Top Ten

November 19, 2015

uSherbrooke to receive $60 M over ten years for entrepreneurship centre

Université de Sherbrooke has launched the Entrepreneurship Centre of Sherbrooke, an initiative designed to foster entrepreneurial success and local development. The Centre will receive $60 M in investment over a ten-year span and will focus its efforts specifically in the key areas of quantum technologies, information technologies, transportation and renewable energy, and medical technologies. "Our strategy builds on our teaching and research initiatives as well as our close links with local stakeholders to foster the emergence of a major entrepreneurial center in Sherbrooke," said Jacques Beauvais, uSherbrooke VP, Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship. "In a word, we want to connect to science-based entrepreneurship to support innovation." uSherbrooke (French)

Facing budget difficulties, SK cuts PSE by $1.4 M

Saskatchewan recently revealed that it scaled back operating grants at a number of postsecondary institutions by $1.4 M to meet an unanticipated provincial budget shortfall. The two largest reductions were $539 K at the University of Regina and $606 K at Saskatchewan Polytechnic; 13 other institutions experienced cuts between $10 K and $35 K. uRegina President Vianne Timmons criticized the cuts, saying, “coming to the university halfway through the year to recover money does not seem fair.” SK Finance Minister Kevin Doherty had previously denied knowledge of the cuts, saying he just learned of them earlier this week after reporters started asking questions. CBC | Regina Leader-Post

UBC raises over $1.6 B, surpassing fundraising goal

UBC has just ended its seven-year fundraising campaign, dubbed start an evolution, with $1.62 B, surpassing its $1.5 B goal. This is reportedly the second-largest amount ever raised by a Canadian university. “I could not be more proud of our donors, alumni, and friends who have made this visionary campaign so successful,” said UBC Interim President Martha Piper. “I am particularly pleased that these magnificent numbers were achieved by 61,000 donors and 130,000 engaged alumni.” The funds will go to a variety of areas: roughly 30% each to academics, research, and infrastructure, with the remaining 10% reserved for student aid. Globe and Mail | Vancity Buzz | UBC

CBU cuts spur worries about possible layoffs

Cape Breton University President David Wheeler has said that his institution is looking to cut 10% of its $50 M budget, according to CBC and the Cape Breton Post. According to Wheeler, some 75% of the university’s costs are related to staffing. While 37 faculty and staff have volunteered to retire under an incentive program, Wheeler suggested that CBU still “need[s] to do more.” The university has reserved the right to refuse alternative offers that would not result in savings, spurring a complaint by the CBU Faculty Association to the Nova Scotia Labour Relations Board. This has led to concerns about layoffs, something Wheeler says is premature. “It’s our intention to reduce our salary bill through voluntary means. And so that remains our absolute focus,” he said. CBC | Cape Breton Post

uCalgary opens pro bono legal clinic with help from $1 M donation

The University of Calgary has opened a new law clinic that will offer pro bono legal services while providing the university’s law students an opportunity to gain valuable work experience. With the help of a $1 M donation from the Peacock Family Foundation, uCalgary’s Faculty of Law hopes that the new clinic will serve the public good, making legal advice and representation more accessible for those who traditionally cannot afford it. The clinic will focus on providing representation specifically in the areas of public health, human rights, equality, and environmental law. “I am so excited, and feel so privileged to be part of this,” said Molly Naber-Sykes, Executive Director of the Clinic. “We’ve had such huge issues in this province in terms of helping the voiceless and the vulnerable. And this will really help fill that need.” uCalgary | Calgary Herald

JIBC breaks ground on welcoming facility for Aboriginal students

The Justice Institute of British Columbia has broken ground on a new welcoming facility for Aboriginal students at its New Westminister campus. The facility, funded by the BC Ministry of Advanced Education, is designed to enhance support services for Aboriginal students at JIBC and to provide a space for non-Aboriginal students and staff to deepen their understanding of Aboriginal history and culture. President Michel Tarko described it as a “venue where First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students, staff, and faculty can gather and support one another, and share our traditions and customs with non-Aboriginal students.“ JIBC

Kitchener program would give students back half their rent to pay off loans

A new program in Kitchener, Ontario would give students back half their rent after four years to help them pay off their loans. Called Scholarship Apartments, the program is quite straightforward, according to founder Arman Aryapour: “We provide an incentive program for [students] to stay in school, once they reside with us after the four years they’re automatically eligible for the bursary once they graduate.” The program already has a $1 M commitment from an investor, according to Aryapour, contingent on the program's being able to raise the other $800 K needed to purchase a building. CBC

Precarious employment not just a problem for PSE

The rise of precarious employment has received growing attention in PSE in recent years, but such employment is not unique to PSE, reports CBC. According to current UN figures, over 200 million people in the world are jobless, which marks an increase of 30 million people since the beginning of the global recession in 2008. Further, even those who have managed to remain employed have seen the nature of work change dramatically. The UN has warned of the “widespread insecurity” that has crept through the global workforce, as short-term contingent employment replaces full-time work. The report claims that more than one in four members of the global workforce do not have stable employment, a number that could have far-reaching implications for the workforce of any individual country. CBC

PSE students should think about salary and more before enroling

Expected salary upon graduation is an important factor for anyone thinking about attending PSE, writes the Chronicle of Higher Education. But once a student has taken this factor into consideration, there are other important things to think about. Speaking with a number of PSE representatives, the article focuses on how expected salary is merely one factor among many when a prospective PSE student chooses what institution to attend—or whether to go to college at all. At one point, the article suggests that “for a student who wants to earn as much as possible with only a bachelor’s degree, the advice is pretty clear: Become an engineer.” Yet it concludes that this sort of advice must be weighed against other concerns, including the student’s desire or ability to excel in such a field. Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

Defining, measuring student success in the humanities is a worthy goal

Asking questions of student success may be frustrating for those in the humanities and social sciences, but these questions have positive effects when they push faculty and administrators to define what outcomes they want for students, writes Paula Krebs, Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Bridgewater State University. While student success might be easy to measure for more vocational programs of study, Krebs admits that measuring student success in the humanities poses some unique problems: “the humanities curriculum centers on content rather than practice. What does the content of a history curriculum add up to if you don’t want to be a history teacher? A chemistry major becomes a chemist. What does an English major become?” She concludes that there are many intangible ways to think of success for this group; yet she also argues that those working in the humanities must be open to sitting down with employers to ask them what they would like to see from new graduates. Chronicle Vitae