Today's Top Ten

June 19, 2018

1,100 YorkU contract faculty return to work after record-breaking strike

Roughly 1,100 York University staff have returned to work this week, but 1,900 teaching assistants and graduate assistants remain on the picket line, the Toronto Star reports. Following a vote and a re-vote attributed to discrepancies in the ballots, Unit 2 voted to return to work. “Units 1 and 3 have been on strike for fifteen weeks because we cannot accept precarious work and the decline of academic integrity at York, and in all Ontario Universities,” said CUPE 3903 Chairperson Devin Lefebvre. “We will continue to work toward a fair contract.” Premier-designate Doug Ford has stated that he will recall the legislature next month to end the strike if it has not ended by then. Toronto Star | Newswire

UCalgary business school receives $20M gift for new facility

The University of Calgary has received $20M from Ronald Mathison to fund a second building for the Haskayne School of Business. A UCalgary releases states that the proposed 10,000 square-meter building, to be named after Mathison, will include study spaces, a 300-seat auditorium, diverse learning environments, a student success centre, and dedicated spaces to foster entrepreneurial thinking. “My late father, Ken Mathison, and Richard Haskayne were lifelong friends,” stated Mathison. “This was the genesis of me wanting to make this gift.” According to the release, construction will begin in 2019. UCalgary | CBC

Universities must be trailblazers for intellectual property reform: Harling

Canada must take steps to better commercialize university-created intellectual property (IP) to foster the new generation of entrepreneurs and innovators, writes Gordon Harling. According to the author, the lack of a centralized IP policy risks the potential loss of partners and revenues if an institution makes demands based on its expectations or worldviews rather than accepted industry norms. Harling adds that administrative departments responsible for licensing patents tend to approach companies for patent infringement, which forecloses possibilities for collaboration. By contrast, universities that help researchers commercialize IP through incubators, accelerators, and local investments have experienced success through spinoff companies such as BlackBerry, states Harling, although he admits that this approach can take decades. Globe and Mail

Cégep de Sherbrooke partners with Magog Technopole for cybersecurity program

Cégep de Sherbrooke has announced a cybersecurity training program in partnership with Magog Technopole, laTribune reports. Sherbrooke states that the 44-week program will provide training for cybersecurity professionals and those looking to enter the field. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in internships and will have access to training facilities throughout the city. Benoît Gagnon, VP of Information Technology and Advisory Services at Commissionaires du Québec, told laTribune that the new program meets a growing demand for cybersecurity professionals in QC. laTribune

News of program cancellation pre-empted by media leak: RRC spokesperson

Students of Red River College’s greenspace horticulture program have expressed frustration after hearing last week that the school plans to cancel the program. Red River spokesperson Conor Lloyd said that the college had hoped to inform horticulture students in-person after they returned from their co-op placements, but was pre-empted when the news was leaked to the media. “We've since reached out to the students and apologized for the way they were notified about this change and have offered to meet with them to discuss further,” Lloyd wrote in an email. RRC reports that current students of the program will still be able to graduate. CBC

McGill clarinetist awarded $350K after ex-girlfriend stalls career with false emails

McGill University music student Eric Abramovitz has been awarded $350K in damages after his former girlfriend wrote false emails causing him to miss out on career-defining opportunities, reports the Montreal Gazette. In 2013, Abramovitz’s then-girlfriend reportedly deleted an email informing him that he had received a full two-year scholarship to study with clarinet teacher Yehuda Gilad, before forging and sending a message stating that he had not received the scholarship. “I accept and find that Mr. Abramovitz lost a unique and prestigious educational opportunity, one that would have advanced his career as a professional clarinetist,” said Ontario Supreme Court Judge David Corbett. “It is difficult to quantify such a loss.” Montreal Gazette

Taking on the myths about online education

A recent article challenging the accessibility and quality of online education includes a number of misconceptions of this mode of learning, write Jeff Vallance and Barbara Wilson-Keates of Athabasca University. The authors begin by challenging the notion that the quality of interactions within an online setting is not as high as it is in an in-person one. “The quality and degree of interactions within an online course are driven by the instructor,” note the authors, adding that “with personalized learning, multiple discussion threads, and extensive instructor involvement, it is our experience that online learning provides more opportunities for interaction with classmates and instructors.” The authors then go on to challenge other misconceptions about online education. University Affairs

UMoncton alumni association contributes $1M toward Évolution campaign

l’Université de Moncton’s alumni association has contributed $1M toward the Évoution campaign, which supports a diverse array of faculty and extracurricular scholarships for students. According to a UMoncton release, the donation reflects the alumni association’s new mandate to forge bonds with current students and foster successful career paths through initiatives such as the Rendez-vous de L’alUMni and Benchmarks programs, which provide networking opportunities for UMoncton graduates, students, and the academic community. UMoncton

Canadian territories push for more degrees

As Yukon College prepares to launch its degree program this fall, Bob Weber of Canadian Press writes that all three of Canada’s territories have expressed the desire to establish degree-granting universities. While Arctic colleges offer degree programs such as education and nursing, southern institutions run those programs and grant the degrees. Weber adds that the recommendations that Aurora College be granted degree status and converted to a polytechnic are awaiting a decision by the Northwest Territories' legislature, while Nunavut Arctic College hopes to announce a partnership with a southern institution later this year. All three institutions have stressed the importance of cultural relevance and Indigenous knowledge in their programming. Globe and Mail (CP)

UQÀM partners with hotel and tourism institute for urban agriculture initiative

l’Université du Québec à Montréal has signed a partnership agreement with l’Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec to build a fruit and vegetable garden on the roof of l’Institut. A UQÀM release states that the rooftop project will be integrated into existing training programs for cooks, sommeliers, and facility managers. Éric Duchemin, Director of le Laboratoire sur l’agriculture urbaine, said that the partnership will facilitate new knowledge and expertise on rooftop gardens while showcasing cutting-edge technologies in urban gardening for restaurants and hotels. UQÀM