Top Ten

July 15, 2016

CIHR cancels financing reforms in wake of scientist backlash

Canada’s primary health research funding body has agreed to cancel a controversial reform to its processes in response to widespread criticism from scientists. A central point of contention in the new changes was the shift from face-to-face peer reviewer meetings to an anonymous online system, a change that CIHR President Alan Beaudet says will now be reversed. Bill Tholl of HealthCareCan says that the decision is “a big win for health research in this country.” Beaudet adds that CIHR “heard the concerns of the community” while noting that the system “can only work with the community on board.” Ottawa Citizen

SK students can’t keep picking up the tab on PSE operating costs, says students’ union president

Saskatchewan cannot expect students to keep shouldering the costs put on universities by declining provincial funding, says the president of the University of Regina’s Students’ Union. Reflecting on eight consecutive tuition increases at uRegina, Jermain McKenzie argues that any model that relies on tuition for a growing proportion of university operating budgets is doomed to collapse. Referring to the rising cost of living and attending school, McKenzie asks, “where are students expected to get that money from? We don’t have a life savings, we don’t have a career, we’re trying to obtain a career, why is there this huge hindrance?” StarPhoenix (CP)

Lakehead grows international research influence with new Brazil-based MOU

Lakehead University has expanded its global research partnerships through a new agreement with a Brazil-based research foundation. An MOU recently signed by Lakehead and the Fundacao de Amparo a Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais commits the partners to exchange researchers and foster new joint research projects and training programs. “Similar to Ontario, [Minas Gerais] is a large state with diversified scenarios for economic, technological and academic opportunities that will benefit Lakehead University's researchers,” said Frederico Oliveira, an assistant professor of anthropology at Lakehead. Lakehead

Three tips for supporting candidates on the academic job market

The academic job market can be an especially trying market to navigate, according to Rutgers University Professor Stina Soderling, which is why mentors need to be aware of what forms of encouragement will and won’t help young job candidates. The author outlines three key ways to support candidates and avoid accidentally causing frustration or anxiety with well-meaning platitudes. Soderling urges supporters to avoid statements such as “I’m sure you’ll get a job soon,” or “you’re doing really well,” which one job seeker explains may sound “patronizing … and completely devoid of … material concerns such as HOW I will eat [or] pay rent.” Instead, Soderling recommends validating the job seeker’s experience, encouraging them not to focus all of their energy on their job hunt, and supporting their decisions during the search process. Inside Higher Ed

Banks cast their recruiting gaze on students not studying finance

Large investment banks are ramping up their efforts to recruit students who are not studying finance, reports the Globe and Mail. The goal of these efforts is to improve workplace culture and employee retention by making the banking sector more appealing to people with a broad range of educational backgrounds and career goals. Deloitte’s Head of Financial Services Margaret Doyle adds that banks are also making new efforts to promote work-life balance in their sector, noting that employers face an unprecedented demand to work in dialogue with employees’ aspirations instead of dictating working conditions through a “one-way conversation.” According to a Deloitte report, the popularity of banking sector jobs has also slipped by 25% among business school students since 2008. Globe and Mail (Subscription Required)

Obama becomes first sitting president to publish in Journal of the American Medical Association

US President Barack Obama returned to his academic roots by publishing a recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, reportedly becoming the first sitting president to do so. Inside Higher Ed writes that the article, titled “United States Health Care Reform: Progress to Date and Next Steps,” examines the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and offers proposals for improving the American health care system. Obama obtained a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and a JD from Harvard Law School in 1991 before spending 12 years teaching at the University of Chicago Law School. Inside Higher Ed

UQÀM supports “collective living” with new program in condominium management

The Université de Québec à Montréal has announced that it will soon offer a new training program in condominium management with support from top trainers in the field. A university release states that the program comes in response to the rise of “collective living” in the real estate sector, which has resulted in a growing need for professionals who understand the legal and social commitments involved in working with homeowners’ associations. “Our ultimate goal is to increase the skills of participants who follow this training so they can use best management strategies to promote the condo model and ensure it becomes the number one choice for consumers,” says lawyer and appointed UQÀM trainer Yves Joli-Coeur. UQÀM

Give students both essays and tests regardless of their field of study, says CV contributor

When it comes to STEM and the humanities, “nowhere is the gap [between the two] more noticeable than in methods of assessment,” writes David Gooblar of Chronicle Vitae. In light of the growing appeal of interdisciplinarity, Gooblar tackles the tendency to assign tests to STEM students and writing to humanities students, and discusses the benefits of assigning both to each group. Assigning low-stakes tests can enable humanities students to benefit from the “testing effect,” where the very act of needing to retrieve information helps retain it. Asking STEM students to write, on the other hand, allows them to advance from fact recitation to “knowledge transformation” and teaches them to think through more complex issues on a page. Chronicle Vitae

TRU students to access newest trade tools with support of $300K from BC

Trades students at Thompson Rivers University will have access to hands-on training with the most up-to-date equipment thanks to a $300K investment from British Columbia. The funds will be used to purchase equipment related to the school’s cook training, mechanical, welding, automotive, millwright and carpentry programs. “By training our students with up-to-date equipment they will have an advantage going forward into the work force,” said TRU Carpentry Instructor Tim Kasten. TRU

Professor’s advice to young academics: find a niche and build on it

Academia is a world in which reputation is everything, writes Robert McIntosh for Times Higher Education, and young scholars looking to build their reputations should lay claim to a specialized area as early and as aggressively as possible. In addition to this advice, McIntosh offers 10 tips for young academics looking to make a name for themselves on the job market. These tips include befriending an established leader in your area of choice, building your brand, volunteering often and early, and finding the right tone when presenting yourself and your work. Times Higher Education