Top Ten

July 7, 2013

Big Pharma influencing medical schools, study

A new study released last week ranking Canadian medical schools “on the strength of their conflict-of-interest policies,” has determined that there are significant gaps in policies meant to “restrict the influence of the pharmaceutical industry.” Medical schools are supposed to limit the influence that a pharmaceutical company has on educational resources and course content, but the study found that at more than half of all schools, policies were either “permissive” or nonexistent in most categories. This is the second study to emerge recently about pharmaceutical industry influence on medical schools; in June the Toronto Star published an article suggesting a lecture series at uToronto was biased. Although some institutions are protesting the results, others suggested the study could be used to re-examine existing policies. Toronto Star

Laval completes sports complex expansion

Université Laval last week announced the completion of its $81.46million sports complex expansion, which makes the building the largest of its kind in Quebec, according to the university. The new facilities at the Pavillon de l’éducation physique et des sports (PEPS) include a 3,100-seat amphitheatre, an aquatic centre with an Olympic-size pool and seating for nearly 1,000 spectators, as well as a training facility accessible to students, athletes and the public. The project was funded by the Canada, Quebec and Quebec City governments. Laval News Release

BrandonU to create teaching and learning centre

Brandon University is establishing a new centre of excellence to support teaching and learning, which will provide leadership in the development of student-centred, evidence-based approaches to teaching within the university. The Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology will also launch a comprehensive website for organizing presentations and workshops on teaching, learning and technology topics, coordinating a faculty mentoring program, encouraging the scholarship of teaching and learning, providing support for instructors engaged in distance delivery, and compiling and sharing curriculum development information and new faculty resources. BrandonU News Release

UoGuelph research adds to millennials vs. boomers discussion

University of Guelph research is bringing some qualitative data to the popular discussion on the unique challenges that millennials are facing in today’s job market. Business professor Sean Lyons’ research finds that people between the ages of 25 and 29 now change jobs more than twice as often as baby boomers did at the same age. To find out why, Lyons studied the career stories of people from both generations. “I was a bit shocked to find that young people today don’t actually express a greater desire to move than previous generations,” he says. “But they have high expectations for their careers, and they often move because they are not satisfied with their work… This dissatisfaction leads to restlessness.” Lyons connects this phenomenon with his earlier research, which shows that PSE students tend to have unrealistic expectations about what they will earn when they begin working. He says this may be one reason for the “restlessness” of youth. Lyons also points out that although many people say millennials are “entitled and demanding,” they should be given a break because “they are at a disadvantage because the economy is just not expanding in the way it was for the baby boomers, and they were raised to expect things to be different.” UoGuelph News Release

uOttawa Heart Institute achieves “brain gain”

The University of Ottawa Heart Institute is capitalizing on the economic downturn and the restructuring of health care in the US, as it continues to attract world-class medical researchers. The “brain gain” is attributed to several reasons, including an availability of research funds, the strong international reputation of the Heart Institute, and the attraction of Ottawa itself. The Heart Institute’s foundation “continues to sustain research,” and according to scientific director Dr. Peter Liu, research funding in the US is awarded to 1 in 15 proposals, while at the Heart Institute it is closer to 1 in 5. Ottawa Citizen

StatsCan data confirms unemployment holding steady

The youth unemployment rate has held steady at 13.8%, which is only .2% higher than in May and virtually the same as in June 2012, according to the latest Labour Force Survey (LFS) data from Statistics Canada. The numbers are based on youth aged 15 to 24, and are seasonally adjusted, which means the results are adjusted by removing the effects of seasonal variations. StatsCan also released a study on “Changing labour market conditions for young Canadians,” which reports that both men and women under 25 years old experienced lower employment outcomes between 1981 and 2012, but that women fared better than men. Unemployment rates for women have only increased by .9% since 1981, while for men unemployment has gone up by 2.2%.Statistics Canada: LFS | Statistics Canada: Changing labour market report

Bob Rae joins uToronto

Bob Rae, former MP and Liberal interim leader, has joined the University of Toronto as a distinguished senior fellow at the School of Public Policy and Governance, effective July 1. Rae will also be chief negotiator for First Nations in talks with the Ontario government about development of the Ring of Fire, an area in the James Bay Lowlands of Northern Ontario where mining exploration is under way. Rae attended uToronto’s University College during his undergraduate years. uToronto News Release

US study-abroad students evacuated from Egypt

The US Department of State is urging American citizens to leave Egypt, which will likely mean further evacuations of students on study abroad programs, according to anInside Higher Ed report. Earlier last week, the Arabic Overseas Flagship Program, which enrols 18 students from 5 American universities, announced that it was relocating from Egypt to Morocco. AMIDEAST, a nonprofit organization that runs study abroad programs in Egypt, said that all 26 of its students there have left, with many electing to join other AMIDEAST programs in other countries. Other study abroad programs that are taking students out of Egypt include Fulbright, the University of California at Davis, and the University of Texas at Austin. However, the American University in Cairo, which originally had 95 American students enrolled this summer, is not requiring students to leave. Inside Higher Ed

Large US college to lose accreditation

City College of San Francisco will lose accreditation in one year unless they prove to the regional Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges that they have improved practices, especially relating to 2 key remaining obstacles: a "lack of financial accountability and deficiencies in leadership and governance.” The college was put on sanction last year for multiple reasons, but CCSF officials say they are surprised by the decision, as they have made many improvements over the last year. The college of 85,000 students and 2,700 faculty and staff would be the largest institution to lose accreditation. The decision has sparked controversy in the PSE sector, with some suggesting the “accreditation system has lost its way.” Inside Higher Ed | Commission report

Oregon legislates tuition-free PSE

Oregon has passed legislation approving a “pay it forward” model for funding higher education. Essentially, students would pay no up-front tuition, but upon graduating and entering the workforce, 3% of each paycheque for 24 years would go towards funding the program for future years. The model is based in part on an Australian model that has been in place for several years. The legislation directs the state’s Higher Education Coordination Commission to establish a pilot project by 2015 for legislative approval. Estimates suggest it will cost $9 billion to fund the first set of students for their years of study, factoring in the loss during the time before students begin working and contributing to the fund. Huffington Post | Addicting Info | House Bill