Top Ten

June 15, 2015

CAUT demands apology from CapilanoU over damaged sculpture

The Canadian Association of University Teachers is calling on Capilano University to publicly apologize to George Rammell after investigating whether his academic freedom was violated last year when the institution confiscated and damaged a satirical sculpture of university President Kris Bulcroft. CAUT Director David Robinson said that the investigation “clearly shows that Capilano University administration acted in bad faith by choosing a very wide interpretation of its internal regulations in order to gag George Rammell. Let’s hope this serves as a lesson to all those who would try to violate academic freedom for political reasons.” In addition to demanding an apology, the CAUT report calls on the institution to make commitments to protect and promote academic freedom. Globe and Mail | CAUT News Release | Full Report

Loyalist forced to cut 27 positions to achieve balanced budget

Loyalist College has reduced its staff by 27 positions in an effort to achieve a balanced budget amid significant financial challenges, reports the Belleville Intelligencer. 18 of the layoffs were announced in late March, along with the suspension of three programs: Advertising and Marketing Communications, Broadcast Engineering Technology, and Graphic Design. Loyalist President Maureen Piercy said that all employee groups have been affected. “The college has made, and will continue to make, every effort to minimize the impact and to provide support for affected staff,” she said. “These individuals are valued colleagues, and these decisions are no reflection on their commitment or contributions.” The budget also supports initiatives including optimization of enrolment and retention, international enrolment and partnerships, and a number of new program offerings. Loyalist News Release | Belleville Intelligencer

Ontario announces recipients of $209 M in research funding

Ontario has announced that a total of $209 M has been awarded through three funds to support innovative research in the province. The province has awarded $65 M through the Research Excellence stream, which supports globally significant and transformational projects; $131 M through the Research Infrastructure stream, to ensure that ON’s research infrastructure is capable of attracting top research talent; and $13 M through the Early Researcher Awards, which support promising researchers and their teams. 280 projects received funding this year after being evaluated for their research excellence and their economic and societal benefits for ON. Ontario News Release

Yukon College releases campus master plan

Yukon College has released its master plan, which will guide development of its Ayamdigut Campus over the next 25 years. The master plan is the product of a year-long consultation process that involved students, faculty, staff, nearby residents, First Nations, and governments. The plan calls for considerable expansion, including new teaching and research buildings as well as possible on-campus commercial development. According to Yukon President Karen Barnes, the plan “balances consideration for sensitive ecosystems and existing trails with the need to grow the campus in the years ahead.” Yukon residents can submit feedback on the plan until June 17. Yukon News Release | CBC | Full Plan

MB task force seeks to improve education outcomes of children in care

Manitoba has launched a new task force to help improve education outcomes for children in care. A recent report from the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy (MCHP) at the University of Manitoba found that only 33% of children who had ever been in the care of Child and Family Services graduated high school, compared to an 89% graduation rate for children who had never been in care. The task force will work with education experts, teachers, social service providers, and other parties to come up with immediate and long-term actions to improve outcomes. The authors of the report suggest that anti-poverty measures and more family supports may help the situation by preventing more children from going into care. MB News Release | CBC | MCHP Report

Lambton opens Centre of Excellence in Energy and Bio-Industrial Technologies

Lambton College officially opened its Centre of Excellence in Energy and Bio-Industrial Technologies on Thursday. The Centre brings together various laboratories, projects, and researchers and will focus on enhancing community collaboration as well as on helping graduates find jobs. Moreover, the Centre will help Lambton cement its position as a leader in applied research and innovation for process industries. College President Judith Morris emphasized that the institution’s research focus helps Lambton attract talented researchers and students, as well as supporting the local economy. Sarnia Observer

AB Minister suggests province willing to step in to assist AthabascaU

Lori Sigurdson, Alberta’s Minister of Innovation and Advanced Education, has suggested that the province is keeping a close eye on the “sustainability issues” affecting Athabasca University and may step in if necessary. Sigurdson called on AthabascaU’s board of governors to get the institution on a better financial footing, but added that “the province is ready to work with the university and help it become more sustainable.” AthabascaU recently shared a report with the province indicating that it may face insolvency due to factors including changing enrolment patterns, insufficient funding, and its collective bargaining agreements. AthabascaU faces a particular challenge: a growing proportion of its students come from out of province, affecting its level of provincial funding. Edmonton Journal

PSE at centre of “new era of cooperation” between India and Canada

A piece published by the Conference Board of Canada examines the changing relationship between Canada and India, with a focus on PSE partnerships. The article notes that in November, Prime Minister Stephen Harper spent his longest official foreign visit to date in India, while in April, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi became the first Indian prime minister since Indira Gandhi to visit Canada. PSE is a key piece in this growing relationship. India hopes to increase the number of skilled youth in the country, and Canada's reputation as a leader in PSE makes it a natural partner. The Conference Board cites a partnership between Ryerson University and the Bombay Stock Exchange as representative of the closer ties between the countries. Conference Board

AAUP survey questions efficacy of teaching evaluations

In order to better understand the role played by student evaluations of teaching, a committee of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) surveyed some 9,000 professors. The survey revealed diminishing response rates, too much focus on evaluations in personnel decisions, and, according to some faculty, an increase in the kind of “abusive, bullying effects” and gender biases found on some anonymous faculty review websites. However, the committee that conducted the survey noted that while the value of student evaluations may be diminishing, they can still play an important role in a “more holistic” faculty evaluation system. Inside Higher Ed

Two-thirds of US profs will delay retirement, survey says

According to a survey conducted by TIAA-CREF, a financial services firm focused on the academic sector, nearly two-thirds of US professors plan to delay retirement beyond the age of 67. 49% said that they want to work longer, and a further 16% said that they would like to retire, but expect that they will not be able to. Just 35% of respondents said that they expect to retire by the "normal" age. The report said that administrators “need to understand the thought process among senior faculty regarding whether and when to retire.” Chronicle of Higher Education | Inside Higher Ed | Full Report