Top Ten

September 9, 2016

Brock to review presidential search process, faculty union files FOI request

Brock University has announced that it will conduct a third-party review of its presidential search process a week after the university parted ways with presidential appointee Wendy Cukier. The university has also extended the appointment of Acting President Brian Hutchings until September 30, 2016. Brock’s Faculty Union has criticized the school's administration for a lack of transparency on the Cukier decision, but a university statement notes that the school's board of trustees “typically does not deal with personnel issues in a public manner. This respect for an individual’s right to confidentiality is normal and legally expected in workplaces.” The Faculty Union has reportedly filed a Freedom of Information request to learn more about the details surrounding Cukier’s appointment. Globe and Mail | St Catharines Standard (Hutchings extension) | St Catharines Standard (FOI)

BishopsU introduces mandatory bystander training in “zero assault” sexual violence prevention campaign

Bishop’s University has implemented what it is calling an “unprecedented campaign” to combat sexual violence on its campus. A BishopsU release states that one of the campaign’s core features will be a mandatory Bystander Intervention Training program that will be delivered to the entire incoming student cohort beginning this year. BishopsU Dean of Student Affairs Jackie Bailey states that her goal for the school is to have “zero assaults on our campus” and cites research that shows bystander training decreases rates of sexual assault. The university has also hired a full-time sexual health coordinator, Katherine Hébert, who will draft a stand-alone policy on sexual violence. La Presse | | TVA Nouvelles | AMEQ en ligne | Radio Energie | BishopsU

CNA Bay St George Campus receives $18M towards Heavy Equipment Centre of Excellence

The College of the North Atlantic's Bay St George Campus in Stephenville has received an $18.5M investment from the federal and provincial governments for a new Heavy Equipment Centre of Excellence. This centre will reportedly offer state-of-the-art facilities that will enable collaboration in specially designed spaces and allow students to train for high-value jobs. “This strategic investment here in Bay St George will allow us to achieve our vision and provide well-trained and qualified graduates ready to handle the challenges of working in today’s and tomorrow’s environment,” said CNA Interim President Bob Gardner. CNA

Brescia principal cancels $25K welcome party, puts money into scholarships

The new Brescia University College principal, Susan Mumm, has cancelled a $25K welcome party in favour of putting the money towards student scholarships. “Everything we do here has to benefit students, otherwise, why do we exist?” commented Mumm, who added in a Brescia release that “we know that 46% of our students receive some form of financial support funded by Brescia, and I want to ensure the focus continues to be about our students and their success.” Mumm has reportedly challenged donors to match the $25K saved to establish a new $50K student award fund. London Free Press Brescia

What does “safe space” actually mean?

“Few concepts in academe have been dissected, debated, mocked, and defended in recent months as much as the ‘safe space,’” write Sarah Brown and Katherine Mangan for the Chronicle of Higher Education. The authors argue that rather than focusing on what “safe spaces” look like in practice, many commentators have framed these spaces within polarized terms, seeing them either as “essential sanctuaries for members of historically marginalized groups” or as the reflection of a “troubling desire to escape the rigorous intellectual inquiry that college should be all about.” The authors explore a number of recent debates invoking the concept of safe space, and ultimately call for a more nuanced understanding of the contexts in which it appears. Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

UWaterloo officially opens $10M research facility for green, smart vehicle research

The University of Waterloo has officially opened its new $10M Green and Intelligent Automotive Research Facility, nicknamed GAIA, which will be used to develop the cars of tomorrow. The new facility has three integrated test labs—a battery test lab, a powertrain test lab, and a rolling dynamometer that simulates real-world driving—that will reportedly allow individual components and entire vehicles to be tested in the facility. “In GAIA, we will develop the next generation of hybrid and electric vehicles, powered by new batteries and fuel-efficient engines, connected to the Internet and to each other to create a smarter and safer ride with little or no emissions," said John McPhee, head of the GAIA facility. The Spec | UWaterloo

UPEI student union establishes granting fund to improve campus life

The University of Prince Edward Island Student Union has launched a new program offering grants to students who are looking to make the university’s campus a better place, reports CBC. Student Union President Nathan Hood says that the initiative was inspired by a similar program at the University of Calgary, adding that “students are really passionate about ideas and projects, and I find one of the biggest barriers in supporting those ideas and projects is they don't have the financial backing.” Examples of possible projects include accessibility improvements, a bicycle repair station on campus, and a communal piano for students to play. CBC

BCIT partners with Chinese institution on international teaching diploma

BCIT has signed an agreement to provide curriculum and comprehensive teacher training to students at Three Gorges Polytechnic University in China. The partnership will target teaching in the automotive and aviation sectors, and will give students of the Chinese institution the opportunity to earn a BCIT international diploma. “BCIT is proud to be at the forefront of education and innovation, not only here in BC, but nationally and internationally,” said BCIT President Kathy Kinloch. “Through our exciting partnership with Three Gorges Polytechnic University, BCIT’s unique applied education model will be preparing students for success in China, and around the world.” BCIT

Boréal to build, modernize facilities with $5.7M investment

Collège Boréal will undertake major projects in Sudbury and Windsor with the support of $5.7M in federal and provincial funding. The funds will provide 50% of the costs for a new $8.6M Wellness Centre in Sudbury, which will allow the school to perform research on the effects of physical activity on the mobility and mental health of Canada's aging population. The centre will also reportedly feature a green roof and greenhouse that will help researchers better understand the impact of climate zones on potential crops. The second project will be a $2M modernization on the college’s Windsor Access Centre. Sudbury Star | Boréal

US report calls for consideration of social media activity in tenure and promotion

Tenure and promotion committees should “recognize and reward” academics who engage in public communication through channels such as social media, according to a new US report. Authored by a subcommittee of the American Sociological Association, the report highlights the ways in which public engagement works by “cross-cutting the traditional categories of research, teaching and service.” Because it tends not to fall neatly into any one category, such engagement and its public impact should have their own category for consideration, the report suggests. Subcommittee Chair Leslie McCall adds that “every academic should become educated about the social media terrain—its advantages and disadvantages, though we think on balance the former outweigh the latter.” Inside Higher Ed | Report

The PhD and employment in the third industrial revolution

The explosion of technology has certainly “disrupted” how we do our jobs, but it has also transformed the jobs themselves and the way we find new talent.

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