Top Ten

April 25, 2016

AB says UCalgary governors must reapply to keep board appointments

Alberta has denied reappointment requests for three members of the University of Calgary, stating that governors at the school will need to reapply through an open recruitment process when their term expires. “Approximately 80 per cent of our board members on postsecondary education boards are men over the age of 65,” said Marlin Schmidt, the advanced education minister for AB, “it seems to me that if we are going to have people who reflect the communities that they serve, we would have more women, we would have more from ethnic communities. Those people need to be better represented on the boards.” Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark raised concerns about the motive of the change, and about the potential loss of experience and institutional knowledge. CBC | Metro

uSask School of Public Health avoids merger, faces demand to demonstrate viability

The University of Saskatchewan’s School of Public Health has two to three years to demonstrate its continuing viability, or it will be dismantled, according to uSask Provost Ernie Barber. The comments come in the wake of the university’s decision not to merge the School with the College of Medicine’s Department of Community Health and Epidemiology. The merger was recommended by an external review, but was opposed by an internal uSask task force that found the external reviewers had not sufficiently consulted the Community Health and Epidemiology Department. According to uSask, the School of Public Health must now “re-orient” itself with a new executive director, a new enrolment plan, and the use of regular feedback on its engagement efforts. StarPhoenix

Concordia University of Edmonton no longer a religious institution

Concordia University of Edmonton has decided that it will no longer operate as a religious institution in order to better reflect its population and values. “The idea to change has been there for quite some time,” explained Concordia President Gerald Krispin, who later added, “we really want people to know that we truly are an inclusive university which really has that openness and students who come here are welcome for every background they come from and when you’re associated with a church, people make assumptions.” Robert Bugbee, President of Lutheran Church-Canada, expressed both his understanding of and disappointment with the choice, and explained that the institution will continue to include an Institute for Christian Studies where outside speakers and conferences will be hosted. Edmonton Journal | Concordia

NB career colleges disappointed in province’s free tuition plan

Private colleges in New Brunswick have voiced concern about the province’s free tuition plan for low-income students attending public universities and community colleges. The New Brunswick Association of Career Colleges has asked that the province amend the plan immediately to also support low-income students looking to enrol in for-profit career colleges. Association President Dale Ritchie says that “helping students, especially those in low income families is always a good idea and we fully support that, but we're here as advocates for the thousands of students, and their hard-working parents, who've been harshly discriminated against and have been overlooked by these changes.” CBC

uLethbridge looks to foster “only with consent” culture with new sexual violence policy

The University of Lethbridge has approved a new Sexual Violence Policy and launched a website devoted to supporting a safe campus culture. According to a uLethbridge release, the new policy contains clear directives to enhance awareness and education on sexual violence, promote an “only with consent” culture, recognize the importance of confidentiality, and establish a continued commitment to maintain and publish sexual violence statistics. uLethbridge Counselling and Career Services Manager Mark Slomp applauded the new policy, yet added that, “this process isn’t over. Feedback on the policy and the website will be actively collected as we move forward. Feedback on the website will be incorporated, where appropriate and feasible, on an ongoing basis.” uLethbridge

Universities must maintain strong links with their organizational history

PSE institutions must stay in close touch with their organizational history if they wish to learn from the past, writes Melonie Fullick for University Affairs. Fullick recounts her own research on the subject and finds in this experience a powerful reminder of why institutions need to maintain clear and convenient access to their past through proper documentation and “the collection of papers, reports, letters, meeting minutes, etc. required to help us figure out what goes on over time.” Too often, Fullick suggests, institutional memory resides only inside the heads of officials who have worked at an institution for many years, but “when we have nothing but the institutional memory that lives in people, as valuable as it is, we risk losing that knowledge when those people leave or—as they do in some cases—refuse to discuss it.” University Affairs

York to support engaged global citizens, build stronger communities with historic $500 M campaign

York University has launched a new fundraising campaign with a goal of $500 M, making it the school’s most ambitious campaign to date. A York release states that the university’s alumni and supporters have already committed more than $270 M toward the overall target. The initiative, titled “Impact: The Campaign for York University,” will use the funds raised to support three key themes: mobilizing new ways of thinking, preparing engaged global citizens, and building stronger communities. “York is at an inflection point in its history—a time of significant change,” says York President Mamdouh Shoukri, “now, as we face unprecedented global challenges such as climate change, chronic disease, war and resettlement, and food and economic security, we must accelerate our impact.” York

Humanities need convincing data to demonstrate their value, says expert

Humanities scholars have always been good at conveying the importance of their work through stories, writes Paula Krebs for Inside Higher Ed, but they have been less successful at using data to do so. This need not be the case, adds Krebs, who recounts a meeting with faculty members, local employers, and public humanities representatives to discuss how to better measure the impact of a humanities education on graduates. Krebs offers a list of recommendations and concrete program changes, such as interviewing employers about their experiences with hiring graduates, that might help humanities programs better prepare students for postgraduate life. Inside Higher Ed

“A professional and smooth negotiation,” King’s says of part-time faculty CBA ratification

The Board of Directors at King’s University College and the union representing the school’s part-time faculty have ratified a collective agreement. The agreement covers salaries, benefits, and working conditions for 252 part-time faculty across all departments at the school. Negotiations between King's and CUPE local 5265 began in June 2015 and finished in February 2016. King’s Principal David Sylvester acknowledged the efforts of both negotiating teams in reaching the agreement, adding that “this has been a professional and smooth negotiation which bodes well for our future relationship.” King’s

Which strategies work best for turning research into action?

Academic researchers need to think more like marketers if they want their work to impact the behaviour of others, according to the UK-based Alliance for Useful Evidence. In a new report titled, “Using Evidence: What Works?” a team of researchers examined the different methods and strategies that researchers used to get their work implemented through policy and collective action. The study found that the most successful researchers were those who “thought like marketers” and focused most on responding to “what their audience really wants.” Some of the report’s more general recommendations include the avoidance of “dry numbers” and the use of compelling stories or metaphors to convey evidence with greater force. Times Higher Education