Top Ten

September 19, 2014

3 men injured in 2 separate stabbings on ON campuses

A student was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries on Wednesday after an altercation between 2 males on the combined University of Ontario Institute of Technology/Durham College campus. Police say the 22-year-old victim was stabbed by the other male, who then fled the scene. Police are investigating and have asked the public for help locating the suspect. In a statement, Durham said, “as the safety of everyone in our campus community is of the utmost importance to Durham College and UOIT both the college and university are very concerned about this incident and the injured student.” No further updates on the condition of the victim had been released by press time. At Carleton University, 2 men were arrested on Thursday after an altercation resulted in both men receiving stab wounds. Although the incident occurred on campus, it is unclear whether the men were students or not. Metro News reports that both men sustained minor injuries. CTV News | | Durham Statement | Ottawa Citizen | Metro News

Canadian universities take precautions in light of Ebola epidemic

Officials say the risk of Ebola spreading to Canada is very low; however, Canadian PSE institutions are taking necessary precautions to ensure that the disease does not afflict campuses. International student offices are contacting students who may have recently traveled to affected areas and encouraging them to keep a close eye out for symptoms of the disease. Ryerson University, for instance, has asked these students to check their temperature twice daily for 21 days. According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), approximately 5,500 students from affected countries studied in Canada in 2013. Most of these students were from Nigeria and Senegal, which have reported cases of the disease but have not been affected nearly to the degree that Sierra Leone, Guinea, or Liberia have. Ontario’s chief medical officer told universities and colleges that “there are currently no cases of Ebola virus disease in Canada and the risk to Canadians is very low.” University Affairs

uWaterloo and WLU receive $3.3 M from Ontario for Campus Linked Accelerator program

Ontario has committed $3.3 M through its Campus Linked Accelerators (CLA) program to be shared by Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo. The 2 universities—in partnership with Communitech, an innovation commercialization company—will use the funds to enhance entrepreneurship programs. At uWaterloo, these will include the Conrad Business Entrepreneurship and Technology Centre, the Velocity program, St Paul’s Greenhouse, and the Accelerator Centre; at WLU, the funding will go toward the LaunchPad program. “Our Universities are the engine room powering Canada’s innovation capital in Waterloo Region,” said uWaterloo President Feridun Hamdullahpur. WLU President Max Blouw added, “we are grateful to the provincial government for this significant investment in, and endorsement of, our entrepreneurship programs.” The Waterloo region CLA is one of 10 to be established by the Ontario government, with a total of $20 M committed to the project. WLU News Release | uWaterloo News Release

Laurentian celebrates new School of the Environment

Laurentian University has launched its new School of the Environment, allowing existing programs to be housed under one enhanced identity. The new school will consist of 5 programs: environmental studies, environmental science, études de l'environment, science communication, and archaeology. The school is designed to facilitate cross-disciplinary collaboration while attracting more students to the university’s environment-related programs. "We're seeing that divide between hard sciences and the humanities coming down and a lot more engagement from all sides," said inaugural Director Brett Buchanan. "Networks are already going on between faculty and students." The school will share space with the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Architecture, although there is the possibility of a stand-alone building in the future. Sudbury Star

MUN releases draft of strategic internationalization plan

Memorial University has released a draft of its strategic internationalization plan. The plan issues 8 recommendations intended to support MUN’s international and intercultural initiatives. The plan recommends developing further intercultural competencies among students, faculty, and personnel. In addition, the plan calls on the university to aggressively strengthen structures for attracting and retaining international students, faculty members, and other personnel. The report further recommends transitioning MUN’s International Centre into an Internationalization Office with a mandate to facilitate, coordinate, promote, and monitor international activities and to implement the strategic plan. The plan also recommends that MUN better articulate, communicate, and market MUN’s value proposition, that the university design and implement centralized data collection and tracking for international initiatives, and that all academic programs support international learning outcomes. The document also calls for the creation of full-degree academic programming anchored at MUN’s Harlow campus in England. MUN News Release | Full Plan

UPEI considering implementing"freedom credits" for electives

The CBC reports that the University of Prince Edward Island is considering the adoption of “Freedom credits,” which allow students to opt for a pass or fail rather than a full mark in some courses. Such credits would not be available to students for courses in their core area of study, but are intended to encourage students to pursue potentially challenging electives without fear of their effect on their GPA. “It’s about flexibility, it’s about opportunities for students to have a broader experience for university when they’re here,” said UPEI Registrar Kathleen Keilly. However, some are skeptical of the plan. A professor in the Department of English and Theatre worries that a pass/fail grade on a transcript might be a red flag to graduate programs or employers. UPEI is carefully evaluating the merits of the plan. Keilly said, “it’s under review for areas like how do you get considered, what courses will qualify, how it’s going to impact your transcript, how many courses can you do, what would be the impact on scholarships and awards, how does it affect GPA or not.” CBC

uManitoba to offer Master of Human Rights program

The University of Manitoba has announced plans to develop a new master’s degree program in Human Rights, reportedly the first of its kind in Canada. The program will be developed in collaboration between the faculties of Graduate Studies, Arts, Law, Education, and Social Work, as well as with uManitoba’s Centre for Human Rights Research, the Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice, and the National Research Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. The interdisciplinary program will prepare students to become educators, practitioners, researchers, professionals, and public intellectuals who will bring a human rights perspective to their careers in the public or private sectors. “It’s exciting and timely to see the development of a new master’s degree program attract the participation of so many disciplines and faculties across the university … It is indeed an area that is important for all of our province’s educational institutions and will open doors to positive dialogue and collaboration,” said uManitoba President David Barnard. uManitoba News Release

uCalgary Faculty of Law opens clinic to help start-ups

The Faculty of Law at the University of Calgary has announced the creation of the Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG) Business Venture Group. In partnership with Innovate Calgary, this new legal clinic will provide new businesses with pro bono legal advice as well as offer law students the opportunity to gain practical, hands-on experience. “The clinic allows us to give back to the community in a unique way, while offering students valuable legal experience and giving new businesses the support they need to get … up and running,” said Ian Holloway, Dean of the Faculty of Law. Students working in the clinic will be mentored by a practicing corporate-commercial lawyer and gain experience drafting legal documents and providing information on typical entrepreneurial legal matters. The clinic was made possible in part by a $500,000 donation from BLG. uCalgary News Release

LSSO releases results of survey on access to legal education

The Law Students’ Society of Ontario (LSSO) has released the results of a survey of students at 5 of the province’s law schools. The data suggest that law students are concerned about the rising cost of education, as well as other barriers to accessibility. According to respondents, 30% of law students expect to graduate without any money owing to the government or banks; however, the average debt load for an indebted law student increases from approximately $35,000 for first-year students to $71,000 for third-year students. These costs, the LSSO says, prevent less affluent but qualified students from pursuing legal education, and have a negative effect on students’ mental health and stress levels. The LSSO also says that it believes that debt from previous degrees holds some students back from pursuing legal education, and that debt forces some students to alter their career aspirations based on what they can afford to do. The data also indicate that while aggregate visible minority representation is higher at law schools than in the general Canadian population, the proportion of Aboriginal students and students from rural areas attending law school is lower. York University's Osgoode Hall recently announced that it would pilot an income-contingent loans program to improve accessibility. LSSO News Release | Full Report

US university offers PhD students real-world consulting experience

Washington University in St Louis has created a nonprofit consulting firm that provides its graduate students with real-world experience. Students participating in the Biotechnology and Life Sciences Advising Group (BALSA) help local firms with market research, analysis, and project planning. Each student volunteers about 10 hours of his or her time each week, with proceeds being used to fund professional development events and microgrants. BALSA was founded in 2010 by a PhD student in genetics who realized that there was a need for the kind of expertise that PhD students can provide. Biotech startups, he said, “were really struggling to survive and understand what the final product should look like.” However, some BALSA participants said that they have felt friction from some faculty members in response to their work. BALSA President Brett Maricque said, “we’ve had students who had to quit BALSA because their faculty member told them to.” So far, data indicate that participation has not affected students’ time-to-degree. Chronicle Vitae