Top Ten

December 9, 2014

Fleming opens Kawartha Trades & Technology Centre

Fleming College on Friday officially opened its new Kawartha Trades and Technology Centre. The 87,000-square-foot facility will be home to trades and technology programming including carpentry, plumbing, electrical, welding, and heating, refrigeration, and air conditioning. The building was designed with sustainability in mind, featuring locally sourced materials, a grey-water collection system, and plug-ins for electric vehicles. “The opening of the Kawartha Trades and Technology Centre marks a major milestone in the College’s history … While today we are celebrating the opening of the building, which is truly a work of art, we are also recognizing the enthusiasm and dedication of our faculty and staff, and the unparalleled learning experience our students will receive in this facility,” said Fleming President Tony Tilly. The project was funded in part by a $29.3 M contribution from the province of Ontario, as well as contributions from municipal governments, a fundraising campaign, and Fleming itself. Fleming News Release

uSask celebrates end of construction on new cyclotron

Researchers, politicians, and campus leaders gathered at the University of Saskatchewan last Friday to celebrate the end of construction on the institution’s new cyclotron. The $25 M technology will be used beginning in 2015 to produce medical isotopes used in imaging to help diagnose and treat diseases including cancer. The isotopes will also be used to help develop new ways of diagnosing and treating a wide range of medical conditions. “This new facility will improve human, animal, and plant health through advanced molecular imaging research. Each and every day, we are going to be helping patients,” said uSask VP Research Karen Chad. Previously, Saskatchewan had been the only non-Atlantic province without its own active cyclotron. StarPhoenix

Niagara to launch entrepreneurship hub

Niagara College has announced that it will launch a new entrepreneurship hub that will improve the campus community’s access to experts, mentors, events, and opportunities. The hub will offer workshops, clubs, pitch competitions, entrepreneurs-in-residence, and expert panels, and will foster collaboration with several existing regional resources and organizations including Innovate Niagara, Start-Up Niagara, the St Catharines Enterprise Centre, and Brock University. “A thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem exists here at Niagara College and across the region, and this hub will tap into it to the benefit of our students and local businesses,” said Vivian Kinnaird, Niagara College’s Dean of Business, Hospitality and Environment. The hub is being supported in part by a $200,000 grant from Ontario’s On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities (OCEA) program. Niagara News Release

BC will no longer offer free adult education upgrading, ESL classes

British Columbia has announced that it will no longer offer adult ESL and upgrading courses for free. Now, courses will be free only for those students who have not yet earned a BC Dogwood diploma. Students who have already earned a diploma will have to pay tuition of up to $320 per course or $1,600 for a full semester. Low-income learners will be eligible to apply for a grant to cover their expenses. Vancouver Community College President Peter Nunoda applauded the announcement, saying that it will help the college keep some staff and offer programming that had been at risk due to changes in federal funding structures to ESL programs. However, Karen Shortt, President of Vancouver Community College’s faculty association, said that even the maximum tuition will not be enough to meet the expenses of offering a course. Patti Bacchus, Chair of the Vancouver School Board, which also offers upgrading courses, said that the announcement will likely lead to lost jobs and a reduction in course offerings. Vancouver Sun

Rotman pulls MBA assignment following student complaints of sexism

The University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management has pulled an assignment given to first-year MBA students following complaints of sexism. The assignment asks students to evaluate the value of several job offers made to fictional female business student Elle Forrest. The assignment depicts the character, who “really didn’t want any of those investment banking or consulting jobs,” frequently losing her train of thought daydreaming about shoes and of Tiffany jewelry boxes. Feeling “confused about the subtleties of the offer,” she turns to her fiancée for guidance. The assignment was forwarded to the Toronto Star by a student. After the Star approached Rotman about the assignment, the professor who distributed it verbally apologized, saying that it had been written by a teaching assistant. The Star also reports that the professor advised the class “to think carefully before speaking to the media.” Rotman’s social media manager described the assignment as “an ill-advised satire of a pop-culture character” and said that the faculty member will apologize to the class and that the assignment will be retracted. Toronto Star

Federal scientists ask for research revenues to be used to offset budget cuts

The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), representing more than 15,000 scientists, researchers, and engineers, is asking that half of revenue generated by their inventions and other intellectual property generated by their work be funneled directly back into government research to help offset budget cuts. The union is also asking that principal investigators be consulted about where the money generated by their work be invested. The union will make its pitch as it goes to the bargaining table next week to push for improved science funding, as well as when it bargains with the National Research Council after Christmas. The PIPSC’s proposal extends well beyond the typical scope of collective bargaining, but the union is taking the unprecedented step in the context of growing demands for changes to improve scientific integrity in government. Last month, PIPSC broke its traditional policy of neutrality to actively campaign against Prime Minister Stephen Harper. National Post

Acadia study dispels myths of student hookup culture

A study conducted at Acadia University has found that perceptions of a prevalent “hookup culture” at university may not be accurate. According to a survey completed by over 1,000 Acadia students, representing more than one-third of the university population, 73% of single female students said that they rarely, if ever, hooked up. 7.8% said that they did hook up at times, and 19.2% said that they did so a lot. 69% of males said they rarely, if ever, hooked up; 5.6% said that they did at times; and 25.3% said they hooked up a lot. 78% of women and 70% of men said they preferred a relationship to hooking up. One Acadia student reacted to the results with surprise, saying that it does not correspond with the way her generation talks about hooking up. Another student said that the study “dispels a lot of the myths people might have about us crazy university students.” Chronicle-Herald

5 Canadian institutions among top 100 in Global Employability rankings

Times Higher Education has released its 2014 Global Employability survey rankings. The rankings are based on surveys of 2,500 international recruiters in 20 countries. The top Canadian university on this year’s list is the University of Toronto, which appears in 13th position, up one spot from last year. McGill University finished in 28th position, up 2 places from last year. HEC Montréal moved up 12 spots, from 59th in 2013 to 47th this year. UBC dropped 4 spots from 51st to 55th, and McMaster University dropped from 73rd to 80th. The University of Cambridge finished in first place overall, followed by Harvard University, Yale University, the University of Oxford, and the California Institute of Technology. Times Higher Education

More doctorates awarded in US, but employment prospects worsening

The National Science Foundation reports that 52,760 doctoral degrees were awarded in the US in 2013, up 3.5% over 2012. The growth in the number of PhDs was greatest in engineering (6%) and physical sciences (3.65%). The humanities saw a 2.9% growth, the life sciences 2.2%, and the social sciences 0.6%. Much of the growth came from temporary visa holders. However, the report also shows that career prospects for PhDs are worsening. Just 62.7% of doctorate recipients had a definite commitment of employment or further study, a drop of more than 6% from 2008. The number of humanities PhDs with commitments of employment dropped from 64.8% in 2008 to 54.8% in 2013. 58.5% of life science students and 59.3% of engineering students said they had definite commitments for employment or further study upon graduation. 60.6% of those with definite commitments had jobs, with the rest moving on to postdoctoral studies. The Chronicle of Higher Education | Inside Higher Ed

Article says PSE institutions should increase focus on older students

An article in The Chronicle of Higher Education argues that PSE institutions should look to adult education to help overcome the challenges of changing student demographics. According to the article, retirement increasingly marks a transition to a new phase of working life rather than a departure from the labour force. Colleges and universities should position themselves to help this demographic transition between these phases. However, PSE institutions have been reluctant to capitalize on this opportunity due to the traditionally conservative nature of PSE. Institutions have been slow to dig into data on adult learners’ needs, interests, and learning styles; moreover, PSE remains mired in a cultural mindset that emphasizes youth and dismisses the potential contributions of older people. The Chronicle of Higher Education