Top Ten

May 6, 2016

AB postsecondary institutions reach out to Fort McMurray evacuees

Postsecondary institutions in Alberta have reached out to offer assistance to Fort McMurray evacuees in response to recent fires. Institutions such as MacEwan University, University of Alberta, University of Calgary, SAIT, and Mount Royal University have announced that they are on standby to accommodate evacuees as needed. Athabasca University is offering waived exam rebooking fees and course extension fees, replacements for lost or damaged course materials, and free course withdrawals with full refunds for all affected students. Keyano College has postponed its convocation and is closed until further notice. MacEwan | UAlberta | AthabascaU | Metro (UCalgary, SAIT, Mount Royal) | Keyano

UofT, UBC, McGill feature in 2016 THE World Reputation Rankings

Times Higher Education has released its 2016 World Reputation Rankings for universities, and three Canadian institutions have made the list. The University of Toronto was the highest-ranked Canadian university at #23. UBC was second at #37 and McGill University was third at #39. THE reports that its reputation rankings are based on the results of a global survey administered to “only experienced, published scholars, who offer their views on excellence in research and teaching within their disciplines and at institutions with which they are familiar.” The 2016 survey received a total of 10,323 responses from 133 countries. Times Higher Education | Methodology

UQAM harassment bureau opened 162 cases in 2014-15, says annual report

The Bureau of Intervention and Harassment Prevention at Université du Québec à Montréal opened at least 162 cases in the 2014-15 academic year, according to the Bureau’s annual report. The report states that over half of the opened cases concerned individuals who felt harassed, including 56 allegations of disturbing psychological behaviour, 19 claims of sexual harassment, and 12 claims of discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, and other factors. Another 72 cases concerned people who had visited the Bureau with concerns about incivility, conflict, fear of being perceived as having committed harassment, or simply to get information. La Presse | UQAM

MUN to implement mandatory academic integrity courses for all first-year undergrads in 2016

Students at Memorial University will need to complete courses in academic integrity in order to continue their studies at the school, reports the university’s Gazette. The school-wide pilot is being developed by MUN’s Libraries in collaboration with the Senate Committee on Undergraduate Studies. “In the past, we have found that academic integrity had been mentioned many times in the classroom, but a lot of students don’t really know what it means,” said MUN Associate Registrar Echo Pittman, “as a university, it is important for us to tell students what we mean by academic integrity and explain there is a responsibility and an expectation associated with it.” The interactive online courses will become mandatory for all full-time, first-year undergraduate students starting in the fall of 2016, and students will need to pass the courses with a grade above 80% to continue their studies. MUN Gazette

CASA, CAUS condemn UCalgary over MacEwan Hall disagreement

The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations and the Council of Alberta University Students have released separate statements condemning the University of Calgary for allegedly attempting to take over the management of the MacEwan Student Centre. CAUS states that UCalgary’s decision to assume management of the hall “will have a wide ranging impact on relationships between student associations and administrations, not just in Alberta, but across Canada.” CASA emphasizes how student unions advocate on behalf of and provide critical services to students that are “funded in part through revenues generated by operating student centers,” and states that UCalgary’s actions “jeopardize those critical services and are entirely unacceptable.” CAUS | CASA

Four core obligations of liberal arts educators in a “time of war”

“Excuse me for interrupting the third year of superheated committee meetings,” writes Robert Weisbuch for Inside Higher Ed, “but has anyone noticed we are at war?” Weisbuch argues that all liberal arts educators and “advocates of reason” must stand up to the forces of “fundamentalist dogmas” that have been attacking both academia and rational society at large. In order to fight these attacking forces, Weisbuch recommends that liberal arts educators fulfill four core obligations: resist the temptation to shut off reason, maintain the university campus as a place of debate, expand the liberal arts perspective, and turn the focus of liberal arts scholarship more toward public life. Inside Higher Ed

BrandonU accelerates search, appoints full-time sexual violence prevention co-ordinator

Brandon University has hired a full-time social worker and therapist to co-ordinate a sexual violence prevention program on its campus. The appointment of Carla Navid comes in the wake of criticism that the university has faced in recent weeks over its sexual assault response and prevention frameworks. BrandonU officials acknowledged the role that this criticism played in “accelerating” their search for a sexual violence response and prevention co-ordinator. “Due to the gravity of this situation, we did accelerate this process—we felt it was important to get a person in place quickly," said a school statement. “After listening to the feedback we were receiving from members of the community and experts in the field, we decided that creating this position would be a vital step in addressing sexual violence at Brandon University.” CBC | BrandonU | Brandon Sun (Subscription Required)

MSVU and CBU sign agreement for BSc students

Cape Breton University and Mount Saint Vincent University have signed a formal articulation agreement allowing students to complete the first two years of a BSc degree at CBU, and then complete an Honours BSc in Human Nutrition degree at MSVU. The agreement will provide more opportunities to students who want to work in high demand nutrition-related fields. “Such agreements between universities foster the spirit of collaboration which is becoming increasingly important at a time when universities around the globe feel the pressure to compete for students,” says CBU Dean of the School of Professional Studies Carolin Kreber. CBU

“How friendly is academia to LGBT staff?” ask THE contributors

A recent UK study showed that academics are more likely to identify as LGBT than those in almost any other job, write a team of contributors for Times Higher Education, but this does not necessarily mean that universities are a safe haven for LGBT staff. Each of the six contributing authors offers a brief insight into their experience navigating the challenges of institutional cultures and promoting LGBT pride and rights through their research and administrative work. The final contributor concludes that “I am very fortunate that circumstances and then choice have allowed me to be very open about my ‘gayness.’ But I suspect that not everyone, even in Western universities, is so fortunate.” Times Higher Education

US college faculty adapting their teaching for foreign students

As postsecondary institutions become increasingly internationalized, colleges are noticing that their faculty members must also adapt to meet the cultural and pedagogical needs of their new classrooms, writes Karin Fischer for the Chronicle of Higher Education. The article discusses a number of faculty methods for better reaching international students, such as posting lecture slides online, ending lectures early to allow for questions, and providing translations of classroom slides or syllabi. "There are many different ways that students learn, no matter where they are from," says Association of International Education Administrators Executive Director Darla Deardorff, who adds that “changing our strategies doesn’t mean we are ... making our courses any less rigorous.” Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)