Top Ten

January 30, 2015

uOttawa to implement recommendations of Task Force on Respect and Equality

The University of Ottawa has announced that it will adopt the 11 recommendations made by its Task Force on Respect and Equality in an effort to change attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours associated with sexual violence. The Task Force, launched in March 2014, based its recommendations on extensive consultations with members of the university community as well as with external experts and other postsecondary institutions. The report recommends that uOttawa's leadership demonstrate its commitment to the recommendations through their participation in mandatory training. Furthermore, it recommends that the university adopt of an explicit statement of values; implement of a new sexual violence policy and protocol; deliver prevention and response training to various groups, including all student athletes, all full-time coaching staff, all residence Community Advisors, and all new faculty; implement a campus-wide education program; collect and publish relevant data; and mandate a gender audit of Sports Services and training for student athletes and full-time coaching staff. "The findings of the Task Force are clear: we have work to do. We are committed to taking action and will immediately begin implementing all the recommendations in the Task Force report," said uOttawa President Allan Rock. uOttawa News Release | Full Report

CAUT report says uManitoba economics department violated academic freedom

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) has released the results of an investigation into the economics department at the University of Manitoba. CAUT says that its investigation found "serious violations of academic freedom" and describes the climate in the department as "corrosive and dysfunctional." CAUT had launched the investigation following allegations that the department had sought to stifle views and approaches that ran contrary to mainstream economics. The report found that "decisions and activities within the department cumulatively constituted violations of academic freedom by producing an environment within which the scholarship of heterodox colleagues was undermined." CAUT says that its evidence showed that "heterodox" faculty and graduate students were treated poorly and that the department tried to reassign courses to department members with more orthodox views. The report recommends an external review of uManitoba's graduate and undergraduate economics programs, and that the department commit to allowing all views to be held and expressed. CAUT News Release | Winnipeg Free Press | Full Report

Postscript: February 2, 2015

University of Manitoba President David Barnard has described a recent Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) report on the school's economics department as "inherently flawed." "I have serious issues with this undertaking, both from a jurisdictional and a process perspective," Barnard said on Friday. "The report is deeply flawed in numerous ways that compel the University of Manitoba to look more closely and seriously at the full implications of this matter, legal and otherwise." He also noted that CAUT has no formal relationship to or standing within the university, and expressed his confidence in the department's leadership. Economics faculty members Ryan Compton and Janice Compton also challenged the report, sharing a blog post that describes many of its points as "inaccurate and misleading." The report, they say, is the result of CAUT not having access to critical documents and not speaking to most faculty members. "The report is based on the opinions of a small minority of the department who agreed to the investigation. That the CAUT released such an obviously biased, one-sided report should raise questions and outrage from all of us whose union dues are being spent to fund such activities," they said. Winnipeg Free Press

NS Supreme Court says NS Barristers' Society cannot deny accreditation to TWU grads

The Nova Scotia Supreme Court has ruled that the province's Barristers' Society cannot refuse accreditation to graduates of Trinity Western University's law school over TWU's community covenant. "People have the right to attend a private religious university that imposes a religiously based code of conduct," said Judge Jamie Campbell in his 139-page decision. In his ruling, Campbell also said that "requiring a person to give up that right in order to get his or her professional education recognized is an infringement of religious freedom." A TWU spokesperson said, "this decision is important not only to TWU's effort to launch a school of law, but we also believe it sets an extremely valuable precedent in protection of freedoms for all religious communities and people of faith in Canada." Tilly Pillay, President of the Barristers' Society, said that "we are analyzing the decision and will review it with our legal counsel before we can determine what the next steps might be." TWU has also challenged a decision by the Law Society of British Columbia not to accredit graduates. The BC government withdrew its support of the school last month, pending the outcome of various court challenges. TWU News Release | Vancouver Sun (CP)

Fanshawe announces expansion to fitness and wellness facility

Fanshawe College has announced plans to expand its London campus' health and wellness facilities in order to meet the needs of a growing student population. The new facility will offer flexible fitness spaces for cardio, strength, and group fitness classes, as well as space for massage therapy and other wellness services; the Fowler Kennedy Sports Medicine Clinic; a pharmacy; and a juice bar. "With the growth of the College and an increased focus on fitness and wellness, this facility will be one more asset to ensure Fanshawe offers a premier college learning and student life experience," said Fanshawe President Peter Devlin. The expansion is being made possible in part by a $24 M contribution made by the Fanshawe Student Union to the college's $100 M "Remarkable" fundraising campaign. Fanshawe News Release

uToronto welcomes record number of female first-year engineering students

The University of Toronto has announced that this year it has welcomed a record number of female first-year students into its engineering programs, reportedly making it the only engineering school in Ontario with a female first-year enrolment of more than 30%. uToronto's engineering undergraduate population now includes more than 25% female students, eclipsing the Canadian and American averages of 18.9% and 19.9%, respectively. The Faculty credits a targeted recruitment campaign with improving the proportion of female students from 21.3% just 6 years ago. Dean Cristina Amon described the engineering program as "a rich environment for talented, bright women to become engineering leaders ... This achievement is encouraging as we continue our proactive efforts to foster diversity within the Faculty, among universities, and across the engineering profession." uToronto News Release

Langara unveils new coat of arms

Governor General David Johnston was on hand on Wednesday as Langara College unveiled its new coat of arms. The ceremony was the culmination of a process that began in 2009, when Langara applied to the Canadian Heraldic Authority (CHA) for a grant of armorial bearings. Following consultations with members of the campus community as well as with representatives of the Musqueam First Nation, the college arrived at a design that includes features such as the school's falcon mascot and a bed of river grass, symbolizing that the college is located on unceded Musqueam territory. "In the creation of our Coat of Arms we looked to our roots, our culture, and our values. With our new heraldry we honour the land on which the college resides and we celebrate Langara as a symbolic compass for students, guiding their studies and careers as they discover their pathways to success," said President Lane Trotter. Langara News Release

Various groups say loss of long-form census has been extremely damaging

Researchers working with the results of the voluntary survey that replaced Canada's long-form census say that the data is severely lacking. Charles Beach, a professor emeritus of economics at Queen's University, said that the shift has "inhibited research into inequality and identifying winners and losers in economic growth, research into understanding the national problems of the have-nots in the economy, and research into how to best provision local government services." Representatives of cities and municipalities have also decried the change, saying that the loss of the long-form census has made it difficult to identify income-inequality trends, housing needs, population demographics, and the effectiveness of service delivery. The new survey has also led to significant information gaps around unemployment levels among First Nations people living on reserve. Organizations including the Canadian Association of University Teachers and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce have called for the return of the long form census; the House of Commons is expected to vote on a bill to that effect next week. Globe and Mail

uSherbrooke, YorkU among world's greenest universities

6 Canadian universities are among the 100 greenest in the world, according to this year's Universitas Indonesia (UI) GreenMetric Rankings. Université de Sherbrooke was the top Canadian institution at 14th overall, followed by York University at 35th. Concordia University was ranked 46th, McMaster University 66th, the University of Victoria 84th, and Carleton University 97th. The rankings are derived from institutions' scores in 6 categories, including waste management, water usage, transportation, and energy and climate change mitigation. In total, 360 universities from 62 countries were ranked, up from 301 universities last year. The University of Nottingham (UK) took top spot, followed by University College Cork (IE) and Nottingham Trent University (UK). This marks the fifth year in which UI has released its rankings. Full Rankings | YorkU News Release

Anonymous social networking platforms offer new arena for campus bullying

Social networks that facilitate anonymous commenting are providing new channels for bullying and other forms of abuse. An article in The Chronicle of Higher Education shares the story of 3 faculty members at Eastern Michigan University who were the subject of a series of offensive Yik Yak posts, shared anonymously among their students during a lecture. While other institutions are dealing with similar problems, in this case it became a labour dispute: while the university said it was logistically and legally impossible to track down the students who posted the comments, the faculty union sought reassurances that its members would be protected from online harassment. Professors have asked the university to determine the identities of the students who made the offensive posts; however, the company behind Yik Yak generally will not release such information unless it receives a difficult-to-obtain court order. The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

LinkedIn data helps UCSD enhance its alumni relations efforts

US institutions are taking a data-driven approach to enhance alumni relations, turning to LinkedIn in particular to help improve engagement. LinkedIn offers colleges and universities the ability to create hubs for alumni outreach, providing institutions with a way to access information about their graduates as well as a means to build stronger relationships with the companies for which alumni work. LinkedIn's tools can also help colleges and universities to learn more about graduate career trajectories, producing valuable insights for recruiting purposes. This new approach has led to significant change for some institutions, including the University of California, San Diego, which used LinkedIn to capture information on 92,000 alumni it had not previously been able to track. The insights gleaned from LinkedIn have also led to structural change within the university. Based on what it learned, UCSD decided to move its career development services office to the alumni relations office. “The old models of alumni relations don’t work,” said UCSD's Associate Vice-Chancellor for Advancement Armin Afsahi. “We have to be a data-driven, intelligence-oriented organization to create the engagement and value." New York Times