Top Ten

August 16, 2016

NB universities receive nearly $100M in new infrastructure funding

New Brunswick’s four universities will look to build new facilities and upgrade existing ones with nearly $100M in new funding from the provincial and federal governments. CTV News reports that the federal government will contribute half of the overall amount, while NB will commit $35M and the schools will be responsible for the remaining $14M. NB Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Donald Arsenault noted that the funding will offer significant new opportunities to the province’s universities. “There’s definitely some major projects in terms of a brand new facility being constructed and so forth” he said. “At the end of the day, there’s a lot you can do for $98.6M.” CTV News | NB

AB institutions face new fundraising pressures in slow economy

Alberta’s postsecondary institutions are struggling to retain and attract donors in the face of a sluggish economy, reports the Edmonton Journal. Gifts, contributions, and fundraising for the AB postsecondary community reportedly fell 35% between 2015 and 2016 for an overall shortfall of $352M. The Edmonton Journal highlights some of the ways that the province’s institutions are working to retain and attract donors, examples of which include crowdfunding campaigns and a renewed focus on planned giving. Edmonton Journal

Five of ten uQuebec institutions paid out illegal executive bonuses in past year, says QC politician

Five of the ten institutions within the Université de Québec network have paid out a combined $1.2M in illegal bonuses to their directors in a single fiscal year, according to a new list compiled by a Quebec MNA. Parti Québécois member Alexandre Cloutier said that if he becomes the province’s premier, he will allow the QC auditor general to limit the salaries of uQuebec presidents and extend this power to include other universities such as Université Laval, McGill University, Université de Sherbrooke, and Université de Montreal. “We need to end all forms of income or bonuses that may be considered illegal, as unfortunately it was the case of some universities in network UQ and is probably true for all universities,” said Cloutier. La Presse

New report on part-time ON faculty sheds light on career pessimism, dedication to teaching

Most of Ontario’s part-time faculty members are “highly dedicated instructors who are far less interested in tenure-track careers than in pursuing teaching as a full-time occupation,” according to a new report from the Centre for the Study of Canadian & International Higher Education. The study surveyed part-time instructors from 12 Ontario institutions and found that only 28% of those classed as “precarious” reported that they were pursuing a tenure-track position, while the majority indicated a desire to become full-time teaching-stream instructors. The report also found that part-time faculty reported high levels of career pessimism and general dissatisfaction. CIHE

Good financial literacy won’t solve the student debt problem, says CFS-NS

It’s important for young people to have strong financial skills, but there is not “any amount” of education that can solve the problem of modern debt, according to Canadian Federation of Students-Nova Scotia Chairperson Charlotte Kiddell. In an interview with Metro, Kiddell argues that a focus on financial management skills cannot hide the fact that any student will struggle with the average $25K in debt it takes to complete PSE in Canada today. Kiddell points to rising tuition fees as one of the greatest causes of student debt, adding that “education is very important, but if a university is educating students on managing their finances on one hand, while raising tuition fees on the other hand, then there’s a clear conflict there.” Metro

Georgian, Mexico collaborating on educational initiatives

Georgian College and Mexico’s higher education system will enhance their collaboration efforts thanks to a new MOU. The agreement will reportedly allow Georgian to work on projects such as curriculum development or student exchanges with any of Mexico’s approximate 1,200 institutions of higher education. “We are honoured to host the Sub-Secretary of Education at Georgian College and to be given the opportunity to personally strategize on a variety of future collaborations,” says Leslie Palson, Dean, International Education and Development at Georgian. Barrie Examiner | Georgian 

Teaching is being redefined in “disturbing ways,” says WFP contributor

“Education at a distance is redefining the word teaching in ways I find disturbing,” writes Professor Emeritus Robert Young for the Winnipeg Free Press. The author raises concerns around certain aspects of modern teaching such as growing class sizes, teaching effectiveness in larger classrooms, the prioritization of research quality over teaching quality, and the loss of valuable interaction time in favour of shorter classes. Young concludes by stating that in light of these concerns, “some will understand why I think we are re-defining post-secondary teaching.” Winnipeg Free Press

US parents willing to sacrifice retirement for children’s higher education, survey says

A new survey has revealed that US parents expect to sacrifice their own retirement plans in order to send their children to college. Bloomberg states that three-quarters of the surveyed parents were willing to postpone retirements to pay for their children’s college costs, and that just over two-thirds favoured putting money aside to help pay for tuition rather than their own retirement. The report noted that Millennials were more likely to prioritize their children’s college education over their own retirement, while the opposite was true of surveyed Gen X members and Boomers. Bloomberg | Report

CICan calls for quadrupling of applied research investment in new federal budget

Colleges and Institutes Canada has issued a set of eight recommendations for the 2016-17 federal budget whose priorities include applied research, Indigenous education, and essential skills training. Among the recommendations is a call for a 400% increase in investments for college and institute applied research over the next five years, rising from $75M to $300M per year. CICan's pre-budget submission also asks Canada to invest more in providing innovative adult education that supports the economic development of Indigenous and northern communities. CICan | Report

Demand for private dorm rooms creates housing challenge for MUN

A lack of interest in shared dorm rooms and rising fees have created waiting lists at some Memorial University residences while leaving others with over 100 empty beds, reports CBC. The University’s Paton College residence complex in St. John's reportedly has 140 empty beds, while there is currently a wait list for the new MacPherson two-wing residence. The difference in demand, explains MUN Director of Student Residences Bruce Belbin, is due in part to the fact that today’s students do not want to share their residence spaces with others. Belbin also acknowledges that the demand for private rooms could also be related to increasing residence fees. CBC