Top Ten

May 8, 2017

Universities have until December 15 to show how they will improve diversity of CRC holders

Canadian postsecondary institutions have until December 15, 2017 to create action plans laying out how they will foster more diversity in their candidates for the Canada Research Chairs program. The new policy was unveiled late last week with the stated goal of addressing the chronic underrepresentation of women, Indigenous people, those with disabilities, and visible minorities within the CRC program. After creating their action plan, the institutions will have another 18 to 24 months to ensure that the demographics of award recipients reflect the demographics of those who are eligible to receive them. CRC steering committee head Ted Hewitt says that he hopes the new measures will have a broader effect on diversity within the PSE environment as a whole. “We are doing what we can through this federal program,” said Hewitt. “We believe this might have a broader effect on the ecosystem.” Globe and Mail

Group of CEGEPs receives funding to enhance entrepreneurial spirit, support business academies

A group of fifteen CEGEPs from across Quebec came together last week to voice their support for the creation of business schools at their institutions. The gathering coincided with an announcement from QC Minister of Higher Education Hélène David of $3M to support the CEGEP network in helping students develop their entrepreneurial spirit and finance innovative projects. The Journal de Montréal reports that several speakers at the CEGEPs' gathering expressed hope that the new initiative would help address what they saw as an “entrepreneurial deficit” in QC. One of the initiatives funded by the new QC investment will be the CEGEP Entrepreneurial Education Project, which will see the involved CEGEPs pool their resources to help promote “outside the box” thinking. Journal de Montréal

URegina raises tuition, freezes salaries in effort to deal with effects of SK cuts

The University of Regina has announced that it is raising tuition and freezing salaries in an effort to cope with a recent cut to its provincial operating grant. CBC reports that tuition has increased at the school every year since 2008-09 and that the increase this year will be 2.5%. The university has also invested $467K to compensate for a 38% provincial cut to the Saskatchewan Innovation and Opportunity Scholarship Program, in addition to contributing $234K to scholarships for student athletes, graduate students, and refugee students. The university will also reportedly save $2.6M through a voluntary retirement plan that was implemented in 2014, while reducing utility costs by $229K through “energy efficiency initiatives.” Nineteen administrative and academic units will see reductions ranging from 1% to 5%, and the university's executive offices will see a 5% reduction. CBC

Fanshawe exceeds $100M fundraising goal by more than $10M

Fanshawe College has announced that its Remarkable Campaign has exceeded its $100M fundraising goal by more than $10M. Officials announced the figure last week at a gathering in Fanshawe’s Centre for Digital and Performing Arts in downtown London, Ontario. The money from its fundraising campaign will go toward infrastructure projects at the college, including new developments in the downtown area and a new student wellness centre on the school’s main campus. “This is a time of celebration of community support,” said Catherine Finlayson, executive director of the school’s foundation. “We’re really a point of pride for London and the region.” A Fanshawe release notes that the end of the campaign comes as the college prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary. London Free Press

Experiential Learning can benefit by acknowledging that it is nothing new to PSE: King’s dean

“[What] I feel has been missing in much of the current dialogue on experiential learning is that this is not a new phenomenon,” writes King’s University College Dean of Students Joe Henry. Rather, the author argues that students have for generations, “accessed and created a myriad of co-curricular, extra-curricular and work opportunities” that provide them the skills and experience sought by employers. Henry lists residence life positions, student governments, and on-campus jobs as just some of the ways that students have accessed, and continue to access, meaningful opportunities for experiential learning. Thus any effort to improve experiential learning, Henry concludes, should strive to recognize and enhance these existing opportunities as much as possible. HEQCO

College-university transfer may be a powerful tool for creating equity in access: report

A new report co-produced by Seneca College and Academica Group has found that college-university transfer pathways can serve as a key tool in reducing inequities in university participation rates. The report analyzed UCASTM data from over 125,000 Ontario college and university applicants, along with data collected from follow-up surveys, to find that college-university transfer students were more likely to come from underrepresented groups than non-transfer students. These transfer students were also more likely to participate in classroom discussion and engage in student–faculty interactions such as discussing assignments/grades, ideas, and career plans. However, the report also found that schools need to do more to support both the admissions process and the university transition experience for college-university transfer students. Report

Lakeland receives most valuable philanthropic gift in school history

Lakeland College has received a private gift valued at $2.7M, which the college says is the largest philanthropic gift in its 104-year-old history. The gift is comprised of three acres of industrial land, occupied by two large buildings, which will allow Lakeland to grow its capacity and create increased learning opportunities for students. “We are incredibly thankful to receive this extraordinary and historic gift. It will help us increase access to our programs so more students can pursue their goals and succeed in their chosen fields,” says Lakeland President Alice Wainwright-Stewart. “The investment of these donors will pay dividends for many including our students, our college and our region.” In a written statement, the private donors say that they are confident that Lakeland will transform the property into exceptional educational facilities. Lakeland

QC to table bill focused on executive remuneration

Québec will reportedly table a bill this fall to control adjustments to the remuneration of rectors and university leaders in the province. Hélène David, QC Minister of Higher Education, reportedly stated that wage growth, peripheral benefits, and post-employment conditions varied enormously across institutions in the province, and expressed an intent to standardize these aspects of compensation. Describing the current information around executive compensation and benefits as “opaque,” David further stated that the government was analyzing all avenues for transparency around the issue. La Presse | Journal de Montréal

Laurentian raises tuition, students call for better funding

CBC reports that tuition for spring courses has risen as much as 3% for certain programs at Laurentian University, after the Ontario government granted colleges and universities permission to raise rates by up to 3% per year for the next two years. The Laurentian Association of Mature & Part-time Students is reportedly petitioning the provincial government to improve PSE funding in the wake of this increase. “We could, I guess, pick apart the [university's] budget and look at administrators and say, 'you're getting paid too much' or 'there's no reason for this function or not,'” said LAMPS VP Theresa Rost, “but the bottom line is really that the university is not being properly funded.” CBC (1) | CBC (2)

CNA to cut programs, positions due to low enrolment

The College of the North Atlantic has announced that it will suspend seven programs beginning in September 2017 due to low enrolment, which will also result in the elimination of 11 permanent positions. CBC reports that some temporary employees will also be affected by the cuts. One of the programs that is reportedly slated for suspension is the construction industrial electrician program at the college's St Anthony campus. “We didn't have the numbers to justify the offering,” said a CNA spokesperson. The cuts come just days after the release of a provincial modernization plan, which calls for a more streamlined college system that offers programming that is in sync with the needs of the marketplace. CBC