Top Ten

April 26, 2016

Canadian med schools preparing to include doctor-assisted death in curricula

Canada’s medical schools have begun preparing to incorporate physician-assisted death into their curricula, writes Sheryl Ubelacker for the Canadian Press, but much of this work will have to wait until the provinces and territories set clear rules for how the practice will be implemented. Once these rules are established, “the next step … is how to train physicians to be able to follow the rules,” says Genevieve Moineau, president and CEO of the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada. Several sources tell the CP that requests for euthanasia and assisted suicide are already a topic in many schools’ teaching, but the changes to specific policies and legislation will need to be introduced into new curricula. Toronto Star (CP)

Algonquin, Siemens partner on energy education

Algonquin College and Siemens Canada have unveiled a new high-efficiency co-generation power plant at Algonquin’s Ottawa campus and signed an MOU granting Algonquin students the opportunity to learn first-hand about the future of energy systems in a “living lab.” Algonquin President Cheryl Jensen referred to the project as “a game-changer in our efforts to maintain our facilities, control our costs, and expand the learning opportunities for our students.” Algonquin has also announced that it will debut a new Energy Management graduate certificate program in September 2017 for students who are looking to further their careers in the energy sector. Algonquin

CFS, CBU Students' Union reach resolution over fees

The Canadian Federation of Students and the Cape Breton University Students’ Union have reached “a mutually satisfactory resolution of their ongoing litigation” after about a year of negotiation. CFS sued CBUSU last year when CBUSU withdrew from the national group, stating that it was not getting value for its annual membership fees. An Ontario judge found that CBUSU had not followed proper procedure in its referendum, and the union was ordered to pay the federation’s court costs, damages, and six years' worth of unpaid dues. The new joint statement maintains CBUSU as a member of CFS while “recognizing CBUSU’s financial limitations” in the agreed-upon ongoing membership fees. CBC

Student with dyslexia files discrimination complaint against UOttawa

Student James Lewicki has filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario against the University of Ottawa, alleging that he was discriminated against based on his dyslexia. Lewicki says that his condition is so severe that it prevents him from completing his program's French course requirement unless it can be taken in English or with a translator, but adds that the school is “insistent that they will not support any form of accommodation.” A spokesperson from UOttawa stated in an email that the institution “does not see this as an accommodation issue,” and explains that Lewicki was not admitted to the program in question “because he did not meet the essential admission requirements for the program, ” which include an active knowledge of French. CBC

What can higher education provide that Google cannot?

“What’s the role of a liberal-arts education in a society that can call up a world of knowledge with a handheld device—or, one day, with a simple stream of neurons?” asks Michael Patrick Lynch for the Chronicle of Higher Education. The answer, he argues, lies in the difference between knowing and understanding. A person can know the simple facts that technologies like Google can retrieve almost instantly, but it is a different skill to understand how a series of facts hangs together. “Understanding is different from other forms of knowledge because it is not directly conveyed by testimony,” Lynch concludes, “it is something you must attain yourself, not something you can outsource.” Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

Two years in: what does BC’s job-based PSE funding mean for higher ed?

It has been two years since British Columbia introduced its new skills for jobs blueprint, writes Justine Hunter for the Globe and Mail, and the plan has brought about a marked increase in funding for programs tied to labour market demand. The author notes that to date, BC has redistributed $130 M in postsecondary funding to programs that will train graduates for in-demand jobs. By 2018, it is expected that 25% of the province’s overall funding will be tied to classes and programs that match labour market demand. Hunter notes that although BC’s projected skills shortage has not yet come to be, the provincial government is confident that its job-based framework can adapt to any labour market shifts. Globe and Mail (Subscription Required)

Calgary-based Friends of UPEI raise over $1 M

A group of Calgary-based alumni and supporters of the University of Prince Edward Island have raised over $1 M for the school, reports the Charlottetown-based Guardian. The group’s history dates back to 1997, when it was asked to host a modest fundraising dinner for the university. Since then, the group has raised $1 M, of which $427 K has been distributed in scholarships to 228 students from Alberta attending UPEI. Current UPEI nursing student and scholarship recipient Jenn Whittingham said of the funding, “It has given me a different perspective and allowed me to understand that every dollar we receive is a dollar that someone has graciously fundraised for or donated, private citizens who have a connection to UPEI and want to give back.” The Guardian Charlottetown

Ed tech “will never make you crazy rich,” says IHE contributor

Education technology has many benefits for those who both use and develop it, writes Joshua Kim for Inside Higher Ed, but it simply “does not lend itself to making the next digital fortune.” The problem is not with technology, he adds, but the nature of education itself. While digital wealth is often produced through scaling, speed, the unbundling of services, and response to consumer demand, Kim argues that a strong education possesses the opposite features. One of the biggest areas of divergence is in responding to consumer demand, he adds, because “education, or at least a quality education, needs to go against what the buyer of that education often thinks that they want. Any education that is not hard—sometimes painfully hard—is not an education worth investing in.” Inside Higher Ed

McMaster business school’s suspended faculty return to court

A half-dozen faculty members of McMaster’s DeGroote School of Business are requesting leave to appeal a McMaster tribunal decision that resulted in suspensions for three individuals, reports the Hamilton Spectator. The university’s sanctions reportedly stemmed from conflict between the professors in question and former DeGroote Dean Paul Bates. A set of legal documents filed prior to the hearing stated that the tribunal process had imposed “draconian” punishments that “significantly exceeded the reasonable range of penalties.” Yet in its own legal filing, McMaster stated that the faculty members, “had, to varying degrees of severity, committed over 30 instances of harassment and bullying in the workplace and/or otherwise contributed to a poisoned work environment.” The Spectator reports that the hearing is expected to last four days. Hamilton Spectator

Questioning the institutional practice of asking for alumni donations

“I didn’t pay to do my undergraduate degree, paid for my master’s, and was then on a scholarship for my PhD. Am I duty bound, in some way, to pay again?” asks Richard Budd before discussing the purpose and mentality behind alumni donations. Budd questions the morality of public universities asking for donations after charging students for tuition. He then briefly discusses the history and tradition of universities asking for donations, as well as the institution’s need for funding to compete on a national and international level. “The state should, I think, support universities to the point where they don’t need to look elsewhere,” he concludes, “I just can’t get my head around the moral logic of the thing, whichever way you slice it—let’s face it, alumni donations are just weird.” Times Higher Education

Why don’t more Canadian students study abroad?

Existing research shows Canadian students are interested in studying abroad, yet few do. Learn about about the top four barriers and what 1,400 student panelists had to say about the issue. Read More -->