Top Ten

July 13, 2015

New uSask President commits to indigenization

Peter Stoicheff, the incoming President of the University of Saskatchewan, has announced that he will make indigenization his top priority for the institution. “We cannot do our role in fostering a civil society with success unless we become demonstratively … the best place we can possibly be for the Aboriginal people of this province and of this country,” the new President said. “None of the rest of it matters at this point in our nation’s history if we do not achieve this.” The university must be a leader in closing the gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, he continued, calling this a “moral imperative.” StarPhoenix | CBC | Globe and Mail

ON commits to funding international graduate students

Ontario has announced that it will extend funding for graduate studies to international students. Although no new funds are attached to the deal, the province plans to reallocate up to 130 graduate funding spots for international students starting this fall. The policy will give relief to the province’s universities, many of which currently cover the tuition and living costs associated with international students. University of Toronto President Meric Gertler said he hopes this new funding will help alleviate the frustration some Ontario professors have felt at being unable to work with international students due to lack of funds. He added, “we’ve been worried that frustration would cause them to look elsewhere, so this is for us a faculty retention and attraction strategy as well as a PhD student strategy.” Globe and Mail

Trent, Durham create new diploma-to-degree pathway in media studies

Trent University and Durham College have entered into a new diploma-to-degree pathway agreement. The agreement will allow students to get both a college diploma in journalism and a university degree in media studies in four years. “Trent University is pleased to be solidifying another new pathway partnership with Durham College,” said Trent President Leo Groarke. “It’s our goal to be Ontario’s most transfer-credit friendly institution.” Durham President Don Lovisa added, “developing new pathway programs for our students ensures they get the best of both a college and university education.” Trent | Oshawa This Week

CBU’s Verschuren Centre launches fund targeting sustainable startups

The Verschuren Centre at Cape Breton University has announced that it will allocate $500,000 for the Cape Breton Island Futures Fund (CBIFF), which will provide seed funding and non-financial business assistance to local ventures developing products or services within the sustainable business, clean technology, and digital technology sectors. The stewards of the fund are prepared to invest in ten companies by December. Verschuren CEO Andrew Swanson said, “there are lots innovative ideas being talked about in the community that don’t always meet funding criteria… Our hope is that the CBIFF will provide the needed support to turn these ideas into sustainable businesses.” CBU | Cape Breton Post

Seneca and University of Central Asia sign MOU

Seneca College has signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of Central Asia (UCA) that will see Seneca develop a preparatory program for incoming students as UCA readies to open its first undergraduate campus in Naryn, Kyrgyz Republic next year. The preparatory program will be offered in the first year of UCA’s five-year undergraduate program and will focus on ensuring that UCA students attain internationally competitive levels in English, math, and science while developing key study and research skills. Seneca President David Agnew said, “this agreement with UCA embodies Seneca’s commitment to building bridges and networks throughout the world.” Seneca

Faculty mental health key to creating healthier universities

In a follow up to his earlier article on student mental health, University of Victoria professor Trevor Hancock turns his attention to the stress levels of Canada’s university faculty. He opens by quoting a 2013 book titled Faculty Stress to suggest that “contrary to popular opinion, college and university faculty often experience a greater amount of stress than professionals in many other occupations.” A national survey published in 2010 found that while overall faculty were satisfied with their jobs, “13% of the respondents reported high psychological distress and 22% reported elevated physical health symptoms.” For Hancock, these numbers force us to ask how we might create a healthier environment for faculty and students alike at our universities. Times Colonist

Canadore, Nipissing renew nursing school partnership

Nipissing University and Canadore College have renewed their collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) program agreement. The agreement extends the sharing of curriculum, facilities, resources, finances, and expertise that has allowed the schools to deliver the four-year program for more than a decade, graduating nearly 500 students. “This is a terrific day for both Nipissing and Canadore,” said Nipissing Provost Harley d’Entremont. “The collaborative program has proven very successful and is in high demand with students. It is an excellent combination of theory and practice that is built on the strengths of each institution to the benefit of all.” Canadore | Nipissing

Enrolling in the liberal arts a smart long-term decision

Adam Chapnick, Deputy Director at the Canadian Forces College, writes that a liberal arts education remains an excellent investment for young Canadians, even in strictly financial terms. This past September, the number of 18-year-olds in Ontario applying to the humanities and social sciences declined by 2,600, a trend that seems consistent with the common argument that liberal arts programs “appear to be poorly designed to meet the labour market needs of the 21st century.” However, Chapnick points to other evidence to show that while a liberal arts degree might not help a student get their first job, it continues to have a significant positive impact on a person’s long-term career advancement. Literary Review of Canada | Trent

US patent filings by women have risen more than 15% in academia, study finds

A new study from Indiana University finds that the number of women filing patents with the US Patent and Trade Office over the past 40 years has risen more quickly in academia than all other sectors of the innovation economy. The study examined 4.6 M utility patents issued from 1976 to 2013 to women from all over the world. The study found that over this time period, the overall percentage of patents under women’s names rose from 2–3% across all sectors to 10% in industry, 12% in individuals, and 18% in academia. Sugimoto said, “the relative success of large research universities in fostering women's innovation might be due in part to the unique emphasis placed on intellectual communities in academia.” Indiana University | Full Report

Yes, academic science is biased against women, say Williams and Smith

Writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education, law professor Joan C Williams and psychology professor Jessi L Smith have responded to an earlier study, which claimed that STEM faculty were biased in favour of the hiring of women. Williams and Smith allege that the earlier study, by Stephen J Ceci and Wendy M Williams, exhibits “serious methodological flaws.” Williams and Smith list five such flaws, noting that even if there is no bias in hiring, bias can manifest in many other areas. “A lot of people want and need to believe there’s no bias against women in academic science,” and as a result give the earlier study more credit than it deserves, write the authors. Chronicle of Higher Education