Top Ten

October 20, 2016

AB extends tuition freeze for 2017-18

Alberta has announced that it will maintain its tuition freeze for postsecondary students for the 2017-18 academic year. CBC reports that the decision will save an estimated 250,000 full- and part-time students and apprentices roughly $16M a year. AB is also set to conduct a tuition review that will analyze topics such as mandatory non-instructional fees, international student tuition, student aid, and long-term planning for post-secondary costs. A number of student organizations have applauded the decision, while University of Alberta President David Turpin has said that the university looks forward to “developing a funding model that will ensure the high-quality education that Albertans expect and deserve.” CBC

uLaval rector defends silence in wake of sexual assault reports

Université de Laval Rector Denis Brière has defended his decision not to comment on a recent string of sexual assaults that allegedly took place in one of the university’s residences last Friday. CBC reports that Brière chose to remain silent on the incident in order to avoid interfering with the ongoing police investigation, an approach that Brière similarly took in 2007 when the university faced other inquiries. Brière says that he is meeting with student associations and campus security to determine the extent to which security efforts need to be increased in the short- and long-term. CBC | La Presse | Journal de Montréal

Rational dialogue is not enough to heal divided campuses, writes Chronicle contributor

Calls for open and respectful dialogue on campus often fail to recognize that “civility might not be enough to open the discourse,” writes Philip Alcabes for the Chronicle of Higher Education. The author reflects on how progressive academics who once fought for the open, rational exchange of ideas may now feel disturbed to find students calling for protection from uncomfortable topics or opinions. Yet as Alcabes notes, the commitment to civility and reason will only create open dialogue if the speakers already share a certain level of “cultural consensus,” which becomes less common as the university becomes more diverse. To this end, the author concludes that “the open-minded campus was itself, at least partly, an aspirational myth. It excluded the poor, the dark-skinned, the disabled, and others from higher education. It was a dream of the academic liberal-left at a time when their interlocutors were likely to differ from them only in ideas, not in life experiences.” Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

Mohawk receives $5M from Joyce Foundation

Mohawk College will enjoy another boost to its recent funding successes in the form of a $5M donation from the Joyce Family Foundation. The gift marks the largest private donation ever made to the college, and will be used to support a massive renewal of Mohawk's labs and classrooms, as well as the construction of a 90,000-square-foot Centre for Partnership and Innovation that will feature state-of-the-art labs. “All of these elements will combine to transform Mohawk students into highly-skilled, highly sought-after, future-ready graduates,” said Mohawk President Ron McKerlie. Hamilton Spectator (1) | Hamilton Spectator (2)

Incorporating the student voice into building design

Universities across Canada are turning to students to lead the design of new buildings and common spaces, reports Nelly Bouevitch for the Globe and Mail. Bouevitch notes that the move comes at a time when many schools need to upgrade aging campus infrastructure that was built forty to fifty years ago. Student governments are reportedly seizing the opportunity with great enthusiasm, “holding open halls, passing funding referendums and inviting executive presentations from developers vying to make students’ campus dreams a reality.” The article chronicles how some universities and their students are using design collaboration to ensure that students’ voices are expressed within the very fabric of university campuses. Globe and Mail

QC pledges $94M for HEC Montréal expansion in downtown Montréal

Quebec has committed $94M to help HEC Montréal construct a new building in the heart of downtown Montréal. Final approval of the funding and the project will reportedly not be given, however, until the university makes a formal business case to the government within the next 12 to 18 months. "Our government is implementing several initiatives to promote access to higher education and to ensure that students and teachers benefit from advanced facilities,” said QC Minister of Higher Education Hélène David. “This new project from HEC Montréal will achieve these goals while improving the French-language management training that is offered downtown.” Université de Québec à Montréal Rector Robert Proulx, however, says he finds the decision “worrying” and notes that the government should first focus on how the educational needs of downtown Montréal could be met by institutions already operating in the area. Journal de Montréal | UQÀM

How has student mental health changed over the past 15 years?

“[M]ore severe cases, more chronic cases and more crises,” is how Tayyab Rashid describes the changes that have occurred in student mental health over the past fifteen years. As a psychologist at the University of Toronto Scarborough, Rashid explains that a key struggle for universities is gaining the cultural competency needed to offer strong mental health supports to an increasingly diverse student body. Dalhousie University Psychiatry Professor Stanley Kutcher adds that issues around grade inflation have created a culture in which anything other than straight A's can provoke a crisis in many students. However, there is hope in the efforts being made by universities to take a more holistic approach to mental health, says Dal Assistant Vice-Provost of Student Affairs Verity Turpin, and this begins with encouraging more collaboration among the different support and resource groups on campus. Globe and Mail

Lakehead receives $1M gift from County of Simcoe

The County of Simcoe presented Lakehead University with a $1M gift earlier this week during a celebration event, bringing the county's total investment in the university to $6.5M since 2009. The gift comes from the County of Simcoe’s Strategic Plan, according to Warden Gerry Marshall, which supports postsecondary education with a vision for the future. “The impact of the County’s contributions over the years has served as a value-added investment in the region,” said Lakehead President Brian Stevenson. “Today’s gift furthers Simcoe County’s growth—growth in the success of our teaching, community service, and research activities, as well as increased economic impacts.” Lakehead

UManitoba, UMFA reassure students in face of potential strike

The University of Manitoba is assuring students that plans are in place to ensure their academic year is able to continue in light of a recent vote for a strike mandate from university faculty. A post on the UManitoba website explains that the school “has no intention of ‘writing off the year’ if there is a labour disruption” and that “the intent is that the academic year will be successfully completed.” The University of Manitoba Faculty Association has also issued a statement to students stating that “no job action at the U of M has ever resulted in students losing their credits,” and recognizing that “in addition to going to class, students live, play and exercise on campus, so they will be physically crossing the picket line.” Winnipeg Free Press (Subscription Required) | UManitoba (Student FAQ) | UMFA (Information for Students)

Camosun to receive $5.2M for high-priority trades training

The British Columbia government recently announced that it will provide $5.2M to Camosun College for skills training in high-priority trades. The Times Colonist reports that the $5.2M is expected to fund 2,047 student placements through March 31 in trades such as electricians, welders, carpenters, cooks, and automotive technicians. “This funding allows Camosun College to deliver more than 20 different trades foundation and apprenticeship programs each year to more than 2,000 students, making Camosun one of the leading providers of trades training in our province,” stated Eric Sehn, dean of trades and technology at Camosun. “Our students learn how to become practical problem solvers and gain the latest technical skills needed for the trades of today—helping them build a sustainable future for themselves and our community.” Times Colonist | BC