Top Ten

October 3, 2011

PhD dispute about dean's actions, says uManitoba prof

At his grievance hearing last Friday, University of Manitoba math professor Gábor Lukács testified that he found it suspicious that a PhD student waited until 3 weeks after he failed a compulsory exam for a second time to declare he suffers from extreme exam anxiety. Lukács said his legal challenges against the PhD centred not on the student, but on the dean of graduate studies' decision to overrule accommodation proposals, waive the graduation requirements, and award the degree. Lukács argued that university policies do not allow for a waiver, and that the dean had no authority to make the decisions he was making. Lukács was suspended for 3 months without pay last year for disclosing the student's personal health information. He lost a court case on the PhD issue in August. Winnipeg Free Press

Survey examines university collaboration tendencies of Quebec businesses

According to a new Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal survey, which compares the university-industry collaborations in Quebec to the rest of Canada, nearly half of responding Quebec firms see little or no merit in collaborating with universities, while only a third feels this way in the rest of Canada. Quebec businesses that collaborate with universities do so primarily by offering internships (36%), with other common forms being collaborative research (13%), donations to universities or their foundations (12%), and mentoring (9%). Both Quebec firms and their Canadian counterparts (28%) stated that greater awareness of university collaboration opportunities would make a future partnership more likely and more effective. BTMM News Release | Survey

Record full-time enrolment at Durham College

Durham College reports it has welcomed over 8,400 full-time students at its Oshawa and Whitby campuses and Uxbridge location since the beginning of the school year, marking an increase of more than 7.3% over last fall and an all-time high for Day 10 student enrolment numbers. In addition, the number of students new to the college rose by 7.5%. Durham's full-time student population comprises students enrolled in a full-time, daytime program, as well as Second Career, collaborative nursing, and international students. Durham College News

Queen's engineering and applied science faculty aims to attract more Aboriginal students

Queen's University's Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science is creating a program to attract and retain more Aboriginal students. A circle of advisors, including Aboriginal faculty and alumni, gave their input during the development of the Aboriginal Access to Engineering Program. A summer job program pairing Aboriginal students with mining companies is in development. The faculty is working with its counterpart at the University of Manitoba to design support programs for Aboriginal students and evaluate the opportunity for collaboration between both institutions. Queen's News Centre

Concordia student government rejects Faubourg development bid

The Concordia Student Union (CSU) has unanimously rejected a proposal to buy the Faubourg development for use as a student centre. CSU's president says the proposed $54-million project was deemed to be too full of holes to get resounding support from students. The union had concerns with some of Concordia's policies that would apply to the student centre, such as security personnel being allowed to ask someone to leave the premises for not having Concordia ID. The university's VP of services says Concordia will now pursue buying the building -- located in the geographic centre of the campus -- for its own academic needs. Montreal Gazette

Saskatchewan launches Innovation and Opportunity Scholarship

The Saskatchewan government has committed $3 million to launch the Saskatchewan Innovation and Opportunity Scholarship program for PSE students, to match funding raised by post-secondary schools through private-sector and community-based partners. The program will target students in new and emerging fields of study, or fields where innovative work is being done, such as agriculture/biotechnology, energy, engineering, environment, forestry, manufacturing, mining, nuclear medicine, and science. Of the annual funding, 80% will go to the Universities of Regina and Saskatchewan, SIAST, and the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies. The remaining 20% will go to the regional colleges, the Gabriel Dumont Institute, and the Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission. Saskatchewan News Release

Trend in graduate programs for student affairs practitioners

As the student affairs profession continues to grow, more practitioners in this field are looking for graduate education opportunities, and Canadian institutions are launching new master's and PhD programs to meet their needs. For example, the University of Toronto's Ontario Institute for Studies in Education plans to introduce next fall a new MEd with a specialization in student affairs and student development. A University of Calgary professor says the push to professionalize student affairs is gaining ground in part due to the renewed emphasis of learning outcomes and student assessments, and to the increased competition for students. The field of student affairs has broadened in recent years, with over 25 sub-specialties, including admissions, counselling, student aid, housing, and health care. As the field continues to evolve, one Simon Fraser University professor predicts that Canada will develop its own body of academic literature. University Affairs

University research and teaching "inextricably linked"

"People often make the classic mistake of thinking that teaching and research are two entirely separate endeavours," writes Stephen Saideman, Canada Research Chair in International Security and Ethnic Conflict at McGill University, for the Globe and Mail. Professors' research informs their teaching, and vice versa; Saideman's own research on NATO and Afghanistan shapes how he teaches about alliances. It may be the case that professors' current set of incentives to share what they've learned as broadly as possible puts more emphasis on research than on teaching, Saideman writes, "but we need to be clear that research is a fundamental part of the university enterprise, serving the public good, and that research and teaching are inextricably linked." He concludes that "if we’re not engaged in the study of what we teach, then all we can do is repeat what we learned a long time ago." Globe and Mail

Boréal, TFO partner on production of short educational videos

GroupeMédia TFO and Collège Boréal announced last week a new collaboration agreement for the production of short educational videos, a project that comprises 90-second online vignettes presenting educational content from the college's PSE programs. The pilot project will begin this winter at Boréal in Sudbury with the production of 3 videos based on content from the Forestry and Wildlife Management program. Professors in the program will present instructional material while showing the installations and labs in the college. The final project will be available as part of an online series of educational videos targeting francophone PSE clientele. Boréal News Release

OCUFA launches new website

The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations has redesigned its website, whose homepage makes it easier to access news and register for events. The site provides access to current campaigns, publications, news releases, the magazine Academic Matters, and the organization's social media accounts. OCUFA also has a new blog, which has been covering this week's provincial election. OCUFA has posted responses from Ontario's major political parties to its questionnaire, which asked the parties about their plans regarding quality education, tuition fees, faculty shortage, deferred maintenance, and research funding. OCUFA website | Questionnaire