Top Ten

June 20, 2012

Canadian PSE confronts questions about Chinese ties

A new article in the Globe and Mail raises questions about the agreements between Canadian PSE institutions and Confucius Institutes. While the goal of the Confucius Institutes is to “increase mutual understanding among people in China and in Canada,” they are connected with China’s effort to improve its reputation and “soft power” internationally. PSE institutions provide classroom space for the institutes, but China dictates the curriculum, hires instructors and determines the topics instructors are permitted to discuss with their students. McMaster University insists that its Chinese partners respect Canadian laws and expectations, and is "looking for clarity" on their hiring practices. At the University of Manitoba, faculty resisted a proposed Confucius Institute in 2010. Globe and Mail

This digest has been revised for improved accuracy.

SFU builds on its “Engaged” brand with new “Public Square”

On Tuesday Simon Fraser University launched SFU Public Square, an initiative designed to encourage connections between the university and the Vancouver community, as part of SFU’s strategic vision as “The Engaged University.” The SFU Public Square will provide physical and virtual space for university and community members to debate issues affecting Canadian society. In order to combat disconnectedness in Vancouver, the SFU Public Square will organize poetry gatherings and a lecture series, and provide other community groups with facilities to host their own discussions. The SFU Public Square will host an annual community summit starting this September. Vancouver Sun | SFU Media Release | SFU Public Square

Postscript: Sep 21, 2012

Simon Fraser University has posted on YouTube a 90-second motion-graphic video highlighting SFU Public Square, a signature initiative of the university under SFU's "Engaged University" strategic vision. The video's narrator says SFU Public Square is "designed to spark, nurture, and restore community connections and establish Simon Fraser University as British Columbia's go-to convener of conversations that matter." Video

MUN launches new research strategy, “League of Extraordinary Researchers”

Memorial University has released a new research strategy framework that sets the vision, mission and guiding principles for research at MUN. The document also lists goals for the institution, which include: attracting and retaining researchers; creating an environment that supports research excellence; engaging with collaborators locally, nationally and internationally; and supporting applied research in strategic areas. The framework was guided by feedback from 2,000 individuals and 100 consultation sessions within the university and around Newfoundland. The framework also reaffirms MUN’s “special obligation” to the citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador. The research framework is illustrated in "The League of Extraordinary Researchers", a graphic novel. MUN News Release | MUN Research Strategy | "The League of Extraordinary Researchers"

Policing costs of riots near Fanshawe surpass $500,000

The St. Patrick’s Day riot near Fanshawe College is expected to cost the London police more than $500,000. This includes property damage, cleanup, damage to police vehicles, and personnel costs as police continue to investigate the riot.  Additionally, more than 20 police officers were assigned to the investigation, which took them away from their usual duties. Since March, police have arrested 67 people and laid 167 charges, and continue to review evidence for further charges. The London Police Force is currently facing job losses in order to comply with provincial standards for their 2013 budget. London Free Press

Capilano U proposes “destination” program offerings in Whistler

Capilano University submitted a proposal to Whistler’s Town Council to offer courses in the BC tourist town. Capilano U would offer programs such as hospitality and tourism, recreational management, culinary development, and sustainable management. Unlike the proposal for a new Whistler University, Capilano would not build new facilities but would instead use existing infrastructure to deliver its programs. Whistler Question

Ottawa students decry age limit on student transit discounts

Students in Ottawa are responding angrily to Ottawa city council’s decision to eliminate the student transit discount for students over 19 years of age.  Although the "U-Pass" program will remain (providing Carleton and uOttawa full-time students with a transit pass for $180 per semester), monthly student passes will no longer be available to students over 19. Algonquin College, St Paul University and La Cité Collégiale students are not part of the U-Pass program, and will now be forced to pay the adult fare of $96.25 per month. In a letter to city councillors questioning the decision, student leaders asked, “Is it the intention of the city of Ottawa to simply reject the concept of affordable transit for students?” Metro | Ottawa Citizen

This digest has been revised for improved accuracy.

uWaterloo expands Stratford program before it begins

The University of Waterloo has expanded its inaugural class for the new Global Business and Digital Arts undergraduate program. After receiving more than 400 applications, the school accepted 90 students instead of a planned 60 students. The program will now offer two class sections instead of one at the new Stratford campus, where students attend classes on Fridays. London Free Press

NLC, NVIT sign MoU

On Tuesday, Northern Lights College and the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote academic and research collaboration between the two institutions. The goals of the 3 year agreement are: to encourage student transfers between the institutions; to develop programs of mutual interest, especially in order to support Aboriginal students; to exchange information and expertise; and to discuss joint pilot programs and research partnerships. Dr. Peter Nunoda, vice president academic and research at NLC said, “we believe that our individual strengths can be used collectively to deliver better post-secondary education for Aboriginal communities and students in northeastern British Columbia.” NLC News Release

Debunking 10 myths about Aboriginal Canadians

In recognition of National Aboriginal Day, TD Bank posted a report debunking 10 of the most prevalent myths about Canada’s Aboriginal population. The report covers several issues, including the myth that all Aboriginal people receive free PSE. The report argues that while the Canadian government provides funding to Aboriginal governments to cover PSE costs, there are no comparable programs for Non-Status Indians and Métis, and that demand outstrips the available funding. The report also debunks the myth that Aboriginal people continue to fall behind in the Canadian economy by noting that while the Aboriginal unemployment rate is higher than the Canadian average, it has fallen from 17.4% in 2001 to 9.3% in 2008. Toronto Star | Read the Report

Peer2Peer U at 3 years old

While MOOCs receive a large share of the publicity about free online learning, Peer 2 Peer University offers a different model. Since 2009, P2PU has offered courses in 5 different languages and across different disciplines. While facilitators offer courses in the “schools” of education, web design, mathematics and social innovation, students depend on peer interaction to get through a series of evaluations or "challenges". As professors fine-tune MOOCs, they may find themselves looking to P2PU’s experience in peer learning as they recognize that “education is about more than just content, and that it includes interactions with other learners and educators.” The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)