All Posts Tagged With: "Newfoundland"
What students are talking about today (April 10th)
1. Alex Harris, a student at the University of Waterloo, and his dog Molson are calling themselves the “Geese Police.” The pair are patrolling the southern Ontario campus twice daily. Molson, a border collie-golden retriever cross, disperses the nuisance birds while Harris takes notes for his undergraduate thesis project. Canada Geese dominate the university’s campus, making a big a mess and scaring humans while trying to defend their territory. During mating season they get especially aggressive. It’s such a commonly discussed problem that the university’s bookstore now sell t-shirts that read, “I survived nesting season.” See CBC News for more.
2. Today is International Day of Pink, which means students everywhere are showing their opposition to bullying, homophobia and other discrimination by wearing, you guessed it, pink. It was started after high school students in Nova Scotia to support a pink-loving gay student who was bullied. It has high profile support from the likes of Rick Mercer and the Day of Pink Gala in Ottawa will be attended by former governor general Michaëlle Jean and radio host Jian Ghomeshi.
But numbers are increasing
Well-paid jobs are luring more women to the rigs and vessels that draw oil from the ocean floor more than 300 kilometres east of St. John’s, N.L., but life offshore is still very much a man’s world.
At any given time there are more than 700 workers toiling in all kinds of weather at the major Hibernia, Terra Nova and SeaRose sites. Only about five per cent of them are women, and even fewer hold jobs outside of housekeeping or the kitchens, says the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.
And while government and industry efforts to boost those numbers have seen more women enter training that could lead them offshore, there are persistent barriers. They include the stark reality that many women with young children can’t see themselves working a schedule of three weeks on, three weeks off that takes them away from home for six months of the year.
Our latest fall fashion photos
Summers are short in Newfoundland and the sun sets early—7:00 p.m already tonight! To escape the darkness, Memorial University students are brightening things up with neon pinks, passionate reds and Batman yellow. St. John’s was Jessica Darmanin’s latest stop as she tours Atlantic Canada with an eye on campus fashion. Click the photos to make them bigger. Then show us your campus style. Tweet your fall fashion photo to @maconcampus or post it on our Facebook wall.
Says “havin’ a time” is his phrase, not theirs
A comedian in St. John’s isn’t too happy that Memorial University is using the words “havin’ a time” on banners that promote its student reunion.
Donnie Dumphy, whose Havin’ a Time rap appeared on the show Rick Mercer Report in 2008 told CBC that the phrase belongs to him. He also says he would have done an ad campaign “for five bucks and a half pack of smokes.”
Penny Blackwood, director of alumni affairs and development for Memorial, noted that the definition of “a time” is in the dictionary of Newfoundland English and called it coincidental.
With that it sounds like Dumphy won’t be havin’ a time on Memorial’s dime anytime soon. But there is a silver lining for him. At least his video will get a few more views. It already has 1.2 million.
Junior hockey team fined $2,000
A hockey coach in Newfoundland was suspended for a year and his team was fined $2,000 after he allowed players to skip a tournament’s opening ceremonies to study for their university exams. Brian Cranford, the coach, has volunteered for the Mount Pearl Junior Blades for 20 years. Several of the 23 players, aged 18 to 20, were writing exams in April when the Don Jonson Cup was held. Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador (HNL), which issued the fine and suspension, said they did so because they expected at least a representative of the team to attend the cup ceremony, but none came. Cranford told The Toronto Star that he will appeal the decision to Hockey Canada.
Province increases university funding despite deficit
Newfoundland and Labrador will soon take the crown as the cheapest place to study, despite a deficit budget that includes job cuts and that will cause provincial net debt to rise by $1-billion to $8.5-billion by March 2013.
Tuesday’s budget includes $44 million for Memorial University and College of the North Atlantic to prevent them from raising tuition fees, which averaged $2,649 in the fall of 2011.
The province will soon have the lowest fees in Canada. Nationwide, university fees averaged $5,366 in 2011, according to Statistics Canada.
But how’d it end up there?
Police have determined that a coyote head found in a plastic bag at Memorial University last week had been tagged in 2008 by the province’s wildlife division, reports CBC News. Still, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary is unsure how the gruesome object ended up outside the Bowater House student residence on Thursday night. Police suspect it may have been a prank.
Why students are flocking to Memorial University
The 21st Maclean’s University Rankings includes a close look at Atlantic Canada’s schools. To read more, buy your copy today.
Amber Haighway, a fifth-year music education student at Memorial University (MUN) in St. John’s, Nfld., has many jealous friends studying in places like Toronto, New Brunswick and back home in Nova Scotia. They say things like, “I can’t believe you pay that little for a whole semester—that’s the price of one course at my school.” It’s not far from the truth. As the Glace Bay native explains, “it’s more affordable to travel from Nova Scotia and pay for school, books and housing in Newfoundland than to go 10 minutes down the road to Cape Breton University and live at home with my parents.”
Candidates promise tuition freezes, bursaries and grants
Newfoundland and Labrador’s provincial NDP Leader Lorraine Michael says her party would phase-in needs-based grants to replace student loans in its first year of government.
It’s the latest — and arguably the boldest — election promise made to students by a party leader in the last two weeks. With five provincial elections this fall, leaders are busy courting student voters.
Under Michael’s plan, 8,000 students would have their tuition subsidized entirely. The program would cost $4.7-million in year one, they say.
But the NDP isn’t likely to win on Oct. 11. Corporate Research Associates (CRA), a polling firm, puts the Newfoundland Progressive Conservatives under premier Kathy Dunderdale at 54 per cent support, with the NDP a distant second at 24 per cent and the Liberals in third at 22 per cent.
The province already has the lowest university tuition fees in Canada — $2,624 in 2010-11, compared to $6,307 in Ontario. And tuition fees are a perennial issue in provincial campaigns.
In Ontario, where the Liberal party under Premier Dalton McGuinty is facing a serious challenge from the Progressive Conservatives under Tim Hudak, the Liberals are promising tuition grants to reduce the cost of post-secondary by 30 per cent. Hudak is promising more access to student loans for students from middle class families. Ontarians will vote on Oct. 6.
In Manitoba, where there is a two-way race between the Progressive Conservatives led by Hugh McFadyen and the New Democrats under Premier Greg Selinger, the NDP promises more funding for universities and to maintain a tuition freeze. Voters there cast ballots on Oct. 4.
In Prince Edward Island, where voters go to the polls Oct. 3, Liberal leader Robert Ghiz has proposed elimination of the interest from the provincial portion of student loans, plus a boost to bursaries. Ghiz leads Progressive Conservative Olive Crane 59 to 31 per cent, says a CRA poll.
Students in Saskatchewan can expect election promises there soon. That election is on Nov. 7.
Loans will be paid off earlier, saving students up to $1,800
At midnight tonight Newfoundland and Labrador will eliminate the interest on all provincial student loans.
Education Minister Darin King says his province is the first in Canada to take such action to help students reduce debt.
King says government’s plan to ensure quality, affordability and accessibility across the system is yielding results.
He says students are getting the highest quality education, but don’t have to break the bank to do so.
The elimination of interest is automatic, with no requirement for individuals to make calls or complete forms.
There will be no change in the monthly payment schedule, but the loans will be paid off earlier saving individual students up to $1,800.
- The Canadian Press
College of the North Atlantic will get a new campus in Labrador City
Government funding of more than $55 million was announced today for infrastructure projects at post-secondary institutions in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Several projects involving the College of the North Atlantic include construction of a new campus in Labrador City.
Work is also slated for a Memorial University location in Corner Brook.
The provincial government is spending $31 million while Ottawa will contribute $24 million.
The money will be spent over two years.
- The Canadian Press
Faculty had accused minister of violating the school’s autonomy in search for pres
Newfoundland and Labrador’s education minister has been shuffled to a newly created government department after she became embroiled in a controversy surrounding Memorial University’s presidential search.
Joan Burke will become the province’s minister of child, youth and family services, a cabinet position created during last month’s throne speech.
Premier Danny Williams said Burke’s move came because of her accomplishments and experience during her time as education minister, and had nothing to do with her involvement in the search for Memorial University’s president.
“I want to make it absolutely clear that nothing would be further from the truth,” he said.
Some Memorial University faculty members accused Burke of violating the school’s autonomy after she said last year she personally interviewed and rejected two candidates for the school’s top job.
Burke and Williams have denied allegations that they infringed on the school’s autonomy.
Darin King, the new education minister, avoided answering reporters’ questions whether he would become as involved as Burke in the university’s current presidential search until Williams responded.
Williams said it was the school’s board of regents that asked for the government’s involvement during the last search.
“This time it is my understanding we will not be asked, nor will we be seeking to be involved in interviews, and if we are asked, we will not get
involved,” he said.
Since his government was first elected in 2003, Williams’s cabinet has grown from 13 to 17, an increase he said was necessary.
“We’ve expanded it not because of a preference just to bring people into cabinet, to be quite honest with you,” he said. “It’s to try to deal with the massive duties and obligations that we have.”
- The Canadian Press
How did Pratt go from engineering student to respected, professional artist?
Christopher Pratt is arguably one of Canada’s greatest living painters. His distant, clinical landscapes are at the same time modern and wholly timeless. I’m certainly no art critic, but when I saw a retrospective show at Quebec City’s Musée national des beaux-arts, I was awestruck. Here was a real artist. Someone who belongs very much to a place (Newfoundland), but speaks, through sparse rural depictions, to a certain universality. That doesn’t do him justice though. You have to see his work (and I mean wall upon wall of it) to really understand its force.
But how did someone like that get a start in life? How did he go from being a pre-engineering student to a respected, professional artist?
The answer is simple. He saw that a life in art was entirely possible in his own environment. And this wasn’t easy. He grew up in a place where there were, as he says, no art galleries, no professional artists and no understanding that one could even make a living through painting of all things.
But Pratt persevered. He did a year of engineering, then switched to pre-med, then finally settled on an Arts undergrad… until he dropped out a year and a half later. In fact, his educational record does not show any sign of the committed professionalism he’d later develop as an artist.
One thing that kept him going were his artistic inspirations. Alex Colville, for example, the well-known artist, taught him briefly at Mount Allison in New Brunswick. And the image of Colville – his paintings showing the world over – who could “live in a little house, have a family with three or four kids and walk to church every Sunday” was indelible. It showed Pratt that it was possible to become a serious artist while staying close to one’s roots. You didn’t have to be brash, or urban, or complicated.
It was possible to make a career quietly, keeping to oneself and working on one’s art.
Dalhousie University set to get $5.2 million for five renewed research chairs
Four universities in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador are getting $7.9 million from Ottawa to fund eight research chairs.
The money is part of a $5.1-billion spending package for science and technology announced in the federal budget.
Minister of State for Science and Technology Gary Goodyear says $1.4 million will go toward one new chair at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax.
Professor Kevin Kelloway is studying effective workplace leadership and what can be done to predict and prevent workplace violence and aggression.
Meanwhile, Dalhousie University will get $5.2 million for five renewed research chairs, Acadia $500,000 for one new chair and Memorial University will get $500,000 for one new chair.
Goodyear says two chairs will also get more than $321,000 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation.
- The Canadian Press
People with disabilities still face barriers to post-secondary education
Today is Disability Awareness Day at Memorial University of Newfoundland. A campus Disability Awareness Information Fair and a Panel Discussion have been organized to educate students, staff and faculty about disability issues.
According to the 2006 Participation and Activity Limitation Survey (PALS) conducted by Statistics Canada, approximately 631,000 (2.5%) Canadians aged 15 years and older report having a learning limitation. Just over one in five (22.4%) considered their learning limitations to be severely limiting, while the remaining 77.6% regarded their limitations to be mild.
In 2006, just one-third of people with a learning limitation had completed education beyond the high school level. A total of 14.7% had obtained a community college or non-university credential, 10.6% obtained a trade or apprenticeship certification, 4.4% held a bachelor’s degree, and 4.0% completed university education beyond the bachelor’s level.
The PALS results demonstrate that learning limitations affect a person’s education in numerous ways. The proportion of individuals who reported that their limitation influenced their choice of careers was 59.3%. A further 53.1% required more time to finish school, 35.6% had to discontinue their education, 34.1% had their education interrupted for long time periods, and 17.4% incurred additional educational expenses due to their learning limitation.
As difficult as it may be to believe, people with disabilities still face barriers to post-secondary education such as limited physical access to facilities and a lack of institutional sensitivity to their unique needs. In addition to reducing their chances of gaining and keeping employment, their lack of access to educational opportunities ultimately limits their participation in Canadian society.
Ex-CEO says province should use Irish model for post-secondary education
Responding the Educational Policy Institute’s recent proposal that colleges and universities increase tuition fees by up to 25 per cent, a former chairperson of the College of the North Atlantic Board of Governors is instead calling for the implementation of free tuition in Newfoundland and Labrador following the model used for post-secondary education in Ireland.
Vince Withers, former President and CEO of NewTel Communications (now part of Bell Aliant) and an honorary graduand of Memorial University, told a St. John’s talk radio show that he “can’t understand why anyone would call for a dramatic increase in tuition fees”. Withers went on to say that he doesn’t believe that Premier Danny Williams will consider lifting the province’s fee freeze, which has been in place for over a decade.
After controversy last year, university chairman says process will be “open, transparent and accountable”
The Newfoundland and Labrador government won’t interview candidates for Memorial University’s presidency, the chairman of the school’s board of regents said Thursday.
“The minister of education will not be involved in interviews,” Bob Simmonds said at a news conference. “The process we will follow in finding a new president for Memorial University – and please note these words – will be open, transparent and accountable.”
Simmonds said the independent search committee tasked with finding Memorial’s next president will decide on a preferred candidate and pass that recommendation on to the government, as was done in the past.
The controversy surrounding Memorial’s presidential search erupted last year after Education Minister Joan Burke said she personally interviewed and rejected candidates for the position.
Burke’s involvement sparked accusations from some faculty and the university administration that the government violated the school’s autonomy – an allegation she has denied.
Under provincial law, the cabinet has the authority to approve or reject an independent search committee’s selection for Memorial’s president, though approval has long been considered a formality.
In many other provinces, universities don’t need the approval of their provincial governments to select incoming presidents.
Simmonds said if the government were to reject the search committee’s recommendation for president, he would quit his post.
Memorial’s acting president Eddy Campbell was one of the two presidential candidates that the provincial government dismissed. He has been recommended for the presidency of the University of New Brunswick and is expected to take office this summer.
Memorial has been without a full-time president since December 2007, when Axel Meisen announced his resignation earlier than planned.
- The Canadian Press
Memorial campus was supposed to be independent by fall 2008, but isn’t yet
In April 2007, the Newfoundland and Labrador government announced that Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, a campus of Memorial University of Newfoundland in Corner Brook, would become an autonomous university by the Fall 2008 semester.
In April 2008, the provincial government announced that it was setting aside $500,000 for the implementation of a new governing structure for the college. Otherwise, it appears that little headway has been made toward fulfilling the pledge of full university status. Last summer, the minister of education announced that Grenfell’s planned autonomy would have to be delayed to a later date.
This issue has been the subject of some debate in the province, along with questions about Memorial University’s autonomy to govern its own affairs and the minister of education’s involvement in Memorial’s stalled presidential search process. As the CBC reports, faculty and students at Grenfell are raising questions about their delayed independence.
After much controversy, high-profile lawyer aims to improve relations between the provincial government and faculty
An outspoken lawyer known for his independent streak has been enlisted to restore relations between Memorial University faculty and the Newfoundland and Labrador government after the school’s search for a president became mired in controversy.
Bob Simmonds, a high-profile defence lawyer based in St. John’s, was appointed the new chairman for the university’s board of regents, Education Minister Joan Burke announced Tuesday.
“I don’t expect my character to change overnight, so I would hope that if I have any gifts that I would bring those gifts and abilities to this job as I have to any other,” Simmonds said in an interview.
Simmonds takes over for Gil Dalton, who came under fire earlier this year from faculty after a government official said he provided a list of candidates for the university’s top job to Burke. That triggered accusations of political interference and soured the relationship between Memorial faculty and the provincial government.
“I would hope that my practice as a lawyer would be beneficial in that regard and that I’ll be able to build trust and respect,” said Simmonds, a 1976 Memorial graduate.
“I’m aware of the issues that have gone on before, or at least from what I’ve read in the press, and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to assist and resolve any issues that might still exist.”
Memorial University Faculty Association president Ross Klein said he was cautiously optimistic after hearing of Simmonds’s appointment.
“It’s certainly a positive move because it’s a nice, clean break from the things that had happened before with the search and what appeared to be improper intrusion by government into the decision-making,” Klein said.
“We would just hope that with the new chair of the board, and particularly Bob Simmonds being the personality that he is, that the board would move forward in a very positive way and that we’ll see the appointment of a president in a short time.”