Top Ten

March 24, 2015

STU to close Miramichi campus due to low enrolment

St Thomas University has announced that it will close its Miramichi campus due to low enrolment. Communications Director Jeffrey Carleton said that enrolment has been dropping steadily for the last 3 or 4 years. This year, just 26 students are enrolled at Miramichi, well below the campus's peak of 115 in 2001. Only 8 have enrolled for September. "We had to face the reality that with just 8 students there weren't enough to make it feasible for September," Carleton said. The Miramichi program was launched in 1994 as a partnership between New Brunswick Community College, the University of New Brunswick, Mount Allison University, and STU to allow students to complete their first year of study while living at home. MTA and UNB had both withdrawn from the partnership in recent years. CBC

Concordia cancels some classes as QC students launch 2 weeks of protests

Hundreds of students gathered in Montreal yesterday to launch 2 weeks of strikes to protest provincial budget cuts and to demand a moratorium on fossil fuel investment. 25 student associations from institutions including Université de Montréal, Université du Québec à Montréal, Laval University, Concordia University, CEGEP du Vieux-Montréal, and Université du Québec à Chicoutimi have so far voted to take part in the protests; activists said that they hope this year's demonstrations will become even larger than the so-called Maple Spring of 2012. Concordia University cancelled some classes on Monday in anticipation of the protest. Spokesperson Christine Mota said that the university would use the time for a day of discussion and debate, but that classes would resume on Tuesday even if the strike continued. "Students have a right to protest. We understand that. We respect that, but closing off classes or trying to block access is not acceptable," she said. By noon on Monday, Montreal police had declared an initial protest at Phillips Square illegal because an itinerary had not been provided. At least 2 people were arrested while others were ticketed. CBC (1) | CBC (2)

Entrance to uToronto's Simcoe Hall vandalized

Police are investigating after somebody spray-painted the word "SHAME" across the entrance of Simcoe Hall at the University of Toronto. The building houses the offices of uToronto's governing council and its President, Meric Gertler. The graffiti was discovered on Friday morning, not long before striking teaching and graduate assistants were set to begin voting on a tentative agreement struck between their union and the university. Erin Black, Chair of CUPE local 3902, which represents the strikers, said, "we have no idea who did this, but whoever did it, we condemn it in the strongest possible terms." Toronto Police Service has taken over the investigation of the incident. It has been estimated that removing the graffiti could cost close to $3,000. Over the weekend, the teaching assistants voted to reject the university's latest offer. Toronto Star (Graffiti) | CBC | Toronto Star (Vote)

uAlberta receives $10 M gift as it opens new activity centre

The University of Alberta has received a donation of $10 M, one of the largest in its history, from Dick and Carol Wilson to support its newly opened Physical Activity and Wellness (PAW) Centre. In recognition of the gift, the PAW Centre's climbing facility will be named the Wilson Climbing Centre, while its fitness centre will be called the Hanson Fitness and Lifestyle Centre in honour of Carol Wilson's father. The donation was announced on Friday at the official opening of the centre. The 17,000-square-metre facility is three times the size of the old fitness centre. At the opening ceremony, uAlberta also unveiled a life-size, bronze sculpture of a bear by artist Cathryn Jenkins, commissioned to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation. uAlberta News | CBC

SMU launches David Sobey Centre for Innovation in Retailing and Services

The Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary's University has officially launched the David Sobey Centre for Innovation in Retailing and Services. The Centre aims to become the leading source of insight on retail and service management. "The David Sobey Centre for Innovation in Retailing and Services positions the Sobey School of Business at the cutting edge of one of the most important business sectors in our economy. Further, the launch of this centre honours the region's tradition of business excellence in the retail and services industry, demonstrated by entrepreneurial excellence like that shown by the Sobey family," said Dean Patricia Bradshaw. The Centre will offer a new undergraduate specialization in retail management, possibly as soon as September. David Sobey reportedly contributed $3 M toward the project. SMU NewsGlobe and Mail

Ryerson launches Joe Fresh Centre for Fashion Innovation

Canadian clothing brand Joe Fresh has donated $1 M to Ryerson University to help launch what is being billed as Canada's first fashion innovation centre. The Joe Fresh Centre for Fashion Innovation has been created to help incubate fashion-inspired businesses. As many as 21 businesses will have the opportunity to work with mentors and academic advisers over an 18-month period on business plans, product development, and go-to-market strategies. The Centre will be open to all individuals 18 years of age and older, not just current Ryerson students and graduates. "We're thrilled to partner on this groundbreaking initiative with a leading brand in Canadian fashion. Together, our goal is to provide the best of Canadian fashion talent a one-of-a-kind opportunity to work with industry leaders to develop their creative and entrepreneurial skills," said Ryerson President Sheldon Levy. Joe Fresh News ReleaseGlobe and Mail Hamilton Spectator

Group at uSask proposes creation of a dedicated sexual assault centre

An advocacy group at the University of Saskatchewan is calling on the institution to establish a centre specifically tasked with addressing sexual assault. The Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CASA), which comprises both students and faculty, has submitted a proposal outlining how a dedicated centre would help fill a need for greater sexual assault awareness on campus. "We want the university to do more than write words on a page. That's not fundamentally going to make a bit of difference unless those policies are backed up with adequate resources so that the commitments expressed in those policies are translated into material change," said uSask professor and CASA member Liz Quinlan. The proposal suggests that the centre could act as a prevention response unit, capable of administering trauma therapy, collecting evidence, and keeping records to monitor sexual assault cases. VP Teaching and Learning Patti McDougall said that uSask is currently developing a 3-pronged approach to sexual assault, and is open to considering creating a sexual assault centre. StarPhoenix

Federal briefing says that student debt is manageable, but not everyone is convinced

Student debt is not as bad as many Canadians believe, at least according to a presentation prepared in November, 2014 for then-Minister of Employment and Social Development Canada Jason Kenney. The internal presentation, obtained by the Toronto Star, states that "a narrative has been emerging that student debt in Canada is a growing concern and may be unsustainable," and suggests that rising tuition fees, vocal stakeholders, and stories from the US have led to increased concern. However, the brief goes on to say that "despite mounting attention to the issue, debt levels appear to be manageable for the vast majority of Canadian students." The presentation says that grants, federal repayment assistance plans, and increased savings have kept debt levels "largely stable." However, many of those who are concerned about student debt aren't convinced by the figures quoted in the report. Dan Harris, PSE critic for the federal NDP, said that the federal government writes off millions in uncollected debt each year and that the total level of debt has not decreased, while David Robinson, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), says that the statistics cited in the report do not account for private debt. The report does acknowledge that "this is an issue that demands continued attention" and that "as the economy remains weaker ... the capacity of graduates to repay their loans quickly has likely diminished." Toronto Star

Baby boomers, millennials should move past stereotypes and work together

An article written by Andrew Perez and Ashley Pereira, both recent graduates of the University of Toronto, calls on people "young and old alike" to "join forces and cast away this clash of generations that is stoking indignation and misunderstanding in the workplace." Perez and Pereira note that while the so-called millennial generation is highly educated, many are underemployed. They say that millennials were raised by a baby boomer generation that believed if their children worked hard and followed their passions, they would succeed. However, expectations—and the economy—have changed dramatically. According to Perez and Pereira, millennials and baby boomers must work together and move beyond stereotypes and caricatures of one another. They suggest that, in order to "crack the enigma that is millennials," employers should provide young employees with fulfilling development opportunities, including large, visible projects that will allow them to grow professionally; remunerate them at a competitive rate and hire based on potential rather than just experience; and offer them flexible working arrangements that allow them to balance their professional and personal commitments. National Post

Columnist says academics should take a page from journalists to avoid irrelevancy

Academics looking to make their work more relevant in the so-called "real world" should start by evaluating their own writing, says Vancouver Sun columnist Douglas Todd. Todd cites writers Michael Billig and Helen Sword, both of whom have urged their fellow academics to write in a more accessible style. Billig says that young scholars are encouraged to write poorly by their teachers and mentors, and notes that he has spoken with many who have said that they need the security of tenure to begin to write well. As one possible solution, Sword suggests that academics should turn to anecdotes and personal pronouns more often. Todd acknowledges that while some topics require difficult or highly technical language, academic authors could learn from journalists. He says that if academics do not learn to communicate their ideas to non-academic audiences, they risk becoming irrelevant to the public; he also encourages scholars to engage more often with "the burning issues of our day" and to write more concisely, plainly, and with more verbs. However, Todd also concedes that journalists could learn from scholars, who can offer informed perspectives on many social issues. Vancouver Sun