Top Ten

August 25, 2015

GDI receives $11 M in funding from SK

The Saskatchewan government has committed $11.2 M over five years to the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program (SUNTEP) and the Dumont Technical Institute at the Gabriel Dumont Institute of Native Studies and Applied Research (GDI). The investment represents almost 40% of GDI’s annual budget. “Steady growth within Saskatchewan’s Métis population has created an ongoing demand for basic education, skills, and university training through the Institute,” GDI Executive Director Geordy McCaffrey said. “In this 35-year partnership with the province, GDI has provided thousands of Métis people with training leading to good jobs in Saskatchewan.” SK | StarPhoenix

Late “pop bottle prof” leaves $1.1 M to UBC

The estate of late UBC geology professor Ted Danner has left $1.1 M to the University of British Columbia. Danner was once known for the $46 K he raised by collecting beer and pop bottle refunds to support students at the school. In honour of this memory, UBC established the Beer–Pop Can–Bottle Refund Award Fund, which will receive $320 K of the $1.1 M left by Danner’s estate. Another $320 K will fund the Ted Danner Memorial Entrance Bursary in Geology. Danner also left UBC his personal collection of more than 2,000 specimens of minerals worth $500 K. UBC | Vancouver Sun | Huffington Post

After criticism, Kwantlen cancels $380 K no-bid contract

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has cancelled a $380 K contract for work on its design school after questions were raised about the lack of a public bidding process, The Tyee reports. According to the university, the contract will now be put up for public tender. The university’s procurement policies generally require open bidding for contracts worth more than $50 K. The contract was originally awarded to a consulting firm owned by Rick Steele, the former Assistant Vice-President of Partnerships BC, the government agency that facilitated the contract. The Tyee

Queen’s releases five-year international plan

Queen’s University has released its first Comprehensive International Plan, which covers the years 2015 through 2019. The plan sets priorities for the institution based on four pillars: international research engagement, international mobility, international enrolment management, and international at home. Objectives include increasing the number of “high quality” international undergrads to 10% of the incoming class, developing new collaborations with international academic partners, and tracking international learning outcomes. “Internationalization is central to Queen’s academic mission and is a strategic priority for the university,” said Principal Daniel Woolf. Queen’s | Full Plan

SMU opens student food bank

Saint Mary’s University has opened a new on-campus food bank to help students in need. The new centre’s website reports that its goal is “to offer access to safe, nutritious, and personally acceptable foods in a way that maintains human dignity.” The centre is responding to an increase in food bank usage that has been reported across Canada in the past year. A recent drive by SMU’s Alumni Office gathered more than 1,500 kg of food for the centre. The food bank is expected to serve about 120 people a month and is open to anyone in the Saint Mary’s University community, including alumni. CBC | Chronicle Herald

Union accuses Canada of targeting science “at every turn”

According to the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), 16 federal science libraries have been lost due to cuts, closures, and consolidations since 2012. Following the recent closure of the century-old Agriculture and Agri-Food Lethbridge Research Centre, and the reported destruction of many of its records, PIPSC President Debi Daviau said that “the Harper government continues to target government science at every turn.” Daviau added, “it is time Canadians understood the cumulative loss to federal science—and this week to agricultural science, in particular—of a government whose priorities are clearly out of step with both public scientists and the public interest.” CBC | PIPSC

Majority of students run out of money before school year ends

According to a new poll conducted by CIBC, 51% of postsecondary students turned to their parents for additional financial support last year after running out of money. Furthermore, there was no significant difference between higher-income and lower-income students. 86% of parents surveyed considered themselves good financial role models for their children. “Some children are treating their parents as their personal ATM,” said CIBC’s Sarah Widmeyer. “But they need to understand that mom and dad may not always be willing or able to dispense extra cash. Teaching children basic financial and budgeting skills before they go off to college or university is essential.” CIBC | CTV News (CP)

Growing number of valuable job applicants lacking university credentials

Many employers are finding that the CVs of millennials are beginning to lack traditional university and college credentials with increasing frequency, writes a Financial Post contributor. For this reason, the contributor adds that employers should be “open-minded when [they] review millennial resumés.” Managers and HR personnel should move beyond the mindset that lacking a university education should disqualify an otherwise capable job applicant. The article concludes that companies will have to give each candidate thoughtful consideration and retool their interview questions to ensure that hiring practices remain current with the changing makeup of today’s job applicants. Financial Post

Outsourcing on US campuses may save money, but can bring challenges

After outsourcing its maintenance and landscaping to a private company, Texas A&M University says its on track to save $363 M over the next ten years. This potential for significant savings has enticed many institutions to consider outsourcing; it can even help them focus on education instead of running a business. However, as Chronicle contributor Colleen Murphy notes, it may come at a cost: faculty buy-in may be hard to obtain, and the promised cost savings may not ultimately materialize. Murphy explores Tennessee’s recent call for outsource providers and the possible implications for institutions in that state. Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

Many authors not meeting criteria for scholarly credit

“If you are reading a research paper, and scan the authors […] do you know who played a meaningful role in the work?,” asks Inside Higher Ed contributor Scott Jaschik. According to research released last Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, a growing number of authors listed on academic articles do not meet the criteria for scholarly authorship. 33% of those deemed “guest authors” did not meet such criteria. The researchers added that these findings hold significant implications for higher education, as academic merit is heavily focused upon an individual’s number of publications and citations. The researchers also noted that criteria for scholarly authorship can vary greatly by discipline, making it even more difficult to accurately measure academic merit through publication records. Inside Higher Ed