Top Ten

June 27, 2014

uOttawa suspends hockey program, fires coach

The men’s hockey program at the University of Ottawa will continue its suspension for the 2014–15 year, announced President Allan Rock yesterday. In addition, head coach Réal Paiement has been relieved of his duties for failing to report allegations of sexual assault to the university when he learned of them. The suspension has been in effect since early March, after a third party reported the allegations to uOttawa. The alleged incident occurred when the hockey team was in Thunder Bay for games in early February. uOttawa launched 2 independent reviews into the incident; one was a review of the university's policies, practices, and procedures regarding varsity sports, ethics, and student disciplinary processes. The second review was an investigation into the alleged incident. The results of that review will not be made public so as not to interfere with an ongoing police investigation. Rock said that all recommendations from the policy and procedures review will be implemented. Several of the team members have stated they are considering a defamation lawsuit, as only 3 players are allegedly involved in the incident. uOttawa News Release | CBC | Ottawa Citizen | National Post |Globe and Mail

Ryerson’s DMZ ranked best incubator in Canada

The University Business Incubator (UBI) Index has ranked Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ) fifth in the world and first in Canada among university-affiliated business incubators. This is a marked improvement over the 2013 rankings, where Ryerson came in at 25th. TEC Edmonton, a partnership between the University of Alberta and the City of Edmonton, also improved this year, ranking tenth in the world. Western University’s Western Research Parks also made the list this year, in 22nd place. “The Digital Media Zone is an exceptional incubator. It generates outstanding economic impact and performs strongly against our global benchmark, especially on economic enhancement indicators,” said Dhruv Bhatli, Co-Founder, UBI Index. “This signifies that entrepreneurs at the DMZ perform much better than the global average, benefitting from higher growth and survival rates.” DMZ News Release | WesternU News Release | UBI Rankings

Conference Board gives Canada a B for education and skills

The Conference Board of Canada has released its How Canada Performs: Education and Skills report card, giving Canada a “B” grade overall. The report card grades Canada and 15 peer countries on 23 indicators of education and skills performance. Canada received several “A” grades—in high school and college attainment, for example—but also received a number of “B”s and “C”s. “C” grades were given for Canada’s low share of students with high-level science skills and for adult literacy, numeracy, and problem-solving skills. Canada received 2 “D” grades also, for the low numbers of PhD students graduating in 2011, and science, math, computer science and engineering students graduating in 2011. This was the first year the provinces were graded alongside the countries; BC, AB, and ON all received “B”s, QC and NS received “C”s, and the rest of the provinces all received “D”s. Japan and Finland were the only countries to receive “A”s. Conference Board News Release | Provincial Rankings

NSERC announces 2014 award recipients

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada has announced the winners of its 2014 competitions for Discovery Grants, Discovery Accelerator Supplements, Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarships, Postgraduate Scholarships, and Postdoctoral Fellowships. More than $418 million has been awarded to almost, 3,800 recipients, including scientists, engineers, post-doctoral fellows, and students. "Our support for researchers and students through Discovery Grants and scholarships is laying the foundation for Canada’s future prosperity and continued quality of life. The highly competitive funding for discovery research raises the bar for science and engineering excellence in Canada, and unleashes the creative potential of our researchers. Building on this dynamic research environment, NSERC’s scholarships and fellowships are attracting and cultivating new talent with the skills necessary for the growth of our knowledge-based economy," said Janet Walden, Chief Operating Officer, NSERC. NSERC News Release

Lakehead task force submits report on sexual assault

A President’s Task Force at Lakehead University has released its report on sexual assault and victim support with recommendations that have already begun to be implemented. The task force was convened after a former student alleged she had been sexually assaulted by a classmate. Recommendations include the adoption of the Sexual Misconduct Policy and Protocol: A Policy Dealing with Sexual Harassment, Sexual Stalking and Sexual Assault, which the board of governors has already approved; education initiatives for faculty, staff, and students designed to prevent sexual misconduct, including a campaign to enhance a culture of respect and inclusion; and structural support for the recommendations, including the establishment of Human Rights Officer. “Our mandate included developing a means to more effectively educate the University community about the pervasiveness of sexual assault, and to minimize stigma and sexual assault myths,” said task force Chair Lori Chambers. Lakehead News Release | CBC | Report

US university adds competitive gaming to sports line-up

Varsity athletics in the US has a new sport: competitive online gaming. Robert Morris University-Illinois is offering to pay 50% of tuition and living expenses for new recruits that play League of Legends, a popular online game that attracts thousands of players and spectators to the annual national championship. RMU-Illinois will be recruiting 45–50 students for the team, as well as a coach and recruiting team. The University is the first in the US to include competitive gaming in their varsity sports line-up. The gaming recruits will join the Collegiate Star League, which consists of teams at more than 100 North American PSE institutions. The new gamers will receive the same supports as other athletes at the university, including tutoring. “League of Legends is a competitive, challenging game which requires significant amount of teamwork to be successful,” stated Associate Athletic Director Kurt Melcher. Maclean’s | Inside Higher Ed | ABC News

Law school grads still face tough job market in US

A new study by the US-based National Association for Law Placement reports that law school graduates continue to struggle to find employment, with the overall employment rates for law grads falling for the sixth consecutive year. The report does note that there have been improvements in the overall numbers of law grads finding employment, but the graduating class was also larger, leading to an overall employment rate of 84.5%. The field of law was hit especially hard by the 2008 recession, leading to hiring freezes and lower starting wages. However, the median starting salary has improved this year over last, to $62,467, and the number of large law firm jobs has increased. The report cautions that as students studying law can graduate with large amounts of debt, it is important for students considering a law degree to carefully weigh their options.Businessweek | NALP Report

Librarians upset as publishers raise e-book prices

Many academic libraries and library consortia across the US are concerned about a sudden rise in the cost of e-book loans. 11 academic publishers have reportedly announced they are raising the prices on e-book loans effective June 1, in some cases, as much as 300%. The publishers assert that the pricing had been a 2-year beta model that has proven to be unsustainable, but many librarians questioned the timing of the decision, suggesting a “collusion” or agreement among publishers to raise prices at the same time. Susan M Stearns, Executive Director of the Boston Library Consortium, notes “there is in fact mistrust between the academic libraries and some of the large commercial publishers because of past pricing behavior," specifically around access to digital editions of academic journals. Although some publishers have now changed the timing of the price increases to accommodate library budgets, many librarians still say there is need for further discussion regarding e-book loans and pricing rubrics. The Chronicle of Higher Education

Australia faces significant upheaval in PSE sector

Several factors currently at play in Australia have led many to speculate on the future of the country’s higher education system. The new conservative coalition government has recently introduced 4 major changes to PSE to take effect in 2016 that could have far-reaching implications. First, course subsidies will be cut by an average of 20%; second, subsidies will now be available to all PSE institutions, including private for-profit universities and baccalaureate providers; third, the government proposes to completely deregulate tuition; and fourth, there are plans to increase interest on student loans to a rate tied to the government’s cost of borrowing. As well, there have recently been attempts to raise the fees charged to education providers by systems that provide clinical placements for students in a variety of health professions. The Workplace Research Centre at the University of Sydney Business School recently released a report that provides an in-depth examination of the current clinical placement practices, and the implications that rising costs could have on PSE institutions and the sector itself. University Affairs | uSydney News Release | Report

Profs read aloud mean reviews of themselves

Simon Fraser University's student newspaper The Peak has put a twist on the idea of professor reviews by getting professors to read mean reviews of themselves aloud on video. The idea is similar to that of the Jimmy Kimmel Live! skit where celebrities read mean Tweets about themselves. In the SFU video, the professors read reviews such as “she will mock your aspirations, then cackle over the remains of your spirit,” and "good lecturer, ugly shoes." The professors seem to take the reviews in good humour. Video | CBC