Top Ten

October 14, 2014

MUN opens new 500-bed Macpherson College residence

Memorial University has officially opened its new 500-bed residence building, named Macpherson College. The building and its 2 wings—Cluett and Shiwak Halls—are named in honour of 3 WWI veterans. The residence consists of 2-bedroom suites that each have a washroom; study, storage, and kitchen space on each floor; laundry and lounge areas in each wing; and multiple security features. There are also private barrier-free suites available. Residence Life staff and academic supports are also available in the residence. The Newfoundland and Labrador government contributed $65 million to the project. “Every aspect of Macpherson College is designed to foster an environment suitable for learning,” said one student living in the new residence. MUN recently completed a new 200-room residence at its Grenfell Campus. MUN News | CBC

Laurentian launches speech and language teaching clinic

Laurentian University last week celebrated the opening of its new Speech and Language Clinic, which will provide students with hands-on training opportunities. Michèle Minor-Corriveau, Program Coordinator for Speech-Language Pathology, also announced at the event a new online resource-exchange platform for professionals in the industry. Reportedly the first of its kind in Ontario, the new resource will allow for the sharing of best practices, tips, and tools for success. “Laurentian University is very proud of this new clinic that will allow our 120 students in Speech-Language Pathology to benefit from quality facilities that meet our exceptional faculty’s high standards of teaching,” said Laurentian President Dominic Giroux. “Opening this clinic is timely and significant considering the shortage of Speech-Language Pathologists in the community.” Laurentian News

Dal’s postdocs latest to join PSAC

Dalhousie University’s post-doctoral fellows have voted to join the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC). During the unionization process employees reportedly expressed concerns around pay levels, benefits, and working hours. “Post-doctoral workers are temporary workers at a university, so they’re precarious,” current Dal postdoc Kelly Holloway said. “Having a union means that we have some kind of continuity and representation and that the gains that we make through the collective bargaining process affect the people who come after us. So it’s an important mechanism to have in place for us.” Contract negotiations are expected to begin in the near future. Postdocs are increasingly turning to union membership in order to address insecure working conditions. Postdocs at Queen’s University, Memorial University, and Western University have joined PSAC in the past few years. Dal News | Chronicle-Herald

VIU offers new tuition-free training programs

Vancouver Island University will offer 4 tuition-free programs for persons who are unemployed or who are working in low-skilled jobs and want to upgrade. Students will be able to enrol in VIU’s Class 1 Driver Training, Intro to Culinary Arts, Building Service Worker, and Security Worker Training programs. The programs range in length from 3 weeks for the Security Worker Training program to 13 weeks for Intro to Culinary Arts. The initiative is intended to help produce skilled workers to meet labour market needs. The program will cover the cost of tuition and books for eligible applicants. Funding will be provided by British Columbia’s Ministry of Jobs, Tourism, and Skills Training. VIU News Release

Crown stays sexual assault charges against uAlberta researcher

A crown prosecutor has stayed charges against University of Alberta researcher Zhixiang Wiang, a professor in the Department of Medical Genetics. The decision came at a preliminary hearing on Wednesday, intended to determine if there was sufficient evidence to move forward with a case against Wang. He had been charged in February 2013 with sexual assault and sexual contact with a child. The evidence presented in the hearing is subject to a publication ban, but the Edmonton Journal reports that the alleged victim was 16 years old. Wang’s wife, Xinmei Chen, has been charged with unlawful confinement of a child; she will next appear in court on November 5. Edmonton Journal

Georgian, Barrie collaborate on portal for entrepreneurs

Georgian College, with the City of Barrie, is launching a new initiative to help foster businesses in the community. Barrie Entrepreneurs Connect (BEC) offers persons interested in starting a business a web portal that provides resources in 4 key areas: entrepreneurial education and training; networking; funding; and mentorship. The site provides advice in starting, growing, and financing a business, and also shares local success stories. “BEC is about pooling resources in one place and providing better access to beneficial information. We want to nurture business and make sure our entrepreneurs get everything they need to succeed,” said Carla Ladd, Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Barrie. Georgian recently announced plans to establish a range of programs and activities to promote and support student entrepreneurship. Georgian News Release

3 Canadian business schools top global sustainable MBA rankings

3 Canadian universities appear at the top of Toronto-based financial publication Corporate Knights’ Global 100 Sustainable MBA Ranking for 2014. York University’s Schulich School of Business appears in first place, followed by the Sauder School of Business at UBC and the Alberta School of Business at the University of Alberta. The rankings recognize programs that promote sustainability through support for core curriculum choices, dedicated institutes and centres, and faculty research. Institutions listed in the Financial TimesGlobal MBA rankings are eligible for consideration. “Our mission … is to build on the [Financial Times’] ranking by determining which of the top schools are focused on the intersection of business and sustainability. On that note, Canadian schools appear to have found strength internationally,” said Corporate Knights managing editor Jeremy Runnalls. The Harvard School of Business and the Yale School of management ranked fourth and fifth, respectively. Corporate Knights News Release | Full Rankings

Survey finds fewer teens liking Facebook

New research from a US-based investment bank finds that teens are abandoning Facebook in favour of Twitter and Instagram. The survey of 7,200 US students found that between spring and fall 2014 Facebook use among persons aged 13 to 19 dropped from 72% to 45%. In contrast, use of Instagram—now owned by Facebook—jumped from 69% to 76%; moreover, 38% of respondents said that Instagram would be the best marketing channel by which to reach them. Some speculate that teen users are leaving Facebook due to the presence of adults on the site, or are turning to anonymous social apps like Whisper or Yik Yak. The survey also gauged attitudes toward technology, finding that just 16% of teens said that they were interested in the recently announced Apple Watch. Many stated that they did not see the need for a watch regardless of who made it or what the price tag was. Nevertheless, teens do favour Apple: 67% of respondents said that they owned an iPhone, up from 61% in the spring, and 73% said that they expected their next phone to be an iPhone. Toronto Star

Graduate students would benefit from mental health support specific to their issues

Graduate students may struggle to find adequate support for mental health issues, reports the New York Times. The article cites US-based research that found that many institutions are ill-prepared to respond to specific issues faced by graduate students. According to researcher Carrie Arnold, “graduate students say that [they] aren’t just older undergraduates. Graduate students have bigger responsibilities and weightier, longer-term commitments. They have to worry about funding their training and research, publishing papers, and finishing dissertations.” Arnold also notes that many graduate students have family responsibilities that are less common among undergraduates. Graduate students’ anxiety and depression may also be triggered by factors including financial insecurity, departmental cultures, and the academic job market. The article suggests that faculty and peer support can help graduate students cope, as well as assistance from campus counselling services. New York Times

Forum addresses future of scholarly monographs

Scholars debated the future of the monograph at a forum sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries, considering, among other issues, the potential of digital monographs. Proponents say that digital monographs can foster collaboration as well as allow scholars to present findings in new ways. Digital monographs also benefit from the fact that they can be modified and corrected after publication. However, participants in the forum identified tenure and promotion committees as being a significant obstacle to more widespread adoption of digital formats. While organizations like the American Historical Association (AHA) and the Modern Language Association (MLA) have formed committees to evaluate how to assess digital projects, many scholars still view traditional monographs as the standard measure of scholarly output. Other forum participants considered ways to improve traditional monographs, such as providing young scholars with seed funding to pursue open-access publishing. Inside Higher Ed