Top Ten

October 12, 2016

Carleton acknowledges rape culture in draft of sexual violence prevention policy

Carleton University has released a draft of its sexual violence prevention policy that features a definition of rape culture in its preamble, reports the Ottawa Citizen. The draft policy defines rape culture as “a culture in which dominant ideas, social practices, media images and societal institutions implicitly condone sexual assault by normalizing or trivializing sexual violence and by blaming survivors for their own abuse.” Some members of the university community have criticized the new draft, however, arguing that it fails to acknowledge that rape culture exists on the university’s campus. Carleton Vice-President of Students and Enrolment Suzanne Blanchard says that stating rape culture is present on Carleton’s campus has been a polarizing concept, and that the current draft represents a balanced approach. “We don’t want to say that there is a rape culture on campus. But we found it important that the term be recognized,” Blanchard said. Ottawa Citizen | Ottawa Sun | Carleton (Draft Policy)

UCalgary students’ union loses injunction over management of Mac Hall

The University of Calgary Students’ Union has lost a court case that will see the management of Mac Hall pass from the union to UCalgary. The students’ union and UCalgary are currently in dispute over the ownership of the building, with the union claiming that it is Mac Hall’s majority co-owner based on investments made in the building and an operating agreement from 1969. The students’ union filed an injunction in November 2015 to prevent the university from taking control of the building’s management, yet the presiding judge reportedly ruled against the injunction on the basis that the change would not harm the union. UCalgary has stated that the SU will continue to collect the revenues generated by the businesses it owns and operates in Mac Hall, yet the SU contests this claim, stating that the new arrangement is based on the university's willingness to “dol[e] out some of these revenues at their discretion to support the SU’s programs.” CBC | Calgary Herald | UCalgary | SU

Student alliance criticizes NB for considering inclusion of private institutions in TAB program

The New Brunswick Student Alliance has called upon NB to reject the inclusion of private colleges and universities in its Tuition Access Bursary program. A release issued by the group claims that students attending private institutions in the province already receive an average of 20% more government financial support than students attending public institutions. It further claims that students attending private institutions receive as much as 300% more funding through the New Brunswick Bursary than students at public universities. “It is shocking that the minister would even consider including these institutions in the TAB funding package,” said NBSA Vice-Chair Tina Oh. “The premier has refused to publicly commit to students that he will guarantee the implementation of a sliding scale, yet the government is toying with the idea of masking business subsidies as education policy.” NBSA

UTM uses first-of-its-kind mobile game to enhance students’ transition into PSE

The University of Toronto at Mississauga says that it hopes to boost participation in first-year transition programming through the use of a campus-based digital game, reports UTM Student Transition Manager Jackie Goodman says that roughly one in five students currently participates in the school’s programming, but she hopes that the game will boost this number by 30% to 40% in the next few years. Titled Guardians of UTM, the game challenges students to solve interactive puzzles, collect items, finish quests to advance to new stages, and explore the university in real life. “There are times in the game that you have to interact with a real-life locations on campus,” said Goodman. “You’re exploring the campus in a virtual way but you’re also visiting important locations (in the real world).” Goodman believes that UTM is the first university in the world to use this form of mobile game to support student transition.

CASA issues recommendations on digital infrastructure, student IP rights in Innovative Agenda Submission

The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations has released its Roadmap for Canadian Innovation as part of its 2016 Innovative Agenda Submission. The report highlights areas where strategic investments in Canadian PSE can help drive innovation while boosting student success. Among the issues addressed by the report’s recommendations are financial barriers faced by master’s and international students, the scarcity of paid student internship opportunities, the insufficient quality of digital infrastructure in rural and remote communities, and the lack of intellectual property rights protecting students. “The students of today are our future scientists, entrepreneurs, community leaders, and more,” said CASA Executive Director Michael McDonald. “It’s up to us as a nation to ensure that each and every student is given the chance to develop their skills and reach their full potential.” CASA | Report

Fanshawe looks to spur biotech commercialization with new centre

Fanshawe College is poised to drive innovation in biotechnology, chemistry, and environmental technology through its new Centre for Advanced Research and Innovation in Biotechnology. Funded by $6.2M from the federal and Ontario governments, the centre will provide faculty and students with labs and expertise to promote industry collaboration and commercialization initiatives. “This infrastructure investment at Fanshawe College is excellent news for one of Ontario's largest colleges. Fanshawe has made a commitment to educate, engage, empower and excite, and the Centre for Advanced Research and Innovation in Biotechnology will do just that,” said London North Centre MP Peter Fragiskatos. ON

We need to recognize when our department’s culture is dysfunctional, writes IHE contributor

“Why so often is departmental culture so unsuccessful?” asks Robert Weisbuch for Inside Higher Ed. The author reflects on personal experiences of failed departmental cultures before arguing that on a broader level, the topic is largely understudied. To this end, Weisbuch asks readers to “look at 20 tomes on the crises facing higher education, and you probably will not find one that discusses the life of individual departments as a key factor.” The author argues that the one common factor in all dysfunctional departments is that “everyone loses,” and offers tips on how to improve a department’s culture. These include finding a strong department chair, providing this chair with effective incentives, and giving the chair discretion to make executive decisions when necessary. Inside Higher Ed

MUN receives major boost to Battery facility redevelopment

Memorial University has received $8.6M from the federal government to support the redevelopment of its Battery facility, with MUN contributing an additional $16.2M. The project will allow MUN to relocate four of its current innovation centres to form the university’s provincial innovation and public engagement hub, thus building on the university’s strengths in the fields of social innovation, commercialization, entrepreneurship, and regional development. “[The Battery facility] is strategically important to Memorial University as an institution that is both locally relevant and globally significant,” said MUN President Gary Kachanoski. “It is a key aspect of our long-term plans for fostering innovation and engagement in both our provincial community, but also nationally and internationally, for the benefit of the people and organizations of this province.” Telegram

More than half of Canadians miss out on RESP benefits, reports CBC

“It's hard enough to pay the bills, let alone save for the kids' education,” writes Peter Armstrong for CBC. “That's why it's so baffling that less than half of those eligible participate in a program offering parents free money for their kids post-secondary education.” The author cites recent data from Statistics Canada showing that the participation rate for eligible adults in Canada's Registered Education Savings Plan is under 50%, meaning that Canadians are potentially missing out on millions in federal support for their children’s future education. Armstrong lays out a number of tips for making the most of the RESP program, which include overcoming inertia to open an RESP, asking for help from family or friends, and playing catch-up by contributing as much as possible when opening an RESP later in a child’s life. CBC

Algonquin creates panel on entrepreneurship, innovation

Algonquin College has announced the creation of a new President’s Advisory Panel on Innovation and Entrepreneurship to help guide the college’s strategy and programming. Algonquin states that the panel’s role will be to advise on innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives, as well as the college’s overall strategic direction, fundraising strategies, and potential partnerships. “Our students already have an entrepreneurial spirit,” said Algonquin President Cheryl Jensen, “but this panel is going to give them the edge when it comes to turning their dreams into reality.” Algonquin