Top Ten

December 7, 2015

UBC appoints former BC Supreme Court judge to investigate allegations against Steven Galloway

The University of British Columbia has hired Mary Ellen Boyd, a former BC Supreme Court judge, to investigate the “serious allegations” made against Steven Galloway last month. Galloway, the former chair of the creative writing department at UBC, was suspended with pay, pending an investigation. Annabel Lyon, acting co-chair in creative writing, sent a memo to students stating that the investigation process had begun and that UBC “is proceeding as expeditiously as possible.” National Post | Ubyssey | CBC | Globe and Mail

SMU receives $2 M from Joyce Foundation

Saint Mary’s University has received $2 M from the Joyce Foundation to create the Joyce Foundation Bursaries Fund, which will help pay for the educations of Nova Scotia students with demonstrated financial need. A major portion of the gift will be dedicated to students attending SMU’s Fred Smithers Centre of Support for Students with Disabilities. “Saint Mary’s has a tradition of inclusiveness and student support that dates back more than 200 years,” said SMU President Robert Summerby-Murray, who added that “this generous donation from The Joyce Foundation enhances our ability to meet the financial needs of students, helping us achieve our goal of ensuring that university education is accessible to all academically-qualified students in Nova Scotia.” SMU

Number of women in medicine, law increasing—why not engineering?

The proportion of Canadian engineering students who are women has remained stagnant in spite of efforts to increase it, writes Karen Seidman of the Montreal Gazette. Focusing specifically on Quebec, Seidman notes that women make up only 13.7% of engineers in the province, and only 18% of undergraduate students enrolled in QC engineering programs. Further, 13.8% of engineering faculty members across Canada were women as of 2014. Seidman adds that this stagnation is occurring at the same time as female enrolment numbers are steadily increasing in other traditionally male programs, such as medicine and law. Montreal Gazette

NSCAD students stage sit in, drop classes to protest tuition hike

Students at NSCAD University are protesting a proposed tuition hike. Last Thursday, a group of students camped outside the office of the president, waiting to speak with her. At 4pm, they were able to see her, but some members of the group were disappointed with the results. “A lot of students felt attacked. It was very emotional. Students are very disappointed with our president,” said Student’s Union Vice-President Jade Peek. CBC reports that some students are filling out forms to drop classes in protest of the proposed increase of 37% over three years. “It’s a completely unrealistic number for less facilities, less programs, and the loss of staff that we’ve experienced in the past year,” said NSCAD student Grace Stratton. As of last Friday, CBC reported that the university has not responded to interview requests. CTV News | CBC | Chronicle Herald

uWindsor intends to complete $73 M renovation, despite results of student referendum

Despite losing a student referendum earlier this week, the University of Windsor intends to complete a $73 M renovation of the St Denis Centre. The referendum results illustrated that students did not object to the renovations, but were against the expectation that they would pay 75% of the project’s capital costs, explained J D Trapeh, President of the uWindsor Student Alliance, “we need to look at other financial options.” Dean of Human Kinetics at uWindsor Michael Khan stated that the process’s next steps would include a review of the referendum, with a closer look at why graduate students voted against it, and evaluating future options. Windsor Star

Six-organization group submits recommendations for changes in Carleton governance

A number of Carleton University staff, faculty, and students are criticizing proposed amendments to the school’s statement on confidentiality for its board of governors, reports CBC. The board’s bylaws are currently under review by the university, and this week, a group of six organizations submitted a list of recommendations to help make the school’s decision-making process more transparent. Carleton has acknowledged its receipt of the group's submission, but it will not review any proposed bylaw changes until January. Critics of the university's initially proposed amendments have claimed that they will stifle freedom of speech and make the university’s decision-making more opaque. Carleton has responded that its board’s meetings will remain publicly available via live streaming and that the school will retain proper transparency.   CBC | Ottawa Citizen

Cancellation of CIHR commercialization grant leaves “crucial gap”

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is cancelling its Proof of Principle grant program, which was designed to help scientists commercialize their research, according to the Ottawa Citizen. The article adds that the program is being shut down as part of ongoing reforms, and scientists looking to commercialize their research will instead apply to a more general grant program. While CIHR contends that its support for commercialization is stronger than ever, critics fear this is not the case. Kathleen Marsman, an Ottawa-based patent agent who chaired the Proof of Principle peer review committee, says that the cancellation leaves a “crucial gap.” Ottawa Citizen

“Average” college student is no longer what many Canadians imagine

Canadian college students no longer look like what many Canadians think they do, writes Maclean’s. While many may believe that the average college student passes into college directly out of high school, these students no longer form a plurality at these institutions. The article cites a 2015 study by Colleges Ontario showing that while 33% of college students came directly from high school in 2014-15, 44% of incoming students already possessed previous PSE experience. This increasing trend has made many colleges into what some call “finishing schools,” where students with prior PSE will enrol to develop more job-specific skills than previous programming might have given them. “They come in not just with one degree, they come in with two or three, just looking for that extra piece that will make them employable,” said Nancy Johansen, Program Coordinator of the Marketing Research and Business Intelligence Program at Algonquin College. Maclean’s

UBC to increase tuition for international undergraduates by 37%

UBC’s board of governors has approved a tuition increase of 37% over the next three years for international students enrolled in most of its undergraduate programs. The new fees will apply only to new students of the university. There are currently 12,000 international students at UBC, making up nearly 20% of the students on its campus. Under the new fees, international students will see their tuition rise 15% for each of the next two years, and 7% in 2018. The school had initially proposed an 11% increase for 2018, yet revised this number to 7% after hearing concerns from students. UBC expects that the new fees will bring in an additional $10.6 M in 2016, $36.3 M in 2017, and $61 M in 2018. The school has said that more than half of the additional funds will be used to “support excellence in research, teaching and learning and the student experience.” Vancouver Sun

US scientific system prizes “predictability over boldness,” says critic

The American scientific system, which after World War II chose universities as the home for high-risk research, now prizes “predictability over boldness,” according to Roberta B Ness, Vice President for Innovation at the University of Texas School of Public Health and author of the new book The Creativity Crisis. While touring the country and encouraging scholars to engage in “radical, divergent” research, she heard the same concern over and over: “If I were to propose really innovative ideas, I’d never get a promotion. I’d never get tenure.” Writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Paul Voosen spoke with many scholars who advocated various ways to reconfigure the system of incentives to prioritize bold research. Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)