QUFA UPDATE: News that Matters

Update on QUSA salary and benefit discussions

Campus News: from Queen’s University Website.

Tuesday August 18, 2009

New meetings are planned for September between QUSA and University Administration aimed at reaching an agreement on salary and benefits. Both sides made overtures to resume discussions immediately following a QUSA vote that resulted in a rejected salary and benefits package in July.

The University remains committed to working with QUSA salary and benefits committee to reach an agreement that respects the important role staff play at the university, while recognizing Queen’s financial situation.

The effective date for a new agreement will be July 1. Until an agreement is reached, current salary and benefits will remain in place.

New Graduate Programs at Queen’s for 2009

Campus News: from Queen’s University Website.

Tuesday August 18, 2009

Ten new graduate studies programs being launched at Queen’s University this fall reflect the changing landscape of both the academic and professional worlds.

These new programs are diverse, ranging from specialized study in cancer research to a master’s level program in the newly-named Gender Studies Department; several are multi-disciplinary, with courses offered by two or more departments.

“The fact that many of Queen’s new graduate programs also have an interdisciplinary focus speaks to prevailing interest in society to ask questions that lie at the intersection of singular disciplines,” says Janice Deakin, Dean, Graduate Studies & Research at Queen’s University. “There are many spin-off benefits to having an increased number of graduates on campus, including assisting in the recruitment and retention of new faculty members, improving the pool of potential teaching assistants, and enhancing opportunities for interaction between graduates and undergraduates.”

For more details and contact information for each of the 10 programs, please click on the program name below.

The new programs are:

• Aboriginal and World Indigenous Educational Studies (MEd)
This part-time blended (on-line and on-campus) MEd program in Aboriginal and World Indigenous Educational Studies is intended to develop leadership abilities and provide hand’s on experience.

• Biomedical Engineering (MASc, PhD)
This course is fueled by the demand for increasingly sophisticated medical devices and treatment methods required by our aging society.

• Biostatistics (MSc)
The demand for biostatisticians in Canada and internationally is very high and graduates will find excellent employment opportunities upon completion of their studies.

• Cancer Research (MSc, PhD)
This program will formally link the unique strengths of the participating departments in cancer research, creating an optimal training opportunity.

• Cultural Studies (MA, PhD)
This program intersects the humanities, science studies, the social sciences and the arts and comprises 61 distinguished faculty from 20 different disciplines.

• Economics and Law (Combined MA / JD)
There are many areas in which we need experts who understand both economics and the law: the financial crisis of the past year is a good example of this relationship in action.

• Gender Studies (MA)
Gender Studies points to the recent opening up of gender categories, encompassing racial, gendered and sexual diversity.

• Global Development Studies (MA)
“Recession,” “peak oil,” “food crisis” and “pandemic” are common currency in the business media. This program offers new ways of thinking about and practical approaches to addressing global inequalities.

• Law (PhD)
This program will provide students with the opportunity to engage in intense research and writing necessary for work in policy development, government, international organizations, and the judiciary.

• Public Health (MPH)
With the emergence of infectious diseases such as SARS and H1N1, and the growing burden of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and mental illness, this new program provides a broad mastery of the subject and methods necessary to public health practice in Canada.

Aboriginal and World Indigenous Educational Studies (MEd)

This is a part-time blended (on-line and on-campus) Master’s of Education program in the field of Aboriginal and World Indigenous Educational Studies intended for students with experience in Aboriginal communities. It is designed to develop leadership abilities and theoretical, practical, and experiential knowledge. “Because our new masters program is taught largely online with only one summer residency, it attracts students from national and international locations. Our courses have been created and are taught primarily by Aboriginal scholars or those with expertise in the field,” says Rebecca Luce-Kappler, coordinator, Graduate Studies and Research, in the Faculty of Education at Queen’s.

For more information, contact:
Rebecca Luce-Kappler
rebecca.luce-kapler@queensu.ca
613-533-6000 x 77267
http://educ.queensu.ca

Biomedical Engineering (MASc, PhD)

This collaborative program links the graduate programs in Chemical, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering and provides shared learning experiences, bringing students from a variety of backgrounds together to learn about research methodology and professional practice in the field of Biomedical Engineering. This area is diverse and multi-disciplinary, bringing in concepts from chemistry, mechanics, biochemistry, cell biology and physiology.

“Although the demand for some engineering specialties are expected to plateau or decline in the future, the US Bureau of Labour Statistics is forecasting a 21 per cent growth for Biomedical Engineers through to 2016,” says Brian Amsden, who will be teaching in this new program. “This growth is fueled by the demand for increasingly sophisticated medical devices and treatment modalities required by our aging society. However, unlike many engineering fields, most entry-level Biomedical Engineering positions require an advanced degree.
“The development of the proposed Collaborative Graduate Program in Biomedical Engineering will meet the needs of both students and faculty by formally linking the unique strengths in research of the participating departments and thereby creating an optimal training opportunity.”

For more information, contact:
Brian Amsden
brian.amsden@chee.queensu.ca
613-533-600 x 75309
http://engineering.queensu.ca/programs/bme/

Biostatistics (MSc)

The Department of Community Health and Epidemiology offers a broad range of courses in biostatistics, epidemiology, clinical trials, and health services research. The Department of Mathematics and Statistics offers strong programs in mathematical statistics. By combining resources from both these departments, students will have unique opportunities to develop the analytic skills and practical experience needed as biostatisticians to interact with practitioners and to work on current research projects in a variety of health areas.

“The high demand and low supply of qualified Master’s level biostatisticians is the main reason we believe that this program is needed now,” says Paul Peng, program coordinator. “The program will also strengthen the biostatistical research and increase the profile of the excellent health research happening at Queen’s.”
The demand for biostatisticians in Canada and internationally is very high and graduates will find excellent employment opportunities upon completion of their studies.

For more information, contact:
Dr. Paul Peng
pengp@queensu.ca
613-533-600 x 78525
http://www.mast.queensu.ca/graduate/biostatsprogram.php
http://meds.queensu.ca/medicine/comhepi/biostatprogram.html

Cancer Research (MSc, PhD)

Collaborative Graduate Program in Cancer Research – participating departments are: Anatomy & Cell Biology; Biochemistry; Community Health & Epidemiology; Microbiology & Immunology; Pathology & Molecular Medicine; Pharmacology & Toxicology; and Psychology.

Cancer research is one of the strongest and most comprehensively developed research priorities within the Faculty of Health Sciences and at Queen’s University as a whole. A primary goal of this program will be to meet the needs of both students and faculty by formally linking the unique strengths of the participating departments in cancer research and thereby creating an optimal training opportunity.
“We are really excited about the opportunity to develop the Collaborative Graduate Program in Cancer Research,” says Lois Mulligan, a coordinator of the new program. “Until now, graduate opportunities in cancer research have been found in several departments at Queen’s but, for prospective students, it hasn’t always been easy to identify the departments in which to look or to identify the potential supervisors whose focus was in cancer research and matched the students own interests.”

The program will provide students with an added official recognition of their specialization in cancer research as recognition of the new area of specialization.

For more information, contact
Lois Mulligan
mulligal@queensu.ca
613-533-6000 x 77475

Cultural Studies (MA, PhD)

Cultural Studies is an emphatically interdisciplinary area of inquiry that intersects the humanities, science studies, the social sciences and the arts. Drawing on a range of practices, from the Frankfurt and Birmingham schools to critical globalization studies, Cultural Studies researchers investigate values, beliefs and belongings, cultural processes and cultural objects, economic and social relations, institutions and identities.
“We have designed an innovative program that includes options in the degree programs that allow students to become involved in various kinds of community organizations, to participate collaboratively with cultural producers, or to pursue community-based projects that have clear ties to the field areas of the program,” says Lynda Jessup, a professor in the Department of Art. “Student response to the program, which is beginning this September, has been overwhelmingly positive, and we are excited as they by the opportunities this new program offers.”

Cultural Studies at Queen’s comprises 61 distinguished faculty from 20 disciplines to offer an innovative program at the MA and PhD levels. Cultural Studies at Queen’s is committed to a diversity of students and faculty and to the global expertise that they bring to the cultural and academic fields.

For more information, contact:
Lynda Jessup
llj1@queensu.ca
613-533-6000 x 77343

Economics Combined MA / JD (Juris Doctor)

This combined degree will offer focused interdisciplinary training for students interested in pursuing academic careers, high level policy work, and specialized legal work in the many areas where law and economic analysis interact.

“Lawyers and policy makers often confront challenges in which economics and the law are tightly intertwined,” says Cherie Metcalfe, who teaches in the School of Law. “The financial crisis of the past year is a good example of this relationship in action. Graduates of our new program will be able to combine strong analytical skills and understanding of economic policy with their legal expertise.

“This background will prepare them to make unique contributions in their careers – whether as lawyers, policy-makers, or academics. There are many areas in which we need experts who understand both economics and the law – international trade, competition law, tax law, corporate law and financial regulation, consumer protection and insurance law, labour law, and environmental and resource management – these are just some examples.”

Students in this combined program will be able to complete the requirements for both the Juris Doctor and the Master’s within three calendar years.
For more information, contact:
Cherie Metcalf
metcalfc@queensu.ca
613-533-6000 x 74267


Gender Studies (MA, BA)

The Master’s Program in Gender Studies will emphasize the ways in which women, gender and politics are informed by questions of racism, colonialism, and globalization.

“The new graduate program in Gender Studies will seek to answer questions of difference – race, sexuality, class, age – in relation to local, regional, national, and outernational flows,” says Katherine McKitterick, who teaches at both the graduate and undergraduate level in the Gender Studies Department. “Students will have the opportunity to think through creative works, political economy, diasporic and migratory cultures, activism and feminism as they are locally experienced, yet also lived within the context of globalization.”
The Women’s Studies Department is also changing its name to Gender Studies.

“The shift to Gender Studies points to an opening up of gender categories,” says McKittrick, “encompassing racial, gendered and sexual diversity. With the first Gender Studies MA candidates arriving to Queen’s in fall 2009, we will maintain strong links between the undergraduate program and the graduate program. Naming both the undergraduate and graduate programs Gender Studies will demonstrate academic, intellectual, and institutional coherence.”

For more information contact:
Katherine McKittrick
k.mckittrick@queensu.ca
613-533-6000 x 78813
http://www.queensu.ca/wmns/

Global Development Studies (MA)

Global Development Studies at Queen’s is an interdisciplinary department with faculty from a variety of backgrounds. The program is engaged in cutting edge teaching and research on Asia, Africa, Latin America and Aboriginal communities in Canada.

A Master’s in Global Development Studies will provide students with the critical conceptual tools and the historical and comparative insights to understand international changes and prepare students for further studies in the social sciences and/or for careers in law, media, foreign affairs, international business, aid work and other fields.

“Development Studies at Queen’s has experienced enormous growth since it was first established as an undergraduate program in 1997,” says Marc Epprecht, who teaches in the department. “A new generation of young people is hungry for critical knowledge about the relationships between economic growth in the Global North, and poverty, human rights abuses, ill-health, and environmental destruction in the Global South.
“Today, when “recession,” “peak oil,” “food crisis” and “pandemic” are common currency even in the business media, this program offers new ways of thinking about, and practical approaches to addressing global inequalities.”

For more information, contact:
Marc Epprecht
epprecht@queensu.ca
613-533-6000 x 78248

Law (PhD)

The doctoral program in Law at Queen’s will provide students with the opportunity to engage in intense research and writing under the guidance and supervision of established legal scholars with a view to developing knowledge, expertise and skills necessary for a career in the academy, or a career in areas of the legal profession that tend to involve scholarly, critical or reflective analyses, including work in policy development, government, international organizations, and the judiciary.

“The new doctoral degree in Law at Queen’s reflects both the commitment of the Law Faculty to excellence in research and scholarship, and the changing landscape of legal education,” says Mark Walters, a professor in the School of Law.

Until recently, the LLM was the only graduate-level degree needed for those pursuing a career teaching law. However, in the last 15 years or so that has changed as more and more legal academics have pursued doctoral-level studies.

“As Queen’s Law has emerged as one of Canada’s leading research-oriented law schools, it is well positioned to offer a doctoral program that will permit students to consider challenging legal problems from a variety of comparative, interdisciplinary, theoretical, and global perspectives,” says Walters.

For more information, contact:
Mark Walters
mw24@queensu.ca
613-533-6000 x 74282
http://law.queensu.ca

Public Health (MPH)

The Master’s of Public Health will equip students with a broad mastery of the subject matter and methods necessary to public health practice in Canada. Through a combination of coursework and practical experiences, students will develop applied skills required to organize, analyze, interpret and communicate public health knowledge, as well as to apply this knowledge in the assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation of public health policies and programs.

“Public health is concerned with promoting population health,” says Heather Stuart, a professor in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology. “Historically, many of society’s most significant health accomplishments have been public health accomplishments. With the emergence of infectious diseases such as SARS and H1N1, and in recognition of the growing burden of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and mental illness, there has been a renewed interest in public health and in strengthening our public health capacity.”

The knowledge, attitudes, and skills gained from the MPH program at Queen’s will equip graduates to practice competently as generalists in public health in Canada and elsewhere.

High cost of higher education: Lack of summer jobs, rise in already lofty tuition fees forcing university students to sink deeper into debt

By SHARON LEM

SUN MEDIA. 24th August 2009.

http://www.torontosun.com/news/canada/2009/08/24/10580281-sun.html

Nineteen-year-old Rodney Diverlus was desperate to take whatever hours he could pick up in part-time and casual work. Cassandra Thompson, 19, marketed herself as a maid, while Vashti Boateng, 22, juggled three part-time positions to earn as much as she could. Struggling to cope in a lousy student job market, they are three of thousands of undergraduate students who couldn’t find full-time work this summer but had to line up this week to pay mounting tuition fees to register for the fall semester.

Ontario’s university tuition fees are the second highest in the country — almost $1,000 over the national average. And fees for professional programs such as medicine are the highest in Canada, averaging $9,000 per year. This combination of high fees and the worst job market in the country for student employment in decades has hit students hard.

‘ANGRY AND FRUSTRATED’

Diverlus, 19, is already $10,000 in the hole with student Ontario Student Assistance Program loans. OSAP applications have surged 5.7% for colleges and 4.6% for universities this year. “I feel angry and frustrated. Summer is a time to make money for school and now I’m going to be saddled with even more OSAP to pay back when I graduate,” said the second-year Ryerson University dance student. “What pisses me off more is that not only was I not able to find full-time work this summer, but tuition fees also went up $500, so it’s a double whammy,” Diverlus said, adding he’ll need to secure a part-time job during the school year.

With the sagging economy and the worst job market students have seen in 32 years, Thompson was willing to get her hands dirty. “No one was hiring. I couldn’t get a job anywhere, so I decided to work as a self-employed maid. I’m relying on help from close friends and family and if I keep my grades above 80 again, I’ll receive a $1,000 scholarship, so that will help a bit,” said Thompson, a second-year sociology student at Ryerson. Boateng said she took the three part-time jobs this summer to avoid adding to her $10,000 debt in school loans.

Student debt across the country has surpassed $12 billion. Meanwhile, Ontario ranks dead last in per capita funding for post-secondary education, tuition fees continue to rise and students increasingly are hit by additional, ancillary fees for libraries, information technology and labs.
“The simple cost of going to school keeps going up and it’s so unfair that getting your degree has become so expensive. “(Premier) Dalton McGuinty needs to make post-secondary education more affordable and accessible as a basic right,” said Boateng, a University of Toronto fourth-year political science and equity major who has worked since she was 14.

McGuinty has preached the need for the province to shift to a “knowledge-based economy” since before he was elected premier. Sandy Hudson, president of the University of Toronto’s students union, says in the last seven years that shift has been underway. Hudson argues that approximately 70% of newly listed jobs in Canada require some form of post-secondary education, increasing the necessity for a degree in today’s competitive job market. “With the student unemployment rate at 21%, a huge number of students will not be able to access education if they can’t get jobs to pay for tuition,” she said. “On a pretty regular basis, we are hearing about students in the awkward financial position of being unable to maintain a job or find employment and this is disturbing for most students,” Hudson said.

Student unemployment rates spiked to 20.9% for July –the worst since 1977, when Statistics Canada started monitoring it. Comparitively, in July 2008 the student unemplyebnt rate was 13.8%. Meanwhile, July’s overall national average unemployment rate sat an 11-year high of 8.6%. “Youth workers have less seniority and have less experience, so they faced the brunt of the recession, with 205,000 student jobs lost in Canada since October 2008,” Sal Guatieri, senior enomonist with BMO Capital Markets, said, adding 84,000 of the 205,000 were in Ontario alone.

Over the next three years the University of Toronto will also be hitting up students with a new policy in which students pay a flat fee for tuition, regardless of whether they take three courses or six. It’s expected to generate around $10 million annually in net revenues for U of T. “It’s just another cash grab,” Hudson said.

The recession has also contributed to more students applying for loans.
The take-up rate of student loans at U of T is 12% higher for this coming fall than last year and the rate of student loans at Ryerson is 10% higher over last year.

“Obviously when student unemployment is high, it will have an impact on the take up rates of student loans,” Shelley Melanson, chairman of the Canadian Federation of Students Ontario, said. “It’s important to recognize the government has the ability to change public policy and change the cost of our education. In 2010, it will be the expiration of a four year tuition fee framework that saw tuition fees increase from 20 to 36% over the four years,” Melanson said.

Ballooning student debt, at $12 billion and increasing by more than $1.5 million each day, is further compounding difficulties students face. In Ontario, student debt has risen 300% — to $28,000 from $8,000 in 1991. “I’d like to tell Dalton McGuinty that the best way to improve the economy is to invest in education by increasing access to post-secondary education and reduce tuition fees to ensure easy access for students to learn,” Melanson said. “It’s a question of investing with more public funding and making it a priority. “We’ve seen government after government not make education a priority,” she said, adding former premier Mike Harris chopped education funding by $400 million a year while he was in office, which eventually caused tuition fees to skyrocket.

DECLINE IN FUNDING

School budgets have also been eroded by the global recession. According to the Council of Ontario Universities, the stock market meltdown will hammer endowment revenues by $180 million and lead to sky-high solvency payments to maintain schools’ pension funds. Years of funding neglect on top of current troubles has put Ontario is in last place in Canada for per capita funding for post-secondary education and second last based on per student funding, according to the Canadian Federation of Students. Melanson says there’s been a steady decline of provincial and federal funding for post-secondary education over the last two decades, which has results in higher tuition fees and users fees.

In the early 1990s, user fees accounted for an average of 21% of an institution’s operating budget, but today user fees cover almost 50% of the institutions’s budget. “One of Dalton McGuinty’s election promises was to invest new money into education. Well, the $6.2 billion he’s investing in post-secondary education isn’t going very far because of the cuts in the 1990s. The new money wasn’t enough to keep pace with the enrolment expansion we saw,” Melanson said. “We’re seeing many institutions with tremendous shortfalls and not enough money in the system. “Using public funding to lower tuition fees will make post-secondary education more accessible for all students, rather than hiking tuition fees,” Melanson said. Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities John Milloy said his government’s five-year investment of $6.2 billion to support the post-secondary sector — called the Reaching Higher plan — is working. “(It) is the biggest investment in over 40 years and half a billion of it was targeted to student aid,” Milloy said. Milloy said the tuition fee framework, which ends in 2010, worked by capping tuition fees at 4.5% in its first year and 4% in the three years following. “We realize people are struggling everywhere … I’m always the first to ask if we could do more, but I’m very, very proud of the progress which has been made,” he said.


UNIVERSITY FEES: Across Canada comparison

Ontario university tuition fees are the second highest in the country. Here’s a look at average undergrad fees for 2008-09:

AVERAGE FEES
– Nova Scotia: $5,952
– Ontario: $5,643
– New Brunswick: $5,590
– Alberta: $5,361
– British Columbia: $5,040
– Saskatchewan: $5,010
– P.E.I. $4,530
– Manitoba: $3,276
– Newfoundland: $2,632
– Quebec: $2,167
– Canada average: $4,724

ONTARIO FEES
Sample undergrad programs
– Dentistry: $12,906
– Medicine: $10,392
– Law: $7,720
– Engineering: $5,310
– Computer science $4,947
– Business: $4,828
– Humanities: $4,478
– Social sciences: $4,318
– Nursing: $4,298
– Education: $3,666

Source: Statistics Canada

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