Top Ten

July 7, 2016

Carleton sexual violence prevention policy consultant resigns

The chief consultant for Carleton University’s sexual violence prevention policy has resigned, reports the Ottawa Citizen. Joan Riggs was hired by Carleton to coordinate the development of the school’s new policy, but she reportedly resigned in May before the policy was completed. This resignation comes in the wake of previous presentations of the school’s draft policy, which reportedly became confrontational due to disagreements about the inclusion of the term “rape culture.” Academics and union representatives say that they have not been informed on Riggs’ reasons for leaving. “I thought she was incredibly capable and incredibly fair. She had done her homework,” said Dawn Moore, Equity Chair of the Carleton University Academic Staff Association. “We were all very discouraged when we heard she had left the process.” Ottawa Citizen

Consensus is building around the advantages of blended learning, says new report

“A consensus is emerging that blended learning … will become the most common approach to teaching and learning in higher education,” writes Sir John Daniel for Contact North | Contact Nord. Daniel explains that ever since the enthusiasm for MOOCs died down, a growing number of higher ed stakeholders are embracing blended learning as the best possible option for offering some of the benefits of online learning without completely losing the student-teacher interactions that are crucial for high quality instruction. Daniel offers a brief review of the effectiveness of technology-based learning, and concludes with a discussion of blended learning's place within the broader history of education. Contact North | Contact Nord

ACAD students protest over registration, accessibility concerns

Students at the Alberta College for Art and Design gathered earlier this week to voice a number of concerns to the school’s administration. The protest included a circulating petition, a wall of Post-it notes outlining students’ issues, and an open microphone. Metro reports that the issues raised included lost transcripts, improper course choices, poor mental health supports, and inadequate accessibility. ACAD Vice President, Research and Academic Affairs Alison Miyauchi said that the school would collect and assess the Post-it comments and other student input, yet added that some of the claims made by the student group about ACAD’s administration have been “very misleading.” Metro | The Gauntlet | 660 News | Calgary Herald

Transferrable skills are difficult, yet not impossible to instill, writes HEQCO contributor

Employers and postsecondary institutions are showing more interest in transferrable skills such as grit, curiosity, and determination, writes Sarah Brumwell for the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, yet it is unclear how well current teaching methods are instilling these skills. Brumwell notes that one of the biggest challenges with teaching such skills is the fact that they are often deeply entwined with the personalities of individual learners. Further, these skills are often part of a broader ecosystem that has informed a student’s personality. For these reasons, Brumwell suggests that teachers break transferrable skills down into smaller, more manageable parts when designing curricula. HEQCO

Parody Trump Twitter account brings attention to academic diversity issues, faculty divides

“Many of the great faculty jobs people of our country want are long gone, shipped to other countries. We now are part time, sad! I WILL FIX!” claims the parody Twitter account @ScientistTrump that has brought humour to serious discussions within the academy. The Chronicle of Higher Education discusses how the satirical account has highlighted issues such as a lack of diversity, low funding levels, and sexual harassment within the ivory tower. “Trump’s politics of division and singling out winners and losers, we definitely have that in academia,” commented Queen’s University PhD Candidate Stephanie Coen. Chronicle of Higher Education

Brock fundraising campaign surpasses goal, closes with historic $94M

Brock University has raised $94M in what it is calling the most successful fundraising campaign in the school’s history. Titled Bold New Brock, the campaign was launched in 2009 by university President Jack Lightstone with a target of $75M. A Brock release states that the funds raised by the campaign have had “a huge impact” in supporting the construction of modern campus facilities, bolstering research, and expanding student aid through scholarships and bursaries. “More than providing the resources that enabled us to improve our facilities and student supports, it has also given us the opportunity to work with new and familiar partners to enhance the student experience,” said Lightstone. Brock

Why does the myth of the English-grad barista still exist?

We have mountains of data showing that English majors do not end up working at Starbucks, writes Robert Matz for Inside Higher Ed, which begs the question of why this myth remains so compelling for so many people. Matz admits that while English majors require more time to “demonstrate their resourcefulness” on the job market, statistics consistently show that they are successful in doing so. The author suggests that rather than reflecting a labour market reality, the English major barista trope betrays a deeper public resentment towards those who perform fulfilling intellectual work that can take place in a coffee house more easily than a laboratory. Inside Higher Ed

uSudbury to offer French-language journalism and public relations program in Windsor

The University of Sudbury has announced that it will offer a French-language journalism and public relations program through Collège Boréal’s campus in Windsor this fall. According to, the course will be led by radio and television journalist Gerard Malo and is designed to appeal to “those working in the field of communications and are seeking additional training; those who wish to pursue their university postsecondary education; and those simply interested in deepening their knowledge or studies in communications, public relations and most certainly in journalism.” | Sudbury Star

Shad summer program sends 700 top high school students to 12 Canadian campuses

This summer, 700 of Canada’s top high school students are attending a month-long summer program called Shad Valley while living in residence at one of 12 host universities. The program reports that to date, its alumni include more than 30 Rhodes scholars. The ambitions of this year’s student cohort include reducing the infant mortality rate in developing countries, developing a smartphone app to find the best positioning for solar panels, and supporting the design of artificial organs. Global News | Calgary Herald | CBC

Beware of false predictions when using data in higher ed, writes IHE contributor

“Much of the data we look at to improve our futures only explains our pasts,” explains John Warner for Inside Higher Ed, which is why decision-makers should be wary of using data to predict future outcomes or behaviours for students. The author’s main contention is that while data can offer an excellent view of what is happening in higher ed, it rarely offers a strong explanation for why something is happening. Rather, the author suggests that data trends will often cause decision-makers to see causal connections in places where they do not exist. Warner concludes that he is “not against data collection or using technology to help students succeed,” but he cautions readers to remember that “we have a long history of ignoring what’s important for what’s convenient.” Inside Higher Ed

Hard truths about alcohol and orientation

Fact over fiction and the proactive approach to shaping alcohol policies on campus.

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