Top Ten

September 23, 2016

THE releases 2016-17 World University Rankings

Times Higher Education has released its 2016-17 World University Rankings and 26 Canadian institutions have made the list. The Canadian Press reports that this year’s rankings show a drop in rankings for each of Canada’s three highest-ranked universities, combined with a sharp increase in the rankings for China’s top institutions. “Canada will have to watch out for Asia’s continuing ascent,” commented THE Editor Phil Baty, who added that “Canada’s success cannot be guaranteed in the long-term while more of Asia’s leading universities soar to join the world elite.” This year also saw the University of Windsor feature in the THE rankings for the first time. Globe and Mail (CP) | Ottawa Citizen | Edmonton Journal | Montreal Gazette | THE Rankings

uManitoba Students’ Union commits nearly $16M to university

The University of Manitoba Students’ Union has committed $15.9M to support a number of student-centred initiatives at uManitoba through the university’s Front and Centre campaign. The funds will specifically be used to support new student spaces, campus childcare, undergraduate research opportunities, and scholarships and bursaries for Indigenous students. “It’s incredible to see what this campaign has already done for students,” said Tanjit Nagra, president of UMSU. “When UMSU first heard about Front and Centre and its priorities, we saw an opportunity to align ourselves with the campaign. Having so many community members give back to the students has helped inspire us to give back as well.” uManitoba

uOttawa launches investigation into missing hard drive containing student information

The University of Ottawa has apologized for and launched an investigation into the loss of an external hard drive with the personal information of nearly 900 current and former students. The Ottawa Citizen reports that the drive was used to back up personal information from students who used the school’s Student Academic Success Services office for academic accommodations. The Citizen adds that at this time, the university does not know how the hard drive went missing. “We’re still investigating,” said uOttawa Director of Institutional Communications Patrick Charette. “In the meantime, we fixed the back-up procedure to make sure that we reduce the risk of such a thing happening again. In terms of what happened and how it happened, we’re still assessing.” Ottawa Citizen | CBC

Providence launches Buller School of Business, new fundraising campaign

Providence University College has officially launched its Buller School of Business and unveiled a $12.5M fundraising campaign. Providence states that the business school offers Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degrees and “equips students with the knowledge, skills and character required for leadership and service in the business sector.” The school’s courses will be delivered in new campus spaces supported by the $12.5M IMPACT 2020 campaign, which marks the largest fundraising campaign in the institution’s history. “This is a momentous occasion for Providence,” said the school’s president David Johnson. “The Buller School of Business will help develop difference-makers at Providence—students who will move into or even start businesses that will make a positive impact in communities in Manitoba, Canada and around the world.” Winnipeg Free Press | Providence

ACAD opens Lodgepole Center

The Alberta College of Art + Design officially celebrated the opening of the ACAD Lodgepole Center in an event that included speeches, a sacred pipe ceremony, and a tour led by Tina Kinnee-Brown, ACAD’s Indigenous Liaison. The space, which was named by the ACAD Elder Council, will host programming on traditional teachings for students and staff, and will facilitate activities such as Elder advising and support, traditional ceremonies and workshops, and sharing circles. ACAD states that the center was supported by the Government of Alberta’s Access to the Future Fund Initiative and the Suncor Energy Foundation. ACAD (1) | ACAD (2)

Bathurst council hears presentation on possible University of Northern New Brunswick

The city council of Bathurst, New Brunswick recently heard a presentation regarding the concept of establishing a University of Northern New Brunswick. “The idea is to have a full degree-granting bilingual university in the north to allow our students to be able to stay in the north to study and to provide people that are working here an opportunity to upgrade their skills,” said presenter James Risdon, who argued that the cost of moving south for a university education leads to a lower enrolment rate and higher dropout rate for students from the north. CBC reports that Risdon has also collaborated with Gilbert Sewell, an elder at the Pabineau First Nation, to envision the future university as a place that focuses on Aboriginal studies and emerging technologies. CBC

SFU exceeds fundraising goal with $275M campaign

Simon Fraser University has raised a record-breaking $275M in its Power of Engagement fundraising campaign, surpassing its $250M goal. The university states that contributions from the campaign will support programs and initiatives that advance the University's vision to deliver innovative education, cutting-edge research, and community outreach. “The success of this campaign will help SFU further its vision as Canada’s engaged university today and into the future,” says SFU President Andrew Petter. “Thanks to the generous support of our alumni and supporters, we are better equipped than ever to realize our goals of engaging students, researchers and communities, and to making positive difference in the lives of young people and in the communities we serve.” SFU

Proposed changes to Universities Canada’s non-discrimination bylaws draw criticism

A group of critics have voiced concern over a change that Universities Canada has reportedly proposed for its non-discrimination bylaws. Convivium Magazine reports that the primary topic of contention is a policy forbidding any member institution from “exemptions for bona fide occupational requirements in an employment relationship to discriminate based on protected grounds, whether or not such exemptions would be otherwise permitted under applicable human rights law.” Critics have interpreted the change as stating that Universities Canada will sanction any member that adopts or enforces policies viewed as discriminatory for religious reasons, regardless of whether courts have upheld their right to do so. National Post | Convivum | Cardus 

Robotics a “drawing card” for PSE students, says uToronto professor

Robotics innovation and research has become a significant drawing card for students at universities and colleges, says University of Toronto Professor Goldie Nejat in an interview with the Toronto Sun. Nejat adds that centres like uToronto’s Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics are attracting more students every year and boasting strong relationships with both industry and health care. The article highlights the successes of the University of Waterloo and Centennial College in the field of robotics, adding that these programs provide knowledge and training on both the present and future applications of robotics. “Robotics is the next big thing that will impact society and cross different sectors,” adds Nejat. “A lot of companies are investing in it, so schools are making sure we offer courses students need to have a competitive edge when they graduate.” Toronto Sun

Scientific American pens essay in defense of the humanities

“Promoting science and technology education to the exclusion of the humanities may seem like a good idea, but it is deeply misguided,” write the editors of Scientific American. The article explores what it deems to be the “parallel dynamism” of the arts and sciences to argue that the United States should not be trying to change the liberal arts mission of its universities, particularly at a time when developing countries are working hard to emulate this model. The article cites research showing that employers most commonly seek applicants with the ability to “think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems,” adding that these are the very skills that a liberal arts education provides. Scientific American