Top Ten

January 13, 2014

Canadian scientists continue to react to research cutbacks

Canadian scientists are expressing growing concern with alleged federal cutbacks to research programs “monitoring areas that range from climate change and ocean habitats to public health,” reports CBC. It says the government has “dismissed” more than 2,000 scientists and halted funding to hundreds of research programs and facilities -- the latest being an announcement to close 7 Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) libraries. However, the DFO says the materials that existed in the libraries have, or will be, digitized. Greg Rickford, Minister of State for Science and Technology, argues that the “government has made record investments in science. We are working to strengthen partnerships to get more ideas from the lab to the marketplace and increase our wealth of knowledge. Research is vibrant and flourishing right across the country." In September, scientists held rallies in 17 cities across the country, calling for the federal government to stop making cuts to scientific research. CBC (scientists react) | CBC (DFO closings)


Postscript: Many academics, particularly those doing research in the areas of fisheries and oceans, are claiming the federal government failed to properly consult with them before closing 7 Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) libraries, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education. The closure of the libraries resulted in mixed reports of books and journals in trash bins and being burned, although the federal government denies any books were burned. Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, stated, “All materials for which DFO has copyright will be preserved by the department," and earlier statements assured researchers that material would be digitized; however, researchers and librarians continue to question the lack of transparency behind the entire process. Chronicle of Higher Education (January 20, 2014)

King’s opens new student life centre

Western University affiliate King’s University College last week opened a new $14.7-million student centre. The Darryl J. King Student Life Centre, named after a graduate who donated $1 million towards the project, features a fitness centre, a games room, a lounge area with 2-storey fireplace, a 490-seat theatre and a ‘reflection room,’ designed for student meetings, meditation and yoga. The 38,000-square-foot centre will be open to students 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Western News Release | London Free Press

MTCU reveals more details on new campus plan

The Ontario government says that while it will provide funding for new satellite campuses in the province, as promised previously, it may not stick to the originally-cited number of new locations. Emily Hedges, spokesperson for Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Brad Duguid, says “it could be more than three, it could be less, but the focus is on those high-growth areas that are currently underserved, where Ontario students are waiting to get into undergraduate programs.” The government last month released a framework to guide proposals for new campuses or expansions to existing campuses. According to the Toronto Star, the ministry is calling for plans that have space for at least 1,000 new students to start, with room for 5,000 to 10,000 more in the next 20 years. Toronto Star

SFU unveils plans for $4.4-million observatory for youth

Simon Fraser University has announced plans for a $4.4-million observatory on its main Burnaby campus, which will be dedicated to engaging children and youth in science. The observatory and the newly opened Trottier Studio for Innovative Science Education will be made possible through the financial support of the Trottier Foundation, headed by Lorne and Louise Trottier. The facilities will offer hands-on science activities and provide a permanent site for outreach programs, which already attract 5,000 children, youth and other visitors to the campus annually. The observatory’s telescope will provide a digital feed that can be remotely accessed by community groups and schools across Canada. The project is on track to be completed by August 2014. SFU News Release | Vancouver Sun

Rotman MBA among NA’s top business schools in QS rankings

The University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business has been ranked by employers among the 10 best MBA schools in North America at number 8, in the QS Top MBA Global 200 Business Schools Report 2013/2014. The other Canadian business schools that made the top 20 are YorkU’s Schulich School of Business (13), Western’s Ivey Business School (14), McGill’s Desautels Faculty of Management (15), HEC Montreal (16), Queen’s School of Business (18), and UBC’s Sauder School of Business (19). The QS rankings come from a survey of international employers, who are asked a series of questions regarding recruitment trends, salary and compensation trends, and ratings by region and specialization. Other MBA schools that made the list are uAlberta (22), Concordia (44), uSask (45), uCalgary (46), UVic (49), SFU (57), uOttawa (63) and McMaster (81). QS MBA Rankings

Kwantlen opens BC’s first teaching brewery

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has opened a teaching brewery at its Langley campus to offer British Columbia’s first science of brewing program. “Along with practical hands-on training, we’ll be giving students a solid background in the science behind brewing craft beer, including the chemistry and microbiology involved in the process,” says KPU Science and Horticulture Dean Elizabeth Worobec. “It’s this much-needed expertise that graduates will bring to the province’s brewing industry.” The program’s first 35 students will start in September. According to the BC Liquor Distribution Branch, the province’s micro-brewing industry has grown by more than 20% per year since 2006. KPU News Release | The Province

Ontario PSE institutions join team to help crown wards attain higher ed

Loyalist College, St. Lawrence College, the University of Ottawa and Queen’s University have partnered with several southeastern Ontario children’s aid societies to help crown wards get to university or college. The institutions signed an agreement Friday to establish the Crown Ward Education Championship Team, which will work to help tackle the challenges faced by crown ward students, who generally don’t have the same educational outcomes as their peers. Funding for the initiative comes from the Ministries of Education, Children and Youth Services and Training, Colleges and Universities. St. Lawrence News Release

uOttawa research centre launches open-source 10 minute thesis videos

The University of Ottawa’s Centre for Research on Educational and Community Services (CRECS) has launched an open-source video series that allows researchers to present summaries of their research in 10 minutes or less. The “Ten Minute Window” is open to any researchers working in education and the social and health sciences, and whose contributions align with CRECS’ mission. The videos are available on the CRECS video library as well as on the CRECS YouTube channel. Similar brief research vignettes have been assembled by uVictoria in their “faces of uVic research”. uOttawa News Release

Canada not seeing whole gender gap picture

The World Economic Forum has released its 2013 issue of the Global Gender Gap Report, which measures 4 areas: economic participation, educational attainment, health outcomes and political participation. Canada, according to the report, has a perfect score in educational attainment. uOttawa political science and philosophy undergraduate student Benjamin Miller argues in a recent op-ed that the gender gap in PSE is far from closed, due to the fact that the report only measures progress using enrolment numbers. Miller argues that while Canada can be proud of the advances it’s made in female enrolment, it remains only one part of the whole gender equity picture. He suggests that the campus experience of female PSE students is overwhelmingly shaped by men; between 70% and 80% of senior administrative roles are occupied by men, and only 22% of full professors are women. “Perhaps most importantly, when you get right down to the core of education, the subject matter, it is still almost completely dominated by men and traditionally male concerns,” writes Miller. He concludes that to fully close the gender gap in PSE, we need to start measuring it qualitatively as well as quantitatively. Globe and Mail

More US middle-income students subsidizing classmates’ tuition

Middle-income student subsidies that aid lower-income students have increased 174% in real dollars at 12 state universities surveyed by the The Wall Street Journal. In 2012-13 students at these schools transferred $512,401,435 to lower-income classmates, up from $186,960,962 (in inflation-adjusted figures) in 2005-6. Institution administrators cite cutbacks in state aid for the increase. Reduced state funding has caused institutions to raise tuition. Since this makes paying for a degree challenging for low-income students, the universities have wealthy and middle-class students pay more in subsidies known as tuition set-asides. The Wall Street Journal