meaning “the courses the student decides to take (and not take), the amount of work the student does, the intellectual curiosity the student exhibits, her participation in class, [and] his focus and determination.” For Rawlings, the biggest threat is the notion that education can simply be purchased, making students more likely to become upset when faced with difficult tasks or challenging ways of thinking. Washington Post