Top Ten

June 20, 2016

Canada provides new funding for college, polytechnic social innovation projects

The federal government has announced that it will provide $7.4M to support colleges and polytechnics in providing “the discoveries, innovations and experiences that result in strong social and health benefits.” A federal release states that the funds will be used specifically to support 35 research projects addressing a variety of issues, ranging from childhood development to Indigenous entrepreneurship. “The projects funded today will help connect the applied research of our colleges and polytechnics to the communities that stand to benefit from them the most,” said Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan. Canada

BC advocacy group publishes sexual violence response guidelines for universities

An advocacy group in British Columbia has released a set of ten guidelines to help postsecondary institutions address problems with sexual assault reporting on campus. Released by Ending Violence BC, the guidelines offer recommendations on appropriate measures regarding confidentiality in the reporting process. The group's executive director Tracy Porteous explains that one pitfall with many reporting methods is that they can mandate the reporting of a student’s complaint throughout a university's administration, despite the student’s desires. Porteous adds that “because it is so dehumanizing and humiliating, the issues around confidentiality are paramount.” CBC | Montreal Gazette

CUSC releases results of 2016 First-Year Student Survey

The Canadian University Survey Consortium has released the results of its 2016 First-Year Student Survey, which tracks the attitudes and perceptions of nearly 15,000 first-year students from 34 universities across Canada. Overall, students indicated that the three most important reasons for selecting their university were: their university has the program they wanted to take (33%), they wanted to live close to home (16%), and their program had a work experience program (12%). Compared to the CUSC’s 2013 survey, the 2016 report shows that students self-reporting as being a member of a visible minority rose from 36% to 40%. Those self-identifying as having a disability rose form 9% to 22%, with 12% of the 2016 group characterizing the disability as a mental health issue. CUSC | Report

Suicide prevention training now a mandatory part of social work curriculum

Suicide prevention training is now mandatory for all social work students studying in Canada, due to the recent passing of a student-led motion at a meeting of the Canadian Association for Social Work Education. The Record reports that the motion was spearheaded by three students from Renison University College at the University of Waterloo. “We're really excited that started here in Kitchener-Waterloo and now it will be spread across Canada,” said Stephanie Meek, a bachelor of social work student at Renison who was involved with forwarding the motion. The Record

Carleton cybersecurity program receives $3M

A cybersecurity resource program at Carleton University will receive $3M as part of an $8M federal investment in Ottawa’s new Innovation Centre. According to a Carleton release, the Global Cybersecurity Resource Program will be run by the university’s Technology Innovation Management Program and will support entrepreneurs with cybersecurity expertise, as well as aiding in the development of commercial cybersecurity solutions. Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains noted that “we are becoming more digitized in everything we do. Digitization is taking place in every sector from forestry to mining to agriculture to healthcare and so how do we make sure that when we digitize all these different sectors we provide security measures as well?” Carleton

BC releases new orientation manual for PSE board members

British Columbia has published a new orientation manual to guide and support postsecondary governance throughout the province. Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson explains that the new manual is “intended to be a guide that university, college and institute board members in British Columbia can use as a reference document throughout their term.” A BC release adds that the manual was developed in consultation with a number of current postsecondary institution board directors. The manual outlines a number of key topics including roles and responsibilities, accountability, the advanced education system in British Columbia, and ministry/government plans and priorities. BC | Manual

College students accuse ON Labour Relations Board of “undervaluing part-time student workers”

The College Student Alliance has issued a press release stating that a recent decision by the Ontario Labour Relations Board will generate “unfair barriers” for part-time student works by allowing a crucial vote to take place in June. According to the release, the OLRB recently approved a request by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union to hold a vote “as soon as possible” on whether part-time student employees on college campuses will be represented under OPSE’s College Collective Bargaining Act. “In March 2016, students represented 46% of the bargaining unit. Between June 20-30 2016, they will only represent  26%; by  approving  a  vote  to  be  held  in  June,  OLRB  undervalues  part-time  student workers and their worth," says Ciara Byrne, director of advocacy at CSA. CSA

SFU to decrease gas emissions at Burnaby campus 85% with new deal

Simon Fraser University has completed a negotiation with Corix Multi-Utility Services Inc to build and operate a new Central Energy Plant that would reduce SFU’s campus greenhouse gas emissions by 69% overall, and emissions from heating by 85%.“The development of this biomass heating plant will allow SFU to surpass the Provincial mandated GHG reduction target for 2020,” explained SFU Chief Facilities Officer Larry Waddell, who added that this also puts SFU on track to meet the 2050 reduction target. SFU’s existing natural gas plant will be used to provide peaking and back-up capacity via a connection pipeline between the Central Energy Plant and the natural gas plant. SFU

No substitute for persistence in sluggish economy, says MRU instructor

“It looks like this downturn thing is here to stay. Calgary is clearly in transition,” writes Heather Heasman for CBC. Drawing on her experience as a contract faculty member at Mount Royal University, Heasman notes that she often wonders about whether and how the students passing through her institution will find employment in a difficult economy. For this reason, Heasman’s first piece of advice for new graduates is simply “apply for everything.” In addition, Heasman recommends that students who think they need 100% of the qualifications listed on a job application need to “apply anyway.” “We are in this together and things will eventually improve,” the author concludes. “However, in the meantime … don't give up. Don't take ‘no’ or no response from a potential employer as the final answer.” CBC

ON gives nearly $17M for uWindsor-FCA automotive research

Nearly $17M of a $85.8M grant given by the Ontario Government to FCA Canada will go towards enhancing innovative research at the University of Windsor - Fiat Chrysler Canada Automotive Research and Development Centre. “Collaboration between academia and industry is at the heart of innovative clusters around the world,” commented uWindsor President Alan Wildeman. “As at every university and college in Ontario, we have researchers and creative minds that want to bring solutions to the challenges and opportunities that our province’s industries are navigating. We are very grateful to the many ways in which the province is supporting that goal.” uWindsor