Top Ten

August 26, 2016

MTA, STU to save $120K per year by consolidating IT at UNB data centre

Mount Allison University and St Thomas University are collaborating to save $120K every year by consolidating portions of their IT equipment and services in a single data centre. An MTA release states that most of the savings will come by reallocating staff to other priorities, but adds that at least $25K will be saved through reduced licensing and hardware costs, power consumption, and facility maintenance. “We enjoy a high level of co-operation and collaboration across IT units in our region, which makes possible this highly innovative and cost-effective strategy,” said MTA President Robert Campbell. The new data centre will be located at the University of New Brunswick. MTA

Cégep de Sherbrooke introduces preferred name policy

Trans students studying at Cégep de Sherbrooke will now have their chosen names appear on all class lists, reports La Presse. The change aims to change a system that until now has forced students to explain their preferred name to each of their individual instructors. “At the beginning of each session, students had to go to all teachers. It was like seven coming outs,” says the CEGEP’s Student Services Director Martin Lambert. “Now the teacher has the common name.” La Presse reports that Cégep de Sherbrooke has also adopted gender neutral toilets in order to further provide a safe and comfortable environment. La Presse

uLaval introduces new plagiarism guidelines, ends practice of mandatory zero grade

Université de Laval plans to implement new plagiarism guidelines for the Fall 2016 semester that eliminate the automatic failure of students found guilty of plagiarism. The new regulations introduce a broader range of sanctions to help deal with the increasing frequency of confirmed plagiarism cases, which has reportedly risen from 49 to 136 in five years. The new guidelines allow for the consideration of a student’s context and circumstances, and may permit students to resubmit work rather than assigning an automatic mark of zero. uLaval Secretary General Monique Richer says that the new policy was created to support professors and administrators who found the previous policy too harsh in some cases. Journal de Montréal

Ottawa instiutions step up to help students affected by federal payroll problems

Carleton University and the University of Ottawa are offering to help students struggling to pay their fall tuition due to problems associated with the federal government’s payroll system. Both universities have advised students facing such difficulties to visit their student accounts offices or their departments with a letter from their employer confirming that they have not received payment. “It's really working with the student, understanding on a case-by-case basis what their concerns are, what their issues are, and understanding what Carleton can [do] for them,” says Carleton Registrar Suzanne Blanchard. Algonquin College has also told CBC that it offers financial assistance to students in “exceptional circumstances.” CBC

Departed McMaster alumnus bequeaths library, house to university

McMaster University has received an alumnus bequest that includes a library, cash funds, and a two-storey home that the university is now retrofitting into a “living laboratory.” McMaster’s Federal Research Chair Biophotonics Qiyin Fang says that the home will be used to test optical and ultrasound sensors to monitor an occupant’s physical activity and wellness. The data collected will be used to develop smart technology that will help older people live in their homes longer. The bequest was made by Ernest Kay, a lifelong support of McMaster who passed away in 2014. McMaster

ON colleges, Bruce Power partner to create future nuclear professionals

Four Ontario colleges have partnered with Bruce Power to help ensure that the energy company has a reliable stream of qualified future employees. Lambton College, Georgian College, St Clair College, and Algonquin College have all partnered with Bruce Power on six diploma programs, the graduates of which will be eligible to receive certification under the Nuclear Uniform Curriculum Program in addition to their diplomas. “It is important to note that throughout this selection process Bruce Power was impressed with the excellent programs available at colleges throughout the province for people seeking employment in our industry,” said Chip Horton, Vice President of Nuclear Operations Support Division at Bruce Power. NationTalk

Why professors should “cold call” on students to foster participation

“In an ideal world, we wouldn’t need to call on students to get them to participate,” writes David Gooblar for Chronicle Vitae, but the reality is that professors will often have to call on students at random to solicit the desired level of participation. Critics of such “cold calling” might argue that it puts students on the spot and increases anxiety. Yet Gooblar cites research and personal experience that demonstrate that the practice offers a net positive for classrooms by helping students learn to speak up as a matter of habit. Chronicle Vitae

St Mary’s to meet 50% enrolment jump with new Heritage Centre

St Mary’s University has announced that it will open its new state-of-the art Heritage Centre in September 2016. A St Mary’s release states that the multimillion-dollar centre was made possible through the support of university donors and comes in response to the increased demand for space after the university experienced 50% growth in student enrolment over the past four years. The centre will accommodate roughly 150 students and offers space for innovation in teaching and learning as well as a functioning theatre with retractable seating. St Mary’s

Reframing the “irrational” PhD student with dwindling job prospects

Why aren’t the diminishing job prospects of PhD holders decreasing the number of people entering doctoral programs? asks Aaron Hanlon for the Los Angeles Review of Books. The author notes that while PhDs in the humanities have long been maligned for being impractical, the declining prospects of PhDs in fields conventionally seen as practical—like engineering or the STEM fields—demands that people reconsider the basic motives behind pursuing a doctorate. Hanlon concludes that “instead of scrutinizing the choices of people who answer the call to doctoral study, or assuming they have some kind of cognitive or personality defect, we should be asking why the abundant promises of opportunity haven’t materialized as stable, middle-class jobs for highly skilled individuals.” LARB

Trent/Fleming opens new state-of-the-art nursing simulation lab

Students of Trent University’s School of Nursing will gain valuable new opportunities for hands-on learning thanks to the opening of a new health care learning space and simulation lab. A Trent release states that the goal of the space is to simulate a real-world setting in which a family practice nurse, nurse practitioner, physician, or other health care provider would meet with patients. Trent/Fleming School of Nursing Dean Kirsten Woodend celebrated the lab’s opening, noting that it will give students “the opportunity to experience practice in a primary care setting and to improve therapeutic communication with patients and family in that setting.” Trent