Top Ten

December 18, 2013

TWU law school given OK from law societies federation

Trinity Western University has announced that its proposed law school has been approved by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. The proposal has stirred controversy from many people due to a TWU covenant requiring all students, staff and faculty to abstain from “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.” TWU President Bob Kuhn, however, says “We recognize that there has been considerable debate with respect to the fact that TWU is a faith-based university. Now that the Federation has approved the program, we can move on from that debate and build an excellent law school to serve the Canadian public.” TWU is still awaiting a response from the BC Ministry of Advanced Education. Along with courses comparable to other Canadian law schools, the TWU School of Law would offer unique courses in 2 areas of specialization: charities/not-for-profit law and entrepreneurial law. TWU News Release  | Globe and Mail

Woman given 2 years for foreign student visa fraud

A woman has been sentenced to 2 years imprisonment for an immigration scam that had imposters write English-proficiency tests for foreign students so they could get around the Canadian language requirements. Angela Wang was arrested at Toronto’s Pearson Airport while carrying 11 counterfeit Chinese passports in her luggage. The Canada Border Services Agency says that Wang is one of the main organizers of a crime ring that has people take the English tests under false identities. The students then assume those identities to obtain a student visa to Canada. Earlier this year, Canada’s Immigration Minister Jason Kenney proposed measures aimed at preventing student visa fraud, which would ask study permit holders for proof of studies pursued rather than just intent to study. National Post

UoGuelph receives $3 million for students in food technology

The University of Guelph has received a $3-million gift from the Guelph Food Technology Centre (GFTC) to develop a fund that will support 98 undergraduate and graduate scholarships and work programs in food-related fields spanning several UoGuelph colleges. “This kind of support is unparalleled,” says Ontario Agricultural College Dean Rob Gordon. “It will allow students interested in our important food industry to focus on their studies, as well as provide opportunities for hands-on learning experiences that stretch their potential.” The donation was made through the BetterPlanet Project, the university’s $200-million fundraising campaign for teaching and research in food, environment, health and communities, which has raised more than $171 million since 2010.  UoGuelph News Release

Parkland, Northern, and TRU sign MOUs to support Indigenous education

Saskatchewan’s Parkland College has signed an MOU with the Keeseekoose First Nation, forming an official partnership that reinforces Parkland’s commitment to working with local First Nations. The affiliation will involve Essential Skills programs, Adult Basic Education, and specific skills training designed to link members of the First Nation with industry and jobs. The 5-year agreement details terms and directives for both parties to work to secure training allowances for students learning on-reserve. Ontario’s Northern College recently signed an MOU with the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) intended to strengthen and formalize the positive working relationship between Northern and the MNO. The MOU sets out several key areas for collaboration, including “increasing Métis participation in, and access to, Northern College programs and services, engaging in joint Métis research initiatives and promoting Métis content across the curriculum.” Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops has signed an MOU with the Tk'emlups Indian Band to formalize and revitalize their co-operative relationship. Parkland News Release | Northern News Release | TRU News Release | Kamloops Daily News

uAlberta acquires north-focused publisher

The University of Alberta Press has acquired CCI Press, a scholarly publishing house that focuses on the north. The move will bring greater marketing and distribution opportunities to CCI Press, says uAlberta Press Director Linda Cameron. “I envision making many of the key works of CCI Press available in electronic format, bringing this fine scholarship to an even wider audience,” explains Cameron. Themes included in the CCI Press collection include aboriginal and First Nations peoples, environment and ecology, traditional knowledge, renewable resource management, sustainable development, and wildlife and natural history. Edmonton Journal

The 2013 Crop of Holiday Videos

About 30 college and university video greeting cards are already up on YouTube. Ken Steele observes that most feature jingle bells, snow and snowmen, and politically correct greetings. But the more engaging ones move beyond fireside good wishes to lively, multilingual greetings with dozens or hundreds of participants, Timbit giveaways, original animated shorts, or gingerbread recreations of campus. Ken’s blog

Young Canadians choosing to live in urban areas

Canadian young adults want to live in high-density housing neighborhoods that are close to public transit and urban amenities, rather than in the suburbs, reveals a study by the University of Waterloo. The paper by Markus Moos examines Statistics Canada data from 1981 and 2006, and focuses primarily on young adults between the ages of 25 and 34 in Montreal and Vancouver. “The research shows that young adults are living in urban neighbourhoods that are in line with planners’ sustainability goals, such as walkability and higher density,” says Moos, a professor at uWaterloo’s School of Planning. Moos explains that this is more prevalent now than in the past, indicating “a shift toward mor­e sustainable location patterns…influenced by housing costs.” The study is part of Moos’ larger effort to “provide a more nuanced appreciation of the geography of our metropolitan areas.” uWaterloo News Release | Paper Abstract

uColorado at Boulder’s response to prof’s prostitution skit stirs controversy

The University of Colorado at Boulder’s response to a professor’s in-class skit portraying prostitution has stirred controversy from those who say the university “appears focused too much on its legal risks and not enough on academic considerations.” Following the skit, in which professor Patricia Adler had TAs discuss prostitutes, it was reported that uColorado at Boulder officials pressured Adler to retire early. University Provost Russell L. Moore denied this claim, but said the university has disciplined Adler by “not letting her teach the course at issue again in the spring, in response to unidentified students' concerns that they had felt pressured to take part in, or were offended by, the skit.” Many have since asked if it is possible to teach difficult subjects like prostitution without potentially offending some students. "Discussing controversial subjects is our responsibility. To shy away from doing that just because they are controversial would be doing a disservice to our students." Chronicle of Higher Education

History Engine teaches history in short readable vignettes by students

A successful website created out of the US to teach history, the History Engine, has grown to receive over 50,000 visits per month. The History Engine is a collection of “vignettes” (short history essays written for a general audience) on dozens of topics by undergraduate students. Any PSE faculty member is welcome to use the site and have their students write a vignette on the site for credit. Since the site was launched about 5 years ago, students at a number of US and Canadian colleges and universities have contributed over 3,000 of these vignettes. While the History Engine has only been available to faculty teaching American history to date, the creators are redeveloping the project, in partnership with the University of Toronto Scarborough, to enable students to submit vignettes about a wider range of global history. Inside Higher Ed

Hundreds of Australian training college websites break registration rules

The websites of 45% of Australia’s training colleges are in breach of national registration standards, reveals a report by the Australian Skills Quality Authority. “These potential breaches range from relatively minor concerns that can and should be rectified quickly and easily, to more serious breaches that could involve major sanctions including loss of registration,” says the report. It finds over half of the 480 websites reviewed were promoting “unrealistically” fast-tracked courses, with some of the claims “simply too good to be true.” The report also suggests that one in 6 colleges have “machinery” on their websites that allows them to exceed the limit in collecting prepaid fees from prospective students, while one in 5 included no details of their refunds policy. Inside Higher Ed