Top Ten

May 21, 2015

ON approves proposal to build YorkU - Markham Centre campus

Ontario has announced that it will support the creation of a new York University campus in Markham. The new YorkU - Markham Centre campus, to be established in partnership with Seneca College, will serve approximately 4,000 students in York Region, and will provide experiential learning options with an academic focus on business, arts, and social sciences. The campus was selected from a number of strong candidates presented to ON in response to acall for proposals to PSE institutions to expand or create new enrolment capacity in high-demand areas or areas with gaps in access; the evaluation panel unanimously ranked the YorkU - Markham Centre proposal as first among those received. ON News Release | YorkU News Release

UBC settles with donors in sperm storage case

UBC has reached a settlement of $6.2 M with 400 sperm donors whose sperm was inadvertently destroyed. The donors were mostly cancer patients who had preserved their sperm prior to undergoing radiation treatments. The samples were stored at UBC's Andrology Lab but were damaged or destroyed after a power interruption to a freezer. The settlement brings to a close a class-action suit that was first filed nearly 12 years ago. UBC had contended that the donors had signed a facility agreement waiving the institution's liability in the event of an equipment malfunction; however, a judge in 2013 ruled that in this case the lab was functioning as a warehouse and that the sperm was the property of the donors. National Post | The Province

NBCC makes changes to nine programs for 2015–16

New Brunswick Community College has announced changes to nine of its programs for the 2015–16 academic year. Eight programs will not be run in 2015–16, including Second Language Training, Office Administration, Building Maintenance and Repair, and Early Childhood Education: Advocacy, Leadership, and Management at the Miramichi campus; Office Administration at the St Andrews campus; Office Administration: Executive at the Moncton campus; Building Repair & Maintenance at the Woodstock campus; and Floor Installer at the Saint John campus. Additionally, Carpentry at the Woodstock campus will be reduced from two classes to one. Decisions were based on current confirmed enrolments, historic enrolment trends, labour market demand, and changes to the sector landscape. NBCC News Release

McMaster opens David Braley Health Sciences Centre

McMaster University last week celebrated the opening of the David Braley Health Sciences Centre at the downtown Hamilton McMaster Health Campus. The six-storey, 192,000-square-foot facility will offer space for the Michael G DeGroote School of Medicine's Department of Family Medicine and the City of Hamilton's Public Health Services, as well as for McMaster's nurse practitioner program, the Continuing Health Sciences Education Program, the Maternity Centre of Hamilton, and the Shelter Health Network. McMaster President Patrick Deane said, “the university has a strong commitment to deepen our relationship with our community. I know we will enhance the future of health care in Hamilton and far beyond by putting our roots down in the city’s centre.” McMaster News Release

New SFU MBA will focus on northwestern BC

Simon Fraser University's Beedie School of Business has launched a new MBA program that focuses specifically on northwestern British Columbia. The new three-year program, which will focus on extractive resources, engineering, liquefied natural gas, and other related industries, will be offered in Prince Rupert. Beedie faculty will travel and teach classes for the program at Northwest Community College. The program is designed to allow students to work full-time and complete assignments through virtual classrooms. Program Director Mark Selman said, "there’s an urgent need for advanced business education in northern BC to be taught right here, and to benefit residents right here.” SFU News Release

Scientists' union blames low turnout at demonstration on "climate of fear"

Debi Daviau, President of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), said that a "climate of fear" was to blame for low turnout at public protests against federal policies that limit scientists' ability to talk about their own work. Hundreds were expected to participate in a lunch-time demonstration in Ottawa on Tuesday, but only a few dozen showed up. Daviau alleged "some departments have sent out emails to all employees warning them about the many things they were not entitled to do." PIPSC says that federal regulations prohibit scientists from discussing their findings with the media and that government scientists are facing significant budget cuts over the next two years. Ottawa Citizen

Academics gather in Montreal to discuss future of the PhD

Hundreds of academics are in Montreal this week to discuss the future of PhD education in Canada. Paul Yachnin, Director of the Institute for the Public Life of Art and Ideas, which organized the event, says that PhD programs must do more to prepare students for non-academic careers. Mitacs CEO Alejandro Adem said that institutions must come to grips with the idea that original scholarship can come from non-traditional approaches. "Many of our departments have emphasized the culture of pure research and teaching, so it is hard to get attention and support to pursue these experiential opportunities," he said. Some academics are calling for radical change, but Yachnin says he believes that things will proceed more slowly. Globe and Mail

Canada needs more regulations around reproductive medicine

Canada needs a stronger regulatory framework around human reproductive science, or it risks falling further behind other nations in producing groundbreaking research, according to University of Ottawa professor Arthur Leader. Leader said that Canadian laws governing reproductive technology are outdated and that there is not a sufficient framework in place to even begin discussing many new developments in the field, such as mitochondrial replacement therapy. He added that because the issues around reproductive science can be controversial, officials may be reluctant to tread on what could be a political minefield. He called for the creation of an agency similar to those in the UK that study medical "game-changing" advancements. Ottawa Citizen

Physicist questions NSERC's priorities

Université de Montréal physicist Richard Mackenzie has written an open letter to Mario Pinto, President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), outlining the difference between "research" and "innovation." Mackenzie is concerned that NSERC is treating discovery as being subservient to innovation, and worries that the ultimate goal of NSERC is economic benefit. Mackenzie argues that most NSERC grant recipients are probably far more more interested in discovery than innovation, and says that innovation is a completely different activity from discovery and research. He accepts that innovation should be part of NSERC's mandate for pragmatic reasons, but questions whether the organization is placing enough value on research and discovery. University Affairs

Survey examines risk associated with fraternities in US

A new study from the University Risk Management and Insurance Association (URMIA) looks at how US PSE institutions are reacting to negative pressassociated with on-campus fraternities, with a particular focus on risk management. Two-thirds of URMIA members who responded to a survey said that fraternity risk was among the significant or top liability risks faced by their institution but viewed the reputational risk presented by fraternities to be less significant. Every institution but one reported having a risk-management strategy; more than half had implemented mandatory programs addressing alcohol, hazing, and sexual assault. However, 40% of respondents said that they were not sure if their risk-mitigation strategies were effective, and 25% said that their strategies were not. The Chronicle of Higher Education | Full Report