Top Ten

December 10, 2015

YorkU creates Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health

York University has announced that it will establish the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health to support study and research on global health issues. The building is named in honour of Victor Phillip Dahdaleh in recognition of his “transformational” donation to the university in October. “We are thrilled that Dr Dahdaleh shares our vision to build on York’s strength in global health,” said YorkU President Mamdouh Shoukri. “The Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health will serve as a focal point for international dialogue and collaboration in health innovation, research, and teaching that will have global impact and make a meaningful difference in people’s lives now and in the future.” YorkU

Engineering students benefit greatly from simulation groups, says HEQCO study

A new study from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario has found that first-year engineering students exposed to increased experiential learning opportunities attained higher performance scores and project grades. The study also found that experiential learning improved students' belief in their own ability to achieve certain levels of attainment. More specifically, the use of prototyping was found to improve students' ability to visualize their designs compared to students who did not use this method. HEQCO (Summary) | HEQCO (Report)

NSCAD's board approves 27% tuition increase for portion of full-time students

NSCAD's board of governors has voted to increase tuition fees, but only for some full-time students, reports CBC. The school will raise tuition by nearly 27% over three years for full-time students taking five or more classes per semester. Board Chairman Jeff Somerville stated that the revised fees “will not affect full-time students taking three or four classes per semester, or part-time students taking one or two classes per semester." A news release from NSCAD further states that the change is intended to “ensure NSCAD’s future as a sustainable, strong and independent university of art and design, while impacting the lowest number of students, and ensuring students have the ability to choose how and when they are affected.” Last week, students at the school were reported holding a sit-in and dropping classes in protest of the changes. NSCAD (Release) | NSCAD (FAQ) | CBC | The Coast | Chronicle Heral

SK cuts $9.8 M from uSask’s annual grant

The University of Saskatchewan has had $9.8 M cut from its provincial operating grant, according to the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. This is in addition to $20 M already held back by the university to help the province balance its budget. The university was initially told it would receive a grant of $315.6 M for 2015–16, but will now receive only $305.8 M. A portion of the funds, $1.35 M to support water security research, will be deferred; the balance, $565 K for a scholarship fund and $7.9 M for capital spending, will be dropped. “We weren’t anticipating these kind of holdbacks and one-time reductions,” said VP of Finance and Resources Greg Fowler. “This can be weathered, but it is quite difficult.” The reductions come in the wake of similar cuts to other SK PSE institutions last month. StarPhoenix

Enhancing the research approval process at Canada’s colleges

Over the past two decades, many colleges have begun offering baccalaureate degrees and become more research-intensive. Yet one could argue that the processes for approving new research at colleges has yet to be adapted to their unique institutional needs.

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Academica Forum

UQAM wins injunction against striking student employee

The Université de Quebec à Montreal has obtained a court injunction to guarantee access to its facilities after striking UQAM teaching assistants and researchers blocked the doors of several pavilions earlier this week. The nearly 3,000 student employees represented by the union SÉTUE have been without a contract since December 2013, and have recently gone on an unlimited strike. UQAM recently announced that a conciliator had been named in order to facilitate a settlement between the two parties. “The university wishes to reach a negotiated settlement as soon as possible and is confident that conciliation will help the parties to achieve this,” said André Dorion, Vice-Rector of Human Resources, Administration, and Finances. UQAM’s temporary injunction will stay in effect until December 18th. Montreal Gazette | CBC (1) | CBC (1)

Confederation, New Gold sign mining collaboration agreement

Confederation College has signed a Collaboration Framework Agreement with New Gold Inc to better support skills development in the local and regional mining industry. The collaborative work may range from identifying skill gaps to training and education delivery. “This document … solidifies an ongoing relationship with New Gold and enables us to take that relationship to the next level,” said Confederation President Jim Madder. “The work we will now be able to do will contribute to a comprehensive approach in addressing the needs of the mining industry.” CBC | Chronicle Journal | Confederation

AB halts new PSE business ventures following auditor’s review

Alberta’s Deputy Minister of Advanced Education Rod Skura has said that all new for-profit business venture proposals are on hold, pending the creation of new guidelines based on the auditor general’s findings, released in October. “We don’t want to necessarily forbid a good idea from coming forward, so I would say we will look at those on a case-by-case basis … but we will be looking at it from the perspective of making sure we’re properly addressing the recommendations,” said Skura. He said that new policy and guidelines will be drafted over the coming year, clarifying that there is no intention of shutting down existing ventures. Edmonton Journal

UFV forges three new partnerships with Chinese institutions

Last week, the University of the Fraser Valley created three new partnerships with Chinese institutions to provide new opportunities to UFV's students in the fields of aviation, agriculture, criminology, social work, kinesiology, psychology, and continuing education, among others. As part of a five-city, nine-day trip through China, university representatives signed agreements with Shanghai’s EasyFly Aviation, Liaoning University, and Tsinghua University. The first agreement will to provide employment for pilots graduating from the UFV Bachelor of Business Administration Aviation program; the second will improve student exchange and faculty collaboration; and the third will explore common research areas and continuing education programs. UFV

Three ways to transform Canada’s PhD programs

Many experts from across academic disciplines have called for immediate change in Canada’s PhD programs, writes David Kent for University Affairs; but it is important to understand the implications of these experts' recommendations before moving forward with them. Kent breaks down the call for PhD restructuring into three basic categories: provide better data on PhD outcomes, modernize the PhD, and reduce PhD enrolment. He argues that disseminating more information about the outcomes of PhD graduates might not address the root problem because high-functioning students tend to believe that they can overcome nearly any statistical challenge. In Kent’s words, PhD graduates “don’t believe that they are ‘average.’” University Affairs

Decline of general education could spell disaster for universities, society

General education at the university level is a form of freedom, writes Michael Clune for the Chronicle of Higher Education, adding that, “today’s students are being deprived of that freedom, and we educators are to blame.” Clune criticizes the increasing emphasis on producing “job-ready” graduates in universities, and warns that if this trend continues, it might be disastrous for both North American culture and innovation. Further, he reminds readers that they should be wary of just how quickly the adoption of a job-centred approach to higher education has taken effect. He concludes that “by surveying the various attacks on general education, one might assume that its goal—to expose students to forms of knowledge beyond their majors—is controversial. But it’s not.” Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)