Top Ten

November 2, 2016

UManitoba faculty on strike, province appoints conciliator

The University of Manitoba Faculty Association has gone on strike as of yesterday morning. UMFA President Mark Hudson told reporters that the disagreement between the faculty and university centres on the fairness of faculty evaluations, workload protection, and job security. While faculty salaries have also played a role in negotiations, Hudson added that this issue is being pursued through legal avenues, as UMFA is reportedly speaking with its legal team about the possibility of filing an unfair labour practice complaint against the university. UManitoba Vice-President of External Relations John Kearsey says that the school “is anticipat[ing] teaching assistants, sessional instructors and other non-UMFA members will continue to teach their classes” in an effort to create minimal disruption for students. CBC reports that the Manitoba government has appointed a conciliator to resolve the issues between the university and faculty.

UManitoba strike over as UMFA accepts one-year agreement

The UMFA has accepted a one-year collective agreement after going on strike Nov 1. According to The Star, the UMFA opted to forego a salary increase in exchange for improvements to governance issues, such as workload and tenure standards. The Winnipeg Free Press reports that the University of Manitoba and the UMFA will be back at the bargaining table in 2017.

Winnipeg Free Press | The Star | CBC

CBU encourages refugees to call Cape Breton home with 10 new bursaries

Cape Breton University is offering 10 bursaries to refugees in an effort to encourage them to stay and live on Cape Breton Island. Each of the awards is valued at the price of tuition for one undergraduate program, and CBU reports that many people have shown interest. The bursaries were first proposed by the CBU Students’ Union and were approved by the school’s board of governors last week. CBU President David Wheeler says that the 10 new bursaries will be renewable for the duration of a student's initial undergraduate program, provided that students continue to meet the awards’ criteria. “Whether or not there's a six-year-old settler from Syria today who's looking forward to coming to CBU in 12 years time—which would be wonderful—or whether it's a person in their 20s or 30s who's just arrived, who is interested to study here, both will qualify,” said Wheeler. CBC

Professors need to stop trying to fix student “deficits,” writes IHE contributor

Professors need to think beyond the “deficit” model of teaching, which sees students as individuals whose personal or intellectual shortcomings need to be fixed by their professors, writes John Warner for Inside Higher Ed. Warner recounts how he used to impose strict standards on students with the belief that they had been too “coddled” prior to postsecondary school and needed a strong dose of reality. The author writes that he changed his approach by focusing on what students were prepared to do rather than what they were unprepared to do. “I now believe,” Warner concludes, “that it is dangerous and damaging to define students by their perceived deficits, particularly when those deficits are the product of one person’s (my) entirely subjective judgment prone to all matter of biases, only some of which I’m even aware of.” Inside Higher Ed

Ryerson signals intent to launch new law school

Ryerson University has written a letter of intent as part of an application to open its own law school, reports Metro. In the letter, the university said that its law school will be differentiated from existing law schools in Canada by focusing on innovation in legal education, providing more opportunities for hands-on learning, and focusing on “new competencies,” such as entrepreneurial spirit, financial literacy, and technological proficiency. Ryerson will reportedly provide a full proposal for the project to its senate in Spring 2017. Metro reports that should the project receive approval, the school will still need additional approval from the government and the Law Society of Upper Canada. Metro

Universities Australia CEO discusses commonalities between Canadian, Australian PSE

“Though they’re on opposite sides of the planet, Canada and Australia have much in common when it comes to the higher education sector,” writes Anqi Shen for University Affairs. In an interview with Universities Australia CEO Belinda Robinson, Shen touches on current challenges in Australia’s system and how they are similar to those facing Canada, including international student recruitment and the role of universities in fostering innovation. Robinson offers insight on how Australia has been successful in attracting international students through strategic programming and a focus on enhancing international student experience. University Affairs

The post-crisis debrief: six steps for your communications team

While a crisis puts an institution under scrutiny and creates a frenzy of activity on campus, Jamie Kelly argues that “how the post-crisis phase is handled is of equal—if not greater—importance for the long-term health of your institution.” Kelly discusses six clear steps for communications professionals to follow after a crisis has concluded on campus. These include reviewing and debriefing on the way the crisis was handled, making any necessary adjustments to the crisis plan, determining next steps, and creating a proactive communications strategy to help move the institution forward. Kelly also advises communications members to pay close attention to both the institutional community and to social media for any new or lingering situations that could hurt or help the school's cause. Inside Higher Ed

ON universities face pension deficits, other financial challenges: DBRS

Ontario universities face a number of financial pressures, including pension solvency deficits, which are being aggravated by systemic challenges according to a commentary by debt-rating service DBRS Ltd. Despite these challenges, however, DBRS stated that “Ontario university credit profiles have remained resilient, and DBRS does not expect downward rating actions in the near term.” After reflecting on how universities’ pension plans have been impacted by low interest rates, the organization calls on the institutions to make fundamental changes to their plan design in order to remain sustainable, and recommends that individual institutions combine separate plans into a single, sector-wide plan. Financial Post

NBCC to partner with Salesforce University Academic Alliance

New Brunswick Community College has announced that it will be the first Atlantic Canadian postsecondary institution to partner with the Salesforce Academic Alliance Program. This program offers specialized skills training to students and employees of PSE institutions through a combination of instructor-led offerings from Salesforce University and classroom materials, coursework, personalized training, and an instructor community. The partnership will also see NBCC provide new opportunities through customized training programs and as a second-year elective. “NBCC is committed to helping learners achieve their career aspirations and meeting the needs of employers and labour markets,” said NBCC President Marilyn Luscombe. “Partnerships with industry leaders such as Salesforce are important in ensuring that our programs are relevant to today’s job opportunities.” NBCC

Queen’s renames innovation initiative in honour of “significant gift” from alumni

Queen’s University has received a “significant gift” from four of its distinguished alumni to support its Queen’s Innovation Connector. The gift comes from the Dunin Foundation, a group established by alumni Andrew Dunin and his wife Anne Dunin, as well as Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande and his wife Jaishree. In recognition of the gift, the university-wide wide initiative to support student innovation and entrepreneurship will now be known as the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre. “Queen’s is grateful for the philanthropic support from The Dunin Foundation and Gururaj and Jaishree Deshpande,” says Queen’s Principal Daniel Woolf. “This investment will allow the university to expand its innovation programming for students and position Queen’s as an innovation hub for attracting, supporting, and retaining the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs in both the local region and beyond.” Queen’s

Georgian to lease space, offer programming through downtown Barrie campus

Barrie councillors have told Georgian College that it will receive the final $1.5M of a $5M municipal investment on the condition that it leases space for a downtown campus. The goal of the condition is to have the school provide academic programming in the city’s downtown core through programs such as design and visual arts. Georgian President MaryLynn West-Moynes told Barrie council last week that the school would not expect to keep the $1.5M if it did not meet the council's condition. The college is reportedly seeking out a building that includes a storefront location where students' work can be featured and sold. Programs offered through the campus will include digital photography and imaging, digital video, graphic design and graphic design production. Barrie Examiner