Top Ten

July 29, 2014

uSask’s head of HR steps down

Barb Daigle has stepped down from her position as AVP Human Resources at the University of Saskatchewan. In an internal memo, uSask’s VP Finance and Resource Greg Fowler said, “Barb Daigle ... and I have come to a mutually-agreed decision for her to leave her position within the University of Saskatchewan ... After considerable discussion and reflection, Barb and I both agree this is in the best interests of the university and for Barb’s own career goals.” In a press release, uSask thanked Daigle for her leadership and work over her 12 years at the institution and wished her well in the future. Daigle’s departure is the third high-level leadership change at uSask following the controversy over Robert Buckingham’s dismissal, following the resignation of Brett Fairbairn as Provost and the removal of Ilene Busch-Vishniac as President. The announcement comes less than 2 weeks after a letter written by Fairbairn about Buckingham’s dismissal was leaked to the StarPhoenixuSask News Release | CBC | StarPhoenix

Alberta releases short-term employment forecast

Alberta has released a short-term employment forecast, covering job prospects for the years 2014–2016. The report identifies 31 professions that the province expects to be in high demand over the next 3 years, including chefs, specialist physicians, and hairstylists. Among those occupations identified as being in low demand are dentists, letter carriers, veterinarians, and administrators in PSE and vocational training. “As the economy evolves, as technology evolves, your labour market shifts and the demand for certain occupations becomes less,” said Kyle Fawcett, Alberta’s Minister of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour. He added that construction will remain a priority for the province, as well as providing training for the trades. “Our long-term forecast over 10 years indicates a 96,000 person ... shortage. There’s employment and opportunities for all those who are seeking jobs,” said Fawcett. Report SummaryEdmonton Journal

New SFU high performance computing lab to analyze crime data

Simon Fraser University’s new high performance computing (HPC) lab will allow Canadian law enforcement to use the power of big data to solve crimes. Such an application is “absolutely unique at a research institution in Canada and very unusual in other parts of the world,” said SFU’s Use Glässer, who is setting up the lab. HPC has been used in the study of weather patterns and genomics, and researchers believe that a similar technique can be used to find patterns in the ways in which people—criminals and non-criminals—move, work, and live. SFU criminologist Patricia Brantingham said, “the province is growing and changing rapidly with the development in the northern areas. That changes where people are and how they move, and it changes where attractive targets are for crime. These things are shaped by our daily dynamic life. This research will help us understand those patterns.” The RCMP hopes the research will help it make policy decisions and more effectively allocate its resources. Vancouver Sun

Adult education centre providing opportunities for QC’s Aboriginal population

Quebec’s oldest and largest Aboriginal adult education and vocational school is being celebrated as a success story and model for similar institutions in QC. The 20-year-old Centre de développement de la formation et de la main-d’oeuvre (CDFM), located on the Wendake reserve, provides education for First Nations students aged 16-55. CDFM’s most popular program, accounting for 75% of enrolment, is the high school diploma program, but students can also study trades in partnership with trade schools across QC. CDFM classes are small, with approximately 15 “very receptive and highly motivated” students in each, noted one instructor. The programs CDFM offers in partnership with various trades schools are “very diversified,” and are aimed to meet the needs of QC’s First Nations communities, said CDFM’s Director Julie Vincent. CDFM works with a variety of funding partners at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels. Montreal Gazette

UBC commits to financial accountability by releasing President’s expenses

The University of British Columbia has committed to the annual publication of expenses incurred by its President, beginning with those of former President Stephen Toope. While UBC already publishes its President’s compensation package for each year, the breakdown of expenses adds another layer of transparency to university operations. UBC says it is making the move to conform with what it believes are best practices in accountability for public institutions. According to the initial report, most of Toope’s expenses went to travel costs, as the President carried out his responsibilities of fundraising, establishing and strengthening international academic and research relationships, and meeting with government and international partners. “UBC needs to attract and retain exceptional administrators to lead this very large global academic and research institution. There are very few people who can take this on, and we need competitive compensation to recruit them,” said UBC’s VP Human Resources Lisa Castle. BC recently issued a reportrecommending improved compensation transparency in its PSE sector. UBC News

uWaterloo architecture students create storefront to engage community

Architecture students at the University of Waterloo have created a storefront to help establish stronger relationships between the university and the community. BRIDGE Waterloo Architecture “is a student initiative that is meant to capture and expose the overwhelming entrepreneurial energy and spirit that Waterloo Architecture students possess,” said graduate student Zak Fish. While BRIDGE has had a web presence for the past 2 years, the new storefront location will allow students to share research papers, projects, and publications outside of their regular course curriculum. They also hope that the space will allow the students to host lectures, presentations, and workshops. “BRIDGE aims to engage the public in the promotion of architecture and design beyond the bounds of the school,” said Fish. The Record

Multicultural engagement found to be predictor of career success

A growing body of evidence suggests that travel abroad can have myriad benefits, including enhanced career prospects. One study, led by French researcher William W Maddux, found that spending time in multicultural environments can help improve creativity as individuals are forced to adapt to a culturally diverse environment. It is believed that spending time abroad can help improve "cultural intelligence," which is an increasingly valuable skill in a globalized setting. Another longitudinal study that Maddux performed with MBA students enrolled in a 10-month international program found that “multicultural engagement” was a predictor of subsequent career success. The research found that it was not simply enough to be exposed to a multicultural environment; those individuals who were psychologically engaged with these environments were more likely to reap the tangible professional benefits of traveling abroad. Ottawa Citizen

Researchers find that adjuncts suffer from anxiety, depression due to working conditions

Research published in Frontiers of Psychology suggests that adjunct professors are at high risk for stress, depression, and anxiety brought about because of working conditions. The authors write, “[non-tenure-track] faculty perceive stressors at work that are related to their contingent positions. Demographic and situational factors, dysfunctional and coping mechanisms, and organizational commitment and identification were associated with more negative psychological experiences.” The authors propose a number of interventions that universities could implement to help mitigate the impact of these stressors. They suggest that institutions could offer rewards including recognition, support, compensation, and participation in shared governance. They note that institutions may wish to consider offering coping workshops for employees, but note that such training “may prove more difficult than it may sound” because the underlying conditions are the source of the problem. They further argue that institutions should explore the possibility that the increase in non-tenure-track positions may not be economically necessary. Inside Higher Ed | Full Study

Adjuncts petition US government for investigation into working conditions

A former adjunct faculty member in the US says that adjuncts’ working conditions have a detrimental effect on students’ quality of education, and is asking the government to step in. Joseph Fruscione argues that “university policies must be revised to allow the majority of professors to participate more robustly in student support and learning. Then, and only then, will students be able to learn from and engage with their professors more effectively.” He notes the considerable growth in the hiring of part-time faculty and says that “full-time part-timing has become the norm on this ‘new’—but not better—campus.” Fruscione is part of a group that is petitioning the US Department of Labor to investigate faculty working conditions. He says that the goal of the petition is to improve the learning conditions for students, which he argues have been compromised by the corporatization of US institutions. He says that the growth in upper-level administration has come at the expense of teaching resources, and has been paid for through the increasing “adjunctification” of the faculty. Making Sen$e

“Cultural intelligence” in recruitment helps target certain populations

Admissions officials at colleges and universities should develop a variety of student recruitment plans in order to target the differing interests of varying groups of potential students, reveal attendees of the recent American College Testing (ACT) Enrollment Planners Conference. Participants discussed how, generally speaking, class and culture can affect what information potential students seek from an institution when applying or choosing a school. Upper-middle-class students may be looking for study-abroad programs or campus events to be involved in, whereas working-class students may be more inclined to inquire about financial aid and job placements. Parental involvement in institution choice also differs for various groups. Understanding these differences can help recruiters target specific students with specialized information, what some are calling “cultural intelligence” in recruitment. The Chronicle of Higher Education