Today's Top Ten

April 25, 2018

WLU releases draft statement on freedom of expression

A task force at Wilfrid Laurier University has released a draft statement on freedom of expression, according to CBC. WLU VP of Research and Acting Provost Rob Gordon writes that “[t]he task force was keenly aware that to be effective, the statement must stand the test of time and protect expression under any campus leadership or in any social or political climate.” The Waterloo Region Record adds that although the draft statement supports free speech, it sets limits based on Canadian law. WLU has been embroiled in controversy over academic freedom since Lindsay Shepherd, a graduate teaching assistant, was reprimanded for screening a clip featuring Jordan Peterson during a tutorial in November of 2017. CBC | Waterloo Region Record | WLU

Concordia, QC enter $950K partnership to support English-speaking communities

Quebec Cabinet Minister Kathleen Weil recently announced a $950K partnership between QC, Concordia University, and five community organizations to support English-speaking communities. According to a provincial news release, Concordia will work closely with the Quebec English-Speaking Communities Research Network, which focuses on English education and culture in QC. Guy Rodgers, Executive Director of the English-Language Arts Network, stated that although the linkage between education and culture is well-documented, “it has been difficult in Quebec for English-speaking artists to connect with educators and vice versa, despite valiant efforts on both sides.” SRQEA | Concordia

Kinew calls on MB premier to cover $2.4M penalty for UManitoba bargaining violation

NDP leader Wab Kinew has demanded that Premier Brian Pallister pay the University of Manitoba’s $2.4M penalty for violating bargaining law in 2016, reports the Winnipeg Free Press. Kinew’s comments follow a ruling by the Manitoba Labour Board that the university reportedly bargained with the union in bad faith after Pallister secretly ordered the administration not to disclose a wage freeze on public employees. “We know the premier wanted a strike at the U of M — the premier got his wish,” Kinew said. “He's stuck them with a two-and-a-half-million-dollar bill, completely unnecessary.” Winnipeg Free Press

NWCC to change name to Coast Mountain College

The Government of British Columbia has reportedly granted Northwest Community College permission to change its name to Coast Mountain College. According to an NWCC news release, the name change follows two and a half years of research, community input, and strategic planning in collaboration with local stakeholders. “Our staff and faculty have been working hard during this planning process to explore unique ways of achieving our goal of becoming the college of choice for experiential place-based learning and the name change is one key part of that,” stated NWCC President Ken Burt. The name change will take effect in June of 2018. NWCC

UQAM enters into full partnership with MITACS

The Université du Québec à Montréal has announced that it is entering into full partnership with MITACS. The partnership will help connect businesses and non-profits with professors and students through internships and specialized training in R&D management, professional development, and international research. From 2014 to 2017, MITACS reportedly funded between 42 and 67 internships. Caroline Rogers, a director at MITACS, said that the full partnership will enable UQAM to access a broader range of programs while doubling internships. UQAM

Calgary law office rescinds UAlberta donation as Suzuki backlash continues

The Edmonton Star has learned that the Calgary office of Moody’s Garner, a tax law practice, will cancel the remainder of its five-year, $100K donation to the University of Alberta in response to the university’s decision to confer an honorary degree on David Suzuki. In a letter to UAlberta Chancellor Doug Stollery and President David Turpin, Moody’s Garner asserted that Suzuki has “inappropriately used [science and education] to attack the very foundation of our province’s success without engaging in rational discourse and debate, two things that are also essential to a full and beneficial post-secondary education.” The Star added that as of yesterday morning, UAlberta had declined to comment on the rescinded donation. Edmonton Star

CNC, AHSPG sign MOU around safe and affordable housing

The College of New Caledonia has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Aboriginal Housing Society of Prince George that recognizes the collaborative work the two parties have undertaken to provide safe and affordable housing. “Finding safe and affordable housing is often a challenge for Aboriginal students who have moved with their entire families to pursue education,” said CNC Director of Aboriginal Education Marlene Erickson. “We have worked with the Aboriginal Housing Society of Prince George to remove barriers that can exist for students with families.” The MOU will see CNC and AHSPG provide holistic support services for students from communities throughout the region and beyond. CNC

Canada Council awards MTA gallery $540K

Mount Allison University states that the Owens Art Gallery has received $540K in funding from the Canada Council for the Arts. “The Owens is recognized across Canada as a significant venue for research and presentation of contemporary visual art, and for the quality of its programs and its collection,” stated Gallery Director Gemey Kelly. The funds will reportedly support gallery programs and a new position, Curator of Digital Engagement. According to MTA, the new position will help shape existing areas such as education, outreach, exhibitions, and collection management. MTA

UQAC receives $500K for blueberry research

The Université du Québec à Chicoutimi has announced that it will receive $500K from Fonds d’appui au rayonnement des régions to support blueberry research. According to UQAC, the investment follows a management agreement between several blueberry producers and the provincial government. The investment will reportedly go toward several infrastructure projects, including a new blueberry field and facilities upgrades. UQAC says that the project will also support research related to sustainability and production while creating new networks of scientists, producers, and professionals in the field. UQAC

How presidents can deal with problems they did not create and cannot control

“This is a fraught time for many college presidents who are confronting challenges that they did not create and often can’t control,” writes Susan Resneck Pierce. Institutions that once prided themselves on collegiality are now divided over matters that previously had not been contentious, such as free speech and academic freedom. Administrations have begun to make curricular decisions that were previously the responsibility of faculty, and the widespread use of social media has intensified the reputational risks connected with negative stories. To help address these challenges and more, the author recommends that presidents do everything they can to connect with their campuses, and offers several examples of how to do so. Inside Higher Ed