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Release: Data shows more than thirty per cent in cuts to Alberta post-secondary institutions

Release: Data shows more than thirty per cent in cuts to Alberta post-secondary institutions 150 150 Michael Brown

Data shows more than thirty per cent in cuts to Alberta post-secondary institutions

Calgary – Recently compiled data shows the depth of post-secondary funding cuts over the last five years in Alberta. Data from Higher Education Strategy Associates shows a 31% cut to funding over the last five years and a 9% per cent cut over the last year alone.

While provinces like British Columbia and Quebec have invested in education by bolstering funding over the last five years to the tune of 10% and 16%, respectively, Alberta has made, by far, the deepest cuts of any province.

“Over the last five years, but in the last three especially, Alberta has become a laggard when it comes to both post-secondary funding and student financial aid,” said SU President Nicole Schmidt. “Students are literally paying the price through increased tuition. Students have become a forgotten stakeholder. While the UCP meet with us, they largely fail to take action on student priorities like tuition, student aid, and jobs.”

In addition to massive cuts, the province has allowed tuition to balloon by approximately 25% for UCalgary students. The Minister of Advanced Education also approved double-digit increases to Engineering and Medicine for students starting this fall. The 2022 Alberta budget projects that Alberta students will pay $149 million more in tuition this year than they did last year.

“An Engineering student starting their studies this fall will pay about 60% more in tuition than in 2019,” said President Schmidt. “Students are telling us that they aren’t seeing increases in quality despite paying much, much more for their education. This is a problem and one the province is refusing to address.”

Students are not receiving much support from the Alberta government when it comes to funding their education either. Alberta’s student aid program relies most heavily on debt, meaning that students tackle skyrocketing tuition by going further into debt. Other provinces have a more even mix of debt and grant funding.

Finally, the province continues to fail students by not stepping up to provide a student jobs program. Both Jobs Now, announced last year, and Alberta at Work provide no support to help students find summer work to cover their ever-increasing tuition bills and living expenses. Last summer one in four UCalgary students who wanted full-time summer work were unable to find it. Summer 2022 looks no different.

It is time for the Alberta government to step up and support students through proper funding, student aid, and a jobs program.

Media inquiries may be directed to:

Mike Brown

External Communications Specialist

University of Calgary Students’ Union

Michael.brown1@ucalgary.ca

403-560-0577

 

Advocacy Update – April 2022

Advocacy Update – April 2022 150 150 Michael Brown

Throughout April, the SU advocacy team focused largely on engaging elected officials as well as developing the SU advocacy strategy targeted towards the provincial government.

The SU hosted the 11th annual Calgary Leaders’ Dinner in early April. The Leaders’ Dinner is an opportunity for SU students leaders and staff to mingle and have dinner with elected officials from all three orders of government. This year, 20 elected officials attended the event including Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides, Health Minister Jason Copping, and Mayor Jyoti Gondek, who also delivered this year’s keynote address. Student leaders had the opportunity to build relationships and discuss issues like tuition, jobs, and financial aid with members of the government.

Throughout April, the SU focused on the student jobs issue. Since the cancellation of the Summer Temporary Employment Program (STEP) in 2019, students have been without a targeted employment program to help them find summer or new graduate work. Students are struggling to find full-time summer work, just as they did the previous two summers. The pandemic has meant fewer opportunities and many students have had opportunities cancelled by employers. In 2020, 42% of UCalgary students surveyed couldn’t find full-time work or had opportunities cancelled. In 2021, this number was 25%. While that is an improvement, we don’t believe summer 2022 will be much better for students.

Despite two jobs programs being announced by the provincial government, in Jobs Now and Alberta at Work, students were overlooked for both. Youth unemployment is currently about double the rest of the population, and something must be done. To the SU’s understanding the province has no plans to implement a jobs program to help students. However, our advocacy will continue. We want to ensure that all students are able to work and help cover their tuition costs and living expenses.

The SU has taken a public approach and has spoken to reporters at the Calgary Herald. The SU President also appeared on CBC’s provincewide call-in show, Alberta at Noon, where student and summer work were discussed for the full hour.

Finally, the SU hosted its Colour Night gala to say a fond farewell to the outgoing 79th SLC and welcome the 80th SLC. The new executive team and SLC members will hit the ground running over the summer and push forward the SU’s advocacy goals.

 

 

2022 Students’ Union Teaching Excellence Awards Winners

2022 Students’ Union Teaching Excellence Awards Winners 1800 913 Michael Brown

Calgary – The Students’ Union (SU) announced yesterday the professors, instructors, and teaching assistants being honoured through the SU’s annual Teaching Excellence Awards (TEA). Awards and honourable mentions are being given to 39 exceptional members of the university community who have demonstrated their commitment to student success over the past academic year. The list of awardees includes two Hall of Fame inductees as well.

The annual TEA is the SU’s campus-wide recognition program giving undergraduate students the chance to honour and thank those instructors, professors, and teaching assistants who have supported and made a lasting and positive impression on their students. Students determine all nominees and winners.

“This year was, once again, a challenging one for students who moved back and forth between online and in-person delivery and faced many other COVID-related challenges,” said Renzo Pereyra, SU Vice President Academic. “It has also been challenging for all those who teach. The educators being honoured have prioritized students and committed to go above and beyond through very difficult circumstances. I would like to extend my congratulations to all those nominated this year.”

This year, the SU received 790 nominations and shortlisted 115 educators. Award winners will receive an Apple Award and a framed certificate. The SU will also donate $5,000 to the Taylor Centre for Teaching & Learning in recognition of the contributions made by the award winners.

The SU has been honouring teaching excellence at UCalgary since 1975, with the current format of TEA beginning in 1984. From the start, the awards were intended to give undergradaute students the opportunity to provide feedback on the quality of the university instruction they receive.

 

For more information about the SU TEA program, please visit www.su.ucalgary.ca/TEA. The 2021/22 TEA Winner’s gallery can be found here.

 

The complete list of award winners and honourable mentions is available on the next page.

 

Inquiries may be directed to:

Mike Brown
External Communications Specialist
Michael.brown1@ucalgary.ca
Cell: 403-560-0577

 

Hall of Fame Award winners Guido van Marle (left) and Carol A. Gibbons Kroeker (Photo: Getsey Boyd)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teaching Excellence Award Winners

Cumming School of Medicine Jacques Rizkallah
Faculty of Arts Eleonora Buonocore
Faculty of Arts Brandy Callahan
Faculty of Arts Paul Meunier
Faculty of Arts Ruth Spivak
Faculty of Kinesiology Ryan Peters
Faculty of Law Lisa Silver
Faculty of Nursing Heather Bensler
Faculty of Science Erik Chan
Faculty of Science Jonathan Hudson
Faculty of Science Jerrod M. Smith
Faculty of Social Work Kerrie Moore
Haskayne School of Business Brent Snider
Haskayne School of Business Dr. Michael Wright
Schulich School of Engineering Kunal Karan
Schulich School of Engineering Qi Zhou
Werklund School of Education Catherine Burwell

 

Teaching Assistant Winners

Mannat Bansal
Graham Blyth
Tanisha Henry
Milanpreet Kaur
Omid Khajehdehi
Loïc Million
Kim Mikael Caldez Pasamonte
Steven William Sparksman
Ricky Tran
David Turnbull

 

Honourable Mention Award

Joy Camarao
Dr. Nadia Delanoy
Meysam Fereidouni
Rachel Friedman
Michael Holden
George Iskander
Joe Kadi
Janet Carmen Leahy
David Sigler
Gail Zuk

 

Hall of Fame Awards

Carol A. Gibbons Kroeker
Guido van Marle

 

SU approves new strategic plan

SU approves new strategic plan 150 150 Michael Brown

Three-year vision built on inclusivity, transparency, and respect

 

 

April 12, 2022

 

The Students’ Union (SU) has renewed its commitment to a vibrant community where students are able to thrive with the ability to create their own post-secondary journey.

 

The SU undertook months of consultation with students, SU staff, and elected student leaders leading to members of the Students’ Legislative Council (SLC) approving the SU’s new, three-year strategic plan.

 

This plan includes a renewed mission, vision, and values for the organization. This refreshed document will guide annual goal-setting and planning processes for new executives beginning next month when the 80th SLC is sworn-in.

 

The Strategic Plan balances the numerous programs and services that the SU offers to its role in advocacy directed towards university administration and the three orders of government. It makes a strong commitment to continuing to elevate and represent student voices through purposeful engagement and advocacy.

 

“Everything we do at the SU starts with listening to and engaging with students,” says SU President Nicole Schmidt. From surveys to town halls to student feedback via email or social media, the SU always wants to hear from students on how they want to be empowered to make the most out of their time at UCalgary.”

 

The plan also includes a list of values that the SU stands for and which motivate its elected officials and employees. These include striving to be leaders in equity, integrity, and ingenuity.

 

Learn more about the SU’s strategic plan by visiting our website.

 

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Update on Bermuda Shorts Day Event

Update on Bermuda Shorts Day Event 150 150 Michael Brown

The Students’ Union (SU) has made the difficult decision not to host a Bermuda Shorts Day (BSD) event on the last day of classes this year.

The SU understands that this will be disappointing for many students. Students have faced a challenging year with shifts between online and in-person learning, the university moving courses online at the last minute, and significant increases to tuition.

Students have worked hard this academic year, during the pandemic, and deserve to celebrate the last day of classes.

Throughout the pandemic, the SU has prioritized its advocacy on keeping students safe. While health measures have been lifted across Alberta, and many measures have been lifted on campus, the SU cannot justify hosting an event that includes thousands of students in very close proximity to each other.

In short, the SU is not willing to take this risk to student health and safety.

We encourage all students to celebrate the last day of classes safely and we hope that we may be able to hold some type of BSD event in future years.

2022 SU General Election – The Results Are In

2022 SU General Election – The Results Are In 150 150 Michael Brown

Election results became official on March 18, 2022.


 

Calgary – The Students’ Union is today announcing the results of its general election which will form the 80th Students’ Legislative Council (SLC). After forums, debates, interviews, and campaigning, undergraduate students have chosen who will represent them to faculties, the university, and all orders of government.

For the first time in two years, students running in the election were able to campaign somewhat normally, in-person and on campus. In addition, and for the first time ever in a SU General Election, students had the opportunity to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ for a candidate who was running unopposed. This change was asked for by students and implemented by the most recent SLC.

Current SU President, Nicole Schmidt, ran unopposed and received 86% of the ‘yes’ vote, successfully being re-elected for another term as President. Joining her will be Shaziah Jinnah elected as Vice-President Academic (84%), and Adrian Alcantara as Vice-President Student Life (84%).

The race for Vice-President External was invalidated by a decision from the Review Board in response to an appeal. The position is expected to remain vacant until the By-Election in October.

For the final executive role, Vice-President Operations and Finance, three members of the current SLC were competing for the role. Taimur Akhtar received 40% of the vote to be elected to the position.

In Faculty Representative races, Emily MacPhail and Reeana Tazreean were elected as Cumming School of Medicine representatives with 42% and 31% of the vote, respectively.

Over in the Faculty of Science, the three representatives elected are Harold Zhu, Pragya Chopra, and Sandra Amin with 28%, 26%, and 24% of the vote, respectively.

Students were also asked three referendum questions on the topic of the SU Health and Dental Plan. The cost of the plan has not increased since 1993 and the viability of the plan is at risk. The first question asked students whether they approve of a constitutional amendment to allow the cost of the health and dental program to grow with inflation, up to 4% per year. Students voted 56% against this question.

The final two questions asked students whether they support a lump sum increase to the individual health or dental plans. Students voted in support of increasing the dental fee by $10 with 56% in support. They also opposed a lump sum increase to the health plan of $20 with 50.4% opposing the change.

2,390 students voted in the 2022 General Election. The results announced today are provisional and become official on March 18, 2022. Students elected will be sworn in at a ceremony on April 29 and begin their terms of office in May.

Other results include faculty representatives running uncontested for their roles. These roles required candidates to go through a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote. The following candidates were successfully elected:

Faculty of Arts: Rachel Cabalteja, Areeba Nadeem, Ermia Rezaei-Afsah, Siraaj Shah, and Nathaniel Tschupruk.

Haskayne School of Business: Daniel Fine

Faculty of Law: Saliha Haq

Faculty of Nursing: Melody Chu

Faculty of Veterinary Medicine: Lauren Stoffregen

Werklund School of Education: Dhwani Joshi

UCalgary Senate Student-at-Large Representatives: Arafatul Mamur and Armaan Sidhu.

The SU will hold a By-Election in October to fill vacancies for the Vice-President External (1), Board of Governors Representative position (1) and faculty representatives in the Haskayne School of Business (1), Kinesiology (1), Social Work (1), and the Schulich School of Engineering (2). Temporary appointments may be made in the spring and summer to ensure representation for these positions on SLC.

 

Inquiries may be directed to:

Mike Brown
External Communications Specialist
Michael.brown1@ucalgary.ca
Cell: 403-560-0577

 

Photo Credit: Gene Baines

 

 

 

Alberta budget fails to support student employment and increasing costs

Alberta budget fails to support student employment and increasing costs 150 150 Michael Brown

As oil prices hit highs not seen since 2014, students are also seeing the highest tuition in Alberta’s history. With the budget showing a surplus for the first time in a number of years, thanks to resource revenues, post-secondary students remain overlooked by this UCP government. Instead, students are seeing skyrocketing tuition and plummeting summer employment opportunities.

 

After several consecutive years of deep cuts to post-secondary institutions, totaling more than $600 million across the province, the government has failed to step up for students once again. Now is the time to re-invest in post-secondary education and ensure that students and graduates stop leaving the province and, instead, remain in Alberta.

 

Budget 2022 boasts that Alberta students paid over $1.6 billion in tuition fees, noting that this is an increase of $149 million over last year. The government projects students will pay for a further increase to tuition of $100 million by the end of this current fiscal plan. Students are paying much more for their education without a corresponding increase in quality, thanks to provincial cuts.

 

“If the UCP government is serious about maintaining a quality post-secondary system, they need to step up and fund it,” said SU President, Nicole Schmidt. “Students are seeing a decline in the quality of their education while paying significantly more tuition. The blame lies directly at the feet of this government. It’s not surprising young people are fleeing Alberta.”

 

University of Calgary students have seen their tuition rise by more than 25% over the last four years. This is directly the result of deep provincial cuts that have left students, and their families, covering these expenses. The Minister approved tuition increases in programs, like UCalgary Engineering, of more than 30% for students enrolling this September. This is not sustainable. The province has failed to support students with predictable funding and an affordable education.

 

The UCP government has also failed students by not implementing a program to support employers to hire students for summer work. In the summer of 2021, one in four UCalgary students surveyed were unable to find full-time summer work. The government’s Jobs Now program does not incentivize student summer employment. Students use the summer months to save money for their expenses while also gaining useful job skills for after graduation.

 

“The government has made it difficult for students to find summer employment,” said President Schmidt. “The UCP is raising costs for students and not providing any support to help cover those skyrocketing bills. The Premier ran on a promise of jobs, he and his team have broken that promise to students.”

 

The UCP must commit to predictably and adequately fund post-secondary education while also supporting students to find work.

 

Media Inquiries may be directed to:

Mike Brown, External Communications Specialist

Michael.brown1@ucalgary.ca

Cell: 403-560-0577

UCalgary board must push back, keep campus health measures in place

UCalgary board must push back, keep campus health measures in place 150 150 Michael Brown

Calgary – UCalgary students are alarmed by the letter sent to the UCalgary Board of Governors by Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides. The letter sets out the Minister’s expectations that post-secondary institutions “align their COVID-19 policies and practices with that of the Alberta Government.” This means the government expects students to return to in-person classes without masking, proof of vaccination, and other health protocols in place.

 

This is unacceptable. The Minister has penned this letter without consulting students and other post-secondary stakeholders. This is a heavy-handed approach by the Minister and one that the SU calls on UCalgary and its Board of Governors to oppose.

 

“Students are hesitant to return to in-person learning at the end of the month even with common sense health measures in place,” said SU President Nicole Schmidt. “Students certainly do not feel safe without mandatory health measures. It was just over a month ago that students began the semester online and now the Minister and UCP government want to return, almost immediately, to pre-pandemic delivery.”

 

With COVID hospitalizations still near all-time highs, combined with the government drastically reducing testing capacity, it is difficult to understand this decision. Students will return to in-person learning on February 28th and may be in classrooms with up to 400 other students.

 

“We were happy when the university announced yesterday that they would maintain their COVID safety protocols as students returned to classes later this month,” says President Schmidt, “and we expect that they hold firm to this and their commitment to ensuring students are safe during this time of transition. It isn’t a lot to ask for these measures to be continued for the last two months of the winter semester.”

 

The health and safety of students, and our campus community, rests with the Board of Governors. It is the Board that is responsible for making decisions in the best interest of the institution. What the Minister is demanding does not meet this threshold. We call on the university and its Board to make the right decision and continue the common sense health measures that exist on campus as students return.

 

The SU firmly believes that the Minister needs to step back and not impose a one size fits all approach on Alberta’s post-secondary institutions.

 

Media inquiries may be directed to:

Mike Brown

External Communications Specialist

University of Calgary Students’ Union

Cell: 403-560-0577

Email: Michael.brown1@ucalgary.ca

Passion for your Palate: Chef recipes for date night

Passion for your Palate: Chef recipes for date night 150 150 wrushfel

In honour of Sex Week 2022, we asked Executive Chef Hussein Haji from the Den to show us how to put together some really special date night desserts and a mock-tail.


Chocolate Mousse

ingredients

8 oz bittersweet baking chocolate
1/2 cup of water split in two
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Instructions

First, make whipped cream and set it in the fridge until ready to use: Using a cold whisk attachment, beat cold heavy cream in the cold bowl of an electric mixer, until soft peaks appear.

Preheat water in the double boiler over medium heat. Add chocolate, 1/4 cup of water, butter and vanilla extract. Let it start melting and then stir with a silicone covered whisk until all melted and smooth. Take off heat and set aside.

In a small, heavy sauce pot, over medium-low (to low) heat, whisk egg yolks, 1/4 cup of water and 1/4 cup of sugar together. Cook stirring slowly but constantly, until the mixture reaches 160° (F). This could take up to 10 minutes but don’t walk away or you will cook your eggs. Take off heat.

Stir egg mixture into chocolate mixture until all combined and smooth.

Place some ice into a large mixing bowl. Set the sauce pot in the ice bath. Let chocolate cool, while slowly stirring, for 5-7 minutes.

Fold whipped cream into cooled chocolate mixture until all smooth. Take you time folding with a spatula, you don’t want to whip or it will flatten.

At this time, you can divide chocolate mousse among dessert cups and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.


Chocolate torte

Ingredients

9 ounces good-quality dark chocolate 65% or higher, finely chopped
9 ounces unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
7 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
If you are feeling dangerous: a few tablespoons rum bourbon, or whiskey (Kenzie puts in “a splash”)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease and line a try pan with parchment paper. Grease again.

Melt the chocolate and butter together in a double boiler or in a microwave-safe bowl, until the chocolate is almost completely melted. Remove from heat and stir until smooth and totally melted. Stir in the sugar, then let cool for a few minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, fully combining between each addition. After all the eggs are added, continue to stir until the batter becomes thick, glossy, and utterly gorgeous. Stir in the vanilla extract, almond extract, and any optional boozy addition you desire.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 20 minutes, until the torte jiggles slightly in the middle but is not completely set. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then unmold.


COCONUT LAVENDER LEMONADE (one Pitcher)

A refreshing twist on lemonade!

ingredients

1 1/2 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice, from about 9 lemons
1 3/4 cups sugar
8 cups coconut water
4 cups water
1/2 recipe Lavender Simple Syrup:
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
3 tbsp dried lavender
A few drops of violet food coloring (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Lavender Simple Syrup: Combine the sugar, water and lavender in a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan.

Bring to a boil on high heat, and boil for 1 minute.

Remove from the heat, cover, and let the lavender steep in the syrup for 20 minutes.

Strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove the lavender, add the food coloring (used to give the lemonade a purple color).

Set syrup aside to cool.

Once cooled, place in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to one week.

Coconut Lavender Lemonade: Place lemon juice, sugar, coconut water, and water into a pitcher and shake or stir vigorously until all the sugar is dissolved. Shaking is preferred is possible as it aerates the lemonade.

Pour 1/2 of the lavender syrup into the pitcher and stir. You can add more or less lavender syrup to your personal taste.

SU calls for immediate decision on remainder of winter 2022 semester

SU calls for immediate decision on remainder of winter 2022 semester 150 150 Michael Brown

Calgary – The Students’ Union (SU) is calling on the University of Calgary to provide immediate and clear direction to students on its plans for the remainder of the winter semester in March and April.

In January, the university announced that classes would remain online until the end of February. Now, with only three weeks remaining, students have been provided no further direction or insight into the university’s plans.

While the University of Alberta committed to a return to in-person learning last week, the University of Calgary has made no announcement at all. This leaves students in the dark and unable to plan ahead.

“Students are anxious and are increasingly frustrated. They want to receive clear direction from the university in order to make appropriate living and travel arrangements. The clock is ticking down and it’s students who will be left scrambling if the university continues to dither.” – SU President, Nicole Schmidt

In recent meetings with senior university officials, the SU has pushed for a decision to be made and asked when the university expects to announce its plans to students. From these meetings, it does not appear that a decision is close and that is worrisome for students.

“The university must immediately communicate a decision on how classes will be delivered. Students cannot be asked to scramble at the last minute, as they have in the past, to make travel plans and find accommodation should the university return to in person learning.” – SU President, Nicole Schmidt

In a recent statement, the SU outlined what additional actions the university must take after it finally makes a decision:

Should courses return in-person the university must also: Set clear and consistent criteria for instructors to meet should they wish to keep a course online, pro-rate fees for services students could not access while learning online, provide a grant to students to assist with relocation costs, and ensure that health measures, including vaccination policies, are followed.

Should courses remain online, the university must also: Allow students in residence to cancel leases without penalty, refund students fully for fees for services they cannot use, and provide a grant to all students who had in-person courses moved online to help cover costs.

The university cannot make its decision as if it doesn’t have serious consequences for students. It must provide adequate notice to students and support them no matter the path forward.

Media inquiries may be directed to:

Mike Brown

External Communications Specialist

University of Calgary Students’ Union

Cell: 403-560-0577

Email: Michael.brown1@ucalgary.ca