Top Ten

January 20, 2012

CAUT launches investigation at Queen's on course cancellation, reassignment

The Canadian Association of University Teachers has established an ad hoc investigatory committee to examine Queen's University's treatment of history professor Michael Mason. In late October, Mason's class was cancelled and the course subsequently reassigned to another professor after he was accused of racism for quotations he included in his lectures from historical documents he felt showed the persistence of colonial attitudes in contemporary times. In a letter to Queen's principal Daniel Woolf, CAUT executive director James Turk advised the committee's terms of reference were to investigate the institution's handing of complaints made against Mason in relation to his course; to determine whether there were any violations of substantive or procedural fairness in the investigation of Mason and subsequent actions taken as a result of that investigation; to determine whether there were breaches of or threats to Mason's academic freedom and other faculty rights; and to make any appropriate recommendations. The committee will submit its report to CAUT later this year. CAUT Bulletin

uManitoba to reduce number of faculties

In a message to the institutional community, University of Manitoba president David Barnard notes that, based on available data, no other medical-doctoral university of its size and scope in Canada has as many free-standing faculties and schools or departments as does uManitoba (20 faculties and schools and 78 departments.) Barnard believes this academic structure affects academic planning and decision making, results in the inefficient use of people, and hinders progress on the institution's Strategic Planning Framework. Barnard has asked uManitoba's provost to work with deans and directors, who in turn will work with internal and external stakeholders, to identify viable options for reducing the number of faculties and schools from 20 to 13 by 2017. The provost will work with the health sciences cluster to develop a proposal or set of options by December for consideration by the university's governing bodies. Message | Winnipeg Free Press | CBC

uAlberta pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences faculty receives $3-million donation

The University of Alberta's Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences announced Thursday it has received a $3-million gift from Apotex, a Canadian-owned pharmaceutical company. The donation will help advance students' practical learning experiences and expand their financial support. In recognition of the gift, the faculty will name its new administration area the "Apotex Pharmacy Learning Centre." uAlberta News

Concordia completes consolidation of fine arts facilities

On Thursday, Concordia University celebrated the completed regrouping of its music, theatre, and contemporary dance departments at the university's Sir George Williams campus in downtown Montreal. The contemporary dance and theatre departments were relocated to the John Molson School of Business building in August 2009, the first step toward realizing the fine arts faculty's long-standing goal to consolidate facilities downtown. A year later, the music department moved to the Molson building. Theatre design classrooms and faculty offices for all 3 departments are located in the Guy-Metro building. The new facilities feature state-of-the-art equipment, sprung floors designed to absorb the impact of dancers' movements, and sophisticated lighting, sound, and recording systems. The new infrastructure is supported by $11 million from the federal and Quebec governments. Concordia News Release | Quebec News Release (in French)

Confederation College celebrates new nursing simulation training lab

Confederation College nursing students can now train using the latest in simulation equipment and techiques in the new Maamawi gigendaasowin Skills Lab at the Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre. Designed as a real-life hospital, health care workers learn in these lab experiences that simulate common health care scenarios. This learning environment supports academic teaching and gives students additional practical skills when they enter field placements as well as hospital settings after graduation. Confederation College News Release

Douglas College opens Aboriginal gathering place

Thursday marked the official opening of the new Aboriginal gathering place at Douglas College's New Westminster campus. A 175-square-metre extension built on the fourth floor of the college's south building, the gathering place is a multi-purpose facility used as a classroom, study space, student lounge, and venue for traditional ceremonies. An adjoining smaller room is used for meetings, potlucks, and a staging area for Aboriginal dancers. Douglas College News

SFU launches high-tech entrepreneurship initiative

Simon Fraser University has announced it is launching entrepreneurship@SFU, a new high-tech entrepreneurship initiative, with the help of a $210,000 donation from SFU alumnus Ken Spencer and a matching contribution from the BC government. The new Ken Spencer Entrepreneur Incubator, a component of entrepreneurship@SFU, is a competitive academic pathway for third- and fourth-year business and applied sciences students that provides the skills, mentorship, and resources to build innovative ideas and develop successful new ventures. The university will begin with a pilot initiative this year, accepting 20 to 25 students for each of the next 7 years with the goal of producing 6 potential companies or products annually. SFU News Release

uRegina students approve fee for gay pride centre

University of Regina students have voted to make regular payments to the campus gay pride centre. A referendum last week asked if full-time students would pay $1 and part-time students 50 cents per term to support the UR Pride Centre for Sexuality and Gender Diversity. As a result of the vote, the centre will receive about $20,000 annually. Until now, the centre has had to apply annually for a grant from the students' union. In the future, the funding will be deducted automatically when students pay their tuition. There is also an opt-out clause for students who do not want to pay the fee. CBC

Rotman Commerce unveils new site

Offered jointly by the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management and Faculty of Arts and Science, the Rotman Commerce program has redesigned its website, whose homepage features a rotating graphic banner highlighting the program's professors, corporate partners, student resources, and study-abroad opportunities. The homepage includes an events listing, news and articles, the program viewbook, and links to Rotman Commerce's social media accounts. Rotman Commerce website

uMichigan professor debuts classroom iPad app at consumer electronics show

A University of Michigan at Ann Arbor professor has developed an iPad application that turns the tablet into a new type of classroom tool that lets students draw on a shared canvas. The app was displayed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas by LectureTools, a company that grew out of a project created by the professor. For the app to be fully utilized, every student and the instructor would need either an iPad or a laptop equipped with the software as they sit in class. The instructor could use the app to present slides that would display on each student's screen and allow any student to annotate the slides or ask questions. In the future, the app will expand to include analytics functions, allowing instructors to track classroom participation. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)