Top Ten

August 11, 2015

UBC president abruptly resigns, leaving many unanswered questions

UBC President Arvind Gupta abruptly resigned on Friday, with the university announcing that Martha Piper would serve as Interim President until a new leader is identified. Gupta was slightly more than one year into a five-year term. A statement to the board authored by Faculty Association President Mark MacLean said that a resignation this soon marked “a failure point in the governance of the university.” Kris Olds, writing for Inside Higher Ed, said that “this type of unexpected leadership transition is hugely significant,” adding that “UBC's communication about this issue, to-date, is inadequate.” Piper said that she is confident the institution can weather any uncertainty arising from the transition. Globe and Mail (Questions) | Inside Higher Ed | Vancouver Sun | Globe and Mail (Resignation) | Metro News (CP) | UBC

Ontario to cut 50 medical residency positions

Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-term Care (MOHLTC) plans to cut 50 medical residency positions over the next two years, reports the Toronto Star. The decision has sparked criticism from medical students and doctors who suggest that the province might want to expand these positions rather than reduce them. Ontario Medical Association President Mike Toth said, “training fewer physicians can only make this situation worse… In Ontario, we have fewer family doctors per capita than any other province and are below the national average for specialists per capita.” However, MOHLTC Spokesperson Shae Greenfield told the Star that the decrease is “modest” and that it is “intended to manage the risk of an oversupply of physicians in the future.” Toronto Star

Change to UK immigration rules could affect 6,000 Canadian students

Starting in November, the UK will introduce new immigration rules targeting international students. The aim, according to the UK government, is to reduce the number of people who enter the country on a study permit but enter the job market instead. It is part of a series of crackdowns, with the goal of reducing net migration to the UK from “hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands.” The new legislation could affect as many as 6,000 Canadian students currently studying in the UK, making it more difficult for them to remain in the country and work after graduation. Given the importance of work experience, said John Mountford of the British Association of Colleges, this could be a “big deterrent” for students choosing to study in the UK. CBC

US News and World Report encourages enrolment in Canadian universities

Obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Canada has the potential to offer a world-class education at a fraction of the price one might find in the US, UK, or Australia, says US News and World Report. According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), 336,400 international students came to study in Canada in 2014 compared to 184,150 in 2008. US News and World Report adds that students planning to study outside the US should give strong consideration to Canada because of its affordable tuition rates and high-quality universities, quoting one student who celebrated receiving her Canadian education “without having to sell [her] kidneys to pay the tuition." US News and World Report

Holland College announces plans to expand programs in China

After 15 years of offering programs in China, Holland College has announced that it plans to expand its offerings there, with the goal of increasing the number of students from 1,200 to over 2,000. The college currently offers programs through eight Chinese institutions; the plan is to expand to four more. The offerings include programs in computer information systems, business administration, and early childhood care and education, in addition to five other programs. The curriculum is the same as the two-year program offered in PEI, plus one year of instruction in English. CBC

uWindsor installs “learning pods” to transform campus

The University of Windsor has installed a series of “learning pods” on its campus to promote learning outside of the traditional classroom and to increase the availability of resources to students, faculty, and staff. The pods are made up of outdoor tables arranged in classroom-style formations that feature electrical sockets, WiFi access, and lighting. University Provost Douglas Kneale said that the pods are part of uWindsor’s larger plan to transform its campus. CBC

Liberal arts “vital to our prosperity,” says MTA president

In an op-ed published over the weekend, Mount Allison University President Robert Campbell is calling the liberal arts “vital to [Canada’s] prosperity.” Despite increasing skepticism about the value of the social sciences and the humanities, Campbell argues that we ignore the liberal arts and the studies supporting its benefits "at our peril." We cannot understand what is going on in the world, he adds, without a “grounding in and understanding of the history, cultures, and emotions” of other societies. “If Canada is to develop [an] array of effective leaders and informed citizens,” he concludes, “we must encourage today’s students to learn from and be exposed to the liberal arts in ever greater numbers." Universities Canada

uToronto students’ legal research app receives investment from Dentons law firm

A startup launched by University of Toronto students has received an undisclosed investment from Dentons, the world largest law firm, in support of a technology that uses artificial intelligence to perform legal research. The technology, known as Ross, uses IBM’s Watson computer to perform research with an aim to answer specific legal questions. According to the Globe and Mail, Ross’s founders claim that the technology could one day replace some of the research currently being performed by low-level legal associates in the world’s top law firms. Ross co-founder Andrew Arruda said, “what we are seeing is Ross grasping and understanding legal concepts and learning based on the questions and also getting user feedback… Just like a human, it’s getting its experience in a law firm and being able to learn and get better.” Globe and Mail

US survey finds student loans forcing millennials to delay life milestones

According to a new US survey, 56% of people aged 18 to 29 have delayed a major life event—such as getting married, purchasing a car or house, saving for retirement, or having children—because of student debt. Older survey respondents were affected as well, with 45% of those 30 and older also saying that student loans created financial challenges for them. These respondents were most likely to indicate that they delayed buying a house or buying a car. More than two-thirds of millennials, and almost 60% of those aged 30–49, said that they did not receive enough information about the risks of carrying student loan debt. NBC News | Full Study

Proportion of UK undergrads working to fund education leaps upward

The proportion of UK undergraduate students who take on work to help fund their university educations has leapt from 59% to 77% in a single year, writes The Independent. The findings come from a survey performed by Endsleigh, the insurance company recommended by the National Union of Students. 63% of respondents reported holding a part-time job while 14% said they held full-time positions. 87% of the working respondents also reported that they worked to develop additional skills and strengthen their CVs, in addition to helping them pay for university. Independent