Top Ten

June 5, 2013

Government takes greater control of principal appointment at RMC

The federal government will take more direct control over appointing the next principal of the Royal Military College of Canada, the Globe reports. Searches for past RMC principals have typically been led by members of the board of governors and select professors. This time, the Privy Council Office has disbanded the committee mandated to choose candidates and replaced it with a smaller group containing government and military members, but no professors. According to the Globe, faculty members are frustrated about being shut out of the decision-making process, and worry that the move may deter good candidates from submitting their names. The change comes after a previous report from a commission established by the Canadian Association of University Teachers, claiming that RMC governance needs restructuring, and that civil service is running the institution like a government department, rather than a university. Globe and Mail

Ontario to cut supply of new teachers

The Ontario government has announced that it will reduce teacher’s college admissions by 50% and double the time it currently takes students to graduate, starting in September 2015. Both measures aim to deal with the influx of recent teacher’s college graduates who are struggling to find work in their field. The announcement, made Wednesday by Education Minister Liz Sandals, also included the news that the curriculum will be updated to help new teachers tailor their teaching methods to diverse student needs and work with students with mental health and addictions issues. The Ontario College of Teachers (OCT), which was a key partner in the Ministry of Education discussions around the framework of the program, welcomed the government’s announcement. Ontario News ReleaseGlobe and Mail | National Post | OCT News Release

uWindsor unveils new logo

The University of Windsor has launched a new logo on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. The logo depicts the shield from uWindsor’s coat of arms and “incorporates a sense of pride in [uWindsor’s] rich history with modern elements representing the excitement the campus has for the next 50 years,” according to the university. The logo also features a fleur-de-lis, symbolic of the French-Canadian heritage of Windsor-Essex; a lily, representing religious tradition; and a maple leaf, “embodying Canadian pride.” uWindsor’s communications and public affairs department conducted 21 focus groups with people representing various demographics, including current and future students, alumni, faculty and staff, community members, and marketing professionals. When the previous logo was unveiled in September 2007, some stakeholders expressed concerns that it might be short-lived. uWindsor News Release | CBC

$47.7 million in funding for research across Canada

Minister of State for Science and Technology Gary Goodyear has announced that this year’s Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) Leaders Opportunity Fund will give a total of $47.7 million to 234 research projects across the country in the areas of health, agriculture and education. “Canadians are seeing the benefits of these investments through growing clusters of industrial activity, innovative spinoff companies and high-quality jobs in the growing knowledge sector,” said Minister Goodyear. CFI News Release

Study on Lambton College teaching studios shows increased satisfaction

Technology-enhanced learning studios increase student satisfaction, according to a study by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO). HEQCO examined 11 Lambton College courses taught at least in part in a learning studio, which offer enhanced teaching and learning technologies, flexible furnishings and an open layout. The study showed that these learning environments lead to satisfaction from both students and faculty, largely due to expanded use of active learning strategies such as group work, discussions, analysis and problem-solving. However, a majority of students said that the facilities are not used to their full potential. Faculty reported that their training in the use of these technologies was inadequate. HEQCO Report

Dal opens new Ocean Sciences Building

Yesterday, Dalhousie University celebrated World Oceans Week with the opening of the new $41.4-million Dalhousie Ocean Sciences Building, a 76,000 square foot building that will house the Halifax Marine Research Institute (HMRI), the global consortium Ocean Tracking Network (OTN), and the Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response NCE Network (MEOPAR), as well as Dalhousie’s Canada Excellence Research Chair in Oceans Science. The world-class facility will enable collaboration and creative thinking among various industry and government organizations. Dal Media Centre

Improved policies needed to encourage research commercialization, says report

Canadian universities are falling behind US PSE institutions in generating technology transfer between academic research and companies, and improved policies are needed to improve the situation, according to a report by the C.D. Howe Institute. In the report, “From Curiosity to Wealth Creation: How University Research can Boost Economic Growth,” author Peter Howitt recommends ways that government can improve incentives for universities and their researchers to pursue the types of research that eventually can be commercialized. “Research grants shouldn’t be tied directly to commercialization,” Howitt said. “The evidence shows that the best approach is to create first-rate universities where first-rate scientists can pursue research that appeals to their curiosity, and encourage business to invest in commercializing their discoveries.” C.D. Howe News Release | Full Report

uToronto University Affairs Board approves Student Commons

The Varsity reports that the University of Toronto’s University Affairs Board has approved the operating agreement for the proposed Student Commons building, set to take over the vacated Faculty of Architecture building at 230 College St. The Student Commons would house a number of programs and facilities, including study areas, multi-faith spaces, eateries, student services and the uToronto Students’ Union (UTSU). A 2007 referendum determined student levies will pay for construction and operating costs. The commons proposal must now be approved by the Board of Governing Council, but the UTSU is hopeful that doors will open in the fall of 2015. The Varsity (student newspaper)

Video games may prepare youth to be engaged citizens, study finds

Kathy Sanford, an education professor at the University of Victoria, presented her research on teens and video games to Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences this week, and the findings may be surprising: playing video games can help prepare youth to be engaged, critically thinking members of society. One example Sanford provides is the fact that teens do not always choose their teammates when playing video games, and must learn how to use individual character strengths and weaknesses to their collective advantage. Also, when a player chooses to make “evil” or unethical decisions, the repercussions must be dealt with in the gaming world, which can translate to decisions in the real world. Sanford also notes that the education system must evolve to find more ways to engage youth: “we have to look at what we can learn from how they learn.” Globe and Mail

Extreme cuts at UK university

The University of Salford in Manchester, England, announced that it will be cutting “virtually all” courses in modern languages, linguistics, politics, and contemporary history, meaning the “School of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences would eventually be disestablished.” University officials point to low enrolment and a desire to redirect resources to “key areas of strength such as media, technology, science, engineering and health.” Students currently enrolled in the cut programs, as well as those accepted for the fall 2013 term, are assured that they will be able to complete their programs. The university is projecting a surplus budget this year, but “these changes are about ensuring that we can use our resources to benefit students in areas that are in demand with employers.” Times Higher Education