Top Ten

September 30, 2014

Police break up massive homecoming party in Waterloo

43 Waterloo Regional Police officers were needed to disperse a crowd of approximately 1,000 students at an off-campus homecoming party near Wilfrid Laurier University on Saturday. According to reports, party-goers threw beer cans and bottles at officers as they got out of their cars. Police were forced to block access to the street to prevent more people from joining the party. Nobody was injured, but several vehicles, including police cruisers, were damaged, and residents were left to pick up a mess of broken glass and red cups. “State Street is usually a very quiet street,” said a WLU business student who lives nearby. “This was a party with a lot of people and it got out of control.” Another resident said that neighbours had been told on Saturday afternoon that a keg party was planned for a house on the street, but that nobody expected it to get out of hand. One student has been charged with assaulting a police officer with a weapon. The Record

YorkU receives $8 M for new engineering building

York University yesterday announced a gift of $8 M from alumnus Doug Bergeron and his wife, Sandra, for its Lassonde School of Engineering. This new gift adds to the $2 M previously donated to the school by the Bergerons. YorkU’s new engineering building will be named the Bergeron Centre for Engineering Excellence in recognition of the donations. The Bergeron Centre has been designed to facilitate a “flipped classroom” approach to instruction. Janusz Kozinski, Dean of the Lassonde School, said, “this support will give our students the opportunity to explore their passions and gain new perspectives in a home that’s completely different to any engineering school ever built in Canada.” Doug Bergeron added, “we want Canada’s most promising engineers and entrepreneurs to thrive, to innovate, and to eventually change the world. This bold new home for engineering at York University defies conventional wisdom and gives students the opportunity to learn in ways that were unthinkable before the dawn of the information age.” YorkU News Release | Globe and Mail

uToronto receives donation in support of Indigenous education

The University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) has received $5 M from an anonymous donor to strengthen Indigenous education research. According to uToronto, the gift is the largest donation ever made to a Canadian education faculty specifically for Indigenous education research. The funds will be used to establish a prestigious fellowship and to launch a comprehensive 5-year initiative designed to identify the educational needs and aspirations of Indigenous peoples. The OISE Indigenous Education Initiative will focus on literacy during the first year, and will also conduct research in related areas, including Indigenous languages and revitalization, education governance, and literacy infrastructure. The focus of the initiative will be on Indigenous education in Canada, but it is expected the research will have far-reaching relevance to Indigenous peoples and educators around the world. “The OISE Indigenous Education Initiative fully recognizes and embraces the principles advanced by Indigenous peoples and educators,” stated OISE Dean Julia O’Sullivan. “The initiative will support important dialogue on the advancement and achievement of those very principles.” uToronto News

AUCC, CICan sign partnership agreement to enhance collaboration, transferability

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) and Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) have signed a framework for collaboration that is intended to improve the ties between Canada’s colleges and universities, promote transferability of students, and promote further partnerships between institutions. Per the framework, the organizations will work to promote the value of sharing resources and information, to raise awareness of collaborative efforts in the public discourse, and to celebrate student success stories and promising practices. “Ensuring students have diverse options and pathways to education through enhanced collaboration between colleges, institutes, polytechnics, and universities is what this agreement is all about,” said CICan President Denise Amyot. “Improved transferability will also benefit learners by affording them more opportunities to participate in college/university partnerships, such as applied research, which delivers the skills needed by employers and communities.” AUCC News Release | CICan News Release | Framework Document

Lambton launches first-in-Canada bio-industrial technology diploma

Lambton College has announced it will add 3 new full-time programs in 2015, including a 3-year advanced diploma in Bio-Industrial Engineering Technology that is reportedly the first of its kind in Canada. The program will offer courses in areas such as industrial enzymes and bacteria, biomass, bio-fuels, and bio-based chemicals. Students will have access to training in industry-grade learning labs within the Centre of Excellence in Energy & Bio-Industrial Technologies. “Bio-industrial Technology has experienced tremendous growth in recent years, particularly in the Sarnia-Lambton region. This innovative program is exclusive to Lambton College and was designed with significant industry input to give students the knowledge and skills required for the safe and productive operation of various bio-industrial processes,” said Ranjan Bhattacharya, Dean of the School of Technology, Energy & Apprenticeship. Lambton will also add a 2-year Electromechanical Engineering Technician diploma and a one-year Ontario College Certificate in Aboriginal Social Justice. Lambton News

Canada launches new managing migration training program

Canada has launched a unique training program designed to help policy-makers manage migration through the use of monitoring and evaluation tools. Metropolis Professional Development (MPD)—an international network of immigration policy-makers and researchers—is offering the new certification program in order to address the growing issues of global migration and re-integration. MPD, housed at Carleton University, received $400,000 from the federal government for the initiative. A pilot version of the program ran during the summer, and a full version is planned for Toronto this fall, consisting of an expert panel from around the globe. “Many new countries are getting into the immigration game and don’t know what to do,” said Howard Duncan, Executive Head of MPD. “The global competition for talents and migrants is heating up. There is a huge demand and need for this kind of training.” Toronto Star

BC PSE institutions focus on experiential learning, community engagement

An article in the Vancouver Sun highlights some of the ways in which BC PSE institutions are focusing on skill development, community engagement, and experiential learning. The article looks at 5 institutions: Langara College, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Capilano University, the University of the Fraser Valley, and the University of Northern British Columbia. Langara promotes teaching innovation by supporting faculty with professional development funding and events on campus; it is also pursuing a partnership with UNBC to provide a venue for some of their programs. KPU’s vision for its future includes integration of applied and academic learning, small classes, and a focus on community engagement. CapilanoU has released an academic plan that seeks to bring in faculty with real-world experience and puts students to work in the field in which they are studying. For instance, students in CapilanoU’s animation program worked on the recent Disney movie Frozen. UFV is working closely with K-12 schools on aligning learning outcomes, and seeks to integrate trades training with liberal and professional education. Finally, UNBC is supporting experiential learning in its First Nations Studies classes and is also working on increasing the number of students involved in one-on-one research with faculty members. Vancouver Sun

JCCF releases annual Campus Freedom Index

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) has released its annual Campus Freedom Index, which measures the state of free speech at Canada’s public universities. The index awards letter grades to each university in 4 areas: university policies, university practices, student union policies, and student union practices. This year, 5 universities—Ryerson University, Simon Fraser University, St Thomas University, University of King’s College, and the University of Lethbridge—were recognized as being the best universities in the country for “upholding the free exchange of ideas.” Last year, 6 institutions received “A” grades. Among student unions, the Acadia University Students’ Union, Brock University Students’ Union, Carleton University Students Association, Northern Undergraduate Students Society at the University of Northern British Columbia, and the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union received top grades. 24 universities received at least one “F” grade, with 14 earning an overall grade of “F.” 19 student unions received an overall “F” grade. JCCF News Release

Top scientist calls for streamlining of Canadian funding mechanisms

Research funding competitions have become more aggressive since the economic downturn of 2009, with funders expecting more bang for their buck in smaller time frames than ever before. As a result, many researchers are finding grant applications to be an increasingly time-consuming—and stress-inducing—part of their job. “Right now, it’s a lottery. We have a lot of brilliant young investigators but I worry they won’t get a chance,” said Jim Wodgett, Scientific Director of the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute in Toronto. The current success rate of researchers applying for funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research is just 15%. “But it’s not just about money. We need to consolidate and streamline the bureaucracy, to tear down the picket fences from around each funding organization,” said Wodgett, who has been outspoken in his criticism of Canada’s funding structures for biomedical research. Wodgett calls for less paperwork, more emphasis on interdisciplinary research, and greater investment in science. He also advocates for better communication between researchers and the public. Globe and Mail

Educause releases report on learning management systems in PSE

Educause, a US nonprofit organization of IT leaders working in PSE, has released a new report on student, faculty, and IT staff attitudes toward learning management systems (LMSes). According to the report, 99% of US institutions surveyed have an LMS in place. LMSes have an average age of about 8 years, and 15% of US institutions are planning to replace their LMS within the next 3 years. While faculty and students perceive LMSes as enhancing their teaching and learning experiences, few use the advanced features available in these systems to their fullest capacity. Users also reported being most satisfied with basic features and least satisfied with collaboration and engagement features. Students and faculty both reported that they would like to see enhanced features added to LMSes, especially around personalization and analytical capabilities. The report further says that many students come to college and university without the adequate knowledge they need to effectively use an LMS, and suggests that students be better included in training programs. Full Report