Top Ten

November 12, 2015

Globe and Mail releases 2015 Report on Colleges

The Globe and Mail has released its 2015 Report on Colleges, which aims to provide students considering enrolling in Canadian colleges with the information they need to make an informed decision. The report includes a number of articles covering topics such as curriculum personalization, funding for facilities, and college business incubators. The report also includes a feature story about how many of Canada’s young workers are heading to college in response to the downturn in Canada’s oil sector, highlighting the advantages to be gained from colleges’ collaboration with companies and community organizations. Globe and Mail

uWaterloo breaks ground on new engineering building, receives $1 M from GM Canada

The University of Waterloo will break ground on Engineering 7 this afternoon. The new building comes in at an estimated cost of $88 M and will feature facilities designed to increase student-driven innovation, as well as research labs to aid in the development of emerging technologies. Part of the funding for the building will come from the university’s Educating the Engineer of the Future campaign, which just received $1 M from GM Canada. In a speech in Toronto on Tuesday, GM Canada President Steve Carlisle announced the commitment, challenging governments to increase their support for the automotive sector, a sector increasingly marked by accelerating change. uWaterloo | GM

Dal implements fall reading week

Dalhousie University’s senate has approved a fall reading break starting in November 2016. While the university had previously approved the idea, dates were only set this week. Dal Student Union President Dan Nicholson praised the university for being responsive to students, saying that a fall reading week had mental health benefits. “Being able to step back from the hectic school life, be able to sort of catch your breath and just relax a little bit is extremely helpful in terms of stress management and mental well-being.” Several other universities have added fall reading breaks in recent years, including the University of Winnipeg, Brock University, and Western University. CBC

Former interim uSask president open to new, similar role

Former University of Saskatchewan Interim President Gordon Barnhart says that he is open to taking on a similar role with a different institution. Barnhart was responsible for stewarding uSask through difficult times following the firing of the school’s previous president in May 2014. In a recent interview with Global News, Barnhart said he was proud of the work he did as interim president and believes that he left uSask in a much better position than the one in which he found it. Barnhart applied for the permanent position of university president at uSask last year, but the university ultimately chose current President Peter Stoicheff for the position. Global News

OUSA releases “largest-ever” survey of ON LGBTQ+ students

The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) has released what it is calling the “largest-ever” survey of Ontario university students who identify as LGBTQ+; the survey received over 300 responses from across the province. While the survey shows a great deal of progress over the last decade, it also reveals areas for improvement. One in five respondents said that on-campus health care providers were “not respectful or professional” and “lacked the knowledge necessary to provide good care.” Nearly two in five students reporting feeling “sometimes” uncomfortable in class, while nearly a third said that they were “never” or “rarely” made to feel uncomfortable in class. OUSA | Full Report

Universities losing ability to have reasoned, respectful debate

Socially progressive protests undermine their own goals when they attempt to shut down dialogue instead promoting it, writes Marni Soupcoff for the National Post. Reflecting on recent calls for the resignation of Yale University’s dean, Soupcoff suggests that many progressivist groups are unwilling to listen to opinions counter to their own when it comes to issues of political correctness. While the author admits that problems like sexism and racism are still rampant and need addressing, “that can’t happen if students and professors are confined in their thinking and expression to an established order, regardless of how enlightened or salubrious that established order might be.” National Post

University lawyer must be gifted “generalist,” writes McMaster counsel

“University lawyers tend to be to be different than other lawyers in one crucial regard,” writes McMaster University Corporate Counsel, Brent Davis, “they are comfortable with (and, in particularly advanced cases, thrive on) variety.” Davis goes on to argue that while many lawyers in the private sector tend to specialize in certain areas of law, lawyers working for Canadian universities must constantly learn about different legal fields to support their employers. For example, a single university lawyer might have to deal with legal issues on real estate, intellectual property, sexual harassment, and labour all in a single week. For these reasons, Davis concludes that “to have any hope of even the smallest measure of success, the university lawyer must be a generalist at a very high level.” University Affairs

McGill employees frustrated by pension paid to former principal

Union groups at McGill University have expressed frustration at the pension that former Principal Heather Munroe-Blum recently started collecting. The Montreal Gazette reports that Munroe-Blum, who retired from her position as principal in 2013, is entitled to a supplementary pension of almost $284 K per year in addition to the almost $87 K she gets from regular pension plans from McGill and the University of Toronto. These revelations come as McGill persists in a climate of fiscal austerity, prompting McGill’s Support Employees Union President to say, “It’s extremely hypocritical. … That’s an absolutely massive pension. It’s appalling.” Montreal Gazette

College Board releases tuition and fees of US flagship universities

According to a report released by the US College Board, real tuition and fee prices have increased in the 2015-16 year. Adjusting for inflation, the average tuition and fee price of a full-time year at a public four-year institution is $11,814, a cost that has allegedly risen by about 3.4% per year since 2005-06. Average net tuition and fee prices for a full-time public two-year institution have declined since 2005-06. The highest in-state tuition and fees were reportedly found at Penn State University Park ($17,514), University of New Hampshire ($16,986), and University of Vermont ($16,738). Chron | Report

US colleges marked by racial disparity

Following protests against the chancellor and system president at the University of Missouri, it is clear that racism on American campuses is again a matter of national concern, writes Beckie Supiano of the Chronicle of Higher Education. Supiano also notes a racial disparity among college leaders, as most full-time faculty members, recently hired presidents, and head coaches for top football programs are white. The referenced study found that white students are overrepresented in the most selective colleges, while African-American and Hispanic students are overrepresented in open-access colleges, a disparity that has increased since 1995. The studies authors concluded that race had a unique negative effect on college and career opportunities for racial minority students. Chronicle of Higher Education | Report