Top Ten

September 30, 2016

uToronto professor refuses use of genderless pronouns

University of Toronto professor and clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson has released an hour-long YouTube lecture criticizing political correctness and a proposed federal bill that would outlaw harassment and discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression. Peterson argues against the existence of non-binary gender identities, adding, “I don’t recognize another person’s right to determine what pronouns I use to address them. I won’t do it.” Fellow uToronto Professor AW Peet, however, argues that “if Peterson fears the Trudeau government passing Bill C-16 into law, he should smarten up his act by upgrading his ethics circuits, not by trying to marshal opposition to basic human rights protections for people he refuses to even try to understand.” uToronto has stated that it will comment on Peterson’s actions once it has had the opportunity to properly review his posted lecture. Ottawa Citizen

UVic group issues report, recommendations on sexual assault to university

A group convened by the University of Victoria has recommended that the school hire a co-ordinator to run an education and prevention program for sexualized violence on campus as part of a “survivor-centric” approach to tackling the problem, reports the Globe and Mail. “There are educational pieces happening all over campus, but they’re not co-ordinated,” said working group chair Annalee Lepp. “We want to make sure that there is consistent messaging, but also that messages are kind of tailored to different audiences on campus.” Lepp adds that one of the group’s central goals and challenges is ensuring that the school’s sexual assault prevention strategy is survivor-centric while ensuring that those accused of wrongdoing are treated fairly. Globe and Mail | UVic

Redesigning classrooms to facilitate student-centred learning

In order to accommodate new forms of teaching and learning, classroom design is being revisited at postsecondary institutions across the continent. Diane Peters examines a number of new and refitted classrooms at institutions such as Wilfrid Laurier University, McGill University, and Queen’s University, and discusses how the rooms have been redesigned to better facilitate student-centered, active learning. The classrooms sport a variety of features, including chairs and tables with wheels that allow for group activities and discussions; white boards on all four walls; and innovative technology. Peters also touches on some of the costs that come with developing these resources. University Affairs

UBC Sauder, uToronto partner to launch western version of tech accelerator

The University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business will launch a Western Canadian version of the Creative Destruction Lab, a University of Toronto-based program designed to help tech ventures commercialize their research for public benefit. The program will focus specifically on highly scalable tech startups by providing coaching from world-leading entrepreneurs, support from dedicated business and science faculty, and access to venture capital. “By partnering with UBC Sauder, we will magnify the impact of CDL by drawing in ventures from one of the country’s other leading research universities and BC’s burgeoning startup scene to further build the country’s tech sector and the opportunities for job creation it provides,” said CDL Director Rachel Harris. UBC (Sauder)

uLethbridge investigates professor accused of spreading anti-Zionist conspiracy materials

A professor at the University of Lethbridge has come under investigation due to ongoing reports that he has spread conspiracy theories and anti-Zionist propaganda, reports the Lethbridge Herald. Anthony Hall, a tenured member within uLethbridge’s Faculty of Arts and Science, is the co-host of “False Flag Weekly News” and “The American Herald Tribune,” both of which reportedly promote the concept of a global Zionist conspiracy to foster hatred of Muslims through “false flag” terror events. “We can say unequivocally that (Hall) does not speak on behalf of the university or its faculty, staff and students,” uLethbridge President Mike Mahon told the Herald. “As a community, we condemn any communication that promotes hatred, discrimination or violence to any individual or group.” Lethbridge Herald

OUSA calls for more investment for students with disabilities

Recent changes to academic accommodations for students with disabilities have marked a significant victory for human rights in Ontario, writes Blake Oliver for the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance, yet these changes will place a new burden on Offices for Students with Disabilities. “These offices are essential for students with disabilities to succeed and receive equitable opportunities on campus,” adds Oliver. “When they lack resources, wait times become longer, case-workers become buried, and students with disabilities lose out.” The author argues that the province must respond to this new burden with increased funding. OUSA

Privileging research over teaching can cause “operational dilemma,” writes Western professor

“Only the most qualified and prepared instructor with exceptional insight and interest in the subject and student well-being should show up to the classroom. Our students deserve it,” writes Shiva Singh, professor and former board and senate member at Western University. Singh notes that working in these different areas of university governance has offered him the opportunity to reflect on how universities like Western must juggle competing priorities in their commitment to research, teaching, and service. He notes that the hiring of faculty to produce specialized research will little emphasis on teaching creates “two categories of faculty” and poses “an operational dilemma,” of institutions, each of which “will have to develop its own priorities with the future of students in mind.” Western

Alternative assessments can boost mature student performance, confidence: study

A new study from the UK suggests that providing mature students with the option to take part in non-written assessment methods results in greater success. Study author and senior lecturer in education studies at University of East London Iona Burnell notes that “many UEL students are mature and have been out of education for some time, so it’s a struggle to get their heads immediately around academic writing.” Burnell further states that the resulting higher grades have a direct impact on students' confidence in their academic abilities, which in turn can assist student retention. “These students are often very low on confidence and, as mature students, they have often failed first time around in education, so this is a way of instilling confidence in them.” Times Higher Education

ON can reform PSE financial aid to show “bottom-line” cost for students, says HEQCO report

Ontario will be able to achieve the organizational cooperation and integration necessary to successfully implement a PSE financial aid system that gives students the “bottom-line” cost of attending a particular institution, write Linda Jonker and Martin Hicks of the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. The authors' report analyzes the logistics of integrating data and fostering cooperation among students, governments, and institutions for the purposes of instituting a net tuition framework. The report makes its assessment based on an examination of net-tuition billing in the US, as well as a brief look at financial aid and repayment initiatives in Singapore and Australia. “With costs nailed down in advance, students can then better plan for their education,” the authors conclude. “The end goal: to help students make better postsecondary decisions and enhance accessibility.” HEQCO | Report

uOttawa teams up with RBC on entrepreneurial co-op program

The University of Ottawa’s Co-operative Education Programs and Entrepreneurship Hub have partnered with RBC Royal Bank to create a new co-op program designed to help students learn how to run a business associated with their degree. The program will provide students with three options to develop their entrepreneurial skills: launch their own startup, undertake an entrepreneurial apprenticeship, or pursue a traditional co-op placement with a relatively new small business. “The RBC program appeals to students who wish to pursue an entrepreneurial venture based on an idea they are already committed to making a reality. It is also suited to those students who may not have an idea for their own venture but wish to develop entrepreneurial skills nonetheless,” said Luc Lalande, executive director of uOttawa’s Entrepreneurship Hub. uOttawa