Top Ten

December 18, 2014

Nipissing announces it will end partnership with WLU in Brantford

Nipissing University has announced that it will end its Concurrent Education program partnership with Wilfrid Laurier University, and will finalize its Brantford operations once the current cohort of students completes its studies. Nipissing and WLU have been offering the Concurrent Education program since 2002, allowing students to complete a Bachelor of Arts degree from Laurier and a Bachelor of Education (BEd) degree from Nipissing concurrently in the 5-year program. Nipissing cited changes to provincial funding for BEd programs as the catalyst for the cancellation of the partnership; it will continue to staff the Brantford campus to provide support to students until they are through with their studies. “The joint program was very successful, but the current funding environment has altered its financial sustainability dramatically,” said Nipissing President Michael DeGagné. “The number of BEd students Nipissing can graduate each year has been reduced, and we are in a better financial situation by welcoming more students to our North Bay campus.” The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto recently cancelled its BEd program due to the funding changes, and will increase enrolment to its Masters programs. Nipissing News | WLU News | Brantford Expositor | Globe and Mail

Trent adopts responsibility-centred management for budgeting

Trent University has announced plans to implement a new approach to budgeting that it says will help ensure a sustainable financial future for the institution. Trent will adopt responsibility-centred management (RCM), which it says emphasizes transparency, provides a clear account of the costs and revenues associated with the university’s operations, and offers incentives for activities that improve the institution’s financial strength. The approach consists of 3 primary components: tracking of expenditures and revenues in a way that makes clear how and where revenue is generated and costs are incurred, adjustments to the budget to promote revenue growth and support efficiencies that reduce costs, and changes to funding for academic programs and operational initiatives that support Trent’s strategic goals. “RCM is intended to push and pull us in a direction that will make us better able to achieve our academic objectives over time,” said Trent President Leo Groarke. Trent News Release

PSE must have open conversations about gender and equality

Anita Acai, a graduate student at McMaster University, has contributed an essay to Academica’s Rethinking Higher Education Forum that examines PSE’s “leaky pipeline” problem. Acai points out that while more women are pursuing PSE than ever before, there is a significant gender disparity problem among leadership roles. Acai calls on PSE institutions to lead by example and improve equality in senior roles. She says that the PSE sector must have open conversations about the role that gender plays in PSE and what can be done to improve equality. These discussions may entail reexamination of existing policies that may unwittingly put women at a disadvantage. Acai also urges those in power to serve as advocates, and asks women in academia to share their stories and mentor younger women who are interested in pursuing academic careers. “Let’s work toward an academy of the future that is truly at the forefront of innovation and equality,” Acai concludes. Rethinking Higher Ed

OCADU receives $3 M gift for scholarships, studio and gallery enhancements

OCAD University has received a gift of $3 M from the Slaight Family Foundation, made in honour of Ada Slaight. The donation will be used to fund scholarships and for improvements to studios and student gallery spaces; moreover, it will be used to create the Ada Slaight Chair of Contemporary Painting and Print Media, OCADU’s first ever named chair. OCADU President Sara Diamond said that the “transformative and generous donation … will provide opportunities for students and expand the resources of the university in its traditional strength of studio-based learning in a meaningful and lasting way.” Scholarships funded by the donation will provide full tuition for 36 students, renewable for 4 years. In recognition of the donation, OCADU will rename its painting, drawing, and printmaking studios at 100 McCaul St the Ada Slaight Studios; the refurbished gallery spaces, meanwhile, will be named the Ada Slaight Student Transit and Critique Galleries. OCADU News Release

Lakehead celebrates opening of new on-campus childcare centre

Lakehead University officially opened its new on-campus childcare facility this week. The 8,200-square-foot Nanabijou Childcare Centre adds 38 new daycare spots, creates 8 new full-time jobs, establishes a new infant care program, and provides valuable hands-on learning experiences for Lakehead students and early childhood educators. Nanabijou is open to the children of students, faculty, and the local community. Funding for the new facility came from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) and the Lakehead University Student Union (LUSU), with in-kind support from Lakehead’s Financial Services Department and Physical Plant, and the Thunder Bay District Social Services Administration Board. “This new facility was built by members of our community for our community to support more parents with their daily balancing of work, school, and childcare, as well as the advancement of early childcare education,” said Lakehead President Brian Stevenson. Lakehead News

JIBC delegation strengthens ties in Asia

Representatives from the Justice Institute of British Columbia recently traveled to Asia to help develop new and existing relationships with institutions abroad. JIBC President Michel Tarko and JIBC Police Academy Director Steve Schnitzer met with representatives of 7 Chinese police colleges to explore opportunities to provide training and support curriculum development in areas such as leadership, criminal investigations, incident command, conflict resolution, mediation, negotiation, ethics, and standards; the delegation also discussed opportunities for faculty and student exchanges. Kevin Sanford, Program Director of International Affairs, and Mike Trump, Dean of the School of Criminal Justice and Security and the Office of International Affairs, traveled to Singapore and Hong Kong to speak with representatives of the Singapore Civil Defence Force, the National University of Singapore, and Nanyang Polytechnic. Sanford and Trump discussed opportunities to provide training, as well as opportunities for JIBC students to take courses abroad as part of their studies. JIBC News Release

Increased class sizes, research pressures taking toll on mental health of faculty

An article in the Globe and Mail looks at the increasing pressure and stress being experienced by Canadian academics. The article comes in the wake of the suicide of Stefan Grimm, a professor at Imperial College in London, England; some suggested that intense academic pressure had pushed Grimm to his death. The article notes academics often link their self-worth to professional success to a greater degree than some other professions, and may consequently subject themselves to high personal expectations. Faculty members must also contend with growing class sizes and increased workload demands, leading some to adjust their assignments in order to keep student assessment manageable. Research funding has also become increasingly competitive. “My younger colleagues are having to survive in stressful situations that I never had to survive,” said University of Toronto biochemistry professor Larry Moran. “Government policies have redirected research funds so that it’s hit and miss if you get grants … When you fail at this, there aren’t a lot of other places to go.” While many institutions have introduced programs to support student mental health, some are only now beginning to focus on the needs of faculty and staff. Globe and Mail

Concerns over the state of Canada's national archives and libraries

An article in Maclean’s raises concerns about the accessibility of Canada’s national archives and libraries. The article recounts what is described by Patricia Demers, a University of Alberta professor and head of the Royal Society of Canada, as a “decade-long decline in all the services,” including the National Portrait Gallery and Library and Archives Canada (LAC). Federal cuts have limited the operations of these services and have had a significant impact on scholarly researchers as well as on Canadian artists and writers who rely on historical texts for their work. Maintaining and providing access to primary texts at LAC requires trained archivists, but the budget crunch means that staffing is limited. Moreover, little has been done to digitize collections. Less than 5% of LAC’s holdings are available in digital format, and what has been digitized consists mostly of government documents and former Prime Ministers’ papers. A new report from the Royal Society of Canada issues 70 recommendations to help Canada’s libraries and archives better meet the needs of Canadians. Maclean’s | RSC Report

UK’s King’s College London faces backlash after re-branding announcement

King’s College London in the UK is facing a strong reaction to its decision to re-brand itself as simply King’s London. The new brand identity was announced on December 15; a petition in opposition to the change attracted more than 6,000 signatures in less than 24 hours. Some have complained about the cost of the initiative, which reportedly came in at approximately £300,000. “Not only does this undermine almost 200 years of tradition, as well as sabotaging a worldwide reputation built on the name King’s College, but it serves as a huge and unnecessary expense,” said student Emily Braddock, who launched the petition. But King’s College Principal Ed Byrne said that “our research conducted over the last 18 months with potential students, parents, staff, students, and alumni revealed that our current name was causing considerable confusion: is King’s a residential college, is it an academic college akin to the colleges of Oxbridge, or is it an education institution of some other type such as a further education college?” He added, “in today’s highly competitive global marketplace, King’s needs to be bold about its ambitions and shout about its many achievements.” Times Higher Education | Inside Higher Ed

MLA, AHA need to focus efforts on demand for academic labour, not just supply

Emory University professor Marc Bousquet has contributed an article for The Chronicle of Higher Education that takes to task professional groups such as the Modern Language Association (MLA) and the American Historical Association (AHA) for their approach to the academic labour market. Bousquet’s piece was published to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the publication of William Bowen’s study “Prospects for the Faculty in Arts and Science,” which projected an undersupply of academic labour that never materialized. Bousquet says that Bowen mistakenly treated academic labour patterns as a typical job market and attributed “free choice” to the growing number of graduate students forced to pursue full-time non-academic employment due to a lack of demand for tenure-track faculty. He claims that organizations like the MLA and the AHA still operate under a similar understanding, and continue to focus on the supply side of the academic labour market rather than examining demand, which is increasingly fixated on part-time positions. Quest University President David Helfand recently addressed PSE’s increasing reliance on adjunct labour on Academica's Rethinking Higher Ed Forum, while Catherine Maybrey discussed how universities can better support graduate students considering non-academic employment. The Chronicle of Higher Education