Top Ten

October 27, 2015

UBCO “start an evolution” campaign raises $100 M

UBC Okanagan has announced that its four-year “start an evolution” fundraising campaign has raised over $100 M for higher education in the BC interior. The funds raised will go toward student-centered initiatives, improvements to facilities, and research activities. In the past year alone, 1,600 UBC alumni have volunteered, attended special events, or given back to the university in other ways. “This was a tremendously ambitious goal for our campus and community in just five years,” said Ross Langford, chair of the campaign team. “It gives me tremendous pleasure to announce we have exceeded our fundraising goal by nearly $100,000 and our engagement target by 20 percent.” UBCO

StFX receives $5 M from Tim Horton's co-founder

Saint Francis Xavier University will receive a $5 M donation from Tim Horton’s co-founder Ron Joyce to establish a new centre for government studies. The donation comes through Joyce’s charitable group, the Joyce Foundation. The institute is to be named after former Prime Minister and StFX alumnus Brian Mulroney; its work will focus on the study of government, Canada-US relations, and global affairs for undergraduate students. It is expected to open in 2017. StFX | Chronicle Herald | Edmonton Journal

NVIT opens new $1.8 M trades training building

The Nicola Valley Institute of Technology has opened a new $1.8 M trades training building with support from BC. The new 670-square metre facility is funded through BC’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, a data-driven initiative designed to align provincial funding and programs with in-demand occupations. The program will invest up to $185 M in the province and will fund new trades training facilities at Camosun College and Okanagan College as well. “The foundation of a strong, growing economy is a skilled workforce,” said Premier Christy Clark at the NVIT centre’s opening. “The new trades training building at NVIT will set up Aboriginal and other British Columbian students for success in good-paying, in-demand jobs they can depend on.” BC | Merritt Herald

SMU raises tuition $194 to $540 annually until 2019

Saint Mary’s University’s board of governors has announced that the school will raise tuition fees for undergraduates by $194 to $540 annually over the next three years. This increase works out to be a total tuition increase of $582 to $1,520 over three years. Earlier this year, the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education gave all NS universities permission to implement a one-time tuition hike. However, the rise in tuition comes at a time when the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission has announced that 3,000 fewer students are attending NS universities compared to a decade ago. A representative from the Canadian Federation of students has said that this move “is only going to add to declining enrolment numbers.” CBC | Chronicle Herald

Trent partners with Nanjing University to create International Institute for Environmental Studies

Trent University has announced that it will partner with Nanjing University to create the new International Institute for Environmental Studies (IIES). The goal of the institute will be to study, preserve, and protect natural resources and the environment. Its method is to help faculty, researchers, and students around the world share ideas and collaborate to ensure that global problems are addressed on a global level. As part of the IIES project, Trent will build a 75-acre research park on its property in the north end of Peterborough and will work to bring the academic study of resources together with the private sector. Trent | Peterborough Examiner

Holland, Collège Acadie partner to provide bilingual degree

Holland College and Collège Acadie have announced a formal partnership designed to help PEI students pursue their college diploma in both English and French without having to move to the Canadian mainland. The two institutions have reportedly worked for some time on the agreement, which will allow both colleges to provide training in French and English. PEI officials hope that the partnership will lead to more bilingual workers living in the province, particularly in the health and education fields. "This is one where I think we'll all look back a decade from now and realize how important it really was for the two institutions to undertake this collaboration," said Michael O'Grady, Holland College VP for Innovation, Enterprise and Strategic development. CBC

uLaval pledges to maintain sustainable development despite provincial cuts

Université Laval has announced that it will maintain its benchmarks for sustainable development despite cuts in provincial funding. The university made this announcement in its 2015-2018 strategic plan, which it unveiled earlier this month.  Executive and Development Vice-Rector Éric Bauce told le Soleil, "it is true that we have less money, but the fact of these cuts does not mean that we will stop developing [sustainably].” The university currently spends more than $360 M per year on goods and services, and it reportedly plans to continue making these purchases in a responsible and sustainable way no matter how much it must tighten its belt. le Soleil

PEI forgives student loans for those who develop severe disabilities

PEI has announced that it will forgive the provincial student loans of any borrowers who develop a severe disability. Before now, people with severe disabilities could apply to have their loans forgiven, but they required a ministerial order from the province. The new measures have been adopted under the provincial student financial assistance program and are effective immediately. Anyone who qualifies for the severe permanent disability benefit under the Canada Student Loan Program will immediately have their provincial loans forgiven. "This new policy will lift the debt load from people whose disabilities prevent them from earning an income, and allow them to focus their energies elsewhere," said Advanced Learning Minister Richard Brown. CBC

PSE students should stop asking, “When am I going to use this?”

It is time for everyone to stop asking “when am I going to use this?” when thinking about the things one learns in a postsecondary classroom, writes a Chronicle of Higher Education contributor. She goes on to argue that the biggest problem with this question is that it makes usefulness the measure of all value. To this extent, she adds, “our obsession with utility — and our childish demands for it to reveal itself immediately lest we ‘waste’ a precious second of our time that could be better spent watching Netflix — reveals our ugliest selves.” The majority of the time, students ask this question when material bores them, not when they are genuinely wondering about what skills they may or may not need in the future. The solution, the author concludes, is to learn to be okay with not knowing how the things we learn today might benefit us tomorrow. Chronicle of Higher Education

University strategic plans produce "whiter shade of pale," fail to differentiate

Although marketing efforts among universities have focused a lot on differentiation, there is in fact very little to distinguish the “vanilla” brand strategies of most schools, writes university Vice-Chancellor Claire Taylor for Times Higher Education. This brand samenesss can best be found in universities’ strategic plans, which blandly seek to “achieve common goals using a language of superlatives and meaningless aspiration: ‘to be world leading in x’; ‘to be the best at y’; ‘to be internationally renowned for z’." To address this problem, Taylor recommends that universities become more bullish in distinguishing themselves and take calculated branding risks. She concludes, “vision and courage are key - as is a determination to never, ever succumb to being a whiter shade of pale.” Times Higher Education