Top Ten

July 21, 2016

Pan-Canadian network to unite in fight against campus sexual assault

An informal network of activists fighting campus-based sexual assault has emerged across Canada over the past year, reports the Canadian Press, and now the group is planning to meet to discuss specific ways to hold schools more accountable. The group’s goals include spreading knowledge about human rights law and advocating for the establishment of clear consequences for institutions that do not do enough to protect students. Organizer Mandi Gray explains that she finds comfort in sharing her experiences with others, but adds that “on the other hand, it’s absolutely terrifying to know that if I’m raped or assaulted, whether as a graduate student or a professor, there is absolutely no safety net for me.” Lethbridge Herald (CP)

UNB makes new provisions for bereavement leave, research in CBA with faculty association

The board of governors at the University of New Brunswick has ratified a new four-year collective agreement with the Association of University of New Brunswick Teachers Full-Time membership. The agreement will include salary increases of 0.9% every six months beginning on July 1, 2016. It also includes new amendments to policies regarding bereavement leave, research, and other issues. “We are pleased to have reached an agreement that works for everyone,” said UNB Chief Negotiator Van Lantz. “Our intent from the beginning was to be transparent and collaborative, and the AUNBT team reciprocated.” UNB

Turkey bans academics from travelling, calls for resignation of all university deans

Turkey’s ruling government has issued a universal travel ban on all academics in the country following a failed military coup last week. The ban also came one day after the government suspended more than 15,000 education workers and called for the resignation of all the country’s university deans. The government has characterized the measures as part of an attempt to expose and stop a widespread anti-government conspiracy. Critics are accusing the government of using the coup as an opportunity to abuse its power and quash political dissent. The Spectator

NS report identifies major opportunities for province’s PSE institutions

Nova Scotia’s higher education community is in a unique position to drive a “socioeconomic turnaround” in the province, writes NowNS in the Chronicle Herald. Citing the 2014 Ivany report, the article discusses how “the universities and NSCC … are major employers in their communities, they generate the lion’s share of research and development activity in the province and they increasingly function as an export sector with growing numbers of out-of-province and international students.” The article concludes by highlighting some of the Ivany report’s recommendations for NS higher ed moving forward. Chronicle Herald

The rise of altmetrics in measuring scholarly influence

The growing need to demonstrate the value of research is leading academics to use “altmetrics” or non-traditional measures to show the impact of their work, writes theChronicle of Higher Education. Rather than relying on conventional signs of scholarly influence such as citations, professors are finding it necessary to record how often an article is tweeted, blogged about, mentioned in mainstream media, bookmarked, or viewed on a journal’s website. Jason Priem, who coined the term “altmetrics” in a 2010 Tweet, discusses the growing popularity of altmetrics and whether these measures will eventually become the norm for measuring scholarly impact. Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

UFV’s co-op education receives vote of confidence from national accreditor

The University of the Fraser Valley has bolstered its students’ chances for career success by earning national accreditation for three of its co-op education programs. UFV’s Cooperative Education programs in Arts, Professional Studies, and Science have all received accreditation from the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education. According to the UFV release, the designation signals that the programs have demonstrated a rigorous and standardized approach to achieving the core goals of such education. “We are very pleased to have earned this accreditation from CAFCE and know it will further assist UFV students in their pursuit of career and education-related goals and success,” said Jody Gordon, Vice President, Students and Enrolment Management at UFV. UFV

uSask to build new ice rinks with $1M support from Saskatoon

The University of Saskatchewan will now be able to replace the over 80 year-old Rutherford Rink with the help of a $1M commitment from the city of Saskatoon. The terms of the commitment reportedly state that the ice will be available for Saskatoon Minor Hockey, public skating, and other sports programs. Vancouver Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins expressed his support for the agreement, noting that “it’s about time. They’ve turned out a lot of great players and I think they need a great facility to play in.”

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US professors brace for arrival of concealed guns in classrooms

US college professors are considering moving their fall classes to designated “gun free” zones such as churches and football stadiums to prevent their students from carrying concealed guns, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education. Eight states—Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin—have passed laws allowing licensed gun owners to bring concealed weapons onto college campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. An informal survey conducted by theChronicle last fall showed that some of its readers planned to purchase weapons themselves and were “thinking twice about assigning low grades to troubled students.” Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

Dal Faculty Association challenges closure of daycare centre at Agricultural Campus

The Dalhousie Faculty Association is challenging a decision by the administration at Dalhousie University to close the daycare centre on the school’s Agricultural Campus in Bible Hill. A faculty association release states that the group has written a letter to university president Richard Florizone stating that “the provision of daycare facilities is an important and necessary benefit for Members of the DFA Bargaining Unit.” “The daycare centre on the Faculty of Agriculture campus provides a crucial support for junior faculty members with young families, as they establish their teaching and research careers,” said DFA President Laurene Rehman. DFA

BCIT, Siemens collaborate to help protect energy grids from attack

The British Columbia Institute of Technology and Siemens have entered into a partnership that focuses on research and commercialization opportunities in smart grid cyber security and microgrids. Electric Energy Online writes that as energy grids become more connected and sophisticated, they also face growing threats of cyberattack, making cybersecurity a “critical and mandatory issue for grid operators today.” BCIT President Kathy Kinloch commented that the partnership “has been very productive and with the signing of this MOU, I am excited to continue working together to develop the effective operation and security for microgrids through solution based research." Electric Energy Online