Top Ten

March 10, 2014

Two women injured in shooting at YorkU

Two women suffered non-life threatening injuries in a shooting at York University’s student centre last Thursday evening. Police say a man in his mid-20s was in the centre’s food court when he discharged a firearm. Only one of the women was shot, and the second was injured by shrapnel, according to the Globe and Mail. Police don’t believe the women were targeted. “The investigation is ongoing and we are speaking to witnesses,” said Constable Victor Kwong. The shooting prompted a YorkU lockdown that was lifted at around 1 am. YorkU President Mamdouh Shoukri released a statement on Friday, saying “Our immediate focus is on supporting the two students and their families, and in providing counselling support for York Community members. Senior University representatives have been with the victims at the hospital, and I am appreciative to hear that both are receiving the treatment they need. I am thankful to understand their injuries are non-life threatening.” Shoukri adds that the university has resumed normal operations and is taking several measures to heighten security on campus, including increasing security patrols and the use of Toronto Police Service. Globe and Mail | YorkU Statement

Alberta, Manitoba budgets offer small PSE increases

The Alberta government last week tabled its 2014 budget, which restores $50 million in funding to colleges and universities under the Access to the Future Fund. The fund was frozen last year, when the government announced a $147-million cut to the PSE operating budget. The budget also maintains the separate $50 million it put in back into the system in November to ease budget restraints. The government says it will add another $32 million for enrolment in targeted programs, which are not yet specified. The Manitoba government also tabled its 2014 budget last week, and has committed base grant increases of 2.5% to universities and 2% to colleges. Manitoba’s budget will also establish a Research Manitoba initiative “to target funding to strategic priorities under the guidance of researchers and entrepreneurs.” Edmonton Journal | Alberta Budget | Manitoba Budget

uOttawa creates Task Force on Respect and Equality

The University of Ottawa has announced the creation of a Task Force on Respect and Equality in the midst of a police investigation into an alleged sexual assault involving some players from the uOttawa men’s hockey team. “Recent events point to a need for a broader conversation. They raise troubling questions about attitudes and conduct and call out for a response from a university community that aspires to be a model of respectful behaviour,” says uOttawa President Allan Rock. The task force will submit specific recommendations to Rock on ways to promote respectful behaviour on campus, particularly towards women. “Our campus is safe. We have policies and practices in place to protect students, employees and staff from sexual violence and from harassment. The question we are now asking is whether these policies and practices can be improved,” says Rock. Globe and Mail | uOttawa News Release

BCIT to recognize work experience as course credit in McDonald’s partnership

The British Columbia Institute of Technology has partnered with McDonald’s Canada to allow business students to gain course credits with experience gained through work placements at the company. The program follows a successful pilot in 2010, in which BCIT partnered with the Canadian military to recognize experience as course credits for soldiers returning from Afghanistan. “The pilot project turned out to be way more successful than we expected. On average, these guys outperformed the other students. Their work ethic, maturity and discipline gave them an edge,” says School of Business Program Head Kevin Wainwright. Wainwright adds that BCIT expects the program with McDonald’s to be equally successful. Vancouver Sun

uMoncton decides against using program viability committee report

The Université de Moncton’s Academic Senate has decided not to move forward with a program viability report completed by an ad hoc committee over the past several years. The senate decided, following a committee presentation on the report’s process, that the programs reviewed under the viability study should simply be subjected to the UdeM’s regular program assessment process, which only involves reviewing program content. The program viability committee was formed to address issues that may threaten UdeM’s “mission, further development and survival in the long term.” UdeM News Release (in French)

SAIT teams with industry partner to launch innovation centre

Calgary’s SAIT Polytechnic has announced the opening of the $25-million SAIT-AIM Centre for Innovation, which will help entrepreneurs and manufacturing companies create new products that use composite materials. The centre, which will be housed at Alta Innovative Manufacturing (AIM), will include machining systems, milling, grinding and CNC lathe equipment, and injection-molding and rapid-prototype machines. “The opportunity for SAIT students and faculty to carry out work with industry partners in a facility like this provides our graduates with a strong advantage heading into the workforce,” says SAIT President David Ross. The federal government invested $3.5 million in the centre through its Western Economic Diversification Canada program. SAIT News Release

More uSask medical grads staying in province to do residencies

The University of Saskatchewan says a growing number of medical school graduates will stay in Saskatchewan for their residency training, with 63% of its 84 medical students graduating this June having been matched with residency positions in the province. The number has improved over last year, when 50% of uSask grads continued their training in the province. uSask says this is important for the province because “doctors often establish a practice where they did their postgraduate training.” The data come from the Canadian Residency Matching Service. Star Phoenix

Profs suggest some Canadian universities could use entrance exam

As the American SAT test undergoes major changes, uSask Canada Research Chair in Public Policy Ken Coates and UNBC Professor Emeritus WR Morrison suggest that a few Canadian “elite and prestigious" universities would benefit from a similar entrance exam. They argue that while such an exam would likely hinder most institutions’ ability to recruit the right number of qualified students, an entrance test at “elite” institutions would “help to ensure that entering students have the abilities necessary for success at university.” “An extra dose of excellence, established by the country’s top universities and already in place for selective programs, would serve both the students and the institutions that take extra care to select those students who are most likely to succeed,” conclude Coates and Morrison. Globe and Mail

WesternU study suggests expanding income-based repayment for student loan borrowers

A study by Western University’s CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity suggests expanding the Canadian income-based repayment initiative to include all student loan borrowers. CIBC Centre Director and report co-author Lance Lochner says this change would “reduce average student loan payments – and program revenues – by roughly half for borrowers early in their repayment period.” “This is because a more universal income-based repayment scheme would significantly reduce repayment amounts for many low income borrowers who currently make standard payments," explains Lochner. WesternU News Release | Full Report

uTennessee at Martin website allows helicopter parents to slowly let go

The University of Tennessee at Martin in 2012 launched the MyUTMartinParent Portal, a website that allows “helicopter parents” to see what courses their children have signed up for, whether they have been missing classes, and midterm and final exam results. The site also alerts parents to any warnings that professors have issued about the behavior or academic performance of their child, and to any financial-aid paperwork that might be missing. Brandy Cartmell, Interim Executive Director for Student Engagement and Registrar at UT Martin, explains that the portal is meant to help parents and students transition into independence. “The student still has to become autonomous,” says Martin. “But students don’t just graduate high school and become mature, thinking adults.” Students waive their privacy rights to allow their parents to get into the system; more than 90% of first-year students typically opt in, according to Martin. Chronicle of Higher Education