Top Ten

January 27, 2016

Canadian Space Agency awards $1.4 M for projects at uCalgary, uAlberta, uWaterloo

The Canadian Space Agency has awarded $1.4 M in grants for four projects at the University of Calgary, three at the University of Alberta, and one at the University of Waterloo. At uCalgary, the funds will go toward research on how atmospheric phenomena like the aurora borealis can interfere with GPS signals. “This latest CSA support enables University of Calgary researchers, focused on New Earth-Space discovery and development, to continue to lead internationally,” said uCalgary VP (Research) Ed McCauley. “This research is resulting in better sensors and sensor webs for environmental monitoring and Global Navigation Satellite Systems as part of this key research priority.” CTV News | Metro News | uCalgary

CICan, Universities Canada offer new university-college partnership web resource

Colleges and Institutes Canada and Universities Canada have teamed up to create a new web resource called "Colleges and Universities: Partners in Education," which aims to showcase the many ways that the country’s colleges and universities are increasingly coming together to help students reach their goals. Some of the highlighted partnerships include collaborative spaces, research initiatives, and programs designed to provide students with the experience and knowledge they need to succeed in the 21st century. “Offering a diversity of education pathways is one of the great strengths of the Canadian postsecondary model,” said CICan President Denise Amyot. Universities Canada President Paul Davidson added that “together, Canada’s colleges and universities are building the human capital Canada needs to succeed in the global knowledge economy.” CICan | Universities Canada | Web Resource

Sault to work with schools in Tanzania

A five person delegation from Sault College, headed by President Ron Common, will travel to Tanzania in early February to meet with officials from Arusha Technical College and Pwani Regional Vocational Training and Service Centre to perform two weeks of needs assessment and collaborative planning. The visit is the start of a three-year collaboration to train graduates for the manufacturing and mining sectors. “We’ll use the opportunity as a relationship evolves with these two institutions to create opportunities for student exchange and pathways,” said Common. The project, a collaboration between Sault and Parkland College, was first announced in December. Sault Star

Canadian universities shouldn’t reduce tuition to get more students, says economist

Despite Canada’s successes in achieving a high PSE attainment rate, “Canadian university students are disproportionately drawn from households in the upper part of the income distribution,” writes Université Laval economist Stephen Gordon for the National Post. Yet too many people emphasize the wrong costs for attending PSE, focusing on tuition when they ought to examine the cost of foregone wages. Gordon says the solution is fairly simple—raise tuition a small amount, and use the proceeds to support lower-income students. He admits, however, that the politics of such a move are “more problematic.” National Post

MUN Grenfell Associate VP resigns, citing disagreements with upper administration

David Peddle, associate vice-president academic at Memorial University’s Grenfell Campus, has resigned, citing “differing views on how autonomous the Corner Brook campus should be,” according to CBC. “I think that Grenfell needs to have budgetary and operational control in order to run itself efficiently in order to empower Grenfell administration with the kind of energy and confidence and responsibility it needs to run the place,” Peddle told CBC. “There’s no value by having us report to St John’s and it saps the energy of the administration to make decisions, saps the energy of the faculty,” he added. In a comprehensive response, MUN Vice President (Grenfell) Mary Bluechardt discussed a new academic structure for Grenfell, which she said will give it “more flexibility and freedom.” CBC (Resignation) | MUN (Response)

Donor threatens to pull YorkU support over controversial mural

A controversial mural hanging in the student center at York University has reportedly prompted Paul Bronfman of William F White to withdraw his support for the school unless the mural is removed. The mural, which depicts a figure wearing the image of the Palestinian flag and holding two stones behind its back, has been accused of stoking anti-Semitic sentiment in the past. Bronfman stated in an open letter that “York University will be persona non grata at William F White International until they take that poster down,” which he adds will result in the loss of multiple resources for YorkU Students. “We deeply regret Mr Bronfman’s decision and would like to thank him for his support,” said Joanne Rider, Chief Spokesperson and Director, Media Relations at York University, “Our Arts, Media, Performance and Design students have benefited from the experiential learning activities made possible by his generosity.” City News | Never Again Canada

UCW’s undergraduate programs receive unconditional renewal

The undergraduate programs at University Canada West have been granted unconditional five-year consent by BC's Minister of Advanced Education on the recommendation of the Degree Quality Assessment Board. Representatives of the Board determined that “UCW programs met or exceeded the learning outcomes specified” without condition after reviewing the Bachelor of Commerce and renamed Bachelor of Arts in Business Communication. University Canada West

New federal appointee faces criticism for comparing student protesters to “brownshirts”

The newly appointed Clerk of the Privy Council has faced criticism over a controversial remark he made last year to Carleton University's Board of Governors equating students participating in a protest with “brownshirts and Maoists,” reports the National Post. Last week, Michael Wernick was appointed to the post by Prime Minister Trudeau. This week, Carleton's Graduate Students’ Association President Michael Bueckert called on Trudeau to distance himself from Wernick’s remarks, adding, “I think at the very least we need to hear from the prime minister that Mr. Wernick’s comments are not reflective of his own approach to governing.” National Post

Challenging the idea that technology can reduce PSE costs

Some leaders in American PSE have begun to question the established assumption that technology will reduce the cost of delivering PSE, writes the Chronicle of Higher Education. In many cases, the article suggests, “more technology has meant more spending.” To help examine the question further, the Chronicle interviewed three industry consultants to ask whether they knew of concrete examples where technology had created significant cost reductions for a PSE institution. The resulting conversation indicated that while technology will inevitably play a role in the future of PSE, it certainly offers no “magic bullet” for reducing the cost burden on institutions. Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

Responding to the public vs creating the public

While many PSE institutions might try to tailor their programming in response to public demand, they often do so under the mistaken assumption that the public is something that simply “exists,” writes American political theorist Corey Robin. Yet the public, he insists, is not something that is “there” for institutions to respond to; it is something that is endlessly created by a number of different influences. Among these influences, Robin notes, is the public intellectual—a figure who writes not for a public that already exists, but a public that the intellectual wants to bring into being. Yet the problem with public intellectuals today, the author argues, is that they have begun to follow the same demand-based logic as their institutions. “The problem,” he says, “is that they are writing for readers who already exist, as they exist.” Chronicle of Higher Education