The University of Saskatchewan’s main campus is situated on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis.

News Briefs: Oct 1, 2009

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Vet Med welcomes largest class ever
News Briefs
With a total of 77 students, the Western College of Veterinary Medicine welcomed the largest first-year class in the college’s history in a white coat ceremony on Sept. 25.

Members of the class of 2013 each received a personalized lab coat from the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association and a stethoscope from the provincial veterinary medical association in the students’ respective home provinces.

The WCVM’s new students represent 48 communities in Western and Northern Canada. The college accepts an allotted number of applicants from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba for its undergraduate veterinary program. The regional veterinary college also accepts a number of students from the territories.

The majority of first-year students in the college have already volunteered or worked at veterinary clinics, farms, humane societies, zoos, research centres or other animal-related organizations in preparation for their education.

The WCVM recently underwent a $71 million renovation project, including additions to its veterinary teaching hospital, diagnostics area and research laboratories.

Research chairs aim to improve vaccines, X-rays and fuels
The U of S was awarded $4.76 million over seven years for three U of S-based Canada Research Chairs, Philip Griebel, Ajay Dalai and Safa Kasap.

The researchers hope to create new ways of administering vaccines, lay the groundwork for the next generation of X-ray imaging devices and develop new environmentally friendly fuel alternatives. Each researcher brings $1.4 million to the university from the CRC program.

The CRC program, which invests $300 million annually in promising research, will bring the number of U of S CRC chairs to 26, representing a total investment of $53.7 million.

The Canada Foundation for Innovation is also investing a total of $562,522 for research equipment.

University Students’ Council – Sept. 17, 2009
University Students’ Council members received a visit from Saskatchewan’s advanced education minister on Sept. 24.

Minister Rob Norris spoke to the USC about the future of the U of S. He then took time to answer councillors’ questions about tuition, funding and the profile of the University of Saskatchewan.

“Your work is profoundly important,” Norris said to the council. “And one of the reasons I wanted to come tonight”¦ (was) to make sure we have a direct relationship.”

Norris argued that tuition freezes are “unsustainable” and cited B.C.’s trouble with a tuition freeze and consequent drastic rise in tuition as proof.

“We were in an unsustainable position regarding tuition, a freeze that had been put in place back in 2004,” Norris said to the group.

“That policy instrument has been tried by almost every provincial jurisdiction in the country, and it leads to disaster. We saw that in B.C., if you wait too long and one day it ends. What happened in B.C. is tuition went up by double digits.”

Kevin Miller, councillor for law, took issue with Norris’ statement, saying, “You’re using B.C. as an example, which I’m not sure is fair. In Saskatchewan we had a fully funded tuition freeze, as I’m sure you’re aware”¦ whereas in B.C. they had a non-funded tuition freeze.”

In response, Norris reiterated that freezes are unsustainable and explained that a funded tuition freeze “costs more and more public dollars to underwrite that tuition freeze.” He also said that institutions suffer from freezes.

He added that the Sask Party is planning to establish a $12 million scholarship fund before the next election.

Arts and science councillor Alexander Steffen asked Norris what the government’s plans are to raise the profile of the U of S nationally and internationally.

“Brad Wall has been to Washington. And let me tell you: he set the place alight.”
-Rob Norris
Sask minister for higher education

Norris responded with several examples of how the provincial government is present in national and international media. He listed the numerous press conferences premier Brad Wall has given in Ottawa and added that Saskatchewan recently played host to two American senators, Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

“Brad Wall has been to Washington,” Norris continued. “And let me tell you: he set the place alight.”

He went on to add that “excellence and innovation” should be the main focal points in discussion about the U of S, “especially as it relates to our role in the knowledge sector.”

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