Top Ten

March 24, 2016

QS releases 2016 World University Rankings by subject

Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has released its 2016 World University Rankings by subject. This year's rankings cover 42 subjects, which reportedly makes it the largest ranking ever of its kind. Canadian universities appeared in the rankings for all 42 subjects, with 44 institutions appearing overall. Institutions with top-10 results included the University of Toronto, which placed #3 in Nursing and #10 in Geography & Area Studies; UBC, which placed #5 in Geography & Areas Studies and #9 in Education; the University of Alberta, which placed #4 in Nursing; and the University of Guelph, which placed #8 in Veterinary Science. QS Release | The Guardian | Full Results

uMontréal law group demands review of $15 B Saudi arms deal

A group from the Faculty of Law at Université de Montréal has demanded a federal judicial review of Canada’s $15 B deal to sell military equipment to Saudi Arabia. The current Liberal government has pledged to uphold the contract signed by the previous Conservative government to sell light-armoured military vehicles to SA. Earlier this week, uMontréal Professor Daniel Turp filed for a judicial review of the deal, arguing that the Liberals have not been transparent and that they should not honour a military contract with a country that has such a poor human rights record. “Even though Minister Dion and Prime Minister Trudeau argue now that this contract was a contract concluded by a Conservative government, a previous government," Turp says, "it doesn't mean that the laws that exist that are on the books should not be respected.” CBC

Carleton partners with Jarislowsky Foundation to create $4 M chair in water and global health

Carleton University has announced that it will partner with the Jarislowsky Foundation to create a $4 M endowed research chair to address critical issues regarding water and public health. The Foundation will contribute $2 M toward the chair in hopes that its research will provide safe drinking water and improved sanitation to communities across Canada and around the globe. “With approximately 1.1 billion people worldwide lacking access to clean drinking water—and 2.4 billion lacking access to sanitation—we see a clear and urgent need for innovation and practical solutions,” said Carleton President Roseann O’Reilly Runte. “We’re honoured to partner with Mr. Jarislowsky to lead research, train engineers and scientists, galvanize policy decisions, and make a real difference.” Carleton

Western was not aware of ex-psychiatrist’s campus abuses, says Provost

Senior officials at Western University were not aware that a former staff psychiatrist was abusing female students until a TV report exposed the abuse in January, says Western University Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Janice Deakin. In an interview with the London Free Press, Deakin adds that she is “personally appalled” by the conduct of ex-psychiatrist Stanley Dobrowolski, who is currently serving a prison sentence, but not for the crimes he allegedly committed while at Western. Deakin notes that Western is working hard, but acknowledges that “doing what is right 22 years beyond [the] fact can seem empty … I don’t know what more we can do other than acknowledge the devastation this has caused to the women’s lives.” London Free Press

Business schools struggling to incorporate crowdfunding into curriculum

Although crowdfunding has become a normal way of raising capital for businesses, Canadian business schools face challenges when it comes to incorporating this topic into their curricula, writes Daina Lawrence for the Globe and Mail. “I don’t think that Canadian universities or business schools are doing a particularly good job at covering crowdfunding,” adds Ivey Business School Professor Simon Parker, “but then again I don’t think the Canadian government is doing a very good job, either.” Parker suggests that the regulatory environment in Canada around crowdfunding is province-specific and so complex that business schools are likely to have persisting difficulty in teaching it. Globe and Mail

Balancing rights of accuser, accused in sexual misconduct cases a difficult task for universities

Recent stories about universities attempting to silence victims of sexual misconduct highlight the difficult balance that institutions must try to strike between the rights of a victim and the rights of the accused, writes CTV News. While it is important to uphold the presumption of innocence in these cases, universities often have a legal obligation to release details of allegations if there is a threat to public safety. For Lawyer Kristen Pennington, it is clear that “the more salacious details that come out with respect to incidents like this, the more universities fear those details being in the media and, quite honestly, harming their bottom line. … The path of least resistance is to put pressure on complainants to keep this information quiet." CTV News

Lethbridge becomes first college in Canada to sign AGCO Advantage Partnership

Lethbridge College has announced that it is the first postsecondary institute in Canada to sign the AGCO Advantage Partnership Agreement, which will enhance the equipment and program offerings in the college’s Agriculture and Heavy Equipment apprenticeship and certificate programs. The partnership was first developed in the US and is currently in effect at eight American colleges. “Collaborative partnerships are vital to the long-term success of Lethbridge College,” says Lethbridge President Paula Burns, “AGCO’s tremendous commitment allows us to offer more openings for students in our apprenticeship programs. It also lets other companies know that we are open for business and always looking for mutually beneficial industry partnerships.” Lethbridge

Chronicle releases report on how students, families look at value of higher ed

PSE institutions are starting to notice changes in the ways that students and their families evaluate the value of higher ed, and the Chronicle of Higher Education has released a new in-depth report looking at what factors influence these judgments. The report, titled Education Under Review: Examining the value of education for student success—in career and life, investigates the importance students and their families place on critical thinking skills, career readiness training, and student debt, among other factors. Among the report’s key findings is that only 13% of student respondents said they believed the higher education system as a whole provided excellent value. Report

Leadership is “a collective activity,” writes higher ed executive

People who work in higher education cannot rely on a small group of anointed “leaders” to serve students and wider communities, writes Judith S White, President and Executive Director of the HERS women’s leadership organization. Leaders can exist at any level of an organization, White adds, and leadership is expressed most clearly when someone takes on a role that goes beyond their assigned role. Ultimately, White finds that “improving our institutions requires that everyone, whether in senior posts or supporting roles, uses whatever assignments we have to expand the possibilities for innovation, inclusion and excellence.” Inside Higher Ed

Researchers investigate connections between engineering programs, terrorism

Researchers have noticed that a disproportionate number of jihadists come from engineering backgrounds, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education, and two researchers in particular have recently examined whether the connection is a coincidence or the result of a deeper causal connection. Diego Gambetta and Steffen Hertog have studied the connection between jihadism and engineering over the past several years, working to develop theories that can explain why engineering programs might either attract individuals with extreme mindsets or create such mindsets. Yet critics of the work suggest that it is looking for causal connections where none exist. Chronicle of Higher Education