Top Ten

November 10, 2016

SFU receives $90M to build home for programs in energy systems, environmental engineering

Simon Fraser University has received $90M from Canada and British Columbia to create a new facility at its Surrey campus that will offer degree programs in energy systems and environmental engineering. The five-storey, 15,000-square-metre building will allow the university to expand its research in the energy, hydrogen, electricity, and liquefied natural gas sectors while accommodating the school’s Mechatronics Systems Engineering program. “Engineering science programs at Simon Fraser University intentionally challenge students to prepare them to be innovators in an increasingly high-tech world,” says SFU President Andrew Petter. “The energy systems engineering building will allow students to develop the skills needed to design and develop tomorrow's energy systems, which are rapidly evolving to anticipate society's future energy needs.” Canada | BC | Montreal Gazette | Vancouver Sun | Globe and Mail | SFU

Higher ed needs to turn more data into information, says HEQCO president

“One of the most important lessons I learned in graduate school is that evidence and data matter,” writes Harvey Weingarten, president of the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. The author argues that the higher education sector too often tries to solve problems or design policies based on “gut feelings” or “personal anecdotes.” Weingarten notes that this approach is being used even while the sector seems to have more data than it has ever had before, arguing that this is largely because “we confuse collecting numbers with having information.” To help address this problem, Weingarten lays out four strategies for putting data in a proper context and turning it into information that can be acted upon with confidence. HEQCO

Canadian MBA programs respond to changing students with more flexibility

Canada’s MBA programs are becoming more flexible and a changing body of students is reaping the benefits, writes Jennifer Lewington for the Globe and Mail. The author highlights several examples of this growing flexibility, including York University’s Schulich School of Business, which now allows students to switch between full- and part-time studies from one semester to another.  The University of Victoria’s Gustavson School of Business has also responded to changes in its prospective applicants by shifting its part-time MBA from being taught on weeknights to once-a-month weekend sessions on campus, with online learning between classes. “There is a lot going on in their lives and everyone has different circumstances,” says Graham Sue, associate director of recruitment and admissions at Schulich. “We want to be able to provide students with the ability to still pursue their education goals while being able to do what they need to do in life.” Globe and Mail

The challenges, opportunities of using social media in teaching and learning

Social media can play a key role in teaching and learning, yet they come with a unique set of challenges, writes Contact North researcher Terry Anderson. Anderson highlights how social network sites share some common characteristics with learning management systems, with the exception that the content produced on social media is created by all users and not just instructors. Anderson notes that one of the biggest arguments for using social media in a class is that it is “merely going where the students already are.” However, doing so opens up new opportunities for academic misconduct, which Anderson highlights as part of a series of challenges that instructors should address if they want to use social media effectively. Contact North | Contact Nord

CBUFA votes 92% in favour of ratifying tentative agreement

Members of the Cape Breton University Faculty Association have voted 92% in favour of ratifying a tentative three-year collective agreement. Faculty association president Andrew Molloy stated that while strike votes are not uncommon, “it’s much better to solve this problem and try to work through a number of issues on an ongoing basis.” The Cape Breton Post reports that details of the agreement are not being released, as the board of governors will not have voted on it until December 9th. “I’m a big believer in the importance of unity of purpose in organizations,” commented CBU President David Wheeler, “whenever I’ve been involved in successful organizations … they’ve always had that unity of purpose and they avoid unnecessary misunderstandings and adversarial relations.” Cape Breton Post

QC cégeps hold first Mental Health Day

Quebec’s Fédération des cégeps and the Mouvement Santé mentale Québec partnered yesterday to make November 9th Mental Health Day at the province’s cégeps, reports the Montreal Gazette. Beginning this year under the theme, “Seven Tips for a Healthy Mind,” the day will be held annually at cégeps across QC every year on the 9th. “The college is a unique rite of passage to adulthood,” said Renée Ouimet, director of the MSMQ. “In these times of transition, it is normal to experience anxiety and stress. It is therefore essential to be in good company … to acquire the strength to solve problems that will be encountered throughout life.” Fédération General Manager Bernard Tremblay added that even though there have been “significant cuts” to mental health services at QC schools in recent years, supporting students through stressful times remains a necessary service in PSE. Montreal Gazette | Fédération des cégeps

CNA Corner Brook gets $4.3M

The College of the North Atlantic Corner Brook campus will receive a $4.3M boost from the Canadian and Newfoundland and Labrador governments to support the first phase of its campus revitalization. The funding will support the college’s Centre for Energy and Thermal Systems and campus upgrades, as well as the enhancement of programming. “With the help of the Strategic Investment Fund and Provincial Government funding, College of the North Atlantic will be able to enhance facilities directly related to the activities of the centre, as well as provide students with essential campus upgrades, improving the campus’ ability to provide quality education and training,” said CNA Interim President Bob Gardiner. CBC | CNA

Ryerson looks to boost diversity on Canadian boards with $500K gift

Ryerson University has received $500K from TD to expand a major program for strengthening board diversity in Canada’s not-for-profit and public sector organizations. The internationally recognized DiverseCity onboard will expand its efforts to include all women and the LGBTQ+ communities while forming new relationships with Aboriginal/Indigenous communities. The Canadian Board Diversity Council has reported that overall, visible minority representation on Canadian boards declined from 7.3% in 2015 to 4.5% in 2016. “This initiative not only aligns with The Chang School’s commitment to inclusive and diverse communities, but it also presents our learners with an invaluable opportunity to bring their skills set to the board of some outstanding Canadian not-for-profit and public organizations,” says Marie Bountrogianni, Dean of the Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson. Ryerson

Law Society of BC will appeal TWU decision to Supreme Court of Canada

The Law Society of British Columbia says that it is applying to the Supreme Court of Canada to appeal a recent decision by the BC Appeal Court regarding Trinity Western University’s proposed law school. The BC Appeal Court recently ruled against the Law Society’s attempt to deny accreditation to the law school, arguing that the impact on the school’s religious freedoms would outweigh the potential repercussions that accreditation would have on LGBTQ rights. TWU has already filed its own appeal with the country’s top court after Ontario’s provincial courts upheld the Law Society of Upper Canada’s decision to deny the school accreditation. The Federation of Law Societies of Canada has agreed to recognize the school's law graduates, as have the country’s remaining provinces. Times Colonist (CP)

SPU opens new Counselling and Psychotherapy Centre Offices

Saint Paul University has officially opened its new Counselling and Psychotherapy Centre Offices with the support of $800K from the Saint Paul University Oblate Fund Inc. The centre will cover 6,000 square feet and provide community bilingual counselling services to individuals, couples, and families in the Ottawa–Gatineau region. Services are provided by counselling interns at the master’s and doctoral level under the supervision of accredited counsellors, psychotherapists and/or psychologists. “Our vision at Saint Paul University is to be the face of change by building a more inclusive and compassionate society,” said SPU Rector Chantal Beauvais. “Actualizing that vision starts with our unique programs and services, such as those offered by our Counselling and Psychotherapy Centre.” SPU