Top Ten

July 23, 2015

Québec universities receive $23 M for food-based research

Researchers at McGill University and Université Laval will receive substantial portions of a $23 M investment from Génome Québec. Lawrence Goodridge of McGill and Roger C Levesque from the Institute for Integrative Systems Biology at Laval will lead a team that uses genome sequencing to identify which strains of salmonella cause human disease. In addition, François Belzile and Richard Bélanger of Laval will lead a team that will investigate how DNA markers in soybeans might control key aspects of plant growth, potentially leading to faster growth, stronger resistance to pests, and greater crop yields. McGill | Genome Québec

We must collaborate to increase research-driven innovation, says SFU president

In a recent op-ed in the Globe and Mail, Andrew Petter, the President of Simon Fraser University, has called Canada’s record for research-driven innovation “appalling.” While Canada has an internationally admired postsecondary sector, he writes, “we are the only developed country with an intellectual-property deficit,” meaning Canada spends more to acquire other technologies than other countries buy from it. It’s not the incentives that are lacking however, but rather that researchers lack information about “market needs and opportunities.” The key, Petter argues, is collaboration between researchers, private-sector companies, and community partners. Globe and Mail

Canada invests $11 M in Canadian Coast Guard College for repairs, improvements

The Canadian government will invest $8.6 M to replace the roof at the Canadian Coast Guard College, in addition to the $2.3 M already allocated for upgrades to the emergency electrical system. These improvements will reduce the college’s energy consumption as well as contribute to a continued focus on quality training. “These investments will ensure it continues to provide highly recognized education and training programs in the ideal setting of Cape Breton, developing and supporting mariners in Canada and throughout the world,” said Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt. Canada | Chronicle Herald | Cape Breton Post

New HEQCO report examines federated and affiliated universities

The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) has released a new report exploring the 16 federated and affiliated universities in Ontario. These institutions were traditionally church-governed, but have become associated with a public university and today offer primarily secular academic programs. The report argues that while the province’s differentiation framework has focused in the past on the publicly supported universities as a whole, it should begin to drill down into the role the affiliates play in offering a distinctive educational experience. Further, policymakers should consider ways of encouraging the educational innovation and experimentation made possible by semi-autonomous affiliates. HEQCO | Full Report

McGill creates vice-dean of education, establishes accreditation office to raise standards

After its medical school was put on probation last month, McGill University will create a new Vice-Dean of Education and establish a permanent accreditation office in order to increase its standards, the Montreal Gazette reports. The new Vice-Dean will have oversight of all of the educational programs across the Faculty of Medicine. The first task, according to Dean of Medicine David Eidelman, will be to review the “structure and organization of the (undergraduate medical) program.” The new accreditation office will adopt a continual “quality improvement approach” to accreditation, in order to make sure the required standards are being met. Montreal Gazette

Canada and India invest $3.7 M to address infrastructure, water challenges

IC-IMPACTS, India’s Department of Science and Technology, and India’s Department of Biotechnology have invested a total of $3.7 M to fund nine research projects in the infrastructure and water sectors. Since 2014, IC-IMPACTS—a network of Centres of Excellence funded by the Federal Government of Canada—and India have partnered to strengthen innovation, especially through their Water for Health initiative. This past year, the project attracted 80 applications from 76 Canadian and Indian institutions. The initiative’s panel ultimately chose to fund nine research projects that address significant infrastructure and water-based challenges. IC-IMPACTS

Royal Roads opens entrepreneurial centre in downtown Victoria

Royal Roads University has moved its Eric C Douglass Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies into a new location owned by the Victoria Advanced Technology Council. The location—named Fort Tectoria—is an established site for innovation and serves as the base for the high-tech sector in Victoria’s downtown core. Set up in 2007 with a $1.6 M endowment, the Douglass Centre’s mandate is to engage the community through entrepreneurship. Centre Director Geoff Archer said, “what we are trying to do is engage with you in a way that is win-win for our students and for small-business owners in the Victoria area.” Times Colonist

uWindsor hires its first cartoonist-in-residence

The University of Windsor has selected Scott Chantler as its first ever Cartoonist-In-Residence for the 2015 fall semester. The appointment puts a new twist on the university’s writer-in-residence position, in order to better reflect the popularity and cultural influence held by comic books, cartoons, and graphic novels. Chantler is currently working on his eleventh graphic novel. His past work includes Northwest Passage, Two Generals, and the Three Thieves series. Our Windsor | uWindsor

US for-profit colleges offer lower return than public community colleges, says report

A recent study published in the Economics of Education Review finds that graduates of for-profit colleges earn 7% more for each year of education than those who do not complete programs in these colleges or hold a high school education. However, co-author Stephanie Riegg Cellini reminds readers that this number is still well below the 12% increase seen by graduates of public community college associate’s degrees. This finding leads Cellini to conclude that “many for-profit students would fare better in public community colleges, where earnings gains may be higher and tuition is less than a quarter of the price.” Brookings | Full Report

New higher ed landscape affecting staff, faculty on all levels

Increasing constraints in higher education are being felt by every member of college and university communities, reports The Chronicle of Higher Education. These constraints place more demands on faculty, staff, and administration alike, and many of these constraints come from factors such as enrolment competition, increased oversight, growing use of assessments, and tighter budgets. As institutions’ financial resources stagnate or dwindle, these same institutions must respond to increasing competition with other institutions, along with a growing number of requirements, assessments, and regulations. Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)