Top Ten

August 23, 2016

uToronto president sets example for campus-community connection

“The more we can do to make [Toronto] a livable place, the more we succeed on the global stage,” says University of Toronto President Meric Gertler in an interview with the Globe and Mail. Gertler insists that even at a research-intensive university like uToronto, it is crucial to build meaningful and lasting connections with the surrounding community in order to better serve and transform that community. The article highlights some of the significant public outreach initiatives that have been undertaken by uToronto, and positions these efforts as part of a growing recognition of the need for greater connections between institutions and their surrounding communities. Globe and Mail

QC gives $1.5M for struggling CEGEPS to attract students

Quebec has announced that it will invest $1.5M to help recruit students from Quebec and Montreal to the region's CEGEPs. La Presse reports that the 19 CEGEPs that stand to benefit from the funds are facing current and projected declines in student enrolment. The announced funding will reportedly be used to facilitate enrolment in CEGEPs by paying for student lodging or transportation. The program was reportedly first conceived by the Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec, whose Chair Rose Crevier-Dagenais says that roughly 200 urban students could benefit from this measure in the 2017 school year. La Presse (1) | La Presse (2) | Fédération des cégeps

Can a professor make students uncomfortable without making them fearful?

“As a college instructor, I believe that the most important thing I can do for students is to make them uncomfortable,” writes John Warner for Inside Higher Ed. Yet the author adds that this statement only holds true for students who feel secure in the first place. Warner acknowledges that there are many students who already arrive at school feeling uncomfortable, noting that “a student who experiences college feeling unsafe—culturally, academically, economically, socially—does not have the luxury of being challenged in the classroom because all of their energy is directed towards trying to survive.” Yet Warner asserts that this is exactly why professors must create a safe atmosphere so that students can enjoy the “luxury” of productive discomfort. “Put another way,” he concludes, “anxious and afraid are not synonyms for ‘uncomfortable.’” Inside Higher Ed

uAlberta Student Union announces $11M revitalization of campus theatre

The University of Alberta Students’ Union has announced that it plans to revitalize the nearly 50-year-old Myer Horowitz Theatre through an $11M renovation. “Campus needs a modern theatre, and just patching it up isn’t enough,” says the union's general manager Marc Dumouchel. “The arts are a key element to developing well-rounded graduates, and the theatre is a key link between campus and the broader community.” The union intends to cover $7M of the costs through a fundraiser titled Friends of Myer Horowitz, and the AB government is reportedly contributing $40K through a Community Facility Enhancement Program grant. CBC | Edmonton Journal

University rankings might do more harm than good to global education, says UWN contributor

“There is no evidence” that international university rankings add value to higher education, writes John Kelly for World University News, adding that the tendency for such rankings to privilege research over teaching likely degrades the quality of education around the globe. Kelly argues that this system is driven largely by universities competing to impress and attract high fee-paying international students. Yet he contends that the primary mission of universities is in fact teaching and not research, a mission that can be lost in the pursuit of higher international rankings. “The result is that, apart from the occasional hasty post-lecture meeting, students rarely if ever, enjoy a one-to-one relationship with research-focused academic staff,” the author concludes. University World News

SK institutions receive transformative infrastructure investment

Universities and colleges throughout Saskatchewan are set to receive a combined $137M in new infrastructure funding. According to a Government of Canada release, the funds will come through a combination of federal, provincial, and institutional contributions combined with private donations. The University of Saskatchewan will receive $32M for three infrastructure projects, including $30.1M for the construction of its new Collaborative Science Research Building. The University of Regina and Parkland College have also received $30.1M in combined investment, $27.6M of which will be put toward renovations for uRegina’s 100-year-old College Avenue Campus. CBC | StarPhoenix | Canada (uSask) | Canada (uRegina) | SK

MUN improves housing availability for graduate students

Memorial University is making more housing available for graduate students at its St John’s campus in response to increasing enrolment. “We are now welcoming graduate students, and this is really a response to changing times and demands,” says Director, Student Residences Bruce Belbin. “Changing market availability, demographics of students, types of accommodations required are all at play. Right now, we are adapting and responding to these changes to meet students’ needs.” School of Graduate Studies Dean Aimée Surprenant adds that this move aligns with MUN’s plans to provide graduate students with better support on campus. MUN Gazette

US colleges using non-tenure-track positions to diversify faculty, says study

When it comes to faculty hiring practices in the US, a new study finds that “most gains for underrepresented minority groups have been in the most precarious positions.” Titled “Taking the Measure of Faculty Diversity,” the study draws on federal US data and finds that underrepresented minority groups held approximately 13% of faculty jobs, yet only 10% of tenured jobs in 2013. With respect to gender, the report found that women now hold 49% of total faculty positions, but only 38% of tenured jobs. Maria Maisto, president of the national adjunct advocacy organization New Faculty Majority, said the report confirms that precarious academic labour disproportionately impacts women and underrepresented minorities. “There is still, amazingly, skepticism about the disproportionate impact of contingency on [these groups],” she added. Inside Higher Ed | Report

Stephenville, NL hiring consultant to explore “college town” concept

The town of Stephenville, Newfoundland has announced that it plans to hire a consultant to conduct research on positioning Stephenville as a “college town,” reports the Western Star. The article states that the local arm of the Canadian Business Development Corporation is currently in the process of advertising for a consultant who will explore positioning Stephenville as a college town, as well as identify economic opportunities that may be related to the needs of the postsecondary market. Mayor Mike Tobin said that a steering committee will soon be formed and will include representatives from College of the North Atlantic and Keyin College Western Campus. Western Star

ON looks to lay groundwork for knowledge-based economy with $51M research investment

Ontario has announced that it will invest $51M to support research and talent development at leading postsecondary institutions across the province. A provincial release states that the funding will “help sharpen Ontario's competitive edge” by fostering discoveries that can lead to new technologies and healthcare treatments. Among its goals, the funds will specifically support 161 infrastructure projects at 25 institutions through the Ontario Research Fund—Research Infrastructure program; it will also support the work of 79 recently appointed researchers at 22 institutions through the Early Researcher Awards. ON