Top Ten

October 2, 2014

McGill football coach resigns over university’s response to player suspension

The head coach of McGill University’s Redmen football team has resigned in the wake of a player’s suspension and the university’s response. Luis-Andres Guimont-Mota was suspended last week after being charged with assault and uttering threats; Guimont-Mota had previously pled guilty to an assault charge arising from a 2010 incident. Head coach Clint Uttley stated in a resignation letter that he disagreed with a statement by McGill that “the individual should not have been invited to join [McGill’s] team.” Uttley said the university was well aware of the initial charge when Guimont-Mota was recruited, and to now say it was a mistake to have him on the team was deeply troubling. Citing beliefs in rehabilitation, equity, and inclusiveness, Uttley concludes his letter by stating, “if providing young men with a second opportunity has effectively cost me my position as head football coach at McGill, then I accept that consequence in order to maintain a higher moral standard than what’s been dictated.” Uttley’s letter makes no mention of the current charges facing Guimont-Mota. McGill has accepted Uttley’s resignation and is expected to name an interim coach in the next week. Toronto Star | Montreal Gazette | National Post |CBC

MUN celebrates opening of new Medical Education Centre

Memorial University has officially opened its new Medical Education Centre, housed in the new Faculty of Medicine expansion building. The new building and centre allow MUN to increase the number of medical students admitted every year and will provide opportunities for enhanced instruction and training, including the state-of-the-art Clinical Learning and Simulation Centre. “Experience in the simulation lab will result in improved performance, quicker response time and increased confidence and competence,” said James Rourke, Dean of Medicine. “In the long run this will improve patient safety and promote the teamwork, communication and collaboration that is so critical to health-care delivery.” The government of Newfoundland and Labrador contributed more than $21 M for the project. MUN News Release

Lakehead names Faculty of Law after former Chief Justice Bora Laskin

The new Faculty of Law at Lakehead University will be named the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law, in honour of former Chief Justice Bora Laskin. “An extraordinary man, Bora Laskin was a profound, visionary lawyer and judge who left a lasting influence on Canadian law,” said President Brian Stevenson. Dean Lee Stuesser added, “as a law school making its own unique mark on Canada’s legal landscape, it’s fitting to name this law school for someone who, himself, set precedent-making laws.” Lakehead also announced the launch of a fundraising campaign in honour of Laskin that is focused on 4 pillars: Transform a Student’s Future; Inspire a Generation; Create an Architectural Legacy Endowment; and Name the Law School Library. Lakehead’s law school opened in September 2013, and is the first new law school in Ontario since 1969 and the first ever in northern Ontario. Programs in the law faculty focus on Aboriginal law, natural resource law, and small and sole practice law. Lakehead News Release

LinkedIn introduces university rankings

LinkedIn has released its new University Rankings based on career outcomes of recent graduates. There are currently 5 career categories that are being ranked: Accounting Professionals, Finance Professionals, Investment Bankers, Marketers, and Software Developers. The landing page for the LinkedIn University Rankings list the top 3 universities in each category, and users can choose a career category to see all 25 universities included in each list. A LinkedIn blog post states, “students and parents want to know which schools give them the best chance at getting a desirable job after graduation. This is where we can help.” The methodology for the rankings involved defining “desirable companies” for each profession and determining the number of relevant graduates from a particular school that are now working for a desirable company. And, as Melissa Cheater says in her blog, “if you are McGill, UofT, uWaterloo, Queen’s, Laurier, York, SFU or UBC … you’ve got some lovely news to share and get excited about.” LinkedIn University Rankings | LinkedIn blog | #pseweb blog

The controversy over Confucius Institutes

As PSE institutions and school boards in Canada and the US reconsider their partnerships with Chinese-government funded Confucius Institutes, articles in theGlobe and Mail and the Toronto Star point to ways that these institutes can be beneficial while allowing minimal interventions from Hanban—the Confucius Institutes headquarters. In Edmonton, the Confucius program is used to help support the school board’s bilingual Mandarin program; Alberta teachers use AB curriculum, but Chinese instructors are hired as support staff to teach Chinese culture and help students with the language lessons. Hong Kong-based journalist Frank Ching writes in the Globe and Mail that even though the Confucius Institutes are touted as instruments of Chinese propaganda even by the Chinese government, China can improve these relationships by meeting the “issue of academic freedom head-on.” Ching also cautions Western institutions to be clear on the benefits, and risks, of partnering with Hanban. “There is an obvious need for Chinese language education around the world and China astutely stepped in to meet that need,” said Ching. Pennsylvania State University and the University of Chicago both recently announced they were closing their Confucius Institutes. The Canadian Association of University Teachers issued a news release last year urging PSE institutions to cut ties with the programs. Globe and Mail | Toronto Star | Inside Higher Ed

Ryerson releases new academic plan

Ryerson University has released its new 5-year academic plan, "Our Time to Lead." The plan outlines Ryerson’s vision to “become Canada’s leading comprehensive innovation university,” and details Ryerson’s strengths in career-related and professional programs; diverse scholarly, research, and creative activities; and commitment to the health and wellbeing of the Ryerson community. The academic plan focuses on 4 key priorities: “Enable greater student engagement and success through exceptional experiences; Increase SRC (scholarly, research, and creative) excellence, intensity and impact; Foster an innovation ecosystem; and Expand community engagement and city building.” A set of 29 strategies supports the 4 priorities and provides guidance for local implementation of priorities. The plan also includes 14 values that together “serve as the foundation of the academic plan’s aspirations and priorities.” The values range from academic freedom and integrity to sustainability and inclusion. Ryerson News | Plan Overview | Executive Summary

Changing times are reflected in increasingly diverse faculty in business schools

As business schools and MBA programs evolve to meet the challenges of a changing business landscape and increased student demands, the age range of faculty members is also changing. Courses such as social entrepreneurship and investment banking often require younger educators that have the right combination of experience in the business world and teaching. Balancing the number of seasoned, senior faculty with younger, junior faculty is becomingly increasingly important to business schools as students paying premium tuitions expect the best in a competitive market. At Queen’s University, senior faculty teach core foundational courses that are often theory-based and supported by faculty research. Industry experts are then brought in for specialized electives. In one case, the course is taught 50/50 by 2 instructors—one with more academic experience and one with more recent industry experience. At Western University’s Ivey School of Business, junior faculty are paired with a senior faculty mentor and a teaching coach in order to offer support and guidance; as well, junior faculty are often required to teach at the undergraduate level before moving into MBA courses. Financial Post

Canada’s skills gap would benefit from coordinated labour market data

A recent article in Maclean’s takes a closer look at the ongoing debates surrounding Canada’s skills gap, or mismatch as some put it, noting that for students and job-seekers, it is difficult to know what training one should take in order to find a career. Data on employment outlooks and wages from province to province are hard to find, and in some cases, inaccurate. Employers are spending less and less on employee training, and at the same time are calling on PSE institutions to do more job-ready training. Canada has pledged to spend more in order to develop more robust job market surveys, but that data won’t be available for some time. And, as the article’s author notes, “meanwhile, policy-makers and students will be forced to rely on a hodgepodge of third-party job surveys, anecdotal information and gut instinct to figure out how employment in this country works.” Clearer labour market information would greatly increase the employability of many educated, but un- or under-employed Canadians. Maclean’s

Barnes & Noble releases survey of millennials

Barnes & Noble College has released the results of its Mindset survey, designed to reveal the influences on millennials’ career choices and decisions around program and institution choice. Respondents included freshmen and junior/senior students at both 2- and 4-year institutions in the US. More than 90% of all respondents had identified their education/career field of choice, and more than half of juniors and seniors had spoken to professors about potential career paths. The survey results serve to dispel 2 myths about millennials: “millennials lack focus as it relates to their future career” and millennials are driven by money, power, and fame, and think they “know it all.” As in other recent studies, respondents indicated that “personal fulfillment trumps money and status.” The survey also found that more than 90% of respondents indicated communication skills as important to future career aspirations, and that 66% of students are concerned about having the necessary skills to perform jobs well. Barnes & Noble Survey Results

New report looks at PhD gender imbalances in US

A new report released this week looks at the perceived gender imbalance among US PhD graduates, suggesting that contrary to popular opinion, the overrepresentation of male PhDs compared to females is slightly less likely in STEM-related fields than in non-STEM fields. The researchers studied 135 academic fields, 55 STEM disciplines and 80 non-STEM fields. Of the top 5 fields in which men are overrepresented among PhD graduates, none are in the STEM fields. In the top 5 fields in which women are overrepresented, 2 are in STEM fields. However, overall, men are overrepresented in close to 75% of the fields studied. The study looked at the number of undergraduate degrees awarded in each field to both males and females as part of the methodology, but did not look at the reasons why women do not pursue PhDs in certain fields; nor did it look at whether females were dropping out of PhD programs at a higher rate. The Chronicle of Higher Education | Inside Higher Ed | Full Report