Top Ten

May 12, 2015

uSask increasing safety measures after more than 50 cars were vandalized

The University of Saskatchewan is looking to improve safety measures after more than 50 cars parked near student residences were vandalized and looted on Friday night. The vehicles mainly belonged to graduate students and university staff. uSask said that it is working to install new cameras and lighting improvements in the area, and plans to increase the number of patrols. The university is also looking at ways to help alleviate the costs of the incident for affected students and staff. uSask said that the parking lot in question had been targeted this past winter; an arrest was also made a few weeks ago following reports of suspicious activity in the area. uSask News Release | CBC

Postscript: May 14, 2015

The University of Saskatchewan has offered compensation to people whose vehicles were recently vandalized and looted in a campus parking lot. uSask President Gordon Barnhart said in an open letter that “while the university is not responsible for the acts of vandals and criminals, we are sensitive to the unique hardship experienced by our students." uSask has invited others in the community to contribute to a fund for victims, but has not yet determined how the funding will be distributed. StarPhoenix

Canada commits $60 M for NRC repair and renovation projects

Canada has announced that it will spend $60 M to repair, renovate, and expand research facilities at the National Research Council (NRC) in Ottawa. The funding includes over $1 M for the Canadian Centre for Housing Technologies; more than $5 M for the Uplands Campus facility, home to the NRC Wind Tunnel; and over $5 M to revitalize the NRC's "temple of science" at 100 Sussex Drive. The funding is part of $380 M announced by the federal government in November. "With this investment, we can continue to offer world-class research equipment and facilities to help the business community meet their technological challenges and support their competitiveness and growth," said NRC President John R McDougall. Canada News Release | Ottawa Citizen

ACC to offer tuition-free health-care aide program for Aboriginal learners

Assiniboine Community College has partnered with the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples to offer the Aboriginal Comprehensive Health Care Aide certificate. The 24-week program will be offered at no cost to 25 Aboriginal people who reside off-reserve. Graduates of the program will be eligible to transfer a block of credits toward ACC’s Practical Nursing program. “This is an incredible prospect if you’re looking for a career in health care,” said Karen Hargreaves, Dean of Health and Human Services at ACC. “There is an abundance of jobs in this field.” ACC News

MTA announces $1.5 M upgrade to athletics field

Mount Allison University has announced a $1.5 M upgrade to its athletics field. Fundraising for the project is being led by MTA alumni, with $1.2 M of the target goal already raised. The field upgrade will result in the athletics field being usable for the majority of the year and will provide a more consistent playing surface. The field upgrade is in line with MTA’s updated strategic plan, revised in 2012, which pledges to foster excellence in campus recreation and athletics and to be a leader in wellness in active living. MTA News | CBC

MUHC launches world’s first research database on use of medicinal cannabis

The Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) and the Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids (CCIC) have partnered to launch a provincial registry of users of medical cannabis. According to a MUHC news release, this will be the first research database in the world on the use of cannabis for medical purposes. The Quebec Cannabis Registry will gather anonymous data directly from patients in order to monitor medical cannabis use and patient safety. “This registry has been developed to address the lack of research data on the safety and efficacy of cannabis,” stated principal investigator Mark Ware, Director of Clinical Research of the Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit at MUHC. The database will eventually be made available to international researchers working on the topic. MUHC News Release

Researchers launch social media outreach campaign

Researchers at six universities are partnering on Research2Reality, a $400,000 social media outreach campaign. The campaign is designed to raise the public's awareness of the work being done by Canadian researchers. University of Toronto biomedical engineering professor Molly Shoichet said, "we're not a lobby group. Our focus is on capturing the imagination and the curiosity of the public to engage them in what's going on." The campaign will include 70 short videos featuring researchers discussing in an accessible way their work and motivations. uToronto, the University of Alberta, the University of Waterloo, Western University, McMaster University, and UBC are partners in the campaign. Globe and Mail

Modi's visit to Canada was a missed opportunity, researchers say

A group of researchers say that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Canada last month may have been a missed opportunity. The researchers have published an article reflecting on the importance of international higher education as a strategic priority for building the relationship between the two countries. The article notes that in contrast to Modi's recent trips to France, Germany, and the United States, his visit to Canada did not generate a discussion of international academic relations. Such relations, the authors say, are "crucial." They note that India is the world's second-largest "sender country," and emphasize the importance of the Indian diaspora in Canada. The essay encourages Canada to promote "inter-civilizational dialogue" to help develop stronger ties with India. University World News

Five university players test positive for performance-enhancing drugs

Université Laval football coach Glen Constantin is calling for more collaboration between the Canadian Football League and Canadian Interuniversity Sport after five Canadian university football players tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. In spite of their infractions, all five players will remain eligible for the CFL draft today; CBC reports that regardless of any sanctions imposed by CIS, the players' records will be effectively wiped clean once they graduate from school. "I think [the drug policy] needs to be revisited. We had, I think, one case last year, and the person was drafted in the first round, so what message does it send to the next crop of athletes?" Constantin said. CBC | Hamilton Spectator

RBC President says Canadian businesses must help expand co-op education

RBC President David McKay has contributed an op-ed to the Globe and Mail highlighting the benefits of co-op education for students and employers. McKay says that co-op education "has become a proven way to prepare students for a world in which change is accelerating and challenges are growing ever more complex." He says that co-op exposes students to new ideas, experiences, and ways of working, while helping create for employers a critical bridge to the PSE sector. McKay argues that Canada is falling behind other nations when it comes to blending work and learning. He calls on employers to take the lead in stressing the importance of co-op education and increasing the depth and quality of placements. Globe and Mail

Unique French tech school gets 70,000 applicants, but offers no grades or degrees

A non-profit school in France known simply as "42" received 70,000 applications for 900 openings last year, in spite of lacking accreditation, offering no degrees, and providing instruction only in computer science. There are no grades, no textbooks, no diplomas, and no tuition, and each student is fully funded thanks to a $90 M donation from tech entrepreneur Xavier Niel. Students spend their time in teams, solving increasingly difficult problems. But critics point to the school's low number of women students, as well as its lack of extracurricular activities, as issues with the model. Others suggest that its narrow focus is a problem. Co-founder Nicolas Sadirac said, "42's goal is not to fill our students' heads with facts and theories, but to help them become creative innovators who can solve complex problems together with peers." The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)