Top Ten

March 23, 2016

2016 federal budget increases student grant funding 50%, invests $95 M in public research

Canada has released its 2016 federal budget, which contains a number of new investments in higher education. Among these are a 50% increase in funding for Canada Student Grants, $95 M for public research, and $2 B over three years for a Post-Secondary Strategic Investment Fund to support research and infrastructure. The budget will also commit $165 M to the government's Youth Employment Strategy. A release from the Canadian Federation of Students applauds these investments, yet admits that the organization is “disheartened that there is no commitment of additional funding to Indigenous Students through the Post-Secondary Student Support Program.” Toronto Star |CFS

Recent graduates vastly under-appreciated in market for new hires

The approaching graduation of hundreds of thousands of Canadian postsecondary students “represents a significant opportunity for Canadian small businesses to tap into a vastly under-appreciated, high quality source of talent,” writes Scott Stirrett for the Globe and Mail. Many companies may require applicants to have years of experience, thus ruling out most new graduates. But Stirrett encourages employers to hire recent graduates who can bring a new culture and fresh thinking into a company and will “not have to ‘unlearn’ the bad habits that some more experienced hires bring with them.” Stirett concludes that “by harnessing this impressive and renewable Canadian resource, small businesses can power their growth and take their firms to the next level.” Globe and Mail

CBU food security research project receives $1.5 M

Research led by Cape Breton University has been awarded $1.5 M from the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund, a joint initiative of Canada’s International Development Research Centre and Global Affairs Canada. The initiative’s goal is to help small farmers in Kenya address challenges associated with food insecurity, in part by expanding the number of community-driven agricultural shops in the country. “With this research, we’re interested in how social enterprise business models can achieve social goals, like improved food security and incomes for smallholder farmers in Africa. We’re interested in how the social impacts can be achieved in a financially self-reliant way that is scalable,” said CBU Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy Kevin McKague. CBU

Concordia libraries report "keylogger" security breach

Concordia University officials have reportedly filed a police report after detecting a security breach at the school’s Webster and Vanier libraries. Library and technical staff first alerted officials about the breach when they noticed devices known as keyloggers on some of the libraries’ workstations. A statement issued by Concordia notes that these devices can record users’ keystrokes, thus allowing them to “capture personal data such as login information and passwords.” Concordia has also said that the only computers affected were those available for public use for a maximum of 10 minutes, adding that the school’s security network—spanning 272 loaned laptops and 432 library workstations—remains intact. CBC | Montreal Gazette

uAlberta startup receives major investment to build biofuel plant

Canada has invested $4.2 M to help a University of Alberta biofuel startup build a $12.7 M production plant. The company, Forge Hydrocarbons, received the grant from Sustainable Development Technology Canada. Lead Scientific Adviser David Bressler has been working to convert animal fats and cooking grease into fuel for the past twelve years, and he deems the funding to be “a huge validation. It’s capital investment. It’s not a research project anymore.” The design stage for the new biofuels plant is projected to begin later this year after its location is finalized. uAlberta

Yukon enters BC Association of Institutes and Universities

Yukon College has become the newest member of the BC Association of Institutes and Universities, which will reportedly give the school valuable guidance from institutions that have recently transitioned to university status.  The BCAIU is made up of 4 universities created in 2008 and three institutes. “There is much that Yukon College can learn from the evolutionary pathways of each of the other BCAIU members,” says Yukon President Karen Barnes. “Some of the areas we are keen to engage on, for example, would be looking at how they have balanced the needs of different community campuses, how they have developed their degree programs, and how they have expanded research opportunities for students and faculty.” NationTalk  | Yukon

Students push governments across Canada to convert loans to grants

Students across Canada are hoping that both their provincial and federal governments will convert student loans into non-repayable education grants, writes Maclean’s. Newfoundland and Labrador undertook this shift in 2015, and since then, student representatives have called for its implementation across the country. The Canadian Federation of Students is reportedly making strong efforts to lobby governments for the conversion of loans to grants, especially in the lead-up to the April Manitoba election. “I think we’ll see more governments across the country—including the federal one—take similar action [as NL],” says CFS Chairperson Bilan Arte, “the next generation needs tools to be successful and carry our country and our economy forward.” Maclean’s

Centennial receives $1.4 M to support endowment, study abroad opportunities

Centennial College has received a $1.4 M donation from International Insurance to grow its endowment fund and support overseas student initiatives. The funds will be used specifically to support Centennial’s Global Experience Office (GEO) and Global Citizenship & Equity Learning Experiences (GCELE) initiatives, which help to send students on for-credit study abroad opportunities that involve working on humanitarian projects. “We are committed to providing distinctive learning experiences that enrich students’ lives and expose them to new possibilities,” says Centennial President Ann Buller. “This generous gift … will enable us to provide more new and exciting comprehensive global learning experiences to students.” Centennial

Leaked documents show concerns about Brandon, ACC proposed joint business school

A report authored by the chair of Brandon University’s Department of Business Administration calls a proposed joint business school with Assiniboine Community College "extremely risky," reports the Brandon Sun. Citing leaked documents, the Sun alleges that Brandon’s Business Administration Chair Heather Gillander argued that the proposed school would offer no financial benefit to the university and would "reduce pathways for students [and ...] reduce the number of students taking a business program in Brandon." Brandon’s Acting Vice-President Academic and Provost Steve Robinson replied that Gillander’s report is "essentially a proposal in principle to get the parties together to work out the details." Brandon Sun (Subscription Required) | Brandon Sun (Opinion) (Subscription Required)

Trent signs new diploma to degree agreements with Durham, Fleming, Loyalist

Trent University has signed three articulation agreements with Durham College, Fleming College, and Loyalist College that will allow graduates of the colleges’ Social Service Worker programs to enroll in Trent’s Bachelor of Social Work program with advanced standing. This agreement means that these students will have the opportunity to earn both a diploma and degree in five years. "The agreement recognizes the excellence, knowledge, and experience that these students will bring to Trent's BSW program, which continues to enrich students’ knowledge and critical thinking as well as assist them in integrating their practical experience with advanced theory," said Trent’s Social Work Program Director Susan Hillock. Trent