Top Ten

June 8, 2016

How are Canada’s journalism schools responding to the TRC?

Since Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its final report last year, a number of PSE institutions have moved to address the report’s call to educate future journalists on Aboriginal issues, reports CBC. Janice Neil, Associate Chair of Journalism at Ryerson University, explains that the essential background knowledge of “the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations” outlined in the TRC appears to be lacking in most journalists responsible for covering Aboriginal-related issues. UBC Professor Duncan McCue adds that “journalists just don’t understand the protocols and they don’t understand the history and that means they go into First Nation communities without a full toolbox, and that’s why we see a lack of depth in the coverage we’ve seen in the past.” CBC | UBC

Female CIHR grant applicants have lower success rates than male counterparts

Experts are expressing concern about the potential effects of gender bias on science funding, reports the Ottawa Citizen. This concern has most recently arisen in connection with the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, which has found a discrepancy in the success rates of female and male applicants to its new Foundation grants program. A review of the program found that while women made up 37% of the funding applicants, they made up only 27% of those who received funding. “Women are not succeeding at the rate that we would expect over time and we don’t know why so we have got to dig into that,” says Peggy Borbey, director general with the institute’s investigator initiated research branch. “There should be no reason that women aren’t as successful as men over time.” Ottawa Citizen

Canada announces over $32 M for upgrade, repair of Canadian Coast Guard College

The Government of Canada has announced over $32 M in infrastructure investments for the Canadian Coast Guard College. These investments will include the replacement of the college’s roof, and mechanical and sprinkler systems; a variety of repairs and upgrades for the improvement of safety and security at the college; the installation of solar heaters and high efficiency boilers; and the improvement of fire roads and emergency exits. Canada's Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, Dominic LeBlanc commented that “these upgrades to the Canadian Coast Guard College will contribute to a clean growth economy, replacing energy sources with cleaner and greener technologies.” Canada

“Can higher ed actually teach critical thinking?” asks IHE contributor

Look at the mission statements of any number of higher ed institutions and you are bound to find claims about fostering critical thinking skills, writes John Schlueter for Inside Higher Ed. Yet the author argues that “we have not found evidence that colleges or universities teach critical-thinking skills with any success.” Schlueter points to research based on scores from the US Collegiate Learning Assessment that shows higher ed students “make little gain in critical-thinking skills” between the first and last years of PSE. Critics of this research argue that it is nearly impossible to create a clear metric for gauging critical thinking, but Schlueter insists that until we reach some common definition and measurement of this skill, “we can’t be sure that it even exists.” Inside Higher Ed

Canadore launches new Aboriginal Women in the Trades program

Canadore College has officially launched its new Aboriginal Women in the Trades program. According to a Canadore release, the 12-week in-person certificate program focuses on four key areas: building construction, electrical, plumbing, and carpentry. “Our First Nations people are improving the economic and social environment of their communities through education,” says Judy Manitowabi, Manager of the First Peoples’ Centre Community Based and Contract Training at Canadore College. “Increasing the capacity for skilled labour in our communities lays a positive foundation for healthy growth and sustainable practices.” 16 women are enrolled in the program for its first year. NationTalk | Canadore

Gala raises over $2.1 M for McGill cancer research

A recent gala in Montreal has raised over $2.1 M for cancer research at McGill University. According to a McGill release, the funds raised by the 4th Goodman Cancer Research Gala will be used to “fund foundational research, more effective diagnostic tools and the development of new treatments and therapies for cancer patients.” This gala is reportedly the first to take place since the passing of its namesake, Rosalind Goodman, who lost her personal battle with cancer in August 2014. “The McGill and Montreal communities remain committed to Rosalind Goodman’s vision of supporting the important work being done by the internationally-acclaimed researchers at the Goodman Cancer Research Centre,” said McGill Principal Suzanne Fortier. McGill

Adjunct unions will not solve the bigger problem with higher ed, writes Washington Post contributor

While many adjuncts across the US are successfully unionizing, this success will not solve the underlying problem that plagues PSE, writes Lisa Liberty Becker for the Washington Post. Becker argues that the gains made by adjunct unions might bring incremental benefits for some teachers, but the true problem is the “educational structure that shortchanges students by skimping on teaching.” Becker concludes that the problem that truly needs to be addressed is the fact that “the university system has gone the way of Walmart, profiting from the continued manipulation of the lowest rung. … You can give that lowest rung more pay and say it’s better than nothing, but a 50% raise on low pay still equals low pay, and one-year contracts don’t provide stability.” Washington Post

Laurentian, Cambrian, Boréal sign agreement to create more cross-institution opportunities for students

Cambrian College, Collège Boréal, and Laurentian University have signed an agreement that will boost collaboration between the schools and allow for easier transfer of credits between the institutions, reports CBC. The schools are also reportedly open to changing some of their degree and diploma requirements to allow students to take classes at more than one institution while completing a single program. “I think the key is to make sure that individuals know what the possible paths are to get where they want to go, and make sure that we as three institutions are not creating barriers to that understanding,” said Cambrian President Bill Best. CBC

U of T Campus food providers under pressure from students to revamp menus

In response to calls for changes by students, faculty, and staff, the University of Toronto’s St George campus is reportedly cutting ties with its food service provider to meet a growing appetite for fresh meals on campus. U of T Director of Ancillary Services Anne Macdonald explained that the move will centralize the campus’s food operations to a main kitchen that will be able to provide fresh food to retail outlets around campus. The campus’ changes include purchasing more local, seasonal produce, and having chefs cook soups and sauces from scratch instead of ordering from a production facility. CBC

Former students of defunct Everest finally graduate

Students from the defunct Everest College were finally able to graduate and collect their diplomas from the Canadian College of Health, Science, and Technology last Friday. Everest lost its license to operate in 14 locations across Ontario last year after the Ontario’s Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities found that it was “no longer satisfied that Everest could be expected to be financially responsible.” The Canadian College reportedly reached out to the government after Everest’s closure to see if it could assist with the situation. Funded in part or in whole by the training completion assurance fund, students were able to enter and graduate from programs at Canadian College. Windsor Star