Top Ten

February 17, 2016

Laurentian pulls programs out of Barrie

After 15 years, Laurentian University has decided to no longer resource its Arts and Management programs in Barrie as of 2017 and its Social Work programs in Barrie as of 2019, citing constraints imposed by the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. The province allegedly refused to allow Laurentian to establish a satellite campus in Barrie, and the institution announced its departure in the wake of a Ministry report recommending a five-year framework for degree studies offered by Georgian College, Lakehead University, and Laurentian University. "Two of our core values as a university are putting students first and excellence. Accepting restrictions proposed by the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities (MTCU) would not be in the best interest of our current and future students," said Laurentian Board of Governors Chair Michael Atkins. Laurentian | Georgian | CBCBarrie Examiner | Sudbury Star

Ryerson announces 20-year innovation partnership with St Michael’s hospital

Ryerson University and St Michael’s hospital have announced a 20-year partnership to research and develop innovative healthcare solutions and to support start-up biomedical companies seeking to improve patient care. The partnership includes the creation of a new 22,000 square-foot “incubator” that specializes in the development and commercialization of biomechanical products and technologies, including software, information technology, wearables, sensors, and medical devices, to care for and treat patients. “Partnerships with outstanding institutions such as St Michael’s Hospital demonstrate Ryerson’s commitment to engaging with the city, creating exceptional experiences for our students and researchers, and fostering an innovation ecosystem,” said Ryerson Interim President Mohamed Lachemi. Canadian Healthcare Technology | Yonge Street Media | Ryerson

Seneca, Siemens open Mechatronics Simulation and Demonstration Centre

Seneca College has officially opened the Mechatronics Simulation and Demonstration Centre, which was built in partnership with Siemens Canada. This facility, reportedly the first of its kind in Ontario, will offer Seneca students a unique applied learning environment and will permit them to participate in the Siemens Mechatronics Systems Certification Program. This certification program will allegedly enable mechatronics-trained graduates to access jobs in multiple industries. "Siemens is a global leader in advanced manufacturing and industry, and it's an honour to partner with them to open Seneca's Mechatronics Simulation and Demonstration Centre," said Seneca President David Agnew. "Together we are helping to provide Ontario with the highly skilled graduates the province needs to continue to thrive in the complex and sophisticated world of advanced manufacturing." Siemens | ON

Okanagan, Westbank First Nation sign collaboration MOU

Okanagan College and the Westbank First Nation have signed an MOU committing the institutions to a deeper partnership. Under the agreement, both organizations will work together to increase access to PSE and build professional capacity. “Okanagan College and Westbank First Nation have been working together for decades,” said Okanagan President Jim Hamilton. “Both of our organizations signed the Colleges and Institutes Canada national Indigenous Education Protocol earlier this fall and it seemed like the time was right to embrace the spirit of that document and commit more formally to developing opportunities for a deeper collaboration with this very important partner.” KelownaNow | | Okanagan

TRU reaches agreement with Faculty Association

Thompson Rivers University and the Thompson Rivers University Faculty Association (TRUFA) have reached a new agreement that will run until March 2019. The agreement provides a 5% general wage increase and a 0.5% increase to sessional salaries over the term. “I am pleased that the TRU Faculty Association and TRU Board of Governors have ratified the tentative agreement,” said TRU President Alan Shaver. Yet TRUFA President Tom Friedman said that while a vote in favour of ratification normally means faculty are pleased with the agreement, that was not necessarily the case in this instance. “From what our members have told me, faculty very reluctantly approved the recommendations because they saw no other choice,” he told News Kamloops. TRU | News Kamloops | CFJC Today

WLU withdraws from PM statues project

Wilfrid Laurier University’s board of governors has reportedly voted to withdraw from a controversial agreement that would have seen statues of Canada’s 22 past Prime Ministers placed on the school’s campus. “The university will engage in discussions to collaboratively work toward a resolution to exit the statues project, and specific details are not known at this point,” WLU Spokesperson Lori Chalmers Morrison told CBC. “We are in the process of reviewing the situation,” Jim Rodger, who led the group behind the project, told CBC. “At this time, we have not met with WLU so it would be premature to comment further.” CBC | CTV | 570 News | Waterloo Region Record

Lack of women in science “a wicked problem,” says McGill professor

The lack of women in science constitutes what scientists would call a “wicked problem,” says McGill University Associate Professor Elena Bennett in an interview for the Montreal Gazette. While Bennett admits that science expends a lot of resources in successfully attracting women, it is much less successful in retaining them. Worse yet, she adds, the problem cannot be attributed to any single factor. “Pull at one thread,” she notes, “and [you’ll] discover 10 more just as unsolvable.” However, Bennett ultimately recommends several concrete actions that institutions and individuals can take to help address the barriers that keep women from pursuing careers in science. Montreal Gazette

Maritime universities see “troubling” decline in humanities’ enrolment

The number of full-time undergraduate students majoring in humanities programs in Maritime universities has declined 45% over the past decade, writes Elizabeth McMillan for CBC, and this decline has outpaced the overall drop in the region’s PSE student numbers. This trend has led to the merging of some university faculties and a decline in course offerings. Administrators from across the region find this trend “troubling,” writes McMillan, for they see it as evidence that institutions have “done a poor job of countering a popular narrative—one they frequently encounter in prospective students and parents—that humanities are useless and don't lead to jobs.” CBC

"Consumer Mindset" linked to poor academic performance

PSE students who see themselves as consumers rather than learners tend to perform more poorly in their studies, according to a new study published in Studies in Higher Education. The article, titled "The student-as-consumer approach in higher education and its effects on academic performance," surveyed 608 students from 35 English universities. The study surveyed 608 students from 35 English universities on their consumer attitudes and behaviours in relation to higher education, and found that “a lower learner identity was associated with a higher consumer orientation, and in turn with lower academic performance.” The authors conclude by calling for more study on the subject with an aim of mitigating the effects of a “consumer mindset” on future academic performance among students. Times Higher Education | Report

Internet will undermine concept of "prestige" among PSE institutions

Traditional universities are about to lose their most valuable asset, writes Michael Kinsley for the Washington Post, and that asset is their prestige. The author goes on to note that as the internet and its disruptive technologies make high-quality education accessible to more people at a fraction of “prestigious” university prices, these universities will have an increasingly difficult time justifying their costs. When assessing the current state of academic prestige, Kinsley suggests that we “start with an uncomfortable truth: The prestige of a diploma from a prestige university comes not from graduating but from getting in. Almost no one who applies to, say, Yale University is admitted, but almost everyone who gets in graduates. To maintain their prestige, these universities must limit the number of people who are admitted.” Echoing ideas voiced by Academica Forum contributor David Wheeler, Kinsley goes on in detail to name some of the ways that technology will inevitably erode the prestige associated with traditional universities. Washington Post