Top Ten

November 17, 2014

UQAM investigating after faculty claim vandalism, social media slander

The Université de Québec à Montreal has launched a formal investigation after a series of acts of vandalism targeted 3 faculty members as well as the school’s sexual harassment policy. In late October, three professors found their doors covered in stickers that referred to the school’s internal policies on sexual harassment; last week, a group called Collectif Les Hystériques posted pictures of the doors on a Facebook page it created as space for “anonymous denunciation of sexist and anti-feminist gestures” on campus. The Human Sciences Student Association also shared the pictures online. The faculty members’ names are clearly visible in the photographs; however, no complaints have been filed against the professors with UQAM’s Office of Harassment Intervention and Prevention. “To investigate a claim we have to have a complaint,” said UQAM Vice-Rector Marc Turgeon. “Right now I have a complaint from the professors about the slander which they are victim of. I don’t have a complaint from a student about either of these professors.” QC’s Education Minister Yves Bolduc denounced the anonymous accusations. “When you make anonymous denunciations—you know, there can be victims that way, too. We must be prudent,” he said. However, a professor who sits on the committee in charge of revising UQAM’s sexual harassment policy said that such acts of “vigilante justice” point to a lack of faith in the school’s ability to effectively address matters of harassment. Toronto Star | CTV News | Montreal Gazette

uManitoba announces $500 M goal for "Front and Centre" campaign

The University of Manitoba has announced its new “Front and Centre” campaign, with a goal of raising $500 M to support teaching and learning, discovery, and community engagement. In a press release, uManitoba said that the campaign will attract the largest philanthropic investment ever in Manitoba’s history. The Front and Centre campaign will encompass 5 priorities: Indigenous achievement, graduate student support, research excellence, outstanding student experience, and places and spaces. Some of the funding will go toward a new medical campus building, as well as a facility on the Fort Garry campus for the Truth and Reconciliation Centre. “The legacy of this campaign will be profound, supporting transformational change at the University of Manitoba and beyond: in our city, our province, and our global society,” said uManitoba President David Barnard. uManitoba alumnus Paul Soubry, CEO of New Flyer Industries, will serve as campaign Chair. The campaign goal of $500 M comprises $350 M in private fundraising and $150 M in anticipated provincial capital grants. uManitoba Press Release | Winnipeg Free Press

Brock, Concordia each receive $1 M donations

Brock University and Concordia University have each received donations of $1 M. Brock received its donation from the family of local businessman H Rudi Kroeker; the gift will support the Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Research Complex. “We sincerely hope that the support we’ve provided to this facility will allow faculty, staff, students, and entrepreneurs to excel in their fields, and pursue their research dreams—for all of our benefits,” said Kroeker. Concordia’s gift comes from the National Bank and will be used to establish an initiative in entrepreneurship and family business at the John Molson School of Business; it will also establish a National Bank Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the institution. “This initiative will reinforce graduate and undergraduate studies at Concordia and further distinguish the Molson school,” said Concordia President Alan Shepard. Brock News Release | Montreal Gazette

St Lawrence College ends journalism diploma program

St Lawrence College has decided to suspend its 2-year journalism diploma program due to low enrolment and interest. The program did not accept any first-year students this fall, and the program will be ended after the current cohort finishes in June. Don Fairweather, Dean of SLC’s Cornwall campus, said that the program needed about 20 students in order to be economically viable. “We were not able to recruit students in sufficient numbers to make the program sustainable,” he said. “With the demise or the transition away from print media to other forms of media, people sometimes have the perception that there’s less opportunity in that sector.” Fairweather noted that communications skills such as those developed in the journalism program remain in demand. Program Director Terry Tinkess said that while the program received between 40 and 100 applications each year since its inception in 2007, many students didn’t make journalism their first choice and declined their admission offer. Western University recently announced plans to replace its journalism MA with a joint journalism/communications degree. J-Press

McGill dentistry students agree to help pay for new facility

Dentistry students at McGill University have agreed that each will contribute $20,000 toward the faculty’s new facility; however, some students said that they didn’t know what they were agreeing to. The Montreal Gazette reports that some first-year students have said that they thought they were agreeing to a one-time levy of $5,000 rather than an annual fee totaling $20,000. “The website did indicate the fee, but it was misleading to some students. Many thought it was $5,000 and not $20,000 … Most first-year students find the $5,000 per year fee high,” said Ryan Siciliano, President of the first-year class. The students also agreed to pay an annual $1,000 fee to help pay for equipment upgrades. Other students have complained that the fee increase was voted in by students who won’t actually have to pay for it. However, Siciliano said, “we are confident that students had the best interest of the faculty and future students in mind.” Dean of Dentistry Paul Allison said that the contribution was clearly presented on the website. “We had an open forum to discuss it and my understanding is that not many students were upset about it. We wouldn’t have been able to do this without that money,” said Allison. Montreal Gazette

Program encouraging women to pursue MBAs to be offered in Toronto

The Texas-based Forté Foundation has added Toronto to a list of cities that are eligible for MBALaunch, an initiative intended to encourage women to pursue an MBA degree. Forté plans to recruit between 40 and 50 Toronto-area women with between 2 and 5 years of work experience to participate in a 10-month program intended to help prepare them for entry into an MBA program. Participants will have access to test preparation, coaching, and other support services, as well as being able to draw on the expertise of MBA alumni and Forté peers. The University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, York University's Schulich School of Business, and Queen’s University’s School of Business will provide in-person and virtual sessions as part of the program. “Having a network of supportive women who are going through it together is an important part of the MBALaunch program,” said Krystal Brooks, Associate Director of College and Early Career Women at Forté. Globe and Mail

NS students want more prominent role in PSE decision-making process

Some Nova Scotia student organizations say that they are being left out of consultations between the province and its universities. Last month, NS said that it would begin holding consultations with a number of PSE stakeholder groups, including students, as part of a study into how to make PSE institutions financially sustainable and affordable. Students have been involved in several of the 28 consultations that the province has held so far; however, Jonathan Williams, Executive Director of StudentsNS, says that students are not being offered a chance to participate in decision-making meetings. Jacqueline Skiptunis, VP Academic and External Issues with Dalhousie University’s Student Union, echoed Williams’ concerns, saying that the format of the meetings does not lend itself to honest discussion. She said that a private firm is being used to conduct the sessions, and that there is no way for students to know if their concerns are being relayed. NS Minister of Labour and Advanced Education said that students “are going to have input at every step of the way” and that NS meets with students “more than any other government in the country.” Chronicle-Herald

StatsCan issues report on employment outcomes, median earnings, and debt of class of 2009/10

Statistics Canada has issued a new report on labour market outcomes and student debt of the class of 2009/10 and 2013. According to the report, 4 in 10 graduates from the class of 2009/10 chose to continue their education after graduating from their program. 49% of bachelor’s degree graduates pursued further education, as well as 35% of college graduates, 32% of master’s degree graduates, and 16% of PhD graduates. Individuals in biological and biomedical sciences were most likely to pursue further education (77% of graduates), followed by those in psychology (75%), mathematics and statistics (71%), physical and life sciences and technologies (70%), and the humanities (61%). The study also found that 90% of college graduates, 92% of bachelor and master’s degree candidates, and 93% of PhD graduates in the class of 2009/10 had found employment by 2013. Median earnings in 2013 for graduates of the class of 2009/10 were $41,600 for college graduates, $53,000 for bachelor graduates, $70,000 for master’s graduates, and $75,000 for doctorate graduates. Those with master’s degrees and PhDs were also more likely to say that their job matched their education. By 2013, at least one-third of the class of 2009/10 had paid off their student loans, with the rate of repayment being highest for master’s graduates (44%). StatsCan Daily

Standardized tests for job-seekers may become more common

An article in Inside Higher Ed reports on the growing popularity of workplace readiness tests among US employers. The tests are designed to help employers better assess the skill set of job-seekers. To date, few companies are insisting that college graduates achieve a minimum score in order to get hired; however, that could be changing. In India, more than a million people have taken the Aspiring Minds’ Computer Adaptive Test (AMCAT), which measures English-language abilities, logic, judgment, quantitative skills, and some soft skills, and a number of American firms have set a “cutoff” score for job-seekers there. The creators of the test are now hoping to crack the US market, and have partnered with edX in order to do so. Indian students who complete edX courses can now register to take the AMCAT test as part of their job-hunting efforts. A number of firms, including some test-making firms, are now offering standardized tests to help employers evaluate workers. US PSE administrators are taking notice, both because students may benefit from the assessments, and because of what they may indicate about the value of a degree. Inside Higher Ed

Article offers advice for better management of adjunct faculty

A piece in University Business offers 5 best practices for managing adjunct faculty. The article notes that the number of adjuncts in US PSE has grown by 160% over the last 20 years, and that institutions are dealing with growing concerns regarding adjunct working conditions. The article issues 5 specific recommendations. First, it suggests providing targeted support services to adjuncts in order to improve their satisfaction as employees and to help them perform more effectively. Second, the article recommends systematic evaluation of part-timers’ performance, using means such as online course evaluations. Third, institutions are encouraged to focus on inclusion, involving adjuncts in faculty development opportunities and offering work space. Fourth, institutions are advised to offer adjuncts adequate pay and other rewards as a motivational tool. Finally, the article recommends including adjunct faculty in strategic planning processes and breaking down barriers to engagement between adjuncts and administration. University Business