Top Ten

March 16, 2016

Canada invests $23 M in research infrastructure

Canada has announced that it will commit more than $23 M to provide state-of-the-art labs and equipment to 26 universities across Canada. According to a press release, this new infrastructure will help researchers “tackle issues that matter to the lives of everyday Canadians—from finding more efficient ways to capture wind and solar energy to relieving arthritis pain by creating injectable cartilage tissue.” The investments will be made through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s John R Evans Leaders Fund. “Investments like today’s in Canada’s research infrastructure are incredibly important to the nation’s future. They give Canadian researchers the tools they need to make new discoveries that will better the lives of Canadians today and for years to come,” said Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan. Canada

YorkU prof reportedly denied permanent residency over son's Down syndrome

An environmental studies professor at York University is reportedly leaving Canada after three years because immigration officials have told him that his son’s Down syndrome poses too great a burden for taxpayers. Felipe Montoya and his partner Alejandra Garcia-Prieto have been working toward permanent residency since first moving to Canada from Costa Rica with their two teenage children. While the family plans to leave, Montoya says he will continue to fight the government’s decision to discriminate against his son. “He was singled out solely because of his genetic identity,” Montoya said of his 13 year-old son Nico, who has Down syndrome. “Our fight is more of a matter of principle.” YorkU has issued a release voicing its disappointment in the government's decision and expressing its support for Montoya. CBC | YorkU

WesternU apologizes to psychiatrist's sexual abuse victims

Western University has issued an apology to the sexual abuse victims of Stanley Dobrowolski, a psychiatrist who worked at WesternU’s Student Health Services between 1985 and 1994. No senior administrators remain from that time, and WesternU officials reportedly became aware of the extent of Dobrowolski’s actions as the result of recent media attention. “Western's senior administration and I know that an apology cannot undo what happened to young women who trusted a psychiatrist working in Western's Student Health Services who, in turn, violated that trust,” said WesternU President Amit Chakma, who extended his apology to include any affected staff. “We do hope they can take some comfort knowing Western recognizes the harm that was caused.” WesternU | Western News | CBC

16 universities, 19 student associations from QC launch provincial awareness campaign

The representatives of 16 universities and 19 university student associations across Quebec are preparing to launch a provincial awareness campaign about sexual harassment, violence, and consent. The campaign “Sans oui, c’est non!” aims to prevent sexual violence by using awareness tools directed at university communities, while highlighting the question of sexual consent and identifying available resources. Over the next few weeks, universities will advertise awareness tools and messages to encourage safe campus environments. "We are very pleased to be part of this collaborative effort between student associations and universities," said Bishop’s University Principal Michael Goldbloom, "it is important to educate all members of our university communities about this important issue." Newswire | CJAD

BC opens Co-op Week with funding injection

BC has committed $1.3 M in new funding to support co-op education programs at 16 of the province’s postsecondary institutions. Announced with the launch of BC's Co-op Week, the funding will give $75 K to each institution to support connections with employers and to increase awareness of co-op placements among both employers and students. “Co-op provides students with opportunities to apply their learning and acquire employment-ready skills in a related field,” said Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson. “Our government is working with public postsecondary institutions to connect students with employers so that they can get the experience that they need for in-demand careers.” BC

Challenge students with good books instead of easy reading

Most US colleges today assign “recent, easy books” and avoid more challenging texts for their students, but Ashley Thorne suggests that it is better to challenge students with more difficult texts. In order to do this, Thorne makes a number of recommendations, including treating students as adult-level readers when selecting material, reducing the size of reading selection committees to a few deeply read individuals, and cultivating a spirit of high culture and intellectual adventure to show students why good books are worth reading. Finally, Thorne encourages colleges to only accept students who are able to read a challenging book for pleasure, and concludes by encouraging instructors to “plan for the students you wish you had.” Chronicle of Higher Education

Seven priorities for higher ed innovators

Institutions looking to address the growing achievement gap in higher ed will need to focus on “innovation, scale, and diffusion,” according to University Innovation Alliance Executive Director Bridget Burns. To help guide this process, Campus Technology offers a list of seven things that innovators like Burns want everyone in higher ed to know. These include a common definition of affordability in PSE, a break with traditional instruction, and the need to pay serious attention to data and metrics. Perhaps most importantly, however, leaders like Burns want institutions to communicate with one another about what works and what doesn’t in higher ed. “Otherwise we are sentencing other universities to repeat our mistakes and our failures,” says Burns, “and students deserve better.” Campus Technology

When should a school un-invite a controversial speaker?

The recent rise of campus activism has often collided with calls for free and open speech on campus, writes the Chronicle of Higher Education, and “at the intersection of those forces is the controversial speaker.” Throughout the US in particular, there have been numerous cases in which higher ed leaders have been forced to choose between allowing a controversial speaker to appear on their campuses and cancelling their engagements due to student protest. These decisions are never easy, the article admits, but what remains paramount is that campuses not be afraid to expose their communities to ideas those communities might disagree with. Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)