Top Ten

January 8, 2016

Sheridan receives $22 M software grant from Siemens

Sheridan College has received a software grant from Siemens, valued at $22 M, which will provide the school's students with access to the same software used by leading manufacturers in automotive, aerospace, medical devices, and shipbuilding, among others. The software licenses will be integrated into the curriculum at Sheridan’s School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering and Technology, and will support applied research projects at the Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Design Technologies (CAMDT), both located at Sheridan’s Davis Campus in Brampton, Ontario. “We are deeply honoured and excited by this generous grant from Siemens, which will allow us to integrate a critical industry tool into our engineering curriculum,” said Sheridan President Jeff Zabudsky. Sheridan

Southern ON should become innovation “supercluster,” say three university presidents

The time has come for Ontario to stop losing talent, companies, and ideas to the US and to become a “supercluster” for innovation, according to three of the province’s university presidents. Writing in the Globe and Mail, Patrick Deane (McMaster University), Meric Gertler (University of Toronto), and Feridun Hamdullahpur (University of Waterloo) argue that although ON has an enviable education system and immigration record, a federal dependence on natural resources has left the country vulnerable to the ups and downs that are common to these markets. For this reason, the university leaders insist that Canada make a more targeted investment in innovation and entrepreneurship, which can thrive on volatility rather than being destabilized by it. The piece goes on to offer six key areas of government policy that can help universities create a regional hub for economic development, particularly in Southern Ontario. Globe and Mail

VIU, SFU agree on first-year transfer program for engineering

Vancouver Island University and Simon Fraser University have signed an agreement that will allow engineering students to complete their first year of studies at VIU before transferring to SFU’s engineering school. Students also have the opportunity to transfer to UBC (Point Grey campus) or the University of Victoria. The common first-year curriculum means that students do not have to decide where to take their second year until after they have completed two terms at VIU. “This is a fantastic opportunity for students who live in the mid-Island region,” said VIU Engineering Coordinator and Professor Brian Dick. “Taking their first year at VIU allows them to … decide what program, and which institution, is best suited for their interest.” VIU

Incoming refugees promising for Canada, research says

Due to the high participation and success rates of many immigrants in PSE, “welcoming Syrian refugees … is a humanitarian act from which we will … likely benefit in the long run,” said authors Ross Finnie and Richard Mueller. The authors, respectively director and associate director of the Education Policy Research Initiative at the University of Ottawa, discuss how the participation and success at PSE for first- and second-generation children of immigrants exceeds that of their Canadian-born peers. “Children of immigrants are more likely to attend university … than their Canadian-born counterparts, and more likely to major in science, technology, engineering and mathematics … the very areas in which policy makers say Canada needs more talent.” Globe and Mail

Group that gave pro-caliphate speech at Mohawk not welcome to return

After a speaker at an event held at Mohawk College reportedly endorsed the building of an Islamic caliphate, the college has said that the sponsoring group will not be welcomed back. When the event was booked at the college, it was reportedly described only as a refugee crisis lecture. Further, the booking was made under an individual’s name, not under the name of the group, which has experienced controversy in the past. Jay Robb, spokesperson for Mohawk, described the variety of initiatives the college is undertaking to support refugees. “Going forward, we will be doing our homework,” said Robb. “Will we be booking this group again? No. Not at all.” Toronto Sun

Conestoga partners with BC’s Sprott Shaw for dual credential initiative

Conestoga College has entered into a Curriculum Sharing Agreement with Sprott Shaw, one of the largest private colleges in BC, to allow students to enrol in both colleges simultaneously and graduate with credentials from both. Sprott Shaw will deliver the Conestoga-based curriculum in BC, with oversight from Conestoga. “We are very pleased to work in partnership with Sprott Shaw to provide more students with access to Conestoga’s career-focused programming,” said Conestoga VP of Academic Administration Barbara Kelly. “This agreement will also provide graduates with access to additional education and employment opportunities in both Ontario and British Columbia, as they apply their skills and knowledge in the pursuit of successful futures.” Conestoga

Scientists cautiously optimistic about research, higher ed prospects under Liberal government

Many of Canada’s scientists are still expressing guarded optimism over the Liberal majority government elected in October of 2015, writes Times Higher Education. While many applaud the government’s expressed commitment to restoring funding cuts, “unmuzzling” researchers, and creating more transparency around higher ed decisions, others are still waiting to see how these commitments play out in official policies and budgets. According to David Robinson, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, the government could make a significant impact on Canadian research by creating national standards for higher education in the same way it has for healthcare. Leaving it to the provinces to manage higher education can introduce what Robinson calls “real inconsistency” across the country, and a national set of standards could provide meaningful consensus on issues such as tuition fees and the transfer of PSE credits. Times Higher Education

Current and former students defend Laurentian professor

Current and former students of Michael Persinger are reportedly rallying in his defense after he was removed from teaching a first-year course earlier this week. One student explained that Persinger’s use of language was educational: “You have to be able to know how to handle yourself in situations that you might be offended in, be able to rise out of that and give your educated response.” Another student explained that Persinger warned students at the beginning of the course that they should take another class if they were uncomfortable with his language. A student from 2003 commented on the fact that “I found, because of the way that he taught, I managed to retain the information that he was trying to teach you a lot better. You were so focused.” Toronto Star

Why do US colleges implement diversity courses?

While many US colleges are implementing mandatory courses to promote diversity, questions remain on whether these courses are effective, writes the Chronicle of Higher Education. Common criticism of the courses often focuses on how they do not produce "real" results or how they allegedly politicize education by "promoting an ideology of social justice." But just as important for some critics is the fact that colleges almost never implement these courses except in response to student protests. "Very rarely are these diversity requirements born out of the goodness of the hearts of faculty who just want to do it because it’s the right thing to do," said Shaun R Harper, Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Chronicle of Higher Education

THE compiles PSE predictions for 2016

Times Higher Education has reached out to its bloggers and social media followers to ask for predictions on what trends will emerge for British higher education in 2016. One university Vice-Chancellor predicted that institutions will become more vocal about their concerns regarding the “doomsday scenario” that might hit PSE if Britain leaves the European Union. Other predictions foretell of growing clashes over the measurement of teaching excellence, increasing demands for employability from students, and an increasing emphasis on active learning. Times Higher Education