Top Ten

July 25, 2016

Judge finds YorkU student guilty of sexual assault, rejects “myths of rape” in verdict

“Ontario Court Justice Marvin Zuker changed the landscape of sexual assault and the criminal justice system” last week, reports the Toronto Sun. The judge found York University student Mustafa Ururyar guilty of sexually assaulting fellow PhD student Mandi Gray, issuing a 179-page verdict that attacked the “myths of rape” that Zuker alleges have historically been used by courts to discredit sexual assault victims. Gray has also filed a human rights complaint against YorkU “for lacking clear policies and protocols for students sexually assaulted by classmates or staff.” “I don't know how York University is going to respond to this," she said in an interview with CBC, “so my life remains—well in a lot of ways I have closure, in some sense—in a lot of ways my life just continues in shambles.” Toronto Star | Times Colonist | CBC

Laurentian looks to support, attract more students with $51M campus modernization

Laurentian University is working to better support current students and attract new ones with a new $51M campus construction project, reports CBC. Now entering its final stages, the project will include a new Executive Learning Centre, University Club, main campus entrance, and a sharing and learning centre to support the school’s more than 1,000 Indigenous students. Laurentian Executive Director of Facility Services Brad Parkes explains that the last time Laurentian made upgrades to its campus was in the 1960’s. Many of the new facilities and renovations are expected to be completed by the beginning of the fall semester. CBC

Parents plan to invest part of Canada Child Benefit in PSE, poll finds

Postsecondary education is among the areas parents plan to invest their Canada Child Benefit (CCB), according to a recent poll commissioned by Knowledge First Financial. Respondents said they would allocate 22% of their CCB to PSE savings for their child, following the 37% for day-to-day expenses which occupied the top spot. 29% of parents polled believe the most important reason for saving for PSE is because it is a basic requirement in today’s job market. Other respondents said the most important reason is because PSE helps to develop practical/job skills (23%) and analytical skills (18%), and fosters life experience and personal growth (16%). Knowledge First Financial

BC gives more than $5M for new trades equipment, training seats at VIU

With new funding, the BC government is helping trades students at Vancouver Island University get hands-on training to develop skills for in-demand careers as part of the province’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint. The government has made a new investment of $187K in industry standard trades training equipment, as well as $4.8M to support 1,366 trades seats. The new funding will be used to buy equipment for a variety of trades programs. Since the launch of the Blueprint, VIU has received $1.5 million toward equipment, and $1.9 million for 372 additional critical trades-training seats. VIU

Canada can become “beacon” to world through public investment, writes uToronto president

“At a time when the world is riven by sectarian conflict, violence, and intolerance, Canada is emerging as a beacon of stability, openness, tolerance and inclusion,” writes University of Toronto President Meric Gertler in the Globe and Mail. Gertler reflects on the political strife that has become apparent in France, the UK, and Turkey during his travels in recent weeks, and argues that Canada and its institutions have an opportunity to stand as world leaders in upholding values that connect people rather than divide them. Gertler adds that Canada can continue to make the most of this historic opportunity by investing more in key public institutions, especially public education at all levels. Globe and Mail (Subscription Required)

Douglas launches Geological Resources Diploma

With 40% of the current workforce in the mining industry set to be replaced in the next decade, Douglas College is offering a new two-year Geological Resources Diploma for those looking to break into the sector. Launching this fall, “this diploma bridges the gap between finding employment and getting a degree,” says David Waddington, chair of Douglas’ Earth and Environmental Sciences department. Douglas describes the program as having a flexible structure and hosting numerous courses that are transferable to BC’s research universities. “There is no other program like this offered in the province,” Waddington adds. “Douglas College is really expanding options for students and providing the hands-on training they need to start their careers.” Douglas

Public should have a voice in defining “impact” for academic research, write THE contributors

The public needs to better connect with academics if it wishes to have an active role in defining what counts as impact in postsecondary research, write Christiaan De Beukelaer and Jan Baetens. The authors argue that recent shifts in granting procedures have given academics more incentive to exaggerate the impact of their research in ways that benefit neither the academy nor the public. But rather than recommending that academics be given total control over the definition of impact, the authors recommend that “the solution requires renegotiating that definition through dialogue between universities, funding bodies, and society at large.” Times Higher Education

YorkU, partners receive $15M in federal funding for health-tech project

The federal government has announced that it will give $15M for a health-tech project that will be led by and based at York University’s Faculty of Health. The project—The Health Ecosphere: An Innovation Pipeline for Commercial Health Solutions—brings together researchers and scientists with business to create technologies to coordinate healthcare across systems that previously worked in silos. 32 partners that are developing three dozen new healthcare technologies will meet the federal investment with $19.5M in additional funding, resulting in a total budget of $34.5M for the initiative. YorkU

Major tender for MUN Core Science Facility construction cancelled

The major construction tender for Memorial University’s Core Science Facility has been terminated, reports The Telegram. MUN says the bids it received were higher than anticipated, and now it is asking the project’s chief consulting company “to rework the package with a view to retender.” An online notice says the tender package will be revised and reissued as soon as possible. “Public institutions working within strict budget parameters do encounter circumstances where all bids exceed estimate and budget,” says Anne Brown, MUN Associate VP (Facilities). “Memorial takes seriously its responsibility to deliver an on-budget project, which is why we are taking these steps.” The Telegram

Faculty must reflect on, take lead in fostering inclusive classrooms, writes IHE contributor

Transgender and nonbinary students will only begin to feel more included in the classroom if faculty can identify gaps in their own understanding of gender and develop new teaching methods to address them, writes Stacy Jane Grover for Inside Higher Ed. The author describes specific ways in which faculty can shift their classroom habits to better promote inclusiveness across all of campus, habits that include correcting oneself after using an improper gender pronoun, offering one’s name and preferred pronouns even if the professor is cisgendered, and asking inappropriate questions such as “what is your real name?” to transgender and nonbinary students. Inside Higher Ed