Multiball IV - HigherEd news round-up for 19 Mar 10

The* Winnipeg Free Press*editorial Thursday called on native leaders to discuss the recent report *Free to Learn: Giving Aboriginal Youth Control over Their Post-Secondary Education by the Macdonald Laurier Institute instead of dismissing it out of hand. The focused on the Post-Secondary Student Support Program and called for its replacement with education savings trust funds given to each native child at birth. The funds will be seeded with $4,000 at birth and be injected with an additional $3,000 for each year completed after grade five. I give the Winnipeg Free *Press editorial a great deal of weight as the paper is located in a province with a large aboriginal population and a great deal of focus on address the educational challenges facing this demographic.

Students hit the streets in Alberta yesterday to protest government funding cuts to higher education and proposed increases to ancillary fees at the provinces universities. The University of Alberta is trying to impose a $550 and the University of Calgary a $500 ancillary fee increase next academic year.

Joe Warmington’s column in the Toronto Sun Friday says the University of Toronto and 2015 PAN-AM games committee are going to ‘drown students in debt’ by making them pay $30-million towards a new aquatics complex for the games. He quotes Canadian hockey hero, and University of Toronto graduate, Paul Henderson as saying students should reject the proposed ancillary fee to fund the aquatic pool in a referendum vote ending today.

Canada has another “Schulich School” after the famous philanthropist donated $15-million to Northern Ontario’s Nipissing University. NU’s Faculty of Education is now know as the Schulich School of Education. I have to admit from the photo in *The North Bay Nugget *that I’m a fan of the new logo. Nipissing’s education program is well regarded in Ontario and the university hopes the donation will raise the national profile of the School. The School also has a satelite campus west of Toronto in Brantford, Ontario.

New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham sat down with the St. Thomas University student newspaper Thursday for an interview. *The Aquinian *says it will publish their interview story this coming Tuesday.

Scanning today’s higher education news in the United States, one cannot help but be thankful government higher education funding cutbacks haven’t occurred outside of Alberta. (yet) In Virginia, the state’s higher ed sector is thankful to have “dodged the bullet” having receiving only a $42 million cut in the recent state budget. In Georgia, students converged on the state Capitol to protest an expected $350-million to $400-million cut to the state’s higher education budget. Michigan is still finalizing its state budget and higher education is facing a cut. The hit in Louisiana is expected to raise to $168.9-million this year alone for a total of over $335-million in the last 15 months.

The situation is no better in the United Kingdom. The government has cut £573-million ($873-million CAD) from higher education this year. *The Independent *ran a good chart visualizing the cuts.

All textbooks (with the odd singlar exception) will be digital by 2020 thanks to changes in California laws. Textbook companies are digitizing academic textbooks at a rapid pace in preparation for 2020 when all textbooks sold in the pacific coast state will have to include a digital purchase option. Much like automative companies and Calfornia emission standards, the digitalization of textbooks will become a de functo North American standard. McGraw-Hill Education, in a press release, notes that the company is rapidly digitizing titles in preparation for the law’s implementation. Wiley’s higher education division sales and marketing manager Neil Broomfield says its entire offerings may be digital by 2015.

The United States has a new top post-secondary education civil servant. Eduardo Ochoa, current provost of Sonoma State University in California, has been selected to run the federal Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education.