Top Ten

August 8, 2016

UPEI opens $26M School of Sustainable Design Engineering building

The University of Prince Edward Island officially opened the new building for the School of Sustainable Design Engineering. “Virtually every inch of this building was created to serve a unique aspect of the sustainable design engineering program,” said UPEI President Alaa Abd-El-Aziz of the 76,000-square-foot facility. “The building has just one traditional classroom, and every other learning space is designed to support experiential learning.” The school includes project ideation rooms, design studios, seven unique labs, a green roof, and a design competition centre. Abd-El-Aziz states that he sees the new building as a strong recruitment tool, as PEI was previously the only province without a full engineering degree program. UPEI | The Guardian | CBC

John Abbott, police mishandled sexual assault complaint, says student

A student from John Abbott College has claimed that she was sexually assaulted on campus, and that her complaint was subsequently mishandled by both the institution and police. While initially taken seriously, the student stated that investigators dropped the case and accused of her lying after reviewing a campus surveillance video. An online petition is calling for the suspension of the alleged attacker until the case is thoroughly investigated; for police officers, the department, and John Abbott to apologize to the woman; and for the CEGEP to implement mandatory sexual assault education for all first-year students. CBC reports that John Abbott has issued a release stating that the alleged perpetrator had been suspended during the police investigation, and that the college is now focused “on the re-integration of both students.” Montreal Gazette (1) | Montreal Gazette (2) | CBC (1) | CBC (2)

HEQCO discusses the benefits and barriers surrounding usage of good data

In a reflection on the process of Ross Finnie’s recently released study on outcomes for Canadian college and university graduates, Martin Hicks and Fiona Deller discuss the benefits of “good data” and the barriers surrounding its collection. Noting concerns such as a “culture of protective data ownership and anxiety about data imperfections” and “a lack of leadership ready to overturn the protected status quo,” they explain that it is often the human barriers rather than any complexity to the data that poses a greater obstacle to the best usage of good data. Hicks and Deller conclude by pointing to the use of student education numbers as a particularly valuable way to stitch together data about PSE usage patterns. HEQCO

BCIT Forensic DNA lab awarded Standards Council of Canada accreditation

BCIT’s Forensic DNA Laboratory has recently earned forensic lab accreditation from the Standards Council of Canada, reportedly making it “the only academic institution in Canada to hold this distinction.” BCIT said achieving this accreditation, which is also held by the RCMP’s Forensic DNA lab, adds credibility to the lab’s DNA-based investigative work and ensures that the lab’s findings meet expectations as evidence in court. “The immediate benefits of our lab’s work in the community are obvious,” says lab founder Dean Hildebrand. “But there is an added benefit for our students—our faculty bring their lab experience into the classroom, creating relevant applied learning opportunities based on state-of-practice technologies and methods.” BCIT

The importance of preparing the next generation of university presidents

In light of an “epidemic of presidents really struggling,” Rosanna Tamburri discusses the importance of properly preparing the next generation of university presidents for the role. “Transitions are crucial,” comments University of Saskatchewan President Peter Stoicheff. “The note you strike, the directions that you set, the tone that you put out there in the first six months, it’s hard to change that. And you really need some advice right from the beginning about what those things should be.” The article examines both the reactive and proactive measures that various institutions have taken in order to best support their presidents during their transition into the role and throughout their presidency. University Affairs

AB government watching ON PSE standardized testing project

The Alberta government will monitor Ontario while the province’s PSE body conducts a new pilot project on the outcomes testing of first-year students and graduates at 10 ON institutions. “At this point we’re not conducting similar testing, like they are in Ontario,” said Advanced Education Communications Director John Muir. “But it is a pilot project, so with any type of research we’re always interested in finding out the results.” Ordered by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, the online tests won’t affect final marks or give students an idea of how they performed. Participating institutions will get access to the grades to see where there’s room for improvement. Metro News

UOIT, DCDSB sign MOU to increase PSE opportunities for international high school students

The University of Ontario Institute of Technology and the Durham Catholic District School Board recently signed an MOU that will make it easier for international secondary students to complete their higher education in Canada. Under the agreement, UOIT agrees to provide conditional offers of admission to international students who are recruited by DCDSB from countries prioritized in Canada’s International Education Strategy. The admission offers become concrete when students graduate with a high school diploma and a competitive program GPA. In turn, the school board will promote UOIT when recruiting abroad. UOIT

uLethbridge professor sexual assault case adjourned to September

A University of Lethbridge professor accused of sexually assaulting a student has had his case adjourned until early September. Nicholas Paul Hanson was accused of sexual assault in 2014 after the student went to police last November to report sexual assault at an off-campus event. Hanson has been suspended with pay pending the outcome of the charges against him. uLethbridge has reported that it is conducting its own investigation into the incident and has offered support to the complainant, who has completed her degree requirements and is no longer a student at the institution. Lethbridge Herald | Medicine Hat News (CP)

Athabasca announces third party review in light of $3.3M deficit

Athabasca University has issued a letter to its students regarding the financial challenges faced by the institution, and announced that it will be undergoing a third party review that will include an evaluation of future options for the institution. A notice from the Office of the Minister of Advanced Education further notes that the government is committed to helping Athabasca find a sustainable solution, and that the review will include an evaluation of how to modernize the institution’s work to ensure longevity. Athabasca President Peter MacKinnon further asserts that the institution is keeping its promise to freeze tuition and roll back policies that impact students’ access to postsecondary school. Athabasca (1) | Athabasca (2)

Northern BC experiencing physiotherapy shortage

Health advocates say that Northern BC has a critical shortage of physiotherapists. Despite the fact that the area holds 7% of the province’s population, only 3% of all BC physiotherapists work in the region. The article explains that boosting university seats is a key part of the solution, given that the University of British Columbia is reportedly the only institution in the province to offer physical therapy. The Prince George Citizen explains that UBC has 80 new seats available annually, with 20 reserved for the rural and northern cohort. “If we've learned one thing about healthcare recruitment, it's this axiom: Train in the north, treat in the north," said Physiotherapists Association of BC member Hilary Crowley. Prince George Citizen