Top Ten

August 14, 2015

Executive pay raises at McGill were illegal, says QC education department

Quebec’s Education Department is demanding that McGill University repay five years of what it believes are excessive executive pay raises. The department accuses the university of violating Bill 100, which regulates pay raises and forbids performance-based bonuses for public institutions. If an agreement cannot be reached, says Education Department Spokesperson Julie White, McGill’s funding could be reduced. McGill Spokesperson Carole Graveline had no specific comment on the ongoing talks between the university and the department, but said, “all I can say is that there are discussions." Montreal Gazette

Western receives $500 K from NHLPA for concussion research

The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) is giving $500 K to researchers at Western University to perform concussion research. The announcement was made on Wednesday at See the Line, an annual day-long event focused on concussion research and awareness held at Western. The NHLPA and Western hope that the gift will serve as the foundation for a fund of more than $3 M to support concussion research. More than 160,000 Canadians experience a concussion every year, and half of these concussions are sports-related. London Free Press

Students must study abroad and across the country, says Universities Canada

Universities Canada has released a new report, entitled Know Canada, Know the World, which summarizes the highlights and key outcomes of a forum held by the organization last December. The report says that Canada must take “an integrated and innovative approach to enhancing student mobility,” giving students the ability to study both abroad and in other parts of Canada. The report also calls for provisions for students who often face significant barriers, such as Indigenous students, first-generation Canadians, and first-generation PSE students. The summary concludes that Canada must help its students “better appreciate the diverse communities that make up our country and understand Canada’s place in the world.” Universities Canada | Full Report

University students confident about personal financial habits

Canadian university students give themselves high marks when it comes to financial responsibility, says a recent survey of 10 Canadian universities by Tangerine. 36% of students surveyed gave themselves an A grade for their personal finance management, while 46% gave themselves a B. Out of the schools surveyed, the University of Waterloo had the most confident student population, with 50% giving themselves an A. The University of Toronto placed second, with 47% of students assigning themselves an A. Students at the University of Ottawa reported being the most financially independent, with 42% saying they would fund the entire upcoming school year by themselves. Tangerine | Edmonton Journal

Canadian universities must overcome three impediments to globalization, writes Carleton president

Carleton University President Roseann O’Reilly Runte writes in an editorial for University Affairs that Canadian universities must do more to address the ongoing demand to become more global. To this end, she says that universities must work to build their international reputations while making sure that the proper resources are in place for international students to succeed after enrolment. But Runte adds that attracting more international students is only one side of the internationalization coin, the other being the need to send more Canadian students abroad. To achieve success in this regard, Canada will need to overcome three impediments that Runte identifies as financial, linguistic, and structural. University Affairs

Five key MOOC lessons on access, cost, and more

A new article in eCampusNews summarizes the five key lessons the world has learned from MOOCs over the last few months. First, MOOCs may be more expensive to develop than was previously realized. Second, attention must be paid to issues of access, which means not only the “mere opportunity” to enrol in a course but also the chance to truly learn. Third, MOOCs are going mobile, using techniques like “EdCasting” to push course content directly to students’ devices. Fourth, MOOCs are an “art form” that requires attention to be paid to the visual presentation of the material, not just the material itself. Finally, eCampusNews reaffirms that MOOCs are just one of the many tools in the educational toolbox.eCampusNews

Social media campaign draws attention to diversity of professors

A new social media campaign is drawing attention to the diversity of professors. Inspired by the viral hashtag #ILookLikeAnEngineer, the new hashtag #ILookLikeAProfessor seeks to demonstrate the significant diversity of the professoriate. Since launching last week, the originators have already seen several examples of “entrenched stereotypes and bias—both subtle and explicit.” For example: the female professor mistaken for an undergraduate, faculty members of colour assumed to be custodians, and male TAs assumed to be the professor. Not all profs “fit the stereotype of a 60-something, white male professor, usually in tie and tweed,” they say, “it’s long past time that we ditch the stereotype.” Inside Higher Ed

Campus bookstores poised for transformation, says Forbes

Campus bookstores might cease to exist in the near future, says Forbes. Or to put it more accurately, these bookstores will cease to operate in the same ways they currently do. While the university textbook industry continues to generate more than $10 B per year in revenue, many course materials are becoming available online for a fraction of their hardcover prices, which means that campus bookstores will likely shift their focus away from physical books. Forbes anticipates that one key development might involve campus bookstores becoming spaces for students to text digital products. However, they also note that whatever the medium used, scholastic textbook sales remain strong due to the “captive audience” of students who are academically required to purchase certain materials. Forbes

More women on promotion committees may not help female faculty, study says

Having more women on promotion and evaluation committees may not actually help outcomes for female faculty, according to a new study being presented at the annual conference of the European Economic Association later this month. The authors analyzed about 300,000 promotion reports from Italy and Spain, covering 100,000 applications by 8,000 evaluators in 200 different disciplines. The study found no evidence to suggest that a greater presence of female evaluators “had a statistically or economically significant positive effect on the chances of success of female candidates.” Inside Higher Ed (THE)

THE profiles five most menacing campus birds

Times Higher Education reports that five distinct species are responsible for the worst bird-related incidents seen on university campuses in recent years. The offending species are, in no particular order, turkeys, seagulls, geese, swans, and hawks. Among the most serious incidents involving these birds were hawk attacks at New Mexico State University and a “racist swan” that was reported to attack only "students from ethnic minorities" at the University of Warwick. Universities have tried to address their bird concerns with a number of creative solutions, as was the case when the University of Bath solicited the help of an owl named Yoda to help control the seagulls menacing its campus. Times Higher Ed