Top Ten

May 6, 2015

uOttawa receives notice of intent to withdraw accreditation for neurosurgery program

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada has issued a notice of intent to withdraw accreditation of the University of Ottawa’s residency program in neurosurgery, but Lorne Wiesenfeld, Vice-Dean of Postgraduate Medical Education, says that he’s “not worried at all.” The notice lists 10 weaknesses that must be addressed within two years, including concerns about faculty engagement in teaching, inadequate exposure of residents to “functional neurosurgery,” and an insufficient number of pediatric cases to satisfy specialty requirements. Wiesenfeld said that while the notice is “not something to be brushed aside or dismissed,” he is confident that the weaknesses can be addressed in a timely fashion. The notice also identified several strengths of the program, including its dedicated and experienced program director, its effective program administrator, and its strong research program. Ottawa Citizen

uManitoba files for judicial review of discrimination case

The University of Manitoba has applied for a judicial review of a Manitoba Human Rights Commission (MHRC) decision in a discrimination case, reports the Winnipeg Free Press. Former uManitoba General Counsel Peggy Damianakos alleges that she was effectively demoted when, upon her return from maternity leave, she was informed that her department had been merged with two others and that she would report to a new director of legal services. She filed a human rights complaint, which uManitoba challenged on the grounds that they had made a reasonable settlement offer. MHRC dismissed uManitoba’s challenge, leading to the application for review. Winnipeg Free Press

uAlberta board Chair criticized for endorsement of PCs

Alberta voters went to the polls yesterday, but not before a controversy developed around comments made by Doug Goss, Chair of the University of Alberta's board of governors. On Friday, Goss publicly endorsed the province's Progressive Conservative party and listed concerns he had with various NDP policies. Heather Bruce, Acting President of the Association of Academic Staff uAlberta (AASUA), said that as Chair Goss should maintain a "non-partisan" stance and that the endorsement was "in direct conflict" with his role. She warned that Goss's public statement "may jeopardize the relationship of the University of Alberta with whatever party forms the next government." Goss said that his statement was personal and was "in no way intended to represent the university." Edmonton Journal | Metro News | AASUA News Release

Nunavut Inuit settlement with feds to provide $225 M

The federal government has ended a nine-year legal dispute with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc (NTI) with an out-of-court settlement of $225.5 M. The lawsuit originated when a 2005 report suggested that the failure to staff government jobs with Inuit was caused by underfunding of Inuit education. When the federal government did not implement the report’s recommendations, NTI filed a $1 B lawsuit. NTI President Cathy Towtongie announced that $175 M of the settlement funds will go towards education and employment training for Inuit. The remaining $80.5 M will be invested for future opportunities. The federal government will also provide an extra $50 M over the next eight years for training initiatives. To manage the training funds, NTI and the Nunavut government will create the Nunavut Inuit Training Corporation and an expert advisory panel. This story also appeared in Academica's Indigenous Top Ten. CBC | Nunatsiaq Online | CTV

uWaterloo commits to increase gender equity as part of UN HeForShe program

The University of Waterloo has joined the United Nations gender equality initiative, IMPACT 10x10x10, part of the HeForShe campaign. uWaterloo is reportedly the only Canadian organization participating in the framework. HeForShe is a global effort to engage “engage men and boys in removing the social and cultural barriers that prevent women and girls from achieving their potential.” As a campaign member, uWaterloo has committed to three goals to be achieved within five years: increasing participation of female students in STEM careers, enhancing the representation of female faculty, and attracting and advancing female leaders to senior academic and administrative positions at the university.  Globe and Mail | CBC | uWaterloo News

Brock, Niagara partner on game development program

A new partnership between Niagara College and Brock University will allow students to earn both a bachelor’s degree and an advanced diploma in game development in just four years. Students in the GAME program will study at both institutions concurrently, earning an advanced diploma in Game Development from Niagara and either a bachelor of arts (honours) degree in Game Design or a bachelor of science (honours) degree in Game Programming from Brock. “Students will acquire the theoretical knowledge and applied skills required to succeed in this burgeoning industry, and these well-rounded graduates will drive further growth and innovation in the world of game development,” said Steve Hudson, VP Academic at Niagara. Brock News

BCIT granted exempt status after Degree Quality Assessment Board review

British Columbia’s Minister of Advanced Education Andrew Wilkinson has approved the British Columbia Institute of Technology’s application for exempt status for new undergraduate programs. The approval follows a thorough review by BC’s Degree Quality Assessment Board (DQAB). For BCIT, the approval represents full recognition of the quality of its degree programs, and means there will be a more efficient process for degree approval in the future. BCIT’s Acting VP Academic Bill Dow said, “we will take full advantage of this status and we will ensure that we add programs that will further our students’ knowledge and give them the tools to succeed in their desired careers long after they leave BCIT.”BCIT News Release

McMaster, uOttawa partners in new business formed to fight cancer

McMaster University and the University of Ottawa will partner with the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, and the Fight Against Cancer Innovation Trust to form a new company that will develop new ways to treat cancer. The company, Turnstone Biologics Inc, is seeking investors to support its research into therapies that harness a patient’s own immune system to fight cancer. uOttawa Professor John Bell, who will serve as an adviser for the firm, said that Turnstone represents “the culmination of a long-term collaboration between the founding scientists, their institutions, and the many supporters of cancer research across the country.” Ottawa Citizen

uRegina prof running for President of Kenya

A professor at the University of Regina plans to run for president in his home country of Kenya. Joseph Mburu teaches politics and international studies at uRegina. He has been in Canada since 2004, but was born and raised in Kenya. Mburu pointed to poverty levels that are higher now than in the 1970s and a broken political system as issues he wants to address as president. He has begun campaigning in Kenya but has yet to register his party or release his platform. Mburu will split his time between Canada and Kenya in the lead-up to the 2017 election, and will rely on technology and social media to remain connected. StarPhoenix

ON's distributed medical education program helps patients find doctors closer to home

A new report published by the Council of Ontario Faculties of Medicine says that the province's universities are helping patients access care closer to home, thanks to distributed medical education (DME). DME is an approach that sees medical learners train in a range of communities and facilities. In the last decade, it has helped address a shortage of doctors in ON, particularly in rural communities. The report notes that DME has contributed to more medical students choosing careers in rural, remote, and northern communities, and has helped train medical professionals in the skills and knowledge they need to serve rural communities. Council of Ontario Universities News Release