Top Ten

December 2, 2014

UPEI receives $22 M in funding for engineering design school, centre

The University of Prince Edward Island has received a commitment of $16 M from the province to establish a new School of Sustainable Design Engineering. The new school will offer students a team-focused, project-based approach to designing sustainable processes, products, and systems. The school will offer both a 2-year Engineering diploma and a new 4-year Bachelor of Science degree in sustainable design engineering. UPEI also announced the creation of the Centre of Engineering Design and Industry Partnerships, which will include 4 labs focused on food processing, sensory and sortation, sustainable energy, and robotics. The Centre, funded in part by $6 M from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), will allow students and faculty to work on pilot-scale, industrial R&D projects. “UPEI is undertaking a transformative approach to putting innovation into action. We are creating a professional, engineering R&D workspace where students and faculty will work alongside industry clients to design solutions for global challenges,” said UPEI President Alaa Abd-El-Aziz. UPEI News Release | PEI News Release | ACOA News Release

NSERC announces funding for research networks at McMaster, uToronto

The National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has announced funding for 2 new research initiatives. Researchers at McMaster University will receive $5 M in funding over 5 years for its FloodNet Network, which is working toward building an advanced warning system to protect Canadians from the effects of floods. The FloodNet Network includes researchers from the University of Guelph, Université Laval, the University of Manitoba, l’Université de Moncton, the University of New Brunswick, the University of Saskatchewan, Trent University, the University of Waterloo, and Western University. The University of Toronto will also receive $5 M toward the launch of its Industrial Biocatalysis Network, a collaboration with Concordia University and UBC. This initiative will examine ways to use enzymes to produce more environmentally friendly chemicals, plastics, and other products. NSERC News Release | UBC News Release

Confederation College launches new Student Village accommodations project

Confederation College has announced a new project to help meet a shortage in student accommodations in Thunder Bay. Confederation’s Student Village/Accommodation Project is intended to provide space for 256 students in 4 new buildings. Each 4-floor building will offer students fully-furnished, apartment-style accommodations, with 4 bedrooms in each unit. The first 2 buildings are slated for completion by the fall of 2015. “Our goal with the Student Village is to provide on-campus living in an environment built around our learners and their success,” said Confederation President Jim Madder. The new buildings are being designed to support Confederation’s growth in international enrolments, as well as to help the college attract more domestic students. Confederation News Release

CNC announces 2% tuition increase

The College of New Caledonia in Prince George, British Columbia has announced that it will increase tuition by 2%. The bump was approved by the college’s board of governors on Friday. CNC President Henry Reiser said, “I’m comfortable with a modest increase in tuition in order to ensure that the institution is sustainable. Tuition represents a very, very small cost of attending a postsecondary institution.” Reiser further noted that CNC had not increased its tuition even as many other institutions in the province had. “One of the problems is that in the past we did not take advantage of the tuition lifts as everyone else in the province did and as a result we are being consistently penalized in meeting our budgetary needs,” he said. Eric Depenau, a student member of the board of governors, voted against the increase, saying that the province should be doing more to keep the cost of education down. Reiser said that the college is also looking at other ways to meet its financial challenges, including creating new programs and recruiting more international students. Prince George Citizen

MB announces dual credit program

Manitoba has announced a new dual credit program that will allow some high school students to get a head start on their PSE. The First-Year Now initiative will allow high school students to take college and university courses that will count as both high school and PSE credits. The program, modelled after one implemented successfully by the Seven Oaks School Division, the University of Winnipeg, and Université de Saint-Boniface, will help save students money and time by reducing the number of courses they will be required to take at a college or university. The initiative will also help ease the transition between high school and PSE. “High school should be a launch pad for students, not a finish line. Students should be able to get a head start, explore careers without being locked in, and graduate with a sense of direction and purpose,” said MB Premier Greg Selinger. MB News Release

Results of divisive Concordia student referendum on Israel to remain sealed

The results of a Concordia University undergraduate student referendum concerning a boycott of Israel will remain sealed following an overwhelming number of complaints from parties on both sides of the issue. “The problem is further compounded by the magnitude and complexity of the question being voted on, and the potential implications it could have on both Concordia University and abroad,” said André-Marcel Baril, Chief Electoral Officer for the Concordia Student Union. Baril said that he has approached an independent third party for guidance on the matter. This marks the second time in recent months that a student referendum regarding Israel has been left unresolved; in October, a motion to express solidarity for Palestinian human rights was postponed indefinitely. The Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario voted in favour of a boycott in August. Montreal Gazette

uCalgary study recommends changes to Canada's R&D subsidies

A new paper released by the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy says that Canada’s support for research and development is too generous. The study, published last week, notes that tax breaks provided to small firms come at a cost that outweighs the benefits. “We’ve put in a lot of money for R&D and if it’s not money well spent, it’s billions and billions of dollars lost a year. You have to be careful about the [subsidy] level that you offer … and then how you deliver it,” said John Lester, one of the report’s authors. Lester and co-author Jacek Warda found that Canada ranks third in the world in terms of subsidies for R&D at small firms. They suggest that taxpayers would get more return on their investment if the subsidies targeted younger, more innovative firms. Canadian Business | Financial Post | Full Report

Dal students receive course credit for protesting

Students studying in professor Robert Huish’s course “Development and Activism: Methods of Organization, Manifestation, and Dissent” must do more than just show up in class to earn a good grade; they must also actively participate in a political protest. Huish allocates 20% of each student’s final grade to an assignment that asks them to actively participate in and write a reflection on a protest. The course is required for students enrolled in international development studies at Dal, but also attracts a strong contingent from other departments. “I took a course with [Huish] last year and I knew it’s not just a lecture. There’s always outside-of-the-classroom activism and getting involved in the real world,” said one student. Huish says that he hopes that students find his course inspiring. “I think students after this course, no matter who they are, realize they can be an uninvited activist … and really make a change in the world.” CBC News

PSE leaders named to Women’s Executive Network’s list of Canada’s most powerful women

Canada’s PSE institutions are well-represented on the Women’s Executive Network’s (WXN) list of Canada’s most powerful women. Among those recognized is Sharon Carry, President of Bow Valley College. “The WXN recognized the great talent and skills of female leaders in diverse fields such as banking, journalism, higher education, health care, and not-for-profits, and I am truly honoured to be joining their ranks. At Bow Valley College all of our executive team are females, and I look forward to the day that such diversity is reflected in all Canadian companies,” Carry said. Gloria Jollymore, VP University Advancement at Mount Allison University was also recognized. “It is humbling to be recognized among this extraordinary group of women in Canada,” she said. Also appearing on the list are (in alphabetical order) Elizabeth Croft, Associate Dean of Education and Professional Development and NSERC Chair for Women in Science and Engineering, BC and Yukon Region, at UBC; Tracy Dahl, a sessional instructor at the Desautels Faculty of Music at the University of Manitoba; Janice Deakin, Provost at Western University; Julia Shin Doi, General Counsel and Secretary of the board of governors at Ryerson University; Julia Foster, Chair of the York University Board of Governors; Paula Gordon, professor at UBC; Zahra Kazem-Moussavi, Director of the biomedical engineering program and Canada Research Chair in biomedical engineering at the University of Manitoba; and Anne Sado, President of George Brown College. MTA News ReleaseBVC News Release | Full List

Faculty adjusting to growth in international enrolments

As the number of international students enrolled in US undergraduate and graduate programs continues to grow, faculty members must adjust their usual approach to the classroom. International students are often used to a different set of expectations in the classroom, and may be uncomfortable with things that many professors take for granted, such as in-class discussions, group work, asking questions of professors, or North American citation practices. “I don’t think we really understood the implications that [internationalization] would have on the ground level, on issues of curriculum and pedagogy, the differences in types of support international students would need,” said David Gowdey, Director of International Student and Scholar Services at the University of Denver. To meet these challenges, some institutions in the US like uDenver have developed new admissions policies, as well as courses to help international and domestic students build a common cultural understanding. uDenver also offers resources to faculty to help them better reach and understand international students. However, many challenges still remain, often around matters of assessment. Inside Higher Ed