Top Ten

May 29, 2012

Calls to cut public funding for Crandall U over policy barring hiring of homosexuals

Gay rights activists are demanding that public funding be withdrawn from Crandall University due to its policy that prohibits the hiring of individuals in homosexual relationships. Since 1996, the Moncton-based Christian institution has benefited from approximately $24 million in funding from all levels of government, despite its policy, reports Global News. Crandall U does not believe it is violating anyone's human rights and says its rules are open to debate. "The human rights standard does allow for certain bonafide impositions as it relates to faith and religious positions," says the university's VP of academic affairs. "I'm fine with those who want to disagree and challenge it." Global News

CLASSE negotiator among dozens arrested in Quebec City protest

Riot police moved in during a Quebec City demonstration Monday night and arrested 84 individuals, one of whom was the chief negotiator for the student group CLASSE. He was taken away by riot police after leaving Monday's meeting with the education minister to witness the arrests of demonstrators outside the building where the negotiations were being held. The president of FECQ, who urged the crowd to disperse and avoid arrest, worries the arrests could derail talks with the government. Meanwhile, a group of lawyers donning their courtroom gowns joined the nightly march in Montreal Monday to protest Bill 78, which they "find unjust and which is probably unconstitutional." Canadian Press | Globe and Mail | Montreal Gazette

BC releases International Education Strategy

The BC government unveiled Monday an International Education Strategy designed to give local students new opportunities to study abroad, and to welcome students arriving from overseas. As part of the strategy, the province is pledging $5 million for scholarships and research internships to help students embarking on an international education experience. Through the strategy, the BC government aims to achieve 3 goals: create a globally oriented education system in the province; ensure that all students receive quality learning and life experiences; and maximize the benefits of international education for all BC communities, families, and businesses. BC News Release | BC International Education Strategy

Geriatric training urged for medical schools

The Canadian Geriatric Society and the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly argues that the provision of geriatric training for undergraduate medical students should be a condition of accreditation of medical schools. Advocates asked the Committee on the Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools/Liaison Committee on Medical Education to add competencies to medical school curricula, but they have not been added to any licensing exams. Medical schools argue that their geriatric training is sufficient and that new requirements, such as the ability to conduct cognitive impairment assessments or understanding atypical presentations of illnesses in the elderly, are not necessary. CMAJ News

uCalgary, SFU, and UVic make QS Top 50 Under 50 ranking

QS released Monday its Top 50 Under 50 ranking, which ranks universities that have been established since 1962 according to their position in the 2011 QS World University Rankings. The Canadian universities to make the list are the University of Calgary (17), Simon Fraser University (25), and the University of Victoria (34). QS News Release | Top 50 Under 50

StFX to expand on-campus student accommodations

St. Francis Xavier University is building 2 new residences to meet student demand for on-campus accommodations. The buildings, which will house approximately 330 students, will feature gourmet kitchens, lounges with big-screen televisions, and meeting rooms. Construction of the residences will begin in early June, with completion slated for August 2013. StFX News | Cape Breton Post

SMU releases new designs of north east campus building

Saint Mary's University has released new architectural renderings of the building anchoring the $15-million redevelopment of the north east corner of its campus. The 3-storey facility will have a modern look with an exterior of smoky grey glass and warm stone finishes. The 26,000-square-foot development will provide modern classrooms and facilities for SMU's TESL program and Business Development Centre. SMU News Release

More Olds College sports teams join ACAC

The Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) has approved the inclusion of Olds College's volleyball, soccer, and golf teams for the 2012-13 competitive season. The teams join the college's other ACAC-approved sports, which include basketball, curling, cross-country, and futsal. "This is part of the college’s strategic enrolment strategy moving forward, and we are extremely excited about the role sport will play within our institution," says Olds College's director of health and wellness. Olds College News Release

Colleges must provide a mental-health reality check, book argues

In an essay adapted from her upcoming book, Coming of Age on Zoloft: How Antidepressants Cheered Us Up, Let Us Down, and Changed Who We Are, Katherine Sharpe writes that college students have "become inclined to interpret their distress as a mental disorder, and to reach out for medication or have medication suggested to them as the cure." Sharpe argues that "as students' confusion over the boundaries of mental disorder indicates, colleges must offer narratives about stress and suffering that push back against the alarmist, manipulative ones circulated by pharmaceutical companies and nourished by a drug-obsessed culture." The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

US professors hesitant about MOOCs

While many educators and activists have celebrated the growing number of massive online open courses (MOOCs), some US professors are skeptical about their value to students and institutions. The American Association of University Professors' president argues that while MOOCs are great for people who would not be able to seek out PSE, like those in retirement homes, they should not be a substitute for an education that includes interaction with professors. Others argue that MOOCs, while appearing to democratize PSE, may create further divisions, whereby only wealthy students can afford to learn on campus. Some additional concerns are intellectual property rights, control over course delivery, and whether universities will use MOOCs to cut faculty positions. Inside Higher Ed