Top Ten

March 28, 2016

NB to invest $610 M in PSE, workforce development

New Brunswick’s Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour has announced that it will commit $610 M in 2016-17 to build and enhance the province’s workforce. Specific investments will include $14.5 M for the Education and New Economy Fund, which will support a new tuition assistance program for students in financial need. The Ministry also plans to launch the Experiential Learning and Employment Continuum to help recipients of social assistance acquire classroom and on-the-job training. “An educated, job-ready workforce is essential for moving our province forward,” says Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Francine Landry. “By investing in post-secondary education, literacy, training and skills development, youth employment and population growth, we will build and create a highly educated and skilled workforce, attract new business, and grow our economy.” NB

Critics express concern over lack of Indigenous PSE funding in 2016 budget

Critics are expressing disappointment over the new federal budget’s failure to include the additional $50 M per year for Indigenous postsecondary funding that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged during his campaign. While many have acknowledged the importance of the $8.4 B that the budget commits to Indigenous initiatives, the Canadian Federation of Students has also said that it is “very taken aback and very disappointed” by the lack of provisions for Indigenous PSE. Critics refer specifically to the lack of new funds for the Post-Secondary Student Support Program, which provides financial assistance to First Nations and Inuit college and university students. “It’s chronically underfunded every year, so many students get denied,” said Coty Zachariah, an Indigenous student at Trent University who works with the CFS. “Now we have to take on debt to go. I didn’t want to not go because I couldn’t afford it. It’s pretty frustrating as a student.” APTN | APTN (Video)

YorkU’s Glendon Campus receives designation as French-language service provider

The Glendon Campus of York University has received official recognition from Ontario as a provider of French-language services. While the campus already offers a number of undergraduate programs and services in French, their new partial bilingual designation will legally require them to do so moving forward. “The partial designation of York University under the French Language Services Act is a welcome recognition of our 50-year history of providing exceptional French and bilingual education at our Glendon Campus,” said YorkU President Mamdouh Shoukri. ON | YorkU (Glendon) | YorkU

Pairing MBA with second degree may be key to standing out

Canadian universities are seeing an increasing number of students combining an MBA with a second degree, writes Sheldon Gordon for the Globe and Mail. Some of the most common MBA pairings include degrees in Medicine, Law, and Engineering, which make their graduates highly valuable on the job market. The effort required to complete these dual degrees can be daunting, Gordon notes, but it can bring significant payoff to both the students and their programs of study. “The other faculties recognize that it is beneficial for their grads to also have a business or managerial background,” says Michael Wright, associate dean of graduate programs at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business, as this background can bring fresh perspectives across departmental silos. The article goes on to profile some of the business schools in Canada that have offered these dual pathways. Globe and Mail

New budget might relieve tension between universities, CIHR

The heads of some of Canada’s largest research universities have expressed concern over a series of reforms being undertaken at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, reports the Ottawa Citizen, and they are calling for a moratorium on all additional changes until an independent review is made. However, the newspaper also notes that the new federal budget’s commitment of $30 M per year to CIHR might ease some of the tensions between university leaders and CIHR President Alain Beaudet, who has been the specific target of some criticism. Beaudet has responded to the U15 by stating that CIHR has faced “serious underfunding issues” and that “the impact of this underfunding has been erroneously interpreted by some as resulting from the reforms, which in turn has increased the angst amongst stakeholders.” Ottawa Citizen

McGill board rejects fossil-fuel divestment initiative

McGill University has joined the growing list of Canadian PSE institutions that have rejected petitions calling for a full divestment of all institutional funds from fossil fuel companies. However, McGill’s board did endorse a subcommittee’s plan to create a separate “socially responsible investment fund” and instructed its fund managers to search more aggressively for new opportunities to invest in renewable energy and clean technology. “In the view of the committee, the action against climate change that can be taken by McGill will be much more effective if McGill does the things McGill does best—research [and] putting very smart minds to work on finding alternate sources of energy,” said Board President Stuart Cobbett. Globe and Mail | CBC

UCW receives government consent to operate as university, offer MBA through 2021

British Columbia’s Minister of Advanced Education has renewed University Canada West’s approval to operate as an official university and to continue offering its MBA program through March 2021. The designation places no special conditions on the institution and allows UCW to apply to provide other new degree programs. “On behalf of UCW I extend our appreciation to the Minister and the Board for their consent and for working with our leadership team throughout this process,” said UCW President Arthur Coren. “This renewal gives us the momentum to move forward, to continue to provide our students with an extraordinary education, and to operate as a credible and recognized University.” UCW

UOIT, faculty association ratify new collective agreement

UOIT and its faculty association have ratified a new collective agreement after several months of negotiations. The tentative deal was officially reached on March 17, only four days before the strike date announced by the faculty association. When asked about the length of the negotiations, Faculty Association President Gary Genosko said that the primary source of disagreement was a proposed freezing of wages and benefits over the next three years, in addition to the university being allegedly out of line with other universities with respect to these factors. UOIT Associate Provost Robert Bailey applauded the new deal, saying, “our university is a scholarly community whose academic mission is focused on building strength and capacity through research, innovation, and partnerships. We are pleased that we were able to come to this agreement with our colleagues in the UOIT Faculty Association.” Oshawa Express | UOIT

Low loonie, possible Trump presidency has US students looking to Canada

The low Canadian dollar and the possibility of a Donald Trump presidency has prompted many US students to look north, writes Shannon Moneo for the Globe and Mail. The Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University, for example, has seen its American undergraduate cohort jump from 15% to nearly 25% in the past year. That said, Chief Marketing Manager Ron Duerksen still thinks Canadian business schools could be doing better to attract US students. “We have some of the very best international schools in the world, and Canada is a fantastic place to be a student,” he says. “I think we could leverage their passion more.” Globe and Mail

Major US research universities changing tenure decisions due to lack of federal science funding

Large research universities in the US have begun granting tenure to faculty members who have never won a full-sized federal grant, writes Paul Basken for the Chronicle of Higher Education. The author notes that traditionally, winning such a grant was mandatory to be considered for tenure at a major research centre, yet universities are reportedly lifting this requirement as a concession to declining levels of federal funding for science. That said, universities are still hesitant to speak about such hires, as the article notes that “among leaders at a couple of dozen institutions surveyed by The Chronicle, none were willing to identify a single faculty member who had been awarded tenure without first winning a major federal research grant.” Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)