Top Ten

March 5, 2014

uOttawa suspends male hockey team over “serious misconduct” allegations

The University of Ottawa has suspended its men’s hockey team after senior management in the university's Sports Services department was informed of an alleged sexual assault at the end of January involving several of the team members. uOttawa reported the alleged incident to the police, and says it has launched its own internal review that will be “conducted so as not to interfere with any investigation the police may undertake.” “The university is deeply concerned that senior management was only informed about these allegations on February 24, and then by a third party. This will be among the matters examined in the review,” reads a uOttawa statement. The news comes just a few days after several student politicians resigned over a “sexually graphic” Facebook conversation they had about uOttawa’s Student Federation president. uOttawa Statement | Globe and Mail

McMaster student creates petition decrying Redsuits songbook investigation

A McMaster University engineering student has launched a petition calling on the university to reinstate the privileges of The Redsuits, a group of Engineering Society students who were suspended from taking part in campus events in January when a songbook surfaced containing “sexist, violent and degrading material.” Simon Almeida, the engineering student who launched the petition, says the songbook is a “fringe document” that most students knew nothing about. “They basically condemned 4,000 students with one stroke,” says Almeida. University spokesperson Gord Arbeau says there is little he can share about the investigation into the contentious songbook. "We said the investigation would be broad-based and would help identify what additional sanctions will be issued," says Arbeau. CBC

Manitoba budget to include $1 million for high school trades training upgrades

The Manitoba government this week announced that the 2014 budget will include a $1-million investment in upgrades to high school technical training facilities to better equip students to learn trades and enter apprenticeship programs. The funding will also provide students with more opportunities to earn credit toward college programs while still in high school. According to a government news release, the province has invested more than $10 million in technical training and equipment upgrades in schools since 2004. Manitoba News Release

uWaterloo’s Renison UC to expand

The University of Waterloo’s Renison University College will soon begin construction on a new expansion that will be home to the college’s English Language Centre. The complex will include 8 classrooms, a student lounge, a meeting room, an atrium capable of hosting small events, and office space for 15 staff and faculty members. "With the Faculty of Mathematics now requiring its students to take communications courses early in their program to prepare them for co-op and post-graduation employment, there will be a significantly larger demand for English Language Studies courses," reads a Renison statement. Renison plans to have the new building completed by mid-December 2014, and opened officially for the winter term in January 2015. uWaterloo Bulletin

RRC launches spring ad campaign

Red River College has launched a new spring outdoor advertising campaign designed to “showcase RRC graduates and their successes; strengthen the college’s relationships and partnerships with employers who hire RRC grads; identify RRC programs and industry sectors that may be of interest to prospective students; and identify many of RRC’s core strengths, such as employment success rates for graduates.” The campaign, which will run for 12 weeks beginning March 3, includes both billboards and transit advertising throughout Winnipeg and in rural communities where RRC campuses operate. The billboards will feature RRC alumni with the names of their respective employers, and the transit boards will feature infographics of college success statistics. RRC News Release

WLU program allows social work students to study alongside prison inmates

Wilfrid Laurier University was the first Canadian PSE institution to offer the “Inside-Out” program, in which university students in the Faculty of Social Work and prison inmates take classes together. Courses in the program, which was established in Pennsylvania in 1997, are “built around dialogue, critical thinking, collaboration and community-building.” In 2013, thanks to funding from the Lyle S Hallman Foundation, WLU became the Canadian training centre for instructors interested in setting up Inside-Out programs. So far, 34 trainers from across the country have taken the 5-day training. “Many of the university-based students crave a real, deep connection between their lived experience and the assigned text," says WLU Inside-Out official Simone Davis. "There's an enormous hunger for that, which is often unmet in a conventional classroom." Waterloo Record

COTR-Selkirk partnership creates community-internship opportunity

College of the Rockies and the Columbia Basin Rural Development Institute (RDI) at Selkirk College have partnered to create the RDI-COTR Applied Research Internship, which will allow a COTR student to undertake a community-based research project in the East Kootenay Region. The colleges have made up to $10,000 in funding available to community organizations involved in rural development initiatives, who are invited to apply to participate in the internship program. “Along with COTR, we will work closely with the student, COTR faculty, and the successful community organization to support the development of the research project, provide advisory support during implementation, and help distribute the research findings,” says RDI Regional Innovation Chair in Rural Economic Development Terri MacDonald. COTR News Release

Humanities and science “intersectionality” should be the norm in PSE

Leslie Niiro, a Duke University undergraduate student studying the history and future of PSE, suggests that the “intersectionality” of humanities and science disciplines should be a more common model at PSE institutions. Niiro argues that the traditional “compartmentalized environments,” of higher education force separation between the sciences and humanities, and says that simply requiring students to take a couple of courses in a different field will not solve this problem. Niiro points out that programs do exist that bring students from science and humanities together, but says “their impact campuswide is typically minor or even minimal.” At Duke University the “Bass Connections” program brings together undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty members into “problem-based learning” and research projects centered on 5 different themes. Also, there are bachelor’s degrees in interdisciplinary studies at the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Missouri at Columbia, and a few other institutions. “Intersectionality is not yet the norm. But perhaps it could be. And, speaking as a second-year undergraduate, I think it should be the norm, not the exception,” says Niiro. Chronicle of Higher Education

“Fear and horror” becoming popular area of study

Courses on zombie movies and television shows, and other “fear and horror-themed” courses, have become popular with students and scholars in the past several years. The last 5 years have seen 20 new scholarly books with "zombie" in the title or topic category, according to book distributor Baker & Taylor. The online archive JSTOR says journals have run 39 articles on zombie entertainment since 2005, versus 7 in the preceding 10 years. Zombie and other horror-based courses have become so popular with students that Texas’ Lone Star College decided to use “fear and horror” as the theme of its initiative aiming to encourage students to stay in PSE. The theme was so successful that students wearing "Fear and Horror" T-shirts that list the classes offered have coordinated community-service activities such as a blood drive and a food drive disguised as a game of capture the flag. Wall Street Journal | Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

CourseSmart acquired by Vital Source e-textbook platform

E-textbook platform Vital Source has acquired CourseSmart, a consortium created by 5 major academic publishers that also provides e-textbooks; it is a deal that Inside Higher Ed points out “could signal a change in the publishers’ attitudes toward digital educational materials.” The deal will add 1.5 million CourseSmart faculty accounts to Vital Source’s current 4 million faculty and student user base. It also allows Vital Source to be better positioned to sell its products directly to consumers. “[Vital Source] has done what most people thought they would never do: migrate downstream to participate at retail,” says digital media, software and publishing consultant Joseph J Esposito. Inside Higher Ed