Top Ten

December 4, 2015

ON universities becoming more efficient, survey says

Ontario universities are improving their efficiency through a variety of partnerships, collaborations, and cost-saving measures, all while still improving services for students and staff, according to a new report by the Council of Ontario Universities. The report discusses a number of multi-institution projects that were conducted using the $45 M Productivity and Innovation Fund provided by the Ontario government. It highlights the way that various ON universities have improved their use of technology to make their campuses safer and to better manage information. Further, the report finds that these institutions have enhanced their facilities and operations to reduce waste and improve student experience while modernizing their administrative processes through collaboration, improved human resources, and space management. COU | Report

MB introduces legislation requiring students, teachers to learn Indigenous history

Manitoba has introduced legislation that would mandate the First Nation, Métis and Inuit Education Policy Framework, which would ensure that all students and teachers in the province learn about Indigenous history and culture and the legacy of residential schools. “Following the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report last summer, we share a responsibility to educate students about what happened in Canada’s residential schools and move forward in a spirit of reconciliation, mutual understanding, and respect,” said Education and Advanced Learning Minister James Allum. “By educating our future generations, we can learn from our past actions and work together to build a more inclusive and just Canada.” CTV News (CP) | MB

uWindsor students vote against funding $73 M athletics complex

Students at the University of Windsor have voted against the imposition of a fee that would have gone toward the construction of a $73 M addition to the campus sports facilities. The voting, conducted over Tuesday and Wednesday, was actually three votes rolled into one. Three separate groups—full-time undergraduates, part-time students, and graduate students—all needed to vote in favour of the initiative for it to pass. While undergraduates and part-time students narrowly approved the initiative, 54% of graduate students voted to reject it. If it had passed, the fee would have added $125 to existing student fees, rising to $176, for 22 years beginning upon completion of construction. CBC | CTV News | Windsor Star

Queen’s receives third Rembrandt painting

Queen’s University is the recipient of Rembrandt’s “Portrait of a Man with Arms Akimbo” (1658) from Alfred and Isabel Bader. The Baders were already among the university’s most generous benefactors, having given more than 200 paintings over the years. “I am grateful the Baders have entrusted us with this remarkable work of art,” said Queen’s Principal Daniel Woolf. The university was already the only venue in Canada to possess multiple Rembrandts. “This third Rembrandt really extends the collection, and it harmonizes beautifully with paintings we have by artists in Rembrandt’s orbit in the 17th century,” said curator Jacquelyn N Coutré. New York Times | Kingston Whig-Standard | Kingston Herald | Queen’s Journal | Queen’s Gazette

BCcampus receives $700 K+ donation for Open Textbook Project

BCcampus has announced its receipt of a $525 K donation in US dollars ($703 K CAD) from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to support the Open Textbook Project in British Columbia. The BCcampus initiative works to help PSE faculty “find, adopt, and adapt open resources to better meet the needs of students” by making textbooks and required course materials available free of charge. The donated funds will be used to develop and implement ancillary resources to supplement the use of open textbooks—resources that might include presentations, test banks, videos, and homework systems. BC was the first province in Canada to launch a government-sponsored open textbook project. BCcampus

Ryerson builds on efforts to enhance non-classroom learning for business students

Students from the Ted Rogers School of Management have learned valuable lessons while pursuing activities outside of the classroom, writes Jennifer Lewington for the Globe and Mail. In recent years, these students have engaged in volunteer efforts such as the greenhouse project in Canada’s high Arctic, the After Breast Cancer charity case competition, and volunteering with low-income children in Cartagena. The Rogers School is currently developing a co-curricular record for students in a pilot project that, if successful, could be used across Ryerson University. With this record, says Rogers Dean Steven Murphy, “you also graduate with a record of everything you have done while you have been at Ryerson as a student.” Globe and Mail

Canada must become a model for “scientific diplomacy”

“There isn’t a single global challenge or opportunity facing the world today … that doesn’t require scientific research for its solution,” writes Alan Bernstein, President and CEO of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. This is why Canada must do everything it can to increase the quality of its “scientific diplomacy.” Bernstein uses this phrase to refer to the collective political decisions a country makes around the production and dissemination of scientific research. Bernstein believes that Canada should invest in the production of better science for five key reasons: the products of science can change the world, science is a global activity that transcends language and politics, the culture of science is one of openness and evidence, today’s most pressing challenges require coordinated global research, and science is crucial to trade and economic development.   iPolitics

YorkU signs MOU with Nanjing Normal University

York University has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Nanjing Normal University to support student/faculty exchanges and the development of academic programs, among other initiatives. The signing came in the wake of a trip that York undertook to China last month as part of a delegation led by the Council of Ontario Universities. “York is enthusiastic about the opportunity to continue building collaborations to advance research, as well as, facilitate student and faculty exchange opportunities with Nanjing Normal University,” said YorkU Vice-President Research & Innovation Robert Haché. YorkU

US administrators struggle with escalating student demands

As protests continue to emerge at US PSE institutions, some administrations are struggling to keep up with growing lists of demands, writes Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed. In the case of Hamilton College, the author finds that the total number of demands could amount to as many as 80. These demands include better sensitivity training for students, faculty, and administrators. But in some cases, they also call for outright bans of white professors assuming leadership positions in departments that study “demographics and societies colonized, massacred, and enslaved.” Jaschik argues that while many of these demands are understandable, administrations might need significant time to understand and implement them.  Inside Higher Ed

#StudentBlackOut movement holds second national day of action

A national movement protesting the treatment of minority students at US postsecondary institutions held a national day of collective action yesterday. Drawing from numerous protests across the US, a group known as the Black Liberation Collective has emerged as a major voice uniting the different movements under the #StudentBlackOut hashtag, which allows these groups to report on their protests and demands through a unified steam on the Twitter social media site. In an interview with David C Turner III, one of the Black Liberation Collective’s national organizers, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported that one of the day’s goals was to “reiterate to college leaders, students, and others that black activism isn’t going away anytime soon.” The Black Liberation Collective organized a similar day of action across the US on November 18th. Chronicle of Higher Education | NBC