Top Ten

April 19, 2016

Is free tuition in other provinces inevitable after ON, NB decisions?

Recent decisions by Ontario and New Brunswick to offer free tuition to students from low-income families will likely be taken up by other provinces, says Erik Queenan, chairman of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations. While some provinces work to cover tuition fees through tax credits after the completion of PSE, Queenan argues that these credits “have been proven not to be a progressive form of financial aid” compared to the up-front grant systems being introduced by ON and NB. However, NB Interim Progressive Conservative Leader Bruce Fitch argues that the new system will put additional strain on families with incomes just above the new cutoff of $60 K, adding that “if you're a single parent, maybe you're a teacher making $65 K or $67,000 K, you're totally out of the picture.” Maclean’s (CP) | CBC (Fitch)

Waterloo’s Perimeter Institute receives $50 M to conduct “world-leading” physics research

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced last Friday that Canada will commit $50 M to support research in theoretical physics at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ontario. A release from the PMO states that the investment is part of the government’s plan to “build Canada as a centre of global innovation” by funding theoretical research that “focuses on understanding the nature of our universe.” “The Perimeter Institute and its researchers prove every day that Canada is a global leader in innovation and research,” said Trudeau, “the work they are doing will lead to the technological discoveries of tomorrow that will contribute in tangible ways to our understanding of the universe around us. This is an investment in our future.” Toronto Star | PMO

Anonymous attacks Dal-related websites over alleged inaction on sexual assault

The global hacktivist group known as Anonymous launched attacks against a number of websites associated with Dalhousie University last week and over the weekend, reports the National Post. Anonymous reportedly described the attacks as retaliation for inaction by Dal and local police in responding to an alleged sexual assault at a fraternity party. The Post has confirmed that Anonymous attacked Dal’s main website and succeeded in taking the Dalhousie Gazette’s website offline on Saturday. Dal Spokesperson Brian Leadbetter has stated that neither the individual accused of sexual assault nor the fraternity referenced have any direct connection with Dal. National Post

QC releases report on university leaders’ compensation

Concordia University President Alan Shepard is the highest paid leader in Quebec’s university network, according to a series of documents released last Friday by QC’s Ministry of Education, Recreation and Sports. These documents show that Shepard received a base salary of nearly $370 K in addition to other allowances. The second-highest paid leader was McGill University Vice-Principal and Dean of Medicine David Eidelman, whose salary in 2014-15 was $368 K. Minister of Education Hélène David stated that the report is part of an effort to create more transparency in university governance. Journal de Montréal

UFV, Surrey, and JVA partner to unveil BioPods initiative

The University of Fraser Valley, the City of Surrey, and John Volken Academy have unveiled the product of a research partnership: twin high-tech greenhouses called BioPods. These biopods feature vertical growing systems, computer-controlled environments, optimized lighting materials, and water extractors; and will support both the testing of new technology and skills development for students participating in a life skills training program at John Volken Academy. These students will receive certification through UFV that will enable them to pursue employment in this sector. “UFV is proud to partner in work that reflects our commitments to research, education, and service that directly benefit the economic, social, and sustainable development of our Valley,” said UFV President Mark Evered. UFV | Vancouver Sun

End of mediation between UCalgary and student union sees no progress on Mac Hall ownership

The three-month mediation between the University of Calgary and the UCalgary Students Union ended last Friday, despite not reaching an agreement regarding the ownership of the MacEwan Hall building. UCalgary Student Union President Levi Nilson expressed frustration with the lack of progress, saying that "it has become extremely evident that reaching a mutually agreeable solution with the University of Calgary Board of Governors may not be possible with the university's current administration." UCalgary has released a statement explaining that now that mediation has ended, the SU may proceed with its application for a legal injunction "to determine whether the SU can continue to manage Mac Hall ... until the ownership dispute is settled." CBC | UCalgary

Credit transfers must keep up with growth of non-traditional PSE pathways

The number of pathways that students take through postsecondary education is becoming more diverse, according to Christine Arnold and Grace Karram Stephenson for University World News, and the transfer of academic credit has become much more significant as a result. The authors look at the context of Ontario to show how historically difficult it has been for students to transfer credits between institutions or colleges and universities. However, they note that the introduction of the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer in 2011 marked a major step forward in credit transfers. The article examines some of the lessons that other jurisdictions can learn from ONCAT’s work over the past five years. University World News

Students must become comfortable with discomfort

“We must make it clear to our students that mistakes and failure are a part of learning,” writes Irina Popescu in a discussion about the benefits of discomfort in an educational setting, and how it impacts students who may enter postsecondary school in a “fragile” state. While maintaining the need for a classroom that is a “safe space,” where students are encouraged to respect one another’s opinions and to actively listen and respond during discussions, Popescu emphasizes the importance of wrestling with uncomfortable topics and texts for students. She concludes that, in her experience, students’ “fragility, though still not entirely eradicated, becomes less visible, less relied upon” after a semester in a class that requires them to become comfortable with discomfort. Chronicle of Higher Education

StFX's Mulroney Institute receives $2 M for scholarships

St Francis Xavier University has received a $2 M donation for its Mulroney Institute of Government from David and Donald Sobey. The new funds will be used to establish the Sobey Scholarships for full-time undergraduate students enrolled at the Mulroney Institute of Government. “Canada needs future leaders with the skills and knowledge required for good government,” say David and Donald Sobey, “the Mulroney Institute will further StFX’s leadership in this field of study.” StFX President Kent MacDonald added that “this gift will provide tremendous financial support to the Mulroney Institute, providing pathways and opportunities for outstanding and deserving young men and women who wish to attend StFX.” StFX

Fleming, Trent agreement to provide new options for students of environmental studies

Fleming College and Trent University have signed a Memorandum of Understanding committing the schools to collaborate on new academic programming and research partnerships in environmental and natural resource studies. The MOU will reportedly provide students with more opportunities for applied learning through community-based projects, co-op opportunities, field camps, and workshops. "In the university sector, we are leaders in environmental study and research, as Fleming is a leader in the college sector," said Trent President Leo Groarke, "this agreement will combine our expertise and offerings in a way that will provide students with exceptional opportunities to pursue environmental studies and research." Fleming | Trent