Top Ten

February 1, 2016

Gupta says he regrets resigning from UBC

In his first interview since resigning from UBC last summer, former university president Arvind Gupta reported that he regretted departing from his position after clashing with the school’s board of governors. Gupta told the Globe and Mail that he resigned because he felt he no longer had the support of the board’s chair, John Montalbano, who himself resigned from his position not long after Gupta. “In all honesty, I have spent the last six months reflecting on that decision,” said Gupta. “I often think that maybe it wasn’t the right thing to do. Maybe I shouldn’t have resigned and I should have pushed back harder.” Gupta also said that he felt compelled to break his silence on the resignation “to set the record straight” after UBC accidentally released a series of emails this week that Gupta believes painted a “one-sided picture” of his time at the school. Globe and Mail | Global News (Video)

uCalgary business school campaign raises $53 M

The Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary has announced that its “Where Leaders Learn to Lead” campaign has raised more than $53 M, beating its target of $50 M. “Great universities are built on great philanthropy,” said uCalgary President Elizabeth Cannon. “I am so inspired by the people who choose to invest through the university to transform their passion into meaningful change.” Some of the initiatives made possible by the campaign include three new centres of excellence, student scholarships, research chairs and professorships, and several new speaker and seminar series. uCalgary

UOIT receives $1 M donation for first-year student scholarships

The University of Ontario Institute of Technology has received $1 M from The Joyce Foundation. The funding will be used to create The Joyce Foundation Success Awards to assist first-year students in the Durham Region and Northumberland County who have demonstrated financial need. “This gift to University of Ontario Institute of Technology students will not only remove financial barriers to education, but empower them to develop into citizen leaders who will impact our society,” said UOIT President Tim McTiernan. UOIT

Olds, Alberta Garment open “world class” Apparel Innovation Centre

Olds College has partnered with AGM Wear Ltd (Alberta Garment) to open a “world class” apparel research and development facility in Calgary. The Apparel Innovation Centre will help provide Canadian companies access to a full range of product testing and development equipment. “The Apparel Innovation Centre is a crown-jewel that reflects the Olds College dedication to Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and celebrates our relationship with industry, government and stakeholders,” said Olds President Tom Thompson. The creation of the centre was supported by nearly $3 M from the federal government. CBC | Olds

UNB partners with NB Power, Siemens to form innovation network

The University of New Brunswick has partnered with Siemens Canada and NB Power to launch the Smart Grid Innovation Network. The network will offer businesses a place to design, develop, and test products and services related to smart grids. The network consists of three labs, each hosted by one of the partners. “At UNB, we are incredibly proud to be at the forefront of smart grid research and development,” said UNB VP Research David Burns. “[This collaboration] is one of the many examples of the rich eco-system of innovation we have in this province.” UNB

CEO of Alberta-based company faces backlash for vow not to hire Queen's, UBC grads

Peter Kiss, CEO of Alberta-based Morgan Construction, has faced backlash for a social media post in which he vowed not to hire graduates from the University of British Columbia or Queen’s University. In an initial post on LinkedIn with the subject line “Morgan NOT hiring from Queen's or UBC,” Kiss expressed his frustration with on-campus campaigns to divest institutional endowments from fossil-fuel related investments, and stated that “(if) they can’t support us, we can’t hire their students.” NDP opposition energy critic Adrian Dix wrote a letter to Kiss, BC Hydro CEO Jessica McDonald, and Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennet, requesting Kiss retract the “ill-considered, discriminatory, and hypocritical attack.” Kiss later retracted his comments. National Post  | Vancouver Sun

Free PSE for all First Nations people a myth

It is a widely held belief that all First Nations people in Canada receive free university and college educations, writes Lenard Monkman for CBC, but the problem is that this assumption is wrong and “the reality is much more complicated.” To begin, he writes, only “status Indians” are eligible to receive such funding, which leaves out many non-status First Nations people. Second, students who apply for funding must do so through their home communities. These communities are only given a fixed amount of funding, which can force them to turn away more than 50% of students who qualify for PSE. Finally, students must reapply through their communities every year while maintaining a certain GPA, providing a career outline, and attending a minimum of four courses per semester. CBC

uAlberta to introduce gender-neutral admissions forms

As of March 1, applicants to the University of Alberta will have the option to identify their gender as male, female, or another/prefer not to disclose. The gender-neutral addition to the admissions forms is one of the 19 recommendations for gender diversity and inclusion on campus made in the Students’ Union’s Political Policy on Gender. “I think in the simplest terms it means that students can feel comfortable applying to the U of A because they know they'll be accepted and respected here,” says Students’ Union Vice-President Cody Bondarchuk. According to University Registrar Lisa Collins, the third option will only be available on paper applications at first, as uAlberta investigates what is needed to change the online systems. CBC | The Gateway

Will MOOCs lose their openness?

Cracks might be showing in the “Open” aspect of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), reports Inside Higher Ed. The article goes on to explore how one of the world’s primary MOOC providers, Coursera, is currently altering its business model to make its online offerings more financially viable. Last week, the company introduced dozens of new courses called “Specializations,” which range from creative writing to career brand management. But unlike earlier courses offered by the company, these come with a new “barrier to enrollment.” A new course offered through the University of Michigan, for example, charges $79 up front for the first five courses of a Specialization or $474 for the entire program. Until now, Coursera users have been presented with free and paid options, with the paid options offering the possibility of a credential upon completing the course. This new trend, however, suggests that Coursera is open to the idea of eliminating the free and open part of some courses, according to Inside Higher Ed. Inside Higher Ed

Teaching English majors to market their degree

Helen Meyers writes about her experience teaching a course intended to help students learn how to understand, value, and market the skills they have developed through a humanities degree. The course, titled “Novel English Majors” included the study of novels and texts on the topic, talks from former English majors on their careers, and a project that required students to shadow a professional in a field or job that they were interested in. “Unless we start acknowledging that many students and their parents literally cannot afford to oppose education as vocation, we will see the humanities become an exclusive province of economic elites,”  Meyers says. “While encouraging our students to be intellectual and academic explorers, we also need to instruct them on how to think about their postgraduate lives—and sooner rather than later.” Chronicle of Higher Education