Top Ten

December 11, 2012

uWindsor education dean suspended over plagiarism

The University of Windsor has suspended education dean Clinton Beckford following an incident of plagiarism. Beckford has begun an administrative leave and will be suspended without pay until June 30, 2014. According to a statement from uWindsor, the penalty comes "in recognition of an academic integrity breach involving plagiarism." In an interview with the Windsor Star, uWindsor president Alan Wildeman said Beckford's publication record was brought to administration's attention about 2 months ago, and a formal investigation took place over a number of weeks. The university will appoint an acting dean in the following weeks. While Beckford has the ability to come back as a faculty member of uWindsor, he will not be returning to the position of dean of education. uWindsor Daily News | Windsor Star | Toronto Star

Navitas partnership remains a contentious issue for uManitoba senate

University of Manitoba faculty members are raising concerns about a private college operating on campus, which is the subject of criticism by some students for its recruitment practices and refund policy. In 2008, uManitoba signed a 5-year agreement with Navitas, an Australian for-profit education firm, to create International College Manitoba (ICM), an international university transfer program. ICM remains a contentious subject in uManitoba's senate, reports the CBC. Some senators have questioned why they did not have more involvement in the decision to bring ICM to uManitoba, and why they do not have more oversight of its activities. Meeting minutes indicate that senators had to file a freedom-of-information request in 2008 and 2009 to see a copy of the contract between uManitoba and Navitas. Initially their request was denied, but an appeal to the provincial ombudsman resulted in a version being released to them, albeit with financial information blacked out. According to senate minutes, the document was subsequently made available for public viewing in the Office of the University Secretary. CBC reports that a copy of the contract it obtained through an FOI request had the financial information blacked out. This kind of secrecy is "the norm [in the private sector], but it's a problem at a publicly funded institution," says a former president of the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA). He says UMFA is concerned about ICM mainly because it represents an outsourcing of teaching. UMFA has warned its members about cooperating with the college, and some departments have declined to work with it. As for students' complaints about ICM, a uManitoba vice-provost says officials will look into the allegations. CBC (UMFA concerns) | CBC (student complaints)

uWaterloo to open $5-million quantum computing lab

The University of Waterloo will this week open a first-of-its-kind laboratory at its Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC), which the university says could lead to the creation of quantum materials to be used in future technologies. Quantum materials are the building blocks of robust quantum devices, and the creation of such devices would bring “the possibility of a quantum computer one step closer.” The new lab houses a $5-million tool to grow these new quantum materials. The Canadian government, Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Ontario Research Fund, and industry partners helped fund the new lab. uWaterloo News Release

Quebec think-tank warns against "quality assurance" creeping into PSE

The first workshop leading up to Quebec's PSE summit in February appeared to produce a widely accepted proposition for an independent body to oversee university quality, but a researcher with the Institut de recherche et d'informations socio-économiques (IRIS) argues it would be a disaster. He says in a new report that it is disguised "quality assurance" -- a controversial concept that has started gaining ground in Europe to evaluate education quality. "The whole idea behind it is to measure the ability of diplomas to correspond to the work market," the IRIS researcher says. "Some students think it will be better for them, but they are naive. There is a danger in measuring the output of universities in terms of market relevance." But the president of the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec says students are not so naive, neither are they looking for the model of quality assurance that is emerging abroad. "What we're proposing is far from what IRIS is talking about," she says. "We just want to ensure that CREPUQ (the Conference of Rectors and Principals of Quebec Universities) doesn't have all the power -- that's not working for us." Montreal Gazette | IRIS Report

$50 million for uSask-based Global Institute for Food Security

On Monday, the Saskatchewan government, the University of Saskatchewan, and Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. (PotashCorp) formally launched the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS), to be based at the university. With initial commitments of up to $35 million from PotashCorp and $15 million from the province over the next 7 years, GIFS will apply Saskatchewan's resources, innovation, and expertise to address the rising global demand for safe, reliable food. "This collaborative institute will create unique opportunities for cutting-edge science and policy research that will attract top faculty and students and put Saskatchewan on the global map for food security research," says uSask president Irene Busch-Vishniac. PotashCorp's investment represents the largest donation in the company's history, and is one of the largest corporate donations for university research in Canada. uSask News Release | Global Institute for Food Security

Queen's Homecoming to return next fall

Queen's University principal Daniel Woolf announced yesterday that Homecoming will be reinstated starting in October 2013. "I know how important Homecoming is to our alumni, and I've also heard how important it is to our students, and the local community," Woolf says. "I want to acknowledge the many groups whose perspectives have helped inform my decision to reinstate the Homecoming tradition." Homecoming will be held on 2 weekends in October of next year. "It will blend familiar university traditions -- including home football games -- with new and innovative programming for alumni, students and members of the Kingston community," the institution states. The fall Homecoming at Queen's had been suspended since 2008 to allow the institution to focus its efforts on terminating the unsanctioned Aberdeen Street Party. Queen's News Centre | AMS News Release | AMS Blog

Degree programs driving Sheridan's enrolment growth

Sheridan College reports that it experienced a 6% increase in first-year enrolment this year, while overall enrolment rose by 6.2%. While enrolment increased across nearly all programs areas, the most significant surge was seen in Sheridan's degree programs. Overall enrolment in the 10 degrees currently offered by the college grew by 15.6% in the fall term compared with the previous year. Sheridan also continues to draw a rising number of international students, up by 25.1% over 2011 for a total of 2,484 students. Sheridan News Release

Humber to help Indonesian universities deliver entrepreneurship education

Humber College has partnered with 7 universities in Sulawesi, Indonesia for a 5-year, $4.6-million initiative to help develop the partner universities' capacity to deliver entrepreneurship curricula, thus enabling graduates to start their own businesses. The Sulawesi Economic Development Strategy Project (SEDS) will provide Humber faculty with a cross-cultural professional development experience, as well as provide students with a number of internship opportunities. SEDS is funded by the federal government through the Canadian International Development Agency and by Humber. Humber News Release | Humber Today

Trent's ELS graduate program produces lip dub

Last Thursday, students, faculty, and staff in Trent University's Environmental and Life Sciences (ELS) Graduate Program celebrated the launch of their new lip dub video. The video shows individuals involved in the program dancing and singing to "Wild Thing" in classrooms and labs, and out in the field. "This lip dub video captures the essence of our graduate program, emphasizing the amazing research we do in the field and in the laboratory," says the program's director. "We also wanted to convey the enthusiasm that Trent faculty, staff, and students have for learning and that we can also have fun." For every hit the video gets on YouTube, a donation will be made to support a scholarship in the program. The video has garnered more than 12,200 hits on YouTube as of yesterday afternoon. Trent News Release | Video

Need for more transparent information on graduate school discussed at CGS meeting

At the US-based Council of Graduate Schools' annual meeting last week, the consensus among attendees was that students need more transparent information about the pathways into and out of graduate school. In various sessions, deans and administrators discussed everything from faculty perceptions of graduate students' job prospects and the ways some PSE institutions are trying systematically to track outcomes (or not), to how to boost financial literacy on campus at a time when undergraduate student debt and recent revisions to federal loan policies are making it more difficult for students to attend and complete graduate school. The student-debt problem, along with the dearth of jobs, has spurred a national debate about whether attending graduate school is worth it. Conference attendees said it is unethical to keep admitting students to programs and training them for jobs that do not exist while they are accumulating debt only to risk finding university employment as just an adjunct, or obtaining some other low-wage position for which a graduate degree is not required, or ending up on food stamps. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

Poll finds early optimism among employers on 2013 hiring of business grads

The job market for Class of 2013 business graduates, particularly those with graduate-level degrees, may be looking up, according to a Graduate Management Admission Council survey of 201 employers. 76% of respondents in the 2012 Year-End Poll of Employers expect to hire new MBA graduates in 2013. Just 69% of them hired Class of 2012 graduates. Of the employers planning to hire MBAs in 2013, 56% plan to offer starting base salaries that keep pace with inflation (43%) or exceed it (13%). The poll found that hiring projections for experienced direct-from-industry hires and new bachelor's recipients remained relatively stable. It also found that demand for new graduates with graduate degrees in other business fields such as accounting and finance is smaller but growing. GMAC News Release | 2012 Year-End Poll of Employers