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News Across The Nation: Saskatchewan Boosting Librarians, Maritime Provinces Need Profs, Albertans Consulted on Climate Change THE VOICE September 18, 2002

Saskatchewan Boosting Librarians

The Saskatchewan Government has announced a bursary of $5,000 for students taking their Masters of Library Science (SEE: http://www.gov.sk.ca/newsrel/2002/09/13-718.html). Saskatchewan has looked ahead a few years and seen that a large number of their librarians will be retiring. The increasing importance of information and being able to access the right information quickly has naturally increased the importance of well-trained librarians.

The bursary does not come without some strings however. The main one of which is that in order to receive the bursary, a person must be willing to work in Saskatchewan for at least two years. On the bright side, anybody registered in a Masters of Library Science program can apply for this whether they current live in Saskatchewan or not.

The sad part about this is how rare it is that the government decides to encourage people trained in skills they need by giving funding directly to those taking the training. More often than not it seems the money goes to businesses to arrange their own training or into creating more “spaces” for that type of student, under the assumption that it is only a lack of space that is holding students back, not a lack of funding.

Maritime Provinces Need Profs

In a related story, the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission has put out a report (SEE: http://www.gov.ns.ca/news/details.asp?id=20020909001) detailing how Maritime Universities will have to fill about 1,800 full-time faculty members over the next ten years to cope with anticipated retirements. It is expected that approximately three-quarters of these will be required to come from outside the region, and that this is part of a general trend occurring all across Canada and to some extent in the United States as well. In Canada alone it is expected the need for PhD’s will be about 32,000 over the next ten years.

In some ways, Athabasca University is in a better position to handle the staffing pressures that will be coming over the next years. As a starter, many of our instructors are not necessarily full Ph. D’s, it is also entirely possible to work for Athabasca University without having to physically move to Athabasca, and since our tuition costs are slated to rise by the maximum amount allowable each year, we can only hope that this money is going toward putting together a very competitive hiring fund for tutors and professors.

Even with all these advantages the competition for top quality staff will still be intense. Perhaps Athabasca University can take a page from the Saskatchewan Government and start planning for the future by providing some sort of remission to those Master’s level students who graduate and are willing to work for Athabasca University for a period of time.

Albertans Consulted on Climate Change

With Prime Minister Chrétien’s recent assurance that Canada would be ratifying the Kyoto Treaty in the near future, the loudest complaint was heard from Alberta’s Premiere, Ralph Klein. Well, now the Alberta Government has announced their Public Consultations on the Alberta Climate Change Plan (SEE: http://www.gov.ab.ca/home/news/dsp_feature.cfm?lkFid=213). The site has a bunch of reading material and a place where people can express their views to the government. Of course, just because you might not be living in Alberta doesn’t instantly stop you from using the form. Who knows, you may decide to move here one day, or have to do some residency requirements at AU central. You may as well take a look at the form and let Premiere Klein know what you think about Alberta’s resistance to Kyoto.

I know I will be.

A native Calgarian, Karl is perpetually nearing the completion of his Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Information Studies. He also works for the Computer Sciences Virtual Helpdesk for Athabasca University and plans to eventually go on to tutor and obtain his Master’s Degree.