Top Ten

October 31, 2016

Universities Canada adopts non-discrimination bylaw

Universities Canada’s members have voted to adopt a new non-discrimination bylaw that commits all members to adopt policies and practices that ensure the equal treatment of all persons at those universities. The criterion specifically states that member institutions will not discriminate on the basis of “of race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, physical or mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, family status, sex, and sexual orientation, or other grounds identified in applicable human rights law.” Universities Canada President Paul Davidson welcomed the decision, which he said “sends a signal to Canadians that higher education in this country will treat all students, faculty and staff fairly.” Current members of Universities Canada reportedly have until 2020 to make any required changes to meet the criterion, while new members will need to meet it immediately. Universities Canada | University Affairs

AB students push for open textbooks to relieve budget crunch

Student representatives from five schools across Alberta have launched the #textbookbrokeAB campaign to showcase the amount of money students are spending on books. One of the movement’s core goals is to get schools to consider using free, open source textbooks, a move that has been adopted on a broad scale in British Columbia. Katelyn Garlough, VP academic of MacEwan University’s student association, says that many students in the province spend as much as $1K on textbooks per semester. Athabasca University professor Rory McGreal, who co-chaired AB’s Open Educational Resource Initiative, said moving to an open system can have significant benefits not only for students, but for teachers who must update their materials regularly to keep up with changing fields. “The big reason is you can update them immediately,” he said. “The world is changing and in most fields of study the changes are coming very rapidly.” Metro

NAIT celebrates historic $5M student contribution at CAT grand opening

A donation of $5M from the NAIT Students’ Association was officially celebrated at the grand opening of NAIT’s Centre for Applied Technology last week. The donation marks the largest in NAIT’s history, doubling a $2.5M donation made by NAITSA in 2001. Approximately $2M of the donation has supported the construction of CAT, a five-storey building that contains cutting-edge laboratories and simulation rooms. The rest of the funds will be used to centralize and expand NAITSA offices and integrate SMART ID Card technology, among other initiatives. “The overwhelming 93% support for the donation was a reflection of the fact NAIT students expect great services from their association and understand that the association needs more additional space to ensure that service in the future,” said NAITSA Interim President and Vice President John Perozok. NAIT

Concordia investigating professor over alleged racist comments

Concordia University has removed a business professor from teaching while it investigates claims that the professor made racist remarks to one of his classes. A Concordia student reportedly claimed that Roumen Solov told a student to “shut up” before making disparaging remarks toward a specific race. Solov said in an email to the Montreal Gazette that he “strongly disputes this version of events and contests the facts as reported” and adds that they are “based on social media false allegations.” He added that based on instructions from his faculty and recommendations from his union, he could not comment further. Montreal Gazette

SLC receives “Uncommon” $3M donation

St Lawrence College has received $3M from the Britton Smith Foundation in support of the college’s recently unveiled fundraising initiative called the “Uncommon Campaign.” The campaign aims to raise $11.5M over five years towards construction of a new Student Life and Innovation Centre, a new behavioural research centre, and upgraded health care simulation labs. Contributions will also support student financial assistance and the purchase of state-of-the-art equipment in Cornwall, Brockville, and Kingston. “This is the largest contribution in the history of St. Lawrence College and we are deeply grateful to Mr. Smith for recognizing the importance of our students and supporting us with this extremely generous contribution,” said SLC President Glenn Vollebregt. SLC

Chinese polytechnic looks to spur aviation, automotive innovation with BCIT curriculum

BCIT has officially celebrated the opening of a China-based polytechnic school that will provide BCIT-developed aviation and automotive curriculum. Located in Chongqing, the Banan campus of the Three Gorges Polytechnic University offers a curriculum that is equivalent to what students would encounter at one of BCIT’s British Columbia campuses. BCIT adds, however, that the curriculum has also been tailored to meet the needs of the growing aviation and automotive industries in China. “BCIT is at the forefront of education and innovation, not only here in BC, but nationally and internationally,” said BCIT President Kathy Kinloch. “Through our 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

“Stoned to death with popcorn”: MacEwan president weighs in on tuition freeze

Facing Alberta’s continuing tuition freeze is like “being stoned to death with popcorn,” says MacEwan University President David Atkinson. Joining university leaders like University of Alberta President David Turpin, Atkinson said last week that the AB government’s announcement that it will extend the province’s tuition freeze would create a shortfall for his university. “The only thing that is impacted is the quality of what it is that we offer and there are inevitably certain consequences—we offer fewer classes, the variety and diversity of offerings is diminished, there are more part-time instructors and class sizes get bigger,” adds Atkinson. Edmonton Journal

McMaster to offer minor in community engagement

Undergraduate students from all McMaster faculties will now be able to pursue an Interdisciplinary Minor in Community Engagement. The new minor aims to teach students the theory and principles that underpin community engagement, while providing them with opportunities to gain hands-on experience by working in a community setting. “The minor is intended to help students understand the complexity of working in communities,” says Shelia Sammon, director of community engagement who helped develop the minor. “The minor is there to support our students in being strong community members and citizens, teaching them the skills and knowledge that are going to help them make a difference in multiple communities so they can contribute in a productive way.” McMaster

Students using social media presence to help fund PSE

A new generation of Canadian PSE students are using their online presence to help pay for tuition, writes Alisha Sawhney for Maclean’s. The author highlights the successes of three students who have used Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube respectively to generate income and pay their expenses while also doing what they love. Their crafts range from spoken word art on Twitter to body-positive postings on Instagram and social justice comedy on YouTube. “The bottom line is, if your content is genuine to what you do, someone will notice you,” says Toronto native and YouTube celebrity Megan MacKay. Maclean’s

UAlberta offers new hope with centre for cell therapy

A new facility at the University of Alberta aims to use cell therapy to offer a healthier and more hopeful future for patients. Reportedly the only facility of its kind in Western Canada, the Alberta Cell Therapy Manufacturing facility will help researchers manipulate cells in order to provide new forms of clinical treatment. Greg Korbutt, ACTM’s scientific director, believes the facility can play a central role in finding new immunotherapies for treating cancer, which is just one example of a disease that can be treated using new therapies. “Cell therapy is very new, it’s only going to grow and grow as the technology advances and having this facility will only help advance these therapies for patients,” said Korbutt. UAlberta