Top Ten

June 5, 2015

Former uSask President files suit naming university board, SK Premier

Ilene Busch-Vishniac, former President of the University of Saskatchewan, has filed a suit seeking $8.5 M in damages from the institution, claiming that her termination last year damaged her reputation and left her unable to find another senior position. The suit alleges that SK Premier Brad Wall and former Minister of Advanced Education Rob Morris unlawfully interfered with decisions made by uSask’s board of governors, and that the board did not follow protocol when it called the emergency meeting at which it decided to dismiss her. The suit also makes claims regarding the dismissal of Robert Buckingham, the former Executive Director of the School of Public Health. In a statement, the board said that it will “vigorously defend” the university against the allegations, while the Premier’s office described Wall’s and Morris’ actions as “completely appropriate and in the best interests of the university and the province.” Globe and Mail | CBC | StarPhoenix | uSask News

uOttawa announces return of suspended hockey team

The University of Ottawa has announced the relaunch of its varsity men’s hockey program, which will be ready to compete in the 2016–17 season. The team was suspended and its head coach fired following allegations that players were involved in a sexual assault while travelling with the team; police later charged two players. uOttawa has introduced measures to foster a positive environment for the team, including behavioural guidelines for all student-athletes and coaches; mandatory orientation sessions for student-athletes on hazing, harassment, anti-doping, and appropriate behaviour; a new Sports Services ethics and discipline committee; and a plan to implement the recommendations of the Task Force on Respect and Equality. uOttawa News ReleaseMetro News

GPRC admin, board donate portions of salaries to help achieve balanced budget

Grand Prairie Regional College's board of governors has approved a balanced budget that will reduce spending over the next two years by $5.2 M, thanks in part to donations from its president, VPs, and board of governors. GPRC's president and VPs have each agreed to donate the equivalent of 5% of their salaries back to the college, while board members will donate 5% of their honoraria. Nevertheless, achieving the balanced budget still required cuts. GPRC has eliminated 22 positions across the institution through voluntary severances, early retirement incentives, and redundancies, and will suspend or curtail a number of under-enrolled programs. GPRC will also reduce its marketing and recruitment expenditures, and has suspended the curling team. GPRC News Release

UBC grad students concerned about potential redevelopment of academic land

Members of UBC's Graduate Student Society (GSS) are concerned about alleged plans to replace two buildings on what is now designated as "academic land" with non-institutional housing. The GSS claims that UBC intends to replace two buildings being torn down because of seismic risk with housing that will be rented to non-students at market rates. However, UBC has said that "no private housing is planned for this area of campus." AVP of Campus and Community Planning Michael White said that "we are considering mixed-use developments which include university-owned rental housing which prioritizes people who study, work, and research at UBC," but added that no firm decisions have been made. UBC GSS News Release | Vancouver 24 HRS

NB defends system of funding student summer jobs against criticism

David Coon, Leader of the Green Party in New Brunswick, has criticized the province’s system for funding summer jobs. Under the current system, government MLAs have 200 weeks of funding for summer jobs to distribute while opposition MLAs have only 80. “We need a program that's professionally run, professionally delivered, based on professional criteria that are non-partisan in nature,” Coon said. Cabinet Minister Victor Boudreau defended the system, saying that “MLAs know the needs of their ridings … while a civil servant in Fredericton, who reviews applications once a year, doesn't have the same dynamic.” CBC (Coon) | CBC (Boudreau)

Nearly one in four medical grads misrepresented research accomplishments, study claims

As competition for the most sought-after medical residency positions has become increasingly fierce—from 2009 to 2014, there was a five-fold increase in the number of medical graduates unable to find a suitable match—a new study has shown that nearly one in four medical graduates have misrepresented their publication history on their residency applications. This could be to make themselves more attractive to ever-scarcer placements, said study lead Lily Nguyen of McGill University. The study, published in Medical Education, examined 182 applicants to ear, nose, and throat programs across Canada. The study authors note that the misrepresentations may have been inadvertent or unintentional. National Post

More than half of international students have no Canadian friends

According to Janine Knight-Grofe from the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), 56% of international students in Canada said they have no Canadian friends. “We are missing out on one of the strategic advantages of international education, one that we as international educators frequently tout,” Knight-Grofe said at last week’s annual conference of NAFSA: Association of International Educators. One-third of international students said they found it difficult to meet Canadian students and half experienced challenges meeting Canadians off campus. The issue is particularly acute for students from the Middle East and North Africa: only 28% of these students had any Canadian friends. Times Higher Education

COU releases report on ROI of university degree

The Council of Ontario Universities has released its latest University Works report. The report suggests that university graduates have the lowest unemployment rates, the highest employment rates, and the highest lifetime earnings compared to graduates of other PSE programs. 91% of university graduates reported being employed three years after graduation, and the median bachelor degree holder was earning 33% more than the median college graduate three years after graduation. The report also shows that, among all provinces, ON university graduates have the third-lowest average debt from government sources. COU News Release | Full Report

Gen Y increasingly pursuing social entrepreneurship as a career model

Members of Generation Y are increasingly foregoing traditional career paths for lifestyle entrepreneurship, according to a piece published in the Financial Post. The article defines lifestyle entrepreneurship as "a career or job that is chosen to match your preferred lifestyle values and activities." Shifts in demographics and shifting notions of career-related risk have contributed to the rise in small-scale entrepreneurism. People are choosing career satisfaction, making a positive social contribution, and spending time with family and friends over long-term job security. Work is becoming less tied to specific times, places, or employers, and businesses will find themselves needing to adapt to this "slow revolution." Financial Post

California college analyzes students' brains to measure impact

In an effort to better understand the value of an education, California's Westmont College is eschewing statistics and figures. Instead, it's looking at students' brains. Researchers at the college last year measured electrical activity in the brains of 30 freshmen. In two years, the subjects will be analyzed again. The researchers will use the tests to measure empathy as well as "executive functions" such as memory, reasoning, and problem solving. The study focuses on students participating in a study-abroad program. Westmont President Gayle D Beebe says that the researchers believe that spending time in such a highly structured, immersive environment will improve students' intellectual capacity and their ability to work with people from other cultures. The Chronicle of Higher Education