Top Ten

September 9, 2013

Media storm continues over inappropriate frosh chants

As officials at Saint Mary’s University deal with the media storm caused by a frosh chant that endorsed non-consensual sex, the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business is investigating reports that the same chant was used on a bus there that carried students between frosh events. Administration from both universities responded immediately with statements of disgust and disappointment. A Sauder statement reads “any disciplinary measures taken would follow the university’s policy on discipline for non-academic misconduct.” Following the social media posting and resulting media frenzy over the chant at SMU, President Colin Dodds apologized “unreservedly,” immediately calling the student leaders to a meeting and asking them to account for their actions. Student President Jared Perry and his VP, Carrigan Desjardins, who is responsible for the frosh week, resigned the next day. A hearing will take place to determine whether or not 2 unnamed organizers will face discipline, according to a Saint Mary’s statement. Dodds has also announced the creation of a new council that will examine sexual violence protection measures. Globe and Mail (UBC) | Globe and Mail (Saint Mary’s) | Saint Mary’s statement | UBC statement

Update: Sept 11, 2013

The University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business has announced it will no longer support the commerce students’ frosh week activities, following the allegations that students on a bus used the same sexist, non-consensual sex-promoting chant that was sung at Saint Mary’s University recently. UBC also said it would look to work with the student society to develop more appropriate orientation events for first-year students in the future. In addition, it is reported that 2 UBC students involved in the frosh-week chants have quit the Commerce Undergraduate Society. CBC | UBC Statement

Student death sparks latest call for intern legislation

The 2011 death of a student in the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) radio and TV program has prompted the deceased’s family and local MP to lobby for change to labour legislation around internships. Andy Ferguson was driving home after working a night shift at a local radio station when his car crashed; it is believed he fell asleep at the wheel. Records of emails and text messages, as well as conversations with his friends and family, indicate that Andy was overworked and frustrated with supervisors at the radio station. Alberta MP Brent Rathgeber is pushing for change to regulations and for more protection for the most vulnerable of employees: youth interns. Earlier this summer, Liberal MP Scott Brison also called for more regulations around internships to protect a “vulnerable generation.” CBC

uWindsor classes continue amidst CUPE strike

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 1393 at the University of Windsor is on strike as of Sunday, after negotiations broke down between the union and uWindsor administrators. The union represents approximately 300 skilled trades and professional staff, including equipment technicians, carpenters and graphic designers. The 2 parties remain divided on issues around job security and the pay-equity system. Classes will continue as scheduled, and while uWindsor is doing everything it can to minimize disruptions to staff and students, some events scheduled around the upcoming 50th anniversary celebration have been cancelled. CUPE 1393 has been without a contract since April, and issued a strike mandate in August. CBC | uWindsor Update

Update: Sept 17, 2013

The University of Windsor and 2 Unifor local unions, representing approximately 400 workers, including food services employees, clerical staff, operating engineers, mechanics, campus police and parking enforcement employees, reached tentative collective bargaining agreements this past weekend. The tentative deal averts a strike, which would have begun yesterday. Meanwhile, a strike between uWindsor and CUPE Local 1393, representing 300 professional, skilled trades and technical employees, continues. CBC

Carleton to look at already tough campus alcohol policy

Carleton University is revisiting their campus alcohol policy to address binge drinking among students, especially during freshman orientation week, reports the Ottawa Citizen. Carleton already has “gold standard” policies around alcohol service at on-campus pubs, but finds that binge drinking is still a persistent problem. Ideas included for the updated policy are restricting alcohol in residences during orientation week, having student leaders commit to alcohol-free behaviour and events during orientation, better coordination of alcohol awareness campaigns, and examining specific events that traditionally have high alcohol-consumption rates, such as sporting events. Director of Student Affairs Ryan Flannagan stated that although there are concerns about binge drinking, there are no moves towards making the campus alcohol-free. Ottawa Citizen

Yukon launches redesigned website

Yukon College has launched a new website that provides more information at-a-glance and incorporates the college’s 50th anniversary. The redesigned site also features an improved navigation menu that is grouped to provide prospective students with clear pathways to college programs and courses. “Emerging trends in website design, and our own research, recognize that today’s current and prospective students are much more web-savvy. They don’t want to feel routed - they are comfortable navigating their way online and respond better to a simplified design,” says Yukon’s Online Marketing and Web Developer Shane Griffiths. The homepage features 6 background photos from Yukon’s archives to commemorate its 50-year history. Yukon News Release

Laurier increases Internet connection 10X

Wilfrid Laurier University has increased the internet connection on its Waterloo campus from 1 gigabyte per second to 10, an improvement that will allow students, faculty and staff to easily send large files at peak periods. The upgrade was made possible by the Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION), a non-profit organization that exclusively supports research and education in Ontario. It provides high-speed connectivity to its member institutions. WLU News Release

uMoncton investigates professor’s academic credentials

The University of Moncton is investigating the academic credentials of Louis LaPierre, who has been a uMoncton professor for 30 years, after a Radio-Canada report raised questions about his graduate degrees. Radio-Canada looked at claims in LaPierre's academic biography, which states that he has 2 degrees from the University of Maine: a master’s of science in wildlife ecology and a PhD in ecology. uMaine confirmed LaPierre’s master’s degree, but says he does not hold a PhD in ecology. LaPierre says there was a mix up in his biography, and that technically his degree is through Walden University in an agreement with uMaine. Walden confirmed that LaPierre received a PhD there, but that it doesn’t know the subject because it was too long ago. uMaine denies the agreement with Walden. uMoncton’s VP Academic will be examining the issue and will report next week. CBC | Chronicle of Higher Education

Update: Sept 20, 2013

Louis LaPierre, the Université de Moncton professor whose PhD credentials from the University of Maine were being investigated, has admitted that he misrepresented his academic credentials. “Regardless, during the years, in documents and among various bios, I have misrepresented my academic credentials and have admitted the same to the Université de Moncton. I take full responsibility for my actions and offer a full apology for the embarrassment this situation has caused to so many that placed their trust in me,” says LaPierre. CBC

Students learn more from adjunct profs than tenured profs

US students learn more from adjunct professors than tenure-track professors, suggests a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The study tracked 8 cohorts of first-year Northwestern University students from 2001-2008, looking at whether or not students enrolled in another course in that subject and the grades that students earned in that course. The 3 authors found that students were significantly more likely to enrol in a second course in the subject when the first course had been taught by an adjunct, and that they were likely to earn a higher grade in that second course if the first had been taught by an adjunct. "In addition, we found that the apparent benefits of taking classes from non-tenure track faculty were enjoyed more by the less academically qualified students than by the more academically qualified students,” says the report. Inside Higher Ed

Apprenticeships pay off in the workplace, but only for men

Canadians who complete an apprenticeship are likely to enjoy a strong earnings premium compared to college graduates, but only if they’re male, according to a new working paper by researchers at the University of Toronto. Men who acquire apprenticeship credentials earn 21.4% more than those who do not complete high school, 19.3% more than community college graduates, and 11.1% more than trade certificate holders. In comparison, women who complete an apprenticeship only have a 7.1% earnings premium over those who do not complete high school. Co-author Morley Gunderson says that one explanation for the discrepancy is that apprenticeships with lower earning potential, such as hair styling, typically have more women than men enrolled. Calculations were based on Canada’s 2006 census, which the authors say is the only dataset that includes separate information on apprenticeships. Financial Post

New FutureLearn MOOC a “taster” for regular Southampton courses

One of the first MOOCs to be offered through the FutureLearn platform is a University of Southampton “mini” course, designed to offer a sample of what students might experience if they take a paid course at the university. “I am not lecturing, but giving an introduction, some commentary, scene setting, and inspiration,” says Southampton professor Wendy Hall. Southampton is also designing an oceanography MOOC via FutureLearn, which is set to be unveiled later this month. Times Higher Education