Top Ten

July 8, 2016

Former CEGEP executive charged with fraud over stolen public funds

A former Director of Finance at the CEGEP Édouard-Montpetit in Longueuil has been formally charged with fraud for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars in public funds. According to le Journal de Montréal, the anticorruption group Unité permanente has accused Stephanie Paquette of committing fraud for personal enrichment using funds that were intended to support public education. Paquette faces additional charges of breach of trust, uttering a forged document, and mischief. The CEGEP’s current Director of Communications Alain Legault expressed disappointment at the situation, calling it a “betrayal of the college’s direction and the entire college community.” Journal de Montréal | Montreal Gazette

MUN Marine Institute looks to become “world-class facility” with help of $3M from Canada

Memorial University’s Marine Institute has received $3M from the federal government to help it become a “world-class facility” for research and training on ocean technology. CBC reports that the goals of the funding include construction of a new breakwater wharf and additional underwater infrastructure. NL MP Ken McDonald highlighted the new funding’s potential to boost regional economic development, explaining in a release that the facility “has allowed a rural community to view ocean technology as a source of economic development for the town and surrounding region.” CBC

More university will not necessarily get millennials their dream jobs, writes Ottawa Citizen contributor

“As a society, we are pumping more university graduates into a job market that doesn’t require their skills,” writes Randall Denley for the Ottawa Citizen. The author cites a 2016 report from the Parliamentary Budget Office that found that 40% of university graduates aged 25 to 34 are overqualified for their jobs. While Denley admits that university grads earn more over their lifetime than those without such education, he questions whether this trend can continue if Canada’s proportion of overqualified workers continues to grow or remains the same. The author concludes that “when it comes to work, people could use less dreaming and more realism,” adding that “most people will do ordinary jobs for ordinary pay but that doesn’t mean you can’t lead an exceptional life.” Ottawa Citizen

UBC grad students train peers to identify and intervene in sexual misconduct

The Graduate Student Society at UBC has launched a program designed to train students on when and how to intervene when they witness incidents of sexual assault and harassment.  GSS President Glen Cruz says that the program has so far trained 13 volunteer student facilitators who will lead workshops and training sessions with other students. The program was reportedly developed in response to a number of recent stories about sexual assault on postsecondary campuses in BC. Metro reports that the program will also be used to compliment UBC’s official policy on sexual assault, which is currently in the process of being finalized. Metro

The Online Paradox: Who benefits from online courses?

While online courses have been plagued by poor completion rates, high failure rates, and low grades, studies have also found higher degree completion rates among students who take at least one online course, writes Jeffrey Young for the Chronicle of Higher Education. This apparently contradictory pattern is sometimes called the “online paradox,” and Young contends that understanding it requires an examination of different subgroups to identify students who are benefited by these courses, and those who need face-to-face interaction with an instructor in a traditional classroom. The article highlights some examples of these subgroups and calls for more data so that the phenomenon can be further examined. Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

BC invests nearly $1.56M in trades equipment for BCIT students

British Columbia has invested nearly $1.56M in funding to the British Columbia Institute of Technology to purchase new training equipment and replace aging equipment. According to a BC release, these improvements will support trades programs that train students for careers as machinists, boilermakers, plumbers, and more. BCIT student Mike Kalashnikoff said that “being familiar with the same type of equipment that employers are using will allow me to hit the ground running for maximum efficiency and productivity on the job-site.” BC

UCN paying $177K for unused 5-year lease for troubled midwifery program

CBC reports that the University College of the North is still leasing space at the University of Winnipeg for its defunct midwifery program at a reported cost of $177K a year, despite the fact that UCN’s program was moved to the University of Manitoba in 2013 by a provincial government decision. UCN and uWinnipeg signed a leasing agreement for space for the midwifery program from April 2012 to March 2017, and while the leased area has been used for other programs, it has allegedly been vacant for the last four months. There also have been conflicting reports of whether it was a governmental or institutional choice to close the UCN program. Education Minister Ian Wishart reportedly blamed UManitoba, while the Winnipeg Free Press has quoted UManitoba Public Affairs Director John Danakas as stating that both schools “were on board. Government pulled the funding.” Winnipeg Free Press | CBC (1) | CBC (2)

Doctoral students must be prepared to not become professors, writes career coach

The realities of the academic job market mean that most PhD graduates will not become tenure-track professors, writes Christine Kelly for Inside Higher Ed, yet many doctoral students still refuse to make any plans for an alternative career. A main reason for this, Kelly argues, is that many of these students have “a very unrealistic idea of what the job of a university professor entails.” Kelly concludes by urging doctoral students to at least prepare themselves for the possibility that they will not become professors, adding, “if you are resistant, I hope you will try to reach outside your comfort zone and explore your options.” Inside Higher Ed

Ottawa says there are “limits to what it can do” to help U of T student detained in Bangladesh

Global Affairs Canada has stated that it has limited options for helping free a University of Toronto student who has been detained by police following a terrorist attack in Bangladesh. Tahmid Khan, a permanent Canadian resident, was detained by police for questioning last Saturday after authorities rescued him and 12 others from a Dhaka café that had been stormed by armed attackers. The attackers reportedly killed 20 hostages and two police officers before the situation was brought under control. Citing Khan’s permanent residence status, Global Affairs Spokesperson Austin Jean told CBC that “there are limits to what any country can do for individuals who are not citizens of that country.” It is reportedly not clear at this time if and when the authorities in Bangladesh plan to release Khan. CBC | Hamilton Spectator (CP) (Khan detained)

“What will happen if professors scale back their unpaid work?” ask THE contributors

The wheels of academia would not turn without countless acts of goodwill and reciprocity, but one must ask how long professors will continue to take on additional duties without proper compensation, write a team of contributors to Times Higher Education. Whether it’s paying out of pocket to attend certain conferences, reviewing manuscripts for journals, or serving as an external examiner for a dissertation, professors routinely perform unpaid, yet vital work that is taken for granted by their institutions. One author suggests that as academia becomes more competitive and professor’s time more precious, universities might not be able to continue counting on professors to shoulder the same amount of unpaid work. Times Higher Education