Top Ten

July 5, 2016

AB discloses salaries of top-earning PSE employees

Alberta’s public postsecondary institutions have released the salaries of employees making more than $125K per year. According to CBC, the highest-paid executive in AB’s college sector was SAIT President David Ross, who received a total compensation of nearly $518K in 2015. The Edmonton Journal reports that the University of Alberta spent roughly $919K between the compensation packages of outgoing president Indira Samarasekera and incoming president David Turpin. On the faculty side, the province’s highest paid academic was University of Calgary nanotechnology engineer Steven Bryant, who reportedly earned more than $738K in 2015. CBC | Edmonton Journal | Lethbridge Herald | Calgary Herald | CBC (UAlberta faculty)

Canadian scientists take to Twitter to criticize federal research funding changes

Scientists from across Canada are criticizing the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for new changes it has made to its funding procedures, reports CBC. While CIHR’s previous system of peer review gathered experts into a face-to-face setting to read and discuss funding applications, this system has reportedly been replaced by an online, anonymous system of assessment. CBC also reports that the new computerized submission system does not properly process submissions made in French. CIHR's president Alain Beaudet has said that the reforms are “a bit like changing the motor of a plane in flight,” but adds that they are designed to strengthen the review process for health research funding in Canada. CBC

McMaster combines two practice-oriented engineering schools

McMaster University has announced that it will combine its Walter G Booth School of Engineering Practice and its School of Engineering Technology to create the Walter G Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology. According to a university release, the new school will bring together undergraduate and graduate learning to capitalize on the school’s existing strengths in practice-oriented engineering. “The New Booth School will foster synergies between our existing undergraduate and graduate programs and will leverage our strengths in engineering practice,” explained McMaster Dean of Engineering Ishwar Puri. “I’m confident the school will thrive under this new model and I look forward to the many successes of the school’s students and faculty members in future.” McMaster

WLU to create new opportunities for non-traditional students

Wilfrid Laurier University will establish a new access program with help from a $400K donation from the Lyle S Hallman Foundation of Waterloo Region. Through the Laurier Access to University program, Laurier’s Faculty of Arts will partner with the Waterloo-based social agency The Working Centre to assist non-traditional learners—including new Canadians, Indigenous people, those living with disabilities, older unemployed workers—in their transition into PSE. “One of our goals at Laurier is to build a diverse 21st century university by educating a larger proportion of students from outside the traditional cohort of Ontario high school graduates,” said Laurier Dean of Arts Richard Nemesvari. “This program will aid us in enhancing diversity at the university and meeting a real need in our community.” CBC | NationTalk | WLU

University applicants may be detrimentally impacted by Canada Post work stoppage

CBC reports that the potential Canada Post strike or lockout could have a serious impact on university applicants who are currently attempting to send transcripts and related documents to their institutions. “At the end of the day, this whole situation isn't about me, isn't about my situation. This is a Canada-wide impending strike. This would affect all students across Canada,” said a University of Toronto applicant who currently resides outside of ON. U of T Director of Admissions Merike Remmel stated that if the work stoppage goes on for multiple weeks, the university will follow up with affected students to find a solution. CBC

Is millennial skepticism toward university in sync with reality?

Millennials and senior experts might disagree on the value of a university education, suggests a recent article in the Ottawa Citizen. David Cook, a 21 year-old who recently quit a job stocking grocery shelves, told the Citizen that he is skeptical about whether the alleged “one-size-fits-all” model of university education can support students in finding out what they truly want to do with their lives. Yet retired University of Toronto economics professor David Foot argues that the increasing proportion of young people with postsecondary credentials has in fact made a bachelor’s degree “the new high school degree.” Ottawa Citizen

NS minister criticizes administrative leave packages for PSE leaders, but admits they will likely continue

Nova Scotia’s Advanced Education Minister has publicly criticized the practice of universities offering paid administrative leave to executives, yet admits that there is currently no legislation in the works that would prevent the institutions from doing so. CBC reports that a recent MOU signed between the universities and NS declares that boards have “full authority” to set the terms of executive compensation. “There really is no limit on what they can offer,” says Marc Lamoreux, president of the Association of Nova Scotia University Teachers. In the context of Halifax-based University of King’s College, Spokesperson Adriane Abbott argues that “being the president of any university is extremely difficult job, and in order to get qualified people, compensation packages are what they are.” CBC

“Has the tenure model become outdated?” ask UWN contributors

“Has the tenure model become outdated? And if so, is it time to eliminate it altogether?” ask PhD student Samantha Bernstein and professor Adrianna Kezar in World University News. Speaking to a US context, the authors note that only 30% of university professors are tenured or on a tenure track, with the remainder being made up of part-time contract employees. One of the primary reasons for revisiting the question of tenure, the authors argue, is the nearly exclusive association between tenure-track jobs and research, which can leave teaching to be an afterthought. The authors conclude that rather than eliminating tenure, universities will need to introduce more teaching-centered tenured positions if they wish to remain relevant in a changing postsecondary landscape. University World News

New accreditation to give MRU HR grads a direct path to professional designation

Mount Royal University has reportedly become the first institution in Alberta to be accredited by the Human Resources Institute of Alberta. The designation will allow graduates of MRU’s Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in human resources—and a minimum of a B-minus average—to receive a Certified Human Resources Professional designation without having to take the National Knowledge Exam. “When we learned of this accreditation, we jumped on the opportunity quickly because we knew our program was comprehensive, academically rigorous and strongly tied to what employers were looking for,” said Melanie Peacock, PhD and associate professor at Mount Royal University. MRU

Students will make earnest attempt to perform homework even when given the chance to cheat, says new study

A new study from the University of California, Riverside has found that students will make an honest attempt to answer homework questions even when they have the opportunity to see the answers without penalty. According to Inside Higher Ed, the study was designed to produce further knowledge about one of the biggest questions surrounding online learning: whether students learning at their own pace will rush through questions or take the necessary time to learn. While the report found that some questions produced lower levels of “earnestness” in students’ level of effort, researchers concluded that this difference stemmed largely from the quality of the questions being asked rather than the subject matter or the students. Inside Higher Ed | Report