Top Ten

July 3, 2013

Internship legislation needed, says Liberal MP

Liberal MP Scott Brison is shining a spotlight on the realities of unpaid internships in Canada, calling for provincial and federal legislation to protect a “vulnerable generation.” Current estimates put the number of unpaid interns at 100,000; some lobbyists and student groups say there are up to 300,000 Canadians working without pay. Brison notes that a positive and legal internship will “train a young person in transferable skills that can help them in their early career.” Many youth cannot afford to work without pay, preventing them from gaining valuable work experience. Many other interns are used to replace paid workers. Brison is supporting initiatives that measure the scope of the unpaid workforce, and to identify the parameters of acceptable unpaid work placements. BC and Ontario have both recently implemented guidelines regarding what constitutes a legal unpaid internship. CBC

ECUAD shortlists architects for new campus

BC’s Emily Carr University of Art + Design has shortlisted 3 architectural teams to design and build its new $134-million Great Northern Way campus. Construction is scheduled to begin in Fall 2014, and to be completed in 2016.  From the 8 teams that submitted RFQs, 3 Canadian teams were chosen to submit proposals this fall: Vancouver-based Bing Thom Architects, Toronto-based Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc. (working with Vancouver’s Chernoff Thompson Architects), and Toronto-based Zeidler Partnership Architects (working with B+H Architects Inc., which has an office in Vancouver). The BC government announced early this year that it will invest $113 million in the new campus. The remaining $21 million will be funded by private donors, with local philanthropist and art collector Michael Audain having already pledged $5 million. BC News Release | Globe and Mail

Scientific research, democracy and government “muzzling”

A recent article in University World News, based on an article in OCUFA's Academic Matters, examines the state of Canada’s scientific research community, and perceptions that the federal government is muzzling scientists. According to the author, the federal government has strategically cut funding to scientific research programs that do not support its industrial or economic agenda. As well, scientists and researchers must now obtain permission from various government ministries in order to publish or discuss findings with the media. The author suggests that such scientific muzzling has a direct connection to the strength of a nation’s democratic process. If the voting public is no longer receiving information and evidence-based facts on which to base opinions and decisions, the integrity of democracy is threatened, she says. In the author’s opinion, a “sustained effort by scientists, citizens, and policymakers” is needed in order for Canada to recover from the “dismantling” of scientific institutions and practices. University World News

4 Canadian universities make CWUR top 100 list

The Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) has released its 2013 list of the world’s top 100 Universities, and 4 Canadian institutions have made the list: the University of Toronto (29), McGill University (47), the University of British Columbia (58), and the University of Alberta (97). CWUR bases its rankings on the quality of student education and training, and the prestige and quality of the institutions’ research. The US has the greatest number of institutions on the list (57), as well as the top 2 schools (Harvard University and Stanford University). HR Reporter | Newswire | CWUR Rankings

uAlberta receives $1 million for cardiovascular research

University of Alberta researchers have received combined funding of just over $1 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) for cardiovascular research. Dr. Ayman El-Kadi, Associate Dean, Research & Graduate Studies will receive funding towards his research that will identify the molecules responsible for the enlargement of the heart and heart failure, and Dr. Paul Jurasz, Assistant Professor, hopes his research will “lead to a better understanding of cardiovascular biology and the mechanisms by which strokes and heart attacks occur.” uAlberta News Release

Schulich adds regulatory affairs to Finance grad program

York University’s Schulich School of Business has added a specialization in Regulatory Affairs for Financial Institutions to its Master's in Finance program, a stream that according to Schulich is one of the first of its kind in the world. “Since the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, the importance of sound supervisory and regulatory practices has been increasingly recognized, causing demand for training and capacity-building programs,” said John R.V. Palmer, Chair of the Toronto Centre (the organization that partnered with Schulich to design the Regulatory Affairs specialization). Schulich News Release

Newfoundland and Labrador signs MOU with China

Newfoundland and Labrador premier Kathy Dunderdale last week signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, which states that they will each encourage their PSE institutions to formally recognize diplomas, degrees and certificates from the other’s jurisdiction. Under the agreement, for example, Chinese BA holders who have achieved outstanding results will be eligible for admission into further studies leading to graduate degrees at Memorial University. College of the North Atlantic currently provides the curriculum for diploma programs at 8 Chinese universities, and supports and trains faculty at 2 of these PSE institutions. Memorial News Release

US federal student loan interest rates double

The interest rates on PSE Stafford federal student loans doubled from 3.4% to 6.8% this week when Congress missed the July 1 deadline to strike a new interest rate consensus. Students and PSE stakeholders in the US are now wondering if Congress will be able to come to an agreement on the interest rate before students begin signing loan documents this fall, but they will have to wait until Congress returns from a July 4break. A White House spokesperson predicted a deal could be reached before students return to campus. Times Colonist

Postscript: The US Senate failed to reverse the doubling of interest rates on subsidized student loans this week. The Senate Democrats' bill would have reduced rates on the loans to 3.4% for a year, giving lawmakers more time to craft a long-term fix. The interest rate on subsidized loans doubled on July 1 because lawmakers could not come to an agreement on a proposed plan to tie the rates to financial markets. Chronicle of Higher Education

UK government announces grad student support as enrolment falls

The UK government has announced up to £125 million to support disadvantaged students into further study, as a new report reveals postgraduate numbers fell last year. The Department for Business Innovation and Skills and the Higher Education Funding Council for England will distribute grants of between £300,000 and £3 million to universities and colleges in an attempt to bolster postgraduate numbers. After studying the success of the program, the government will then invest an additional £50 million in “removing financial or cultural barriers to participation in postgraduate education.”Times Higher Education

India and US announce new partnerships in PSE

India and the US have announced 8 new partnerships in health, technology, energy and sustainable development, and training of human resources – amounting to around US$2 million – as part of the second round of the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative. The initiative was first announced in November 2009, and will amount to a total of US$10 million. The funding goes towards projects with the objective of cultivating educational reform in areas that include online education, fostering economic growth, generating shared knowledge to address global challenges, and developing junior faculty at Indian and American PSE institutions. University World News