Top Ten

November 3, 2014

Carleton reviewing past CBC internships in wake of allegations against Jian Ghomeshi

In the wake of the scandal involving former radio host Jian Ghomeshi, Carleton University has announced that it will review its records of students who participated in internships at CBC and will offer counselling to anyone who may want it. Carleton says that 53 journalism students held internships at CBC between 2004 and 2014 but that it is still trying to determine if any of them worked on Ghomeshi’s program. Carleton is pursuing the review partly in response to an April tweet from an account named for Ghomeshi’s teddy bear that accused Ghomeshi of violent behaviour; the tweet ended with the phrase “signed, every female Carleton U media grad.” As of press time, 9 women have come forward publicly with allegations of violence, sexual assault, and harassment against Ghomeshi, who was fired by CBC last Sunday. A campus-wide email to the Carleton community stated, “the university is reviewing its records about field placements that our students have done at CBC Toronto and whether there were any at [Ghomeshi’s] Q program in particular. We have no information at this time that any of our students have been victims.” Ottawa Citizen

Postscript: November 4, 2014

Carleton University has completed its review of work placements and internships at CBC Toronto and determined that there is “no information at this time that any of our students have been affected” following allegations against former CBC host Jian Ghomeshi. Carleton noted that because CBC handled specific assignments, it may not have complete information on which students may have worked on Ghomeshi’s show. “We now know that 73 of our Carleton journalism students were placed at CBC Toronto between 2003 and 2014. At least one of those students worked on Q during that period,” Carleton said in a statement. However, it emphasized that it will offer counselling services to any students requesting them. Ottawa Citizen

Ryerson creates Allan Slaight Radio Institute

Ryerson University has received a gift of $3 M from the Slaight Family Foundation, to be used to create the Allan Slaight Radio Institute at the RTA School of Media. The Institute will serve as a state-of-the-art broadcast and teaching facility, as well as providing support for independent student productions and practical, hands-on education for students at Ryerson’s digital radio station. “Allan Slaight is an inspiring figure for people passionate about radio. The family’s gift will be transformational for Ryerson students working to follow in his footsteps in developing the industry,” said Ryerson President Sheldon Levy. Allan Slaight’s son Gary Slaight added, “the Allan Slaight Radio Institute is a fitting tribute to [Allan Slaight’s] contributions and will ensure solid support to students wishing to pursue careers in radio and broadcasting. Our family is very pleased to provide this support to Ryerson University, and Allan looks forward to visiting the new facilities.” Ryerson News Release

Université Sainte-Anne launches fundraising campaign to build new Halifax campus

Nova Scotia’s Université Sainte-Anne has launched a new campaign to raise funding for a new campus in Halifax, enhance its research facilities, and increase a bursary fund. The campaign kicked off on Tuesday along with an announcement that a building on uSainte-Anne’s Church Point campus would be renamed the Centre de l’entrepreneuriat Louis E Devau in recognition of a recent donation. The main goal of the campaign is to build a permanent location for the university in Halifax; currently, uSainte-Anne leases a renovated school from the regional school board. “We’re looking for more of a permanent location … in Halifax that would allow us to invest in a building that would be ours,” said university President Alllister Surette. Approximately 75 students attend regular programming at the Halifax campus, with more than 1,000 each year attending French second-language training. uSainte-Anne has already raised $2.5 M toward its $7 M goal. Chronicle-Herald

Re-evaluating student evaluation of teaching

Academica Group President Rod Skinkle attended the recent conference of the Canadian Institutional Research and Planning Association (CIRPA) to present findings from new research into student evaluation of teaching (SET). Academica reviewed the evaluation forms from 15 Ontario colleges and found that while there was some thematic consensus, there was little common ground on the scales or language used to evaluate faculty. Moreover, Academica’s research indicated that few institutions are doing much in the way of data consolidation or trend analysis of evaluations. Academica suggests that institutions would benefit from the use of a more portable evaluation instrument that could be used across faculties and programs; they also recommend that institutions consider implementing an electronic form to reduce processing time and to help generate on-demand, meaningful reports that can help facilitate constructive feedback. “This is a missed opportunity,” said Skinkle. “When implemented as part of a more comprehensive teacher evaluation framework, SET can provide a highly useful perspective for students, faculty, and administrators alike.” Academica Blog

TWU opens new Centre for Faith and Learning

Trinity Western University has launched the new Anabaptist-Mennonite Centre for Faith and Learning (A-MCFL). The new centre is an initiative of the Mennonite Faith and Learning Society (MFLS), a non-profit dedicated to promoting Mennonite studies in higher education. The A-MCFL is reportedly the first university-based research centre to focus on the study of the integration of faith and learning from an Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective. Centre Director Myron A Penner said that the centre “will have a high impact on TWU students and Mennonite students. It will inject an Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective into faith and learning, something TWU is all about.” He added that “the Centre will also serve as a resource for intellectually disenfranchised people who are curious about how faith connects with information and learning across disciplines and in a variety of forms.” TWU News Release

Brescia, King’s team with London District Catholic School Board to attract international students

Brescia University College and King’s University College are partnering with the London District Catholic School Board to attract new international students in grades 11 and 12 by offering a conditional acceptance to either institution. Currently, there are few international students attending London’s Catholic high schools, but the school board has recently been pushing to recruit more students who want to study in Canada to learn English. The school board hopes that the offer of conditional acceptance will provide peace-of-mind to parents. “Many of them are thinking longer term—their goal may not be a high school diploma, it would be postsecondary education,” said Lily Wong, Executive Director of the International Education Centre of London, which will be directly recruiting students on behalf of the Catholic school board. Marilyn Mason, VP Enrolment and Strategic Partnerships at King’s, noted that international students will still have to meet all the same requirements as Canadian students. London Free Press

New initiative to identify Canadian big data skills gap

A new initiative is being launched to explore whether or not a skills gap exists in the area of big data analytics in Canada. The project, to be led by Ryerson University, is an initiative of Canada’s Big Data Consortium, an organization comprising organizations in academia, industry, and government. Dalhousie University, Concordia University, and Simon Fraser University are members of the consortium along with Ryerson. The first phase of the research will involve a survey of Canadian organizations in order to identify whether or not a big data talent gap exists, and, if so, the breadth and depth of the gap. From there, partner organizations will convene a Big Data Talent Gap Summit to determine next steps and strategic directions. Ryerson News Release

Canadian PSE has "patchwork" approach to addressing sexual assault

An article in Maclean’s surveys the approaches being taken by Canadian universities toward sexual assault. The article says that, in contrast to the US, it is uncommon for a Canadian university to have policies or services in place that deal specifically with sexual assault. While some researchers say that as many as 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted as students, there are no requirements in Canada for institutions to track the number of reported sexual assaults. Moreover, according to Statistics Canada, fewer than 10% of sexual assault cases were reported to police. The article notes that institutions are taking steps to address the problem: McGill University has appointed a harm-reduction liaison officer, who is developing a sexual-assault policy, and the University of Windsor has implemented the Bystander Initiative rape-prevention program. However, the article says that even researchers and staff working on the topic are often reluctant to discuss their work for fear of the consequences. “We’re working in a climate where some of us are having to reapply to the very universities we’re now speaking about in our research; it carries some risks for us in terms of the stability of our employment,” said Andrea Quinlan, a sociologist at Lakehead University. Maclean’s

Op-ed says "competitive diversity" can help improve Canadian PSE

In an op-ed for the Globe and Mail, Robert Joustra, Director of the Centre for Christian Scholarship at Redeemer University College, argues for the benefits of “competitive diversity” among PSE institutions. Joustra says that the term refers to “not only concentrating specializations in existing publicly funded institutions, but enfolding other publicly chartered (but not publicly funded) schools, whose competitive edge is sharp from already contending with publicly subsidized tuition”—namely, Canada’s small liberal arts colleges. Joustra argues that Canada’s PSE sector cannot afford to ignore these institutions, which, he says, can provide “the pool of competitive context that can spark improvement across the system.” He says that these institutions provide a brand of education that is not available at large, publicly funded institutions. Such a liberal arts education, Joustra claims, can foster “a collaborative and integrative approach that connects the big questions of, say, philosophy, or political science, to agriculture policy, to medicine, to chemistry,” a capability that can usefully complement the training of highly trained experts at differentiated, publicly funded institutions. Globe and Mail

US releases new gainful employment rules targeting for-profit colleges

Washington has released new gainful employment regulations that target for-profit career colleges. The rules will penalize schools that fail to meet debt-to-income requirements for 2 out of 3 consecutive years, barring them from eligibility for federal student loans and grants. US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, “the quality of these programs today varies tremendously. While some are strong, today too many of these programs fail to provide the training [students] need, while burying them in debt they cannot repay.” So far, the response to the new regulations from both sector representatives and consumer advocates has been lukewarm. The Institute for College Access and Success said in statement, “the final gainful employment regulation does not do enough to stop the fleecing of students and taxpayers.” Meanwhile, Steve Gunderson, President of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, said that “the regulation will hurt the very students it is intended to help by restricting educational access for millions of students and unfairly targeting certain institutions.” It is expected that the for-profit industry will launch a legal challenge to the regulations. Los Angeles Times | Inside Higher Ed