Top Ten

January 11, 2016

MB increases PSE funding by 4%

Manitoba has increased annual funding for PSE by $27.9 M, bringing the total to $710.8 M, an increase of 4%. The majority of the funding will go to the province’s universities, with the balance going to colleges and new programs. “We know that our colleges and universities provide opportunities for youth and help drive our economy,” said Premier Greg Selinger. Some of the larger targets include $844 K for a joint midwifery program at the University College of the North and the University of Manitoba, $1 M for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at uManitoba, and $3 M for graduate students at uManitoba. CBC | Winnipeg Sun | MB

uSherbrooke fundraising campaign raises $47 M

The Université de Sherbrooke has announced that its major funding raising campaign, “Promising Futures, Shared Passions” has now raised more than $47 M. A full $19 M of this comes from within the university community itself. The funds will go toward a series of projects designed to “address Quebec’s various economic, cultural, social, and environmental challenges.” “By carrying out these projects,” said Campaign Chair Normand Legault, uSherbrooke “will have an unprecedented impact in the community, creating fertile ground for innovation and entrepreneurship, both of which are needed in Quebec.” uSherbrooke (English) | uSherbrooke (French)

UBC faculty group apologizes for school’s response to sexual assault

A group of UBC professors has reportedly signed an open letter apologizing for not doing more to protect the school’s students and alumni from sexual assault. The letter, dated Jan 6th of this year, had received 69 signatures from various UBC departments as of last Thursday evening. It claims that the university’s channels for reporting sexual harassment and assault were inadequate and caused additional harm to victims. “We apologize to the people affected for not doing and not demanding better,” it read. “We, as a group of UBC faculty members, wish now publicly to acknowledge this harm that resulted from a failure of UBC to take as seriously as it should its duties of care to members of its community.” UBC has appointed an independent investigator to look into how the school responded to complaints of sexual harassment and assault from a number of female students against a single male graduate student. Globe and Mail

NB considers cutting, freezing PSE operating grants

The New Brunswick Student Alliance has expressed concern about the way NB is allegedly “changing its tune” about potential cuts to PSE in the province. A statement from the group cites a recent release in which NB claims it will consider reducing or freezing university operating grants to save between $15 M and $45 M per year. Previous government communications had mentioned the development of a performance-based funding model as another way NB might save these funds. “All year long, students in this province have felt as though government has been pushing their interests aside,“ said NBSA Executive Director Lindsay Handren. “This new revelation only serves to reinforce that sentiment.” The NB release states that the government must consider such cuts and freezes to “prevent New Brunswick from reaching a crisis situation where it can no longer afford to fund critical services like health care and education.” NB | NBSA

Conference Board explores business, PSE partnerships

The Conference Board of Canada has released a research report exploring ways to enhance partnerships between business and PSE. The report, entitled “Partnering for Performance,” aims to help various education stakeholders better understand the value of partnerships with business and to advise them on how to pursue these partnerships in an ethical and beneficial way. “Partnerships between post-secondary education and business are crucial to Canada’s competitiveness and prosperity,” it says. “They enhance student learning, facilitate research and commercialization, and increase local and regional economic development.” Conference Board

Campus bookstore project gives SFU students hands-on experience

A project with the campus bookstore has allowed undergraduate students at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business to learn about collaboration in a diverse work environment. The students work in groups of 15 to manage the marketing and promotion, product management, and accounting and operations for one Beedie product at the bookstore, all while working under a $150 budget. Andrew Gemino, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs at Beedie, states that students “had to work together, iron out their differences and come up with one presentation for [the group of] 15 people.” Globe and Mail

University campuses no longer safe for free expression, says free speech group

The Justice Centre of Constitutional Freedoms reportedly says that university campuses are no longer safe places for free expression. “Today a lot of people believe very strongly that they have a legal right not to be offended by what they see and hear,” says founder John Carpay in response to Laurentian University’s recent removal of a professor, later adding that, “if you believe in freedom of expression that means everybody sooner or later is going to hear something they find deeply hurtful and deeply offensive.” In the center’s grading of Canadian universities for freedom of speech last year, Laurentian received a ‘B’ for policies, and an ‘A’ for standing up for free expression on campus. CBC

Students at Fleming to build Alternative Energy Presentation Centre

The Sustainable Building Design and Construction Program at Fleming College has partnered with Abbey Gardens and Haliburton Solar and Wind to build what is reportedly Ontario’s first off-grid Alternative Energy Presentation Centre. Students in the program will design and build the structure between May and August of this year. “We are so excited to be working with Abbey Gardens and Haliburton Solar and Wind,” said Fleming Training Officer Ted Brandon. “These organizations’ vision and mission align directly with the goals of the Sustainable Building program.” Fleming

Time to eliminate tuition in NS, writes Chronicle Herald contributor

Nova Scotia needs to take bold action to stem the outflow of its younger generations, writes a contributor to the Chronicle Herald, and such action should start with the elimination of postsecondary tuition. The author notes that NS students pay “some of the highest tuition fees in the country,” and nearly triple what baby boomers did 30 to 40 years ago, after adjusting for inflation. The piece goes on to criticize the current NS government for deepening this problem by raising tuition fees on a generation of students that already graduates with an average $37 K of student debt. The author concludes that NS should immediately eliminate tuition fees for the Nova Scotia Community College and roll university tuition back 20%, culminating in an eventual elimination of all PSE tuition in the province. Chronicle Herald

The role of students in deciding what graduates should know

The question of what a college graduate should know has been around for a long time and is not going away any time soon, writes Columbia University Professor Nicholas Lemann for the Chronicle of Higher Education. While the matter of core competencies and job-based skills is a slightly more settled matter in professional schools, it is highly contested  in US colleges with liberal arts programs. Ultimately, Lemann believes that all programs should work toward a suitable balance between “practical” skills and a more “academic” pursuit of complex knowledge for its own sake. Yet one thing administrators must take into account, he writes, is that students enjoy being able to choose their own courses “from a large menu of options.” It is this element of student freedom, and not just faculty resistance, that often prevents colleges from imposing a slate of core courses teaching a limited number of practical skills. Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)