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Bad university news to our west

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Two more doom-ridden stories showed up on this morning’s Academica Top Ten roundup of postsecondary news.

The first comes from the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix:

"The University of Saskatchewan has issued a memo detailing the number of positions cut as part of the effort to address a projected deficit of $3.3 million for 2013-14. USask has so far cut 248 jobs — 198 through layoffs, 50 through unfilled vacancies — and there may be more to come as uSask works to offset a projected $44.5-million budget shortfall in 2016. The hardest hit area was the campus Facilities Management Division, which lost more jobs than any other department or college. The jobs eliminated so far will save USask $8.5 million by 2016. The TransformUS project is currently ranking programs and services to determine areas for additional savings, and when the report is finalized in November, more layoffs could ensue."   

The second is from the Edmonton Journal:

"The University of Alberta is offering its professors voluntary buyouts in order to cut its budget by $56 million in the next two years, with some professors expected to leave as early as December. The move comes less than a week after UAlberta asked its staff to reopen 2-year collective agreements to help balance the budget and avoid mass layoffs."

 

The Selinger government reneged on its three-year commitment to increase operating grants five per cent this year, the third year of that pledge. Still, the universities get a 2.5 per cent operating grant increase for the 2013-2014 school year starting next month. The universities have acknowledged that that increase is one of the reasons that cuts here are nowhere near as remotely dire.

Neverthless, the universities are calling for talks on postsecondary financing, including the government’s capping tuiton fee hikes at the rate of inflation.

Academica Top Ten is published each weekday on Wharncliffe Road in LondonOnt, a block west of where we lived when child the elder was born, and you can subscribe through www.academica.ca.

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About Nick Martin

Nick Martin is the old bearded guy at the back of the newsroom, the most experienced reporter at the Winnipeg Free Press, having started his career in Ontario in 1971.

He’s been covering education for the Free Press since the spring of 1997, after decades primarily covering municipal politics, including a four-year stint at the Ontario legislature for the London Free Press.

Nick moved to Manitoba in 1988 with his Winnipeg-born wife, who is a professor at the University of Manitoba. They have two kids, both of whom graduated from Grant Park High School: son Chris and daughter Gillian.

Nick has won a national journalism award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers, two Manitoba Human Rights Journalism awards, and the Ontario Reporters Association investigative award.

Nick is a long-distance runner, having finished and survived 18 marathons and 15 half-marathons and 30-kilometre races, and having (barely) survived 10 years as an outdoor and indoor soccer coach.

Nick became a soccer referee in 2007, delighting in his 60s in outrunning 16-year-olds and keeping his distance from obstreperous coaches and parents.

Nick and his wife have discovered a mutual love for kayaking at their Whiteshell cottage, and are both regulars at the Reh-Fit Centre. They hold season tickets to both the Manitoba Theatre Centre and the Warehouse, and as empty nesters, have rediscovered the joys of an active winter vacation.

A native of Jarrow-on-Tyne, England, Nick is a member of the Toon Army as a Newcastle United supporter, and a proud citizen of Leafs Nation.

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