Top Ten

March 20, 2018

UAlberta Board raises fees amidst students’ protests

The Board of Governors at the University of Alberta approved a new fee structure on Friday, two days after a reported 600 students gathered to protest the proposed increases. CBC reports that the hikes include a 3.14% increase in international tuition. Students who live on-campus will face a 4% rent increase while paying 15.8% more for their meal plan. “It was a remarkable sight to see the energy of students that really, truly believed that the board was going to listen to them and that the board had their backs,” stated UAlberta Students’ Union President Marina Banister. CBC adds that it could not reach the university's Board for comment. CBC

ACC to increase fees, cut management in response to MB budget

A day after Brandon University announced that it would cut nine administrative positions, Assiniboine Community College stated that it will make cuts of its own. “The college intends to comply with the province’s expectation of implementing a 15 per cent reduction in management administrative positions that was articulated in the budget letter we received earlier in the week,” an ACC spokesperson said. According to ACC President Mark Frison, the reduction will likely translate into an estimated $265K in losses, to be offset by a tuition increase of about $250 per program in addition to the administrative cuts. Brandon Sun

Canada’s status as destination for international students on the rise while US, UK slip

Canada has overtaken the UK as a preferred destination for international students in several regions, according to a new study by Quacquarelli Symonds. While the US and the UK maintain the two top spots overall, they have slid in some regions while Canada has improved across the board. According to the report, Canada has replaced Australia for third overall destination for prospective students from the Asia-Pacific region, while taking second spot from the UK for potential applicants from Africa and the Middle East. The report adds that Brexit and President Trump’s proposed travel ban likely influenced both the UK’s and the US’s standing in this year’s rankings. University World News

YorkU, union give conflicting accounts of bargaining status  

As the work stoppage at York University enters its third week, the university has expressed its willingness to return to bargaining. According to a university statement, CUPE 3903 has not moved since it rejected a proposal from the university on March 13. “In the interest of our students, York believes it is important to return to the table to hear CUPE’s proposals to reach a resolution,” stated YorkU Spokesperson Barbara Joy. The union told CBC that it offered two counter-proposals on Feb 28 and March 5, both of which it says YorkU ignored. “We want to come to a negotiated settlement in good faith. This means that York must table counter-proposals that address our priorities,” said the union in a statement. Toronto Star | CBC

Algonquin announces planned cancellation of seven programs

Algonquin College says that it plans to cancel seven programs offered at its Ottawa, Pembroke, and Perth campuses due to low enrolment. CBC reports that most of the programs will be cancelled at the school's Perth campus, including general and executive office administration and social service work. The college also plans to cancel the motive power technician program at its Pembroke campus and the kitchen and bath design program offered at its Ottawa campus. The 200 students currently enrolled in the programs will reportedly not be affected by the cancellations. CBC | Ottawa Citizen

Publicly-funded institutions should prioritize domestic students to meet future challenges: Francis

“It is time to rein in publicly funded educational institutions from pursuing the foreign student bonanza,” writes Diane Francis. The author remarks that the first responsibility of Canadian institutions should be to provide education and training to Canadians, particularly in light of the challenges that the country will face from technological change and international competition in coming years. Francis notes that while many of Canada’s PSE institutions insist that international students are not displacing domestic ones, she cites research showing that such is the case. “There is little doubt that training more Canadian engineers and technologists will be key to maintaining our living standards and is preferable to training others who may, or may not, stay,” Francis concludes. Financial Post

Feds announce $4.45M investment in USask health projects

Last Thursday, Canada's Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale announced a $4.45M investment toward six health research projects at the University of Saskatchewan. The Saskatoon Star Phoenix reports that  $837K will go toward a study to improve the lives of pigs on farms across the country. The remaining $4.4M will reportedly go toward projects that study sleep disorders in Indigenous people, a tool to assess potentially at-risk drivers, a vaccine for Middle-East respiratory syndrome in Camels, and new cancer therapies. Industry partners have reportedly matched the government’s donation, and USask has contributed an additional $305K. Saskatoon Star Phoenix | CBC

UVic, UBC share in government funding for whale protection projects

The University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia will be among the beneficiaries of a $3.1M funding package from the federal government to help endangered orcas, the Times Colonist reports. UVic researchers will reportedly study how noise from small boats impact orcas and chinook, while a UBC team will study how changes in the local supply of chinook, the orca’s primary food source, have impacted whales. Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc emphasized to the Times Colonist that whales must be protected for future generations. Meanwhile, conservation groups say that the government’s intervention is long overdue. “We waited 14 years for an action plan and we’re still struggling to get action,” stated Hussein Alidina of the World Wildlife Fund. Times Colonist

Striking Carleton staff “frustrated” by failed negotiations: union

Support workers at Carleton University will continue to strike after talks broke down this past Sunday, CBC reports. “The university and the union met for 14 hours on Sunday, March 18, with the assistance of a mediator. However, they were unable to reach an agreement at this time,” read a university statement. The pension plan remains the sticking point for workers, according to CUPE representatives. “They're not asking to put anything extra into their agreement; they just want to uphold the rights they already have,” stated CUPE national representative Jacynthe Barbeau. CBC

Academic innovation takes a political mindset: Mintz

“Academic innovation is a political act,” writes Steven Mintz, who adds that bringing significant change to a PSE institution “requires all the abilities of a skilled politician, plus other talents.” Mintz outlines a number of qualities that are required of those who want to bring innovation to their institutions. These qualities include the ability to craft messages carefully and build coalitions. The author notes, however, that bringing change also requires a number of practical steps, such as devising a strategic plan, formulating a sustainable financial model, and overseeing implementation. Inside Higher Ed