Archive for Dale Kirby
Minister says funds will support “globally significant, collaborative research projects” in province
From the CBC:
The Ontario government has announced $100 million in new funding for genomics research, an effort to attract top researchers from around the world and keep them in the province.
Minister of Research and Innovation John Wilkinson announced the new $100 million Global Leadership Round in Genomics and Life Sciences will support “globally significant, collaborative research projects” headquartered in Ontario.
Scientists who work in either genomics, gene-related research, or research into stem cells or proteins will be eligible to compete for the new funds.
The announcement comes after the federal government angered researchers failing to provide a new round of funding for Genome Canada, the not-for-profit agency responsible for funding large-scale science and genetics projects.
In April, Genome Canada announced it was pulling its support for an international stem cell consortium because of the lack of funds.
The federal budget also called for $147.9 million in cuts over three years to the three agencies that grant research funds to universities.
Ministers pledge to remove all barriers to study, and create “appropriate economic conditions for students”
European ministers with responsibility for post-secondary education in the 46 countries involved in the Bologna Process recently met at the University of Louvain in Belgium to set priorities for the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) for the next decade. The statement released following the meeting highlighted the importance of equitable student access to post-secondary education as follows:
“The student body within higher education should reflect the diversity of Europe’s populations. We therefore emphasize the social characteristics of higher education and aim to provide equal opportunities to quality education. Access into higher education should be widened by fostering the potential of students from underrepresented groups and by providing adequate conditions for the completion of their studies. This involves improving the learning environment, removing all barriers to study, and creating the appropriate economic conditions for students to be able to benefit from the study opportunities at all levels. Each participating country will set measurable targets for widening overall participation and increasing participation of underrepresented groups in higher education, to be reached by the end of the next decade. Efforts to achieve equity in higher education should be complemented by actions in other parts of the educational system.”
The Victoria Times Colonist notes that the average debt of British Columbia university students has gone from the lowest in Canada to one of the highest in the past seven years: Students in B.C. graduate with some of the biggest debtloads in the country. They average about $27,000 — the highest in Canada except for [...]
The Victoria Times Colonist notes that the average debt of British Columbia university students has gone from the lowest in Canada to one of the highest in the past seven years:
Students in B.C. graduate with some of the biggest debtloads in the country. They average about $27,000 — the highest in Canada except for the Maritimes and thousands more than the national average of $24,000. That’s a dramatic increase from the average of $18,500 in 2001, when B.C. had the lowest student debt in the country, the Canadian Federation of Students says.”
The average student debt is a big student debt,” says Shamus Reid, chairman of the student federation’s B.C. branch.
“In the last couple of budgets, student loan disbursements and loan applications have dropped,” Reid says. “Low- and medium-income students are simply not applying.”
Students from traditionally disadvantaged backgrounds — women, aboriginals, working class people and recent immigrants — are especially affected. Current debt is “up from $17,000 in 1999-2000,” says NDP critic Rob Fleming.
But Advanced Education Minister Murray Coell points to the $78 million in debt relief provided to post-secondary students. Fleming counters that $40 million of that total will disappear in 2010 when funding from the federal Millennium scholarship program ends.
‘In terms of what was offered in 2001, there’s been a $35-million reduction of what the grant program used to have,” Fleming says.
The NDP is campaigning to re-instate the grants eliminated by the Liberal government and top-up the shortfall when the Millennium contribution ends.
Saturday night tuneage courtesy one of my favourite rock acts, the St. John’s group The Novaks:
Saturday night tuneage courtesy one of my favourite rock acts, the St. John’s group The Novaks:
Young adults are staying in school longer, and accepting impermanent, no-benefits jobs
From The Toronto Star:
Generation Y grew up being told that if they were willing to work and study hard they could have it all: well-paying, fulfilling jobs that provided all the comforts.
But as they reached adulthood, secure jobs began vanishing, replaced by part-time, non-union work with little security, no benefits and odd hours. Then the financial crisis hit. Now, young adults are being forced to radically remake their life plans. They are staying in school longer to keep up with an “educational arms race” and accepting that life will be contract-to-contract, perhaps in different cities, and almost assuredly without benefits.
They are living in a purgatory of arrested adolescence, of delayed adulthood. They are unable to do what twenty-somethings have done for generations: settle into careers and start families.
From The Times Higher Education: Students are being encouraged to “snoop” on academics by texting a hotline if their teachers turn up late, the University and College Union has claimed. Manchester Metropolitan Students’ Union launched its “LATE” campaign after receiving a number of student complaints about lectures running late and being cancelled without warning. The [...]
Students are being encouraged to “snoop” on academics by texting a hotline if their teachers turn up late, the University and College Union has claimed.
Manchester Metropolitan Students’ Union launched its “LATE” campaign after receiving a number of student complaints about lectures running late and being cancelled without warning.
The students’ union then set up a phone line to test the scale of the problem.
“We’ve made it easy for you to tell us when your lectures start late or are cancelled without notice by using a simple text message,” it says on its website. “All you have to do is send us a text with the word ‘LATE’, followed by the year and course you’re studying.”
Bold blue and yellow posters have been put up around the university, featuring the message: “If you’re on time, why is your class LATE?”
Continuing the debate over the Manitoba government’s recent decision to end its decade-long tuition freeze to allow fees to increase in the coming fall semester, Winnipeg Sun columnist Tom Brodbeck throws out this challenge to student leaders: I would like to put out a challenge to all the student leaders who say freezing tuition for [...]
Continuing the debate over the Manitoba government’s recent decision to end its decade-long tuition freeze to allow fees to increase in the coming fall semester, Winnipeg Sun columnist Tom Brodbeck throws out this challenge to student leaders:
I would like to put out a challenge to all the student leaders who say freezing tuition for everyone helps attract low-income people to universities and colleges.
I’m putting out the challenge because I keep hearing from student leaders who discredit the many reports that conclude freezing tuition does not make post-secondary education more accessible for low-income families.
Surely to goodness these student leaders have data and research to back up their claims that freezing the price of tuition universally improves access for low-income families.
I know student leaders — who I assume are enrolled in academic courses where evidence-based decision-making is taught — would never take positions on complex matters without appropriate research.
I assume they are employing the critical thinking skills their professors and instructors are trying to teach them in order to draw logical conclusions.
Which means they must have the data and the research to substantiate their claim that by freezing tuition for everyone, including middle- and upper-income families, a greater proportion of low-income people are able to attend universities and colleges.
At-risk students earned $750 by maintaining at least a 2.0 GPA, among other requirements
A research project underway at three Ontario colleges has shown that the provision of student support services in combination with financial incentives has a marked impact on the persistence of students who are deemed at risk of dropping out.
The study, sponsored by the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation and the Ontario government, found that at-risk students who received academic, career and mentoring supports as well as the promise of $750 earned higher grades and were less likely to drop out of their program.
The key findings of the research show the following:
- One year after the Foundations for Success program began, 67.2 percent of students who received directed advisement to the full range of supports (including academic, career and mentoring supports) and a financial incentive were still enrolled in their program.
- Almost 65.8 percent of students who received directed advisement to the supports but no financial incentives were still enrolled.
- Only 62.6 percent of students in the control group (which did not receive direction to supports and did not receive financial incentives) were still enrolled.
- Adjusting for students who did not participate in any of the Foundations for Success program activities, the increase in retention was 6.4 percent.
Note that the students who received the $750 Foundations for Success fellowship were required to complete 12 hours of activities related to their individual at-risk factors, maintain at least a 2.0 GPA, and remain eligible for full-time enrollment at the start of the following semester.
The full report is available for download here in .pdf format.
Canadian gov’t cuts $148 million in research funds, U.S. spends multi-billions
The Globe and Mail’s John Ibbitson reviews the stark contrast between the Harper government’s cuts to basic research funding and the Obama administration’s multibillion-dollar commitments to scientific research and education:
The Obama administration’s multibillion-dollar investments coincide with the Canadian government’s decision to cut $148-million in funding to the three agencies that support basic research at Canadian universities.
The Conservatives point in response to $2.75-billion they have dedicated to university infrastructure and scientific equipment.
But the two countries are pursuing fundamentally different approaches to funding research in the midst of a recession and with manufacturing industries in chronic decline.
While Prime Minister Harper concentrates on targeted funding in certain specific areas, in hopes of generating marketable ideas that promote economic growth, President Obama is pursing a comprehensive approach aimed at fundamentally reorienting government, schools, universities and the private sector in favour of science and technology.
Report exposed Manitoba’s tuition freeze policy for what it really was
Winnipeg Free Press columnist Dan Lett has written an epilogue on the Manitoba government’s recent decision to lift the tuition fee freeze in that province. Lett makes the following point about lower tuition fees and accessibility:
The tuition freeze has been wildly popular with students, of course, but it has been under constant attack from the schools, which claim it starves them of needed revenue. Earlier this month, the province released a report written by Ben Levin, a former deputy education minister, that pretty much exposed the tuition freeze policy for what it really is.
Levin noted there was no connection between lower tuition fees and accessibility, the NDP government’s chief motivation for maintaining the freeze. Levin recommended modest tuition increases for university and college students, the first in a decade.
Levin’s conclusions were hardly shocking
Two years ago, Ontario and Quebec completed exhaustive studies of the relationship between tuition fees and accessibility. The conclusion was that lower tuitions make education more affordable for those who could afford to go; for those who could not afford to go, lower tuitions did nothing.
‘The war on terror has been a double-edged sword for higher education’
This is a fascinating book, but it isn’t about al-Qaeda attacks on any US university, or even its sympathisers in American higher education. As the author explains: “So far, no jihadist terror attacks have been directed at US universities.” What Castagnera writes about are the ways in which the “War on Terror” has affected what universities do and how they do it.
His thesis is as simple as it is cheering. “The war on terror”, he writes, “has been a double-edged sword as far as higher education is concerned.” It has led “on the one hand (to) a loss of innocence”, owing to “the inexorable, irresistible demand for ever-tighter security measures”. But on the other, it has provided “an enormous windfall for many colleges and universities”, defined in terms of better campus security, large amounts of government funding for terrorism-related research and generous gifts to academia from Saudi Arabia.
From The Winnipeg Sun: Manitoba’s public colleges, including Red River College, will soon be given the legal power to grant bachelor’s degrees. The provincial government introduced legislation yesterday that once passed into law will allow Red River, Assiniboine and St. Boniface colleges to create four-year programs and confer degrees on their graduates.
From The Winnipeg Sun:
Manitoba’s public colleges, including Red River College, will soon be given the legal power to grant bachelor’s degrees.
The provincial government introduced legislation yesterday that once passed into law will allow Red River, Assiniboine and St. Boniface colleges to create four-year programs and confer degrees on their graduates.
Liberals to continue caps, NDP promises a freeze, Greens pledge 20% reduction
British Columbians will go to the polls in a provincial general election on Tuesday, May 12. The major political parties are offering the following directions for tuition fee policy:
After having deregulated fees during their first term starting in 2002, the B.C. Liberals are pledging to continue with capping increases to the rate of inflation. The NDP is promising a freeze, while the B.C. Greens would roll back fees by 20 percent. The B.C. Conservatives would give tax incentives to new graduates moving into industries with skills shortages.
NB mayor says free tuition would encourage procreation, increase population
A number of arguments have been put forward in favour of the elimination of post-secondary tuition fees over the years, including arguments associated with increasing access for those who cannot afford post-secondary education and mistaken notions about equity and taxation.
The mayor of Saint John, New Brunswick has proposed another reason for eliminating tuition fees: procreation. Saint John Mayor Ivan Court believes that free tuition for post-secondary education might encourage Saint Johners to have more children and thereby increase the city’s population.
Can you imagine the placard slogans?
Province lifts decade-old freeze, allows universities to charge students up to 4.5 per cent more
As reported by The Winnipeg Sun:
For the first time since the 1998-99 school year, university and college students in Manitoba will see an increase in their tuition fees this fall.
The provincial government announced this morning that it is lifting its decade-old tuition freeze, and will allow universities to charge students up to 4.5% more for tuition this year. That amounts to an average of about $135 more for a typical arts or science student. Colleges will be allowed to charge students $100 more this year.
All arts and science students would have to pay the same tuition, not pay by course
Students at the University of Toronto will be in court tomorrow in a bid to halt the introduction of a flat tuition fee for incoming arts and science undergraduates at its downtown campus this September.
The university’s Students’ Union and the leader of the Arts and Science Students’ Union will ask the Ontario Superior Court for an injunction to stop the new fee structure from going ahead.
The proposal, which would be phased in over three years, would require new full-time students in the university’s largest faculty to pay the same tuition, rather than the current practice of charging by course.
A proposal passed earlier this month would limit the change next year to new students taking four courses instead of five. Under the new system, they would pay the same tuition as undergraduates with a full course load, an increase of about $1,000.
The new policy, which still requires final approvals, would be broadened in two years to apply to students taking three courses. The university expects that once it is fully implemented, the new policy will bring in an extra $9-million to $15-million in tuition fees.
Tuition hikes increased first-year student spending by 12 per cent over three years
From the BBC:
Students are spending more money and receiving more support than ever before, suggests a survey of student finance in England.
The Student Income and Expenditure Survey shows that higher tuition fees have increased first year student spending by 12% in three years.
Driving this was the introduction of higher tuition fees, which were implemented in the 2006-07 academic year. The accompanying grants, bursaries and loans also pushed up the income of students.
Report author, Claire Johnson, a principal research fellow at the Institute for Employment, said student income had risen overall, although most of the increase was driven by income from tuition fee loans.
The current issue of the Canadian Journal of Higher Education features an article on degree granting and institutional differentiation in Canada by Mount Royal College president David Marshall. Here is the abstract of Marshall’s article, titled Differentiation by Degrees: System Design and the Changing Undergraduate Environment in Canada: There has been a significant growth in [...]
The current issue of the Canadian Journal of Higher Education features an article on degree granting and institutional differentiation in Canada by Mount Royal College president David Marshall. Here is the abstract of Marshall’s article, titled Differentiation by Degrees: System Design and the Changing Undergraduate Environment in Canada:
There has been a significant growth in the number and types of degrees offered by a wider variety of Canadian post-secondary institutions. This expansion of degree access is the legitimate response to various forces, both social and post secondary. However, as a result, there has been some confusion regarding the meaning and value of the new degrees offered by the increasing variety of institutions. Several provinces are now recognizing this confusion through initiatives to “redesign” their provincial post-secondary systems and this may ultimately reduce the diversity and the confusion. However, this paper examines the forces that have led to this proliferation of degrees and institutions and discusses the problems and controversies that are brewing regarding the recognition of these new degrees for further study and the proposals for system redesign. In particular, it is proposed that an examination of both the substance of various degrees and the nature of the institution offering the credential can provide a context for understanding the meaning of various degrees. Recommendations to help resolve the growing concerns in this area are provided for non-university degree-granting institutions, Canadian universities, and for provincial governments developing degree granting policies as part of system redesign initiatives.
Reference: Marshall, D. (2008). Differentiation by degrees: System design and the changing undergraduate environment in Canada. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 38(3), 1-20.
Schools post lecture videos, intro classes and even full-semester courses online
From The Associated Press:
It might seem counterintuitive to look for higher education alongside Avril Lavigne music videos, but the video-sharing site has become a major reservoir of college content.
The Google Inc.-owned YouTube has for the last few years been forging partnerships with universities and colleges. The site recently gathered these video channels under the banner YouTube EDU.
More than 100 schools have partnered with YouTube to make an official channel, including Stanford, MIT, Harvard, Yale and the first university to join YouTube: UC Berkeley.
There are promotional videos like campus tours, but the more interesting content is straight from the classroom or lecture hall. Many schools have posted videos of guest lecturers, introductory classes and even a full semester’s course.
From Library Journal: Library organizations in both Canada and the United States are protesting major cuts planned in the country’s national science library, known as NRC-CISTI, the acronyms for National Research Council and Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information. A bland notice on the NRC-CISTI web site promises realignment of some resources and programs [...]
From Library Journal:
Library organizations in both Canada and the United States are protesting major cuts planned in the country’s national science library, known as NRC-CISTI, the acronyms for National Research Council and Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information.
A bland notice on the NRC-CISTI web site promises realignment of some resources and programs but doesn’t offer details. However, a letter from the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) warns that CISTI’s budget would be “cut by 50 percent, with another 20 percent removed as spin-offs of cost-recovery programs.”