Top Ten

April 14, 2016

uLaval dean funds new faculty chair out of own pocket

Gilles Routhier, the Dean of the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at Université Laval, has committed $300 K over 10 years to launch a new Chair of Leadership Education in Ecclesiology. According to Routhier, institutional funding for chairs is not optimal, especially in the humanities and social sciences. This financial commitment will reportedly open up a professorship at Laval that would typically remain established for the next 20 years. The new Chair’s position will be focused on providing thorough instruction on the role, status, contribution, and governance of the Church in world cultures with a particular focus on the relationship between the Church and State, the role of the Church in a pluralistic society, and the role of religious governance in world cultures. La Presse

MUN renames Faculty of Arts in effort to clarify offerings

Memorial University has renamed its Faculty of Arts the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, a move that Dean of Arts Lynn Phillips says is designed to "alleviate confusion" among prospective students. "There's been some confusion of the Faculty of Arts with performing arts work, fine arts, and visual arts, so that is one of the issues we're trying to address," Phillips says, adding that "part of the issue is high school students think, 'Arts is not really what I want to do,' without really understanding what could be involved with that." The Faculty of Arts has reportedly experienced declining enrolment in recent years, and Phillips says she hopes the name change will be part of a renewed effort for the university community to think "of new ways of representing ourselves and clarifying how we have changed." CBC

New study examines higher ed funding realities for students

A recent study, titled “Not your Parents’ Higher Ed,” investigates the financial issues facing current postsecondary students and how they differ from those experienced by previous generations. The study found that current students had the easiest time budgeting for tuition fees, while finding the money for rent, food, and transportation created much more stress. The study also noted that the primary source of funding for these students was government student loans, followed by parental aid beyond RESPs. Many students also reported that their RESPs ran out during their first year of study. Higher Ed Points

uCalgary faculty warned that CAUT investigation may not respect their privacy

The University of Calgary has issued a warning to its academic staff about an upcoming investigation to be performed by the Canadian Association of University Teachers, reports CBC. The CAUT announced months ago that it would perform its own investigation into the relationship between uCalgary and Enbridge. Recently, uCalgary's administration reportedly sent an email to its academic staff cautioning them that "your privacy may not be protected by CAUT and, if you provide sensitive or confidential information to CAUT, that confidentiality may not be protected." The CAUT has issued a response to uCalgary faculty contesting the claim and reassuring them that their privacy will be respected in the coming investigation. CBC

Men’s issues group takes Ryerson student union to court over denial of club status

A men’s issues group has filed for a judicial review after Ryerson University’s student union rejected its application for official student group status. Since losing an internal appeal this January, the group has received funding from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms to fight the decision at the judicial level. “The Men’s Issues Awareness Society is saying their freedom of expression and freedom of association rights are being violated by the student union,” said Justice Centre President John Carpay. Ryerson Feminist Collective President Alyson Rogers responded that men’s issues groups have no place on a modern campus, alleging that they are “a gathering area for people who are anti-women, anti-feminist, and rape apologists.” National Post | Toronto Sun

American millennials want spending without debt, says new study

Millennials are in denial about the realities of growing debt, according to a new survey of Americans aged 18-35 by Citizens Bank. The survey found that more than half of respondents who were college graduates were unwilling to cut back on luxuries like sporting events, concerts, and travel to reduce their debt, although more than half (57%) also said they regretted taking out as many student loans as they did. The responses show a clear contradiction in millennial thinking, says Brendan Coughlin, President of Consumer Lending at Citizens Bank. He adds that millennials “are very committed to living their life the way they want to live their life, and as frustrated as they are by student loans, they are not willing to make those lifestyle tradeoffs.” Globe and Mail (Reuters)

Adjunct-turned-admin reflects on beliefs about higher ed

“Have I become that which I formerly advocated against? Am I now part of the 'administrative bloat' that sucks up the university budget and necessitates the underpayment of adjunct faculty?” asks Josh Boldt for Chronicle Vitae. Boldt reflects on his views about administrative positions as someone “who has been a vocal critic of disparate payroll allocation and unfair hiring practices.” He notes that since taking on an administrative role himself, he still believes that the university could not exist without its teachers, yet adds that “now I also know that the same is true for many of the administrative staff members—though probably not for all.” Chronicle Vitae

UOIT signs MOU with Chandigarh University

The University of Ontario Institute of Technology has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Chandigarh University, a private institution in northwestern India. UOIT has outlined a number of areas of potential co-operation between the two institutions, including short-term faculty mobility opportunities to CU, two-way student mobility between campuses, and research and development projects. Vice President, Research, Innovation and International at UOIT Michael Owen says, “the agreement with Chandigarh University paves the way for the development of student exchanges, student internships, and new faculty research endeavours between both universities.” UOIT

"Trillion-dollar opportunity" in education technology, says tech expert

“Despite its importance, education seems to have been missed by the Internet revolution. … Luckily, that is changing,” writes Sean O’Connor for Tech Crunch, before delving into the latest trends and growths in the education sector. He explains that the use of cost-saving platforms and big data is more popular in universities and colleges, while skills training and English language learning are popular for continuing education. Between the expected GDP growth and the small number of firms currently working in the area, O’Connor believes that there is a “trillion-dollar opportunity” in the American education technology area, and anticipates that trends in mass customization, certification, and lifelong learning will shape the market over the next 3-5 years. Tech Crunch

Aggregate approach to teaching might allow new students to benefit from work of former

Despite the amount of work and knowledge development that each semester of students develops, writes Benjamin Wiggins in the Chronicle of Higher Education, “we do little to retain their insights, and we do even less to ensure that any knowledge that is preserved will help educate the next cohort.” In order to combat this issue, Wiggins developed an interactive timeline assignment that he allowed each new cohort of students to add to. “It took the knowledge students had produced in one semester and not only preserved it in an accessible (and downright elegant) form,” he explains, “but also allowed it to educate future students.” The article concludes with a brief overview of the benefits and challenges associated with multi-semester assignments, which Wiggins says could be used for courses in any field. Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required) | Assignment