Top Ten

April 30, 2015

Female faculty at McMaster to get wage-equalizing raise

McMaster University has announced that it will give all female faculty a raise after a study showed that they made an average of $3,515 less in 2012 and 2013 than their male counterparts. Salary adjustments will be made effective July 1. The study ran in tandem with another project that looked at non-salary issues related to the advancement and inclusion of female faculty. Recommendations from that report have already begun to be implemented. McMaster has pledged to evaluate faculty pay on a regular basis to ensure that wage gaps do not recur in the future. Last year, McGill University reportedly spent $20 M on a sweeping pay equity program. McMaster grad student Anita Acai recently wrote about gender disparities in PSE for Academica’s Rethinking Higher Ed Forum. Globe and Mail | McMaster Statement

uWindsor increases tuition 2.95% despite student protests

Amid student protests, the board of governors at the University of Windsor has voted to increase tuition by 2.95% for most students. Some students, such as first-year business students, will pay up to 5% more for tuition. Board member Peter Farmer noted that tuition increases were necessary to balance the budget and ensure uWindsor’s sustainability, and told students to “put pressure on your province.” Several students spoke of the near-poverty circumstances they face in order to continue their studies. President Alan Wildeman added that not implementing a tuition increase could set a dangerous financial precedent with the province. uWindsor increased tuition last year as well, also prompting student protests. Windsor Star | CBC

Canada invests $20 M in ON advanced computing and big data consortium

The Government of Canada has announced an investment of up to $20 M in the Southern Ontario Smart Computing Innovation Platform (SOSCIP) consortium. SOSCIP members include the University of Toronto, who will receive the funding on behalf of the consortium, as well as 10 other Ontario universities. The funding will allow the consortium to focus on new areas of research, including advanced manufacturing and cybersecurity. “This investment will open the doors for a number of small- and medium-sized businesses, who can benefit from access to smart computing platforms,” said Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for FedDev Ontario. uToronto News Release | Canada News Release

BC funds additional seats in critical trades

British Columbia is providing $6.1 M to 14 PSE institutions across the province to help alleviate waitlists in critical trades-training programs. The funding will help open 783 foundation seats and 646 apprenticeship seats for individuals hoping to train as electricians, plumbers, heavy duty mechanics, pipefitters, and power engineers. "These critical-trades seats match training with jobs in demand. The shift in education and training to align with jobs in demand benefits students, employers, and the provincial economy," said BC Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson. BC's Ministry of Advanced Education is supplying $5.1 M of the funding, with the Industry Training Authority providing the remaining $1 M. BC News Release 

UBC receives $3.5 M donation for new baseball facility

UBC will soon be home to a state-of-the-art baseball training facility, thanks to an anonymous $3.5 M donation. The 12,500-square-foot facility will feature four batting cages, three pitching mounds, and a camera system capable of monitoring bat speed and pitching physics. The facility will welcome UBC athletes as well as baseball players of all ages from across the Lower Mainland. “We will have the opportunity to train young players the same way we train our varsity players. The more success kids have when they are younger, the better the chance they will keep playing the game," said Terry McKaig, head coach of UBC's baseball team. UBC News Release

MacEwan introduces all-gender washrooms

In an effort to be more inclusive and welcoming to all students, MacEwan University has introduced 16 all-gender washrooms across its 3 campuses. The Students’ Association of MacEwan University (SAMU) requested the gender-neutral spaces after being approached by several students. University officials consulted with experts in gender inclusivity and with members of the transgender community before making changes to the existing facilities and signage. One individual noted that the updated washrooms will allow MacEwan to be viewed as a safe and inclusive space for transgender people. Global News

High school choices may influence gender gap in university registrations

New research from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) suggests that choices made as early as grade nine can have a significant impact on university attendance, and may help explain a gender imbalance in university registrations. Researchers say that as much as 70% of the gender gap in university registrations can be accounted for by females selecting and succeeding in academic-track math and language courses in grade nine. An additional 20–25% of the gender gap can be explained by differences in course selection and grades at the end of high school. The authors of the study add that gender differences in the incidence of learning disabilities and behavioural and communicative disorders may also contribute to the gap. A recent report suggested that choosing academic or applied streams at too young an age put some students at a disadvantage. HEQCO Summary | Full Report

Contact North shares e-book on digital teaching and learning

Contact North has shared an open-access e-book that offers insights into learning and teaching methods in a digital age. Tony Bates' Teaching in a Digital Age: Guidelines for Teaching and Learning addresses topics including how to decide whether a course should be campus-based, blended, or fully online; what strategies work best when teaching in a technology-rich environment; and how to maintain quality of teaching, learning, and resources in a rapidly changing learning environment. The book also considers the role of faculty in a world where all content is freely available online, and the possibilities afforded by MOOCs and open educational resources(OERs). Bates self-published the book with the support of Contact North, as well as with the assistance of BCcampus, who provided the technology necessary to make its publication possible. Contact North News Release | Teaching in a Digital Age

New tri-council open access policy provides unprecedented access to scholarship

A recent editorial in University Affairs, authored by three members of Canada’s scientific publishing community, praises the new tri-council guidelines requiring research to be published in open access journals starting May 1. Researchers will have a number of different options to ensure compliance: an article may be deposited in an open-access repository; they may choose to publish in an open-access journal; or they may opt to pay a fee to make their article open-access within a hybrid journal. “The public, whose tax-dollars help to fund tri-agency research, will now have unprecedented access to scholarly publications,” say the editorial’s authors. University Affairs

QS releases World University Rankings by subject

The 2015 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings by subject have been released. This year's rankings cover 36 subjects and take into account the opinions of more than 86,000 academics and 41,000 employers. The United States held 36.6% of top-50 places across all subjects, the UK 14%, and Canada 5.3%. Two Canadian institutions appear in the top 10 in individual subject rankings: the University of Guelph ranked fourth in the world in veterinary sciences, and UBC ranked sixth in the world in geography and area studies. Ben Sowter, QS's Head of Research, said, “while the US and UK remain the dominant players, our ranking shows that academic excellence is widely distributed around the globe." QS News Release | University World News | Full Rankings