Top Ten

November 4, 2016

MB teachers' union advises UManitoba education students not to cross picket line

The Manitoba Teachers’ Society has advised education students at the University of Manitoba not to attend classes or teaching practicums while the university’s faculty association is on strike, reports CBC. According to the UManitoba website, more than three dozen courses in the education department are continuing during the strike, with practicums for student teachers set to begin Nov 7th. The university website also notes that students who choose not to cross the picket line are “still responsible for materials covered in any class or lab” currently in session. The Teachers' Society, however, says that it believes “that without appropriate supervision by faculty advisors, teacher candidates are not functioning as student teachers and therefore cannot perform the usual roles of teacher candidates,” adding that “students should not act in a manner that may undermine the UMFA strike committee protocols and advice.” CBC

CAUT expresses concern about breach of research confidentiality at UQÀM

The Canadian Association of University Teachers is speaking out against a court order that would require a Université du Québec à Montréal professor to violate the confidentiality of research participants. According to a CAUT release, UQÀM Professor Marie-Ève Maillé has been ordered to give a Quebec court the names of people she interviewed as part of her research into the development of a wind farm in the area of Arthabaska. The request for the names of people who participated in Maillé’s research comes from Éoliennes de l'Érable Inc, a wind farm company that has been engaged in a class action lawsuit with local Arthabaska residents. “Researchers and academics across the country are extremely concerned about the decision of the Court,” said CAUT executive director David Robinson. “Maintaining the confidentiality of research subjects is an ethical obligation and professional requirement.” CAUT

NB entrepreneur seeks to create a postsecondary sales program with $500K standing offer

New Brunswick entrepreneur Gerry Pond says that he will give $500K to any school willing to launch a degree program in sales, reports Maclean’s. Several universities and one college reportedly expressed interest when Pond first made the offer, yet Pond was unable to reach an agreement with any of them, and has since donated a large portion of the $500K to the Conference Board of Canada to launch a sales certificate program. McMaster University Business Professor Mandeep Malik tells Maclean’s that a strong skill set in sales requires the ability to analyze people, negotiate, influence, and be assertive rather than “pushy,” all of which are skills that many employees lack without proper training. Maclean’s

Trent launches School of Business, touts emphasis on joint majors

Trent University has launched a new School of Business with an aim to equipping graduates for success in a number of diverse careers. A Trent release notes that one of the school’s core advantages will be the opportunities it provides students to combine business courses with almost any arts or science degree. Trent states that this interdisciplinary emphasis also makes it the only university in Canada to offer such a wide variety of joint majors in Business, which it says will allow students of any program to graduate with a competitive advantage. “Trent has always had a strong business program, and the new School of Business at both our Peterborough and Durham - GTA campuses will allow us to expand current program offerings and broaden our business networks locally, nationally and globally,” says Trent President Leo Groarke. Trent

RDC receives $3M private gift for Health & Wellness Centre

Red Deer College has received a $3M private gift to support its Donald Health & Wellness Centre from the centre’s namesakes, Jack and Joan Donald. The centre will be dedicated to teaching and learning in the fields of health and wellness and will be essential for student success, according to RDC President Joel Ward, who adds that this “latest gift will play a key role in continuing RDC’s presence in our communities, expanding program opportunities and supporting the growing health and wellness needs of Central Albertans.” In addition to increasing programming opportunities on campus, the facility will reportedly mark another major step in RDC’s efforts to attain Polytechnic University status, a designation that would give it the power to grant degrees. RDC

How combining STEM and humanities leads to holistic understanding, career opportunities

Nikki Wiart of Maclean’s discusses how combining STEM and humanities studies has allowed many students to bridge the employment gap. Wiart discusses how Burning Glass Technologies found that when a liberal arts grad paired a technical skill with their education, the number of jobs available to them doubled and their salary premium increased by 14%. “You need some people who are holistic thinkers and have liberal arts backgrounds, and some who are deep functional experts,” says Google Senior Vice-president of People Operations, Laszlo Bockhe. “Building that balance is hard, but that’s where you end up building great societies, great organizations.” Wiart goes on to discuss how Canadian postsecondary schools have embarked on a variety of new programs, offerings, and opportunities to respond to the demand for interdisciplinary skills. Maclean's

“Academic gossip network” not effective in policing professional behavior, says study

“Almost anyone who works in academe has to navigate a complex world of gossip and reputation, which in theory keeps certain types of bad behavior—such as mistreating students or stealing ideas from colleagues—in check,” writes David Matthews for Times Higher Education. But a new study based on 250 anonymous interviews with scientists in the United States, Britain, and India about professional gossip shows that this informal system rarely punishes wrongdoers who hold positions of power. The study found that many participants believed that gossip was an effective way to police behavior, yet concluded that the “academic gossip network” is often used to discredit rivals and punish those who have done nothing wrong. Times Higher Education

Six higher ed experts offer perspectives on PSE and Canadian innovation

“The buzzword ‘innovation’ might perk you up—or make your eyes roll,” writes Moira MacDonald for University Affairs, yet regardless of what one's reaction is to this concept, the author argues that it is a top priority for both the Canadian government and for universities looking to keep pace with a rapidly changing society. The article notes that these instituitons already make substantial contributions through their teaching, learning and research functions, and highlights the different opinions on how involved universities should be in the innovation ecosystem. MacDonald speaks with experts from Simon Fraser University, the University of Toronto, Wilfrid Laurier University, the Conference Board of Canada, the University of Saskatchewan, and Ryerson University about the role they think universities should play in fostering Canadian innovation. University Affairs

Can institutions train professors to avoid microaggressions?

“How can institutions ensure instructors enjoy academic freedom while also pushing them to be mindful of students’ racial backgrounds and experiences?” asks Fernanda Zamudio-Suaréz for the Chronicle of Higher Education. The author highlights recent stories from the US that show how balancing professors’ academic freedom with the needs of an increasingly diverse student population can be a difficult one. Several experts recommend that training in microaggressions and implicit bias are helpful, yet they add that it is crucial that such training does not alter the content that professors choose to teach in the classroom. University of Bloomington Professor Samuel Museus suggests that institutions should view such training as a key aspect of professors’ professional development and should provide more opportunities to pursue it. Chronicle of Higher Education

Georgian, Lakehead announce two new degree-diploma programs for 2017

Georgian College and Lakehead University will be jointly offering two new degree-diploma programs, beginning in September 2017. The first program, a four-year Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical) degree with Electrical Engineering Technology advanced diploma, will be offered at Georgian’s Barrie Campus. The second program, an Honours Bachelor of Arts and Science – Environmental Sustainability (Specialization in Ecosystem Management) degree with an Environmental Technician diploma, will see students study for two years at Georgian’s Barrie Campus before completing their studies at Lakehead’s Orillia Campus. “For the first time, residents will have an opportunity to earn an engineering degree without having to leave the region,” announced Georgian President MaryLynn West-Moynes. Georgian | Lakehead