Top Ten

February 11, 2016

Acadia receives $2.5 M gift from The Joyce Foundation

Acadia University has received $2.5 M from The Joyce Foundation to increase financial support for students. The gift, divided into $1.5 M for the Joyce Foundation Bursaries and $1 M for the Clifford and Helena Oliver Bursaries, will support students from Atlantic Canada and Ontario who demonstrate qualities such as exceptional volunteerism. A portion of the Oliver Bursaries will be available solely to students from visible minority groups. “We are profoundly grateful to Ron Joyce and The Joyce Foundation for the support they have shown for Acadia students,” said Acadia President Ray Ivany. “The special emphasis placed on volunteerism and students from visible minority groups fits perfectly with Acadia’s culture and community.” Acadia

Dal students protest proposed tuition increase

Students protested a proposed tuition increase at Dalhousie University, and were at times so loud that they reportedly disrupted a board of governors meeting. A draft report from the budget advisory committee recommends a 3% tuition increase across the board, with an additional 18.9% in agriculture over three years and 15% in engineering and pharmacy. “We’re sending a clear message that students are not OK with this at all. … It’s unjust. It’s not sustainable. It’s not acceptable,” said Dal Student Union VP John Hutton. “It is difficult to raise tuition but our costs are going up and we’re somewhat constrained in how we balance that budget,” said Dal Provost Carolyn Watters. The board will vote on the increase later this spring. CBC | Metro | Global

Pride flag for UBC OUTweek burned

The Pride flag raised last week as part of the OUTweek activities at University of British Columbia last week was discovered missing on Tuesday, and determined to have been burned over the BC Family Day weekend. “UBC condemns this incident as an act of hate and in contravention of the values of equity, inclusion and respect deeply held by the university community,” UBC stated in a written statement. "We're feeling pretty overwhelmed and we got a bit concerned about the safety of our members," said Elliott Cordingley, a coordinator with UBC Pride Collective. Cordingley stated that a parade in support of transgendered people has been cancelled as a precaution and that the group is in conversations about reraising the flag later in the year. The RCMP are currently conducting an investigation. 

Postscript: The University of British Columbia is reportedly “confident” that the person who burned a pride flag raised for UBC Pride Collective’s OUTweek activities over the Family Day long weekend has been identified. The university will continue to cooperate with the RCMP through the investigation. CBC (Update) | UBCAMS UBC | CBC | CTV | Lethbridge Herald (CP)

Noble to build $20 M clean technology algae plant at Trent

Noble Purification has announced plans to construct a $20 M clean technology algae plant at Trent University’s Trent Research and Innovation Park. “Noble was incubated in the community and we want to build on our foundation in this region while creating jobs and growing the green economy,” said Noble CEO Adam Noble. Trent University President Leo Groarke described the company’s growth as “a wonderful story of youthful innovation nurtured by university faculty and a community that values the entrepreneurial spirit,” and later added that “they are focused on environmental technologies; are already engaged with Trent researchers and our world class facilities; and will offer work experience and employment for Trent students and new graduates.” Peterborough Examiner | Kawartha Now

Olds, AB, hotel association partner to deliver video tourism training program

Olds College has entered a partnership with the province and the Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) to produce a series of tourism training videos for front-line hospitality workers. The videos will be viewable as part of the college’s certificates in accommodation guest services and accommodation management, as well as tourism business and services management. An assessment component is built into the videos, allowing students to make progress toward their certificates remotely. “There may be some campus experiences or local practicums in their communities where they’ll be able to get some of the work experience to complete the full credential,” said Olds VP Academic Jason Dewling. Olds Albertan | Olds

FEC-CSQ reaches settlement for CEGEP teachers

A CEGEP teachers’ union, Conseil général de la Fédération des enseignantes et enseignants de cégep (FEC-CSQ) has endorsed an agreement reached with the management negotiating committee. The settlement was announced Wednesday morning, agreeing to conditions originally proposed on December 7, after meetings with the affiliated unions. The agreement was a satisfactory one, according to FSC-CSQ president Pierre Girouard, who stated that the main benefit from this round of bargaining was a change in pay scale. FEC-CSQ includes 14 unions made up of college teachers. Montreal Gazette (CP)

Feds face backlash over proposed internship rules

The federal Liberals are allegedly facing backlash over proposed regulations that would allow unpaid interns to be hired by federally regulated workplaces. According to The Star, changes to the Canada Labour Code would permit unpaid internships in certain situations if the position was deemed to be “primarily for the benefit of the intern.” This creates a legal loophole that could place young workers in precarious jobs, states the Canadian Intern Association, which removed itself from consultations to avoid “[haggling] over the minutiae of the degrees of exploitation.” Labour Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk stated that “working to address labour issues related to unpaid internships is part of our plan to increase the number of good quality, permanent jobs for younger workers.” The Globe and Mail (CP) | The Star

uSask, NCTR sign MOU to provide Indigenous Peoples history

The University of Saskatchewan has signed an MOU with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) to provide access to information on Canada’s history with Indigenous Peoples. “The opportunity to partner with this unique centre of national and international significance is an important part of our commitment … to supporting Indigenous education and reconciliation,” said uSask President Peter Stoicheff. The partnership means that students and researchers at the university will have access to documents and records in the NCTR database, as well as training for librarians to assist users. Saskatoon StarPhoenix | Global | CBC | uSask

Faculty can learn to be better teachers, study shows

Faculty members who participate more extensively in development programs show larger changes in their teaching than those who only slightly participated, according to a new study. The findings, published in a new book titled Faculty Development and Student Learning: Assessing the Connections, are from the Tracer Project, a multi-year study that tracked faculty development at Carleton College (a small liberal arts college in Minnesota) and Washington State University (a large land-grant university). “Independent ratings of students’ learning outcomes demonstrate that when faculty learn and apply better ways of addressing desirable student learning outcomes, they translate their learning into course materials and assignments that actually do positively influence students’ learning,” said the authors. Inside Higher Ed

Controversy surrounds firings, demotion at Mount St Mary’s University (US)

The president of Mount St Mary’s University, located in Maryland, has come under fire from national groups after firing two professors and demoting the provost. The firings come amidst criticism of the president’s plan to encourage first-year students who intend to drop out to do so quickly. Describing the plan to one professor, he reportedly said: “This is hard for you because you think of the students as cuddly bunnies, but you can’t. You just have to drown the bunnies … put a Glock to their heads.” The firings have been criticized by the American Association of University Professors and a statement condemning the university’s actions has been signed by over 3,000 academics. Inside Higher Ed | Chronicle of Higher Education (firings) |Chronicle of Higher Education (retention plan)