Top Ten

July 29, 2015

uToronto receives $114 M for regenerative medicine initiative

Canada has awarded $114 M to the University of Toronto, the largest single research investment the university has ever received. This is the first grant made under the new $1.5 B Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF). The funds will be used as part of the “Medicine by Design” program, which was created to strengthen Canada’s position as a global leader in the field of regenerative medicine through research in areas such as stem cell biology, biomedical engineering, nanotechnology, imaging, and cell and organ transplantation. For this project, uToronto will partner with a number of medical institutions, businesses, and other organizations that include the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research, the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, and the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine. uToronto | Canada | U15 | CBC | Globe and Mail | Toronto Star

NT, NU, and YK partner on literacy and skills initiative

The Nunavut Literacy Council has partnered with the Northwest Territories Literacy Council and the Yukon Literacy Coalition to create the Northern Alliance for Literacy and Essential Skills (NALES). It will work to integrate literacy and essential skills training into new and existing workplace training programs. NALES will work directly with stakeholders in the natural resources, tourism, and service industries in order to ensure that Aboriginal youth and adults gain access to training opportunities. The federal government has provided $3.1 M for the initiative. Canada

Participants of conference at CMU form peace and conflict studies association

A group of 70 academics, students, and conflict resolution practitioners from across Canada will form a Canadian association for peace and conflict studies, building on the interest generated at the first annual Canadian Peace and Conflict Studies Conference held last month at Canadian Mennonite University. “We had a broad spectrum of people and we wanted to open up an invitational space,” said Wendy Kroeker, a conference organizer and instructor in Peace and Conflict Transformation Studies at CMU. “We want to stretch the boundaries of the field to be accessible, provocative, and inclusive.” CMU

Detroit nursing shortage helps uWindsor nursing grads find work close to home

While nursing jobs in Windsor may be scarce, a shortage in neighbouring Detroit has given many uWindsor nursing grads the opportunity to find local work, reports the Windsor Star. Detroit Medical Center currently has 150 openings for new and experienced nurses across nine hospitals. Today, Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit is hosting a job fair in Windsor to attract Canadian RNs to fill up to 75 vacant positions. uWindsor studies in 2011 and 2013 indicated that the majority of local nursing grads would prefer to work in Canada, but noted that approximately two-thirds would consider migrating elsewhere. Windsor Star

CAUT co-sponsors international resolution on precarious academic work

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) has released a statement declaring that precarious work is “bad for education, unfair to teachers and students, and must be better regulated.” The statement comes alongside a resolution that was co-sponsored by CAUT and approved by 2,000 delegates attending the 7th World Congress of the Education International (EI) global union federation. The resolution gives EI’s board of directors the mandate to study employment conditions of contract teachers, monitor the use of fixed-term contracts, and highlight the best practices its members use to keep temporary employment in check. “We know the solution,” said CAUT President Robin Vose. “It’s now up to governments to show the political courage to attack the problem. It’s our students’ future that’s at stake.” CAUT

European education austerity worries Canadian educators

Canadian delegates at the recent 7th World Congress of Education International (EI) are concerned that European cuts to education might inspire a similar approach in Canada, reports iPolitics. During the conference, many participants insisted that austerity measures have decreased the number of teachers, increased classroom sizes, and created widespread job instability. Martin Romer, the European Director of the European Trade Union Committee for Education, characterized the widespread use of austerity in Europe by saying, “there is nothing positive to gain from Europe in this story.” iPolitics

Canadian immigration lawyer warns of challenges for foreign students

Canada will have to closely monitor the performance of its shifting policies toward education- and business-based immigration if it wishes to preserve its fundamental diversity, writes Jennifer Nees, a Toronto-based business immigration lawyer. While the Pan Am Games have given Canadians recent cause to celebrate their country’s diversity, Nees adds that “the last seven months have shown a different story in terms of our current immigration policy.” While earlier systems might have offered a clearer path for foreign students to obtain work permits and begin new careers in Canada, Nees adds that “now, however, these students are getting lost in a maze of complex new systems with operating glitches and inconsistent processing.” Canadian Lawyer

NYT explores links between perfectionism and suicide among undergraduates

Across the US, countless undergraduates are demoralized and filled with despair due to the pressures of overachieving, reports the New York Times. According to the latest data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the suicide rate among 15- to 24-year-olds has increased steadily since 2007, from 9.6 deaths per 100,000 to 11.1 in 2013. While the increase might seem modest to some, the NYT adds that a survey of college counseling centres has found that more than half of these centres’ clients have “severe psychological problems.” A similar trend has been noted in Canada. The article adds that the pressure is being felt especially by young, high-achieving women who feel they are expected to be “effortlessly perfect” or “smart, accomplished, fit, beautiful, and popular, all without visible effort.” New York Times

Tough times push US students out of liberal arts programs, study says

A new report has found that during times of high unemployment and economic hardship, American university students are more likely to enrol in programs perceived as being geared toward professional employment. The report was produced by a team of American researchers for the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Germany. The researchers examined data for Americans who turned 20 between 1960 and 2011. They found that historically, every increase of 1% in the unemployment rate prompts a 3.2% point shift of college major choices for men, and 4.1% shift for women. Inside Higher Ed | Full Report

New report finds librarians particularly significant to distance learning

Librarians play a key, albeit radically changing, role in distance education, according to a recent report from East Carolina University. The study’s authors suggest that in a world of digital resources, librarians will need to focus on how they provide materials as much or more than they do on what materials they make available. In many cases, students of distance learning do not have well-stocked libraries in their local communities, which means that the demand on librarians to help these students navigate a complex web of available resources is more important than ever. The study’s authors examine in detail the new competencies that librarians must seek to develop and enhance in the new landscape of distance learning. eCampus News | Full Report