Top Ten

March 28, 2018

Cut senior administration costs before teaching and research: UAlberta Academic Association

The University of Alberta Academic Association has reportedly rebuked UAlberta's university's Board of Governors for cutting teaching and research funding without doing enough to reduce spending on senior administrative positions. Following an analysis of the budget, UAlberta’s Association of Academic Staff President Heather Bruce stated that “there is no justification for the cuts,” and that “protecting the academic mission of the university must take priority.” According to the administration, the cuts were based on the assumption that Alberta’s NDP Government would provide a 0% increase to its base operating grant. However, the Sun states that the provincial NDP has provided a 2% increase to the grant every year since it came into power. Edmonton Journal

Holland changes programming in light of enrolment, labour market trends

Holland College is reportedly suspending two programs and introducing new programs this September in response to enrolment and labour market trends. The Golf Club Management and the Photography and Digital Imaging programs will be suspended because of low enrolments. Holland Vice President Sandy MacDonald states that advances in technology have “dramatically” impacted the photography industry, and likely are also impacting enrolments in related programming. CBC highlighted Holland’s new programming that will be introduced in the fall, including a one-year Occupational Health and Safety Technology program, a two-year Occupational Therapist Assistant and Physiotherapist Assistant program in Charlottetown, and the combined plumbing/pipefitting program. CBC

Laurentian receives over $4M for research

Laurentian University has received over $4M from the Federal Government to support fundamental research and academic excellence at the institution. “These grants and scholarships are helping students and researchers create strong partnerships with the public, private and not-for-profit sectors,” said Sudbury MP Paul Lefebvre. “Such partnerships help some of Canada's brightest minds gain the skills and knowledge they need for the jobs of tomorrow.” $1.69M will support the L-CARE research project, while $1.44M will go towards collaborative research and development grants and sub-atomic physics grants. The funding comes from several different initiatives and programs, such as Ontario Centres of Excellence, Target GHG, and NSERC. Sudbury Star

NL mindful of MUN budget woes

A stagnant operating budget, growing infrastructure deficit, and upcoming pension payments have put Memorial University in a “financial bind,” according to The Telegram. To address the existing budget gap of $12.7M, MUN has reportedly planned $3M in cost-cutting procedures through 2019. Although MUN has secured federal research funding and more graduate students in recent years, The Telegram adds that infrastructure budgets, staff salaries, and pensions remain a concern. Newfoundland's Advanced Education, Skills and Labour Minister Al Hawkins stated that the province is trying to support MUN as it struggles with its own fiscal constraints. “We make a significant investment in the general operating of Memorial University ... we’ve got to work collaboratively together to find some of the answers to the challenges they have,” said Hawkins. The Telegram

Canadore requests $440K from city to cover construction costs

Canadore College has requested that the city of North Bay cover a $440K shortfall for its new post-production facility, The Nugget reports. North Bay Chief Administrative Officer Keith Robicheau stated in a report that denying the request would send a “contradictory signal” to the film industry, Candore, FedNor, and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, all of which contributed a reported $1.8M for the facility. Robicheau attributed the facility’s higher price tag to “a broader construction trend across the North with tender results coming in as much as 15 to 20 per cent above estimates.” The Nugget adds that Canadore is at work on another construction project, The Village, a health and wellness-oriented education centre for students that will double as a living space for retirees. North Bay Nugget

Dispute around pension plan heightens tension between Carleton, union

A “bombshell revelation” about Carleton University’s pension plan has reportedly aggravated tensions between CUPE 2424 and the university. According to CUPE representatives, a review of pension amendments has revealed a pattern of “subtle manipulations” dating back to 2003. The amendments effectively guarantee that Carleton will recover all pension payments with interest in the event of a surplus, said Kevin Skerrett, senior research officer and pension specialist with CUPE. In a statement, Carleton responded that all of the amendments followed an open and transparent process in which the pension review committee included 50% union representation. Ottawa Citizen | CBC

Tips for becoming a champion of diversity, equity, and inclusion

“Today, students are actively organizing around issues of diversity, equity and inclusion,” writes Deborah S Willis. The author notes that compared to earlier generations, “this new group of DEI champions wants something different, including more formalized recognition for their knowledge, skill and efforts; more advanced training; and professional opportunities for leadership roles.” To fulfill these goals, the author adds, anyone looking to become a champion of diversity, equity, and inclusion should follow a number of steps. These include learning the foundational concepts of this subject and examining the national landscape to take note of existing policies. Inside Higher Ed

Part-time, contract Nipissing staff awarded equal pay for equal work

Part-time and contract support workers at Nipissing University will now receive equal pay for equal work compared to their full-time colleagues, says the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. The union says that in addition to receiving the same pay as full-time staff, part-time employees at the school will be entitled to equal base levels of benefits, including sick leave. These staff will also have the right to compete for full-time positions before they are posted externally. “We are very pleased that our OPSEU support staff have ratified these contracts,” said Nipissing Vice-President, Finance and Administration Cheryl Sutton. “This is great news for the university and our students as these employees make significant contributions to the student experience at Nipissing University.” North Bay Nugget

“The Wife of Bath’s Tale” as a model for looking ahead in PSE

“What tables do you want to sit at, to build, to repurpose – and to flip?” asks Jessica Riddell of those looking to chart the future direction of higher education. Drawing inspiration from Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Wife of Bath’s Tale,” the author notes that not all PSE stakeholders will give the same answer to the question, “What do you want for higher ed?” However, all stakeholders “wish to be treated with dignity and self-determination, with rights and freedoms to reach our best capacities.” For this reason, the author suggests that institutions make greater efforts to give underrepresented groups a bigger seat at the table in PSE decision-making. Further, she argues that teachers should consider flipping traditional models of higher ed by “taking a pedagogical approach to all our endeavours as learners, scholars, collaborators, and leaders.” University Affairs

VIU announces balanced budget for 2018/2019

Vancouver Island University has announced a balanced budget of $150.9M, stating that it is “well-positioned for growth” in 2018/19. A university press release lists a number of highlights for the upcoming year, including the opening of its Health and Science Centre, and of its newly renovated Marine, Automotive and Trades Complex; completion of the District Geo-Exchange Energy System; and the Indigenous Learning partnership. VCC Vice-President Administration Shelley Legin stated that the budget reflects VIU’s emphasis on education and training opportunities for “traditional and under-represented student populations.” NationTalk