Top Ten

September 21, 2016

CBU adopts 10-year vision, avoids layoffs

Cape Breton University has announced that it will adopt a “10-year vision” that will avoid faculty layoffs while accumulating an initial budget deficit, reports the Cape Breton Post. Questions about possible layoffs arose in November 2015 when CBU President David Wheeler announced that the school was looking to cut 10% of its operating budget. The new plan reportedly includes a projected growth in CBU’s student body from 3,200 to 3,500 by year 10 of the plan, along with a new fundraising strategy and new revenues generated through partnerships with institutions in the United Kingdom and the Middle East. CBU Faculty Association President Andrew Molloy applauded the plan, adding that “we are feeling positive as a result of this and we agree that the plan, the objectives of the plan, are quite achievable and we are excited about new possibilities.” Cape Breton Post | CBC

UBC receives $51.5M for construction of new Chan Gunn Pavilion, infrastructure renewal

The University of British Columbia’s Vancouver Campus will undertake three infrastructure projects thanks to $51.5M in joint funding from the federal and BC governments. UBC will use the funds to renew and replace the facilities at its Undergraduate Life Sciences Teaching Labs at the Biological Sciences Complex, construct an interdisciplinary hub called the Chan Gunn Pavilion that will help advance innovations in physical activity and exercise, and expand the Centre of Excellence for Simulation Education and Innovation at Vancouver General Hospital. Canada

“Cynics are wrong” when it comes to value of degrees, says Concordia president

“At the beginning of the school year, there’s a lot of optimism in the air—and in some quarters, cynicism about the value of a university degree,” writes Concordia University President Alan Shepard. The author argues that such cynicism is usually “just plain wrong,” highlighting the financial benefits of obtaining a university degree before adding that “graduates are also more likely to donate time and money, vote, and rate their physical and mental health higher—just a few concrete signs of the ways an education transforms people, and their families’ futures.” Shepard admits, however, that universities like all institutions must adapt to changing times to remain relevant. To this end, he lays out three ways universities can help foster thriving students in the 21st century. Montreal Gazette

UoGuelph recognized for energy efficiency with $5.8M from ON

Ontario has awarded the University of Guelph $5.8M in recognition of the university’s efforts to reduce energy consumption. UoGuelph states that the funds will be used to help offset the costs of building the school’s $15M thermal energy storage facility, a resource that has already offset the school’s energy consumption by $2.5M since becoming operational this past summer. “It’s a win-win for the University and the province. We reduce energy use and costs, which helps our bottom line,” said UoGuelph President Franco Vaccarino. “But the most important winner is the environment, as using less energy preserves natural resources and cuts down on pollution.” UoGuelph

UAlberta removes, condemns “disturbing racist posters” found on campus

The University of Alberta has condemned a series of “disturbing, racist posters” that were reportedly found across the university’s campus this week. The posters reportedly targeted the Sikh community in particular, a move that World Sikh Organization President Mukhbir Singh says is “a pathetic attempt at drawing the spotlight to deplorable views that have been rejected in Canada.” UAlberta President David Turpin has stated that the school is working with authorities to find the parties responsible for the posters, adding that “the University of Alberta is a space that is open to all people and we take pride in the strength of our diverse community.” Global News | Edmonton Journal | Journal de Montréal

Provide IT professionals with tenure, say IHE contributors

When ed-tech infrastructure is increasingly being heralded as “the future of education,” Jonathan A Poritz and Jonathan Rees of Inside Higher Ed argue that a select group of highly-trained IT professionals “should be faculty and should therefore be eligible to earn tenure.” Poritz and Rees point to the increasing necessity of ed-tech on campus, the potential cost savings and improved technology delivery associated with having an expert on-campus rather than outsourcing, and the potential ability to use tenure to attract valuable IT professionals to academe when industry generally pays better. For these reasons, the authors conclude that those IT professionals who make decisions about ed tech systems, work with students and faculty, and are expected to research and develop new systems deserve consideration for tenure as much as any other member of the academic community. Inside Higher Ed

NS universities relying too heavily on contract faculty, says Dal prof

Nova Scotia’s universities are eroding faculty job security and compensation by relying too heavily on contract instructors, according to Dalhousie University Sociology Professor Karen Foster. CBC reports that a survey of contract faculty found that nearly half of respondents said they were teaching one course at one university, and 47% said they expected to make $15K or less from their teaching that year. Foster adds that at least a quarter of respondents had been working on contract for six to 10 years. For these reasons, Foster has applauded the reinstatement of Statistics Canada’s University and College Academic Staff System, along with the announcement that this survey will now begin recording data on the number of contract faculty being used at the country’s universities. CBC

Canadian schools preparing to offer marijuana-related training

“As the [marijuana] industry matures and expands, there’s also been a push to have post-secondary institutions to offer training, particularly in middle management,” writes Chris Sorensen for Maclean’s. The article highlights a 14-week, online, continuing-education course at Kwantlen Polytechnic University as an example of the impending move to treat marijuana as a legitimate object of study in fields as diverse as biology, business, and health. Tegan Adams, a former medical marijuana consultant, tells Maclean’s that one Ontario business school has examined the possibility of offering a specialization in medical marijuana. “With all eyes on Canada’s charge toward legalized weed, the opportunity for Canadian schools to establish themselves as global leaders in marijuana-related research and business training is potentially huge,” the article concludes. Maclean’s

Capilano signs transfer agreements with Douglas, Langara, Okanagan

Capilano University has signed agreements with Douglas College, Langara College, and Okanagan College that will allow students from all three colleges to transfer directly into year three of Capilano’s bachelor of Arts with a major in Liberal Studies. Capilano states that applicants who meet agreed-upon requirements will be guaranteed admission to the university with full block transfer of credits. All three agreements are reportedly in effect for the September 2016 intake of students. “With these partnerships, we’re pleased to ease the transfer process for eligible college students to efficiently complete their education at our University,” says Richard Gale, acting president of Capilano University. “We are happy to continue to strengthen our partnerships with these colleges.” Capilano

WLU partners with Vancouver Film School to offer students hands-on training

Wilfrid Laurier University and the Vancouver Film School have entered a partnership that will offer students the opportunity to earn a Diploma in applied film skills and a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in film studies in just four years. The new pathway will allow diploma graduates from VFS to enter the second year of Laurier’s Film Studies Honours program, while third-year students in the Laurier Film Studies program can attend VFS as part of an applied-media exchange year. These students will also be eligible for the school’s Excellence in Media scholarship. WLU