Top Ten

November 17, 2016

McGill Student Society highlights support services to students impacted by Trump victory

The Student Society of McGill University has issued a letter to its student body offering a list of support services to any student who feels “less safe or mentally shaken” following the US election, reports the Montreal Gazette. “There is a lot of unhappiness and discomfort since the election,” says SSMU president Ben Ger. “A lot of hateful rhetoric was validated by Trump and his people. … That kind of hate bleeds across borders.” Ger adds that McGill’s administration would not sign the SSMU’s letter, yet a university spokesperson has stated that the university does not issue statements about the results of democratic elections in other countries. The SSMU and university administration have reportedly issued conflicting accounts of any changes in requests for counselling support since the election. Montreal Gazette

Atlantic Canada needs good jobs to retain grads, says IBM Canada head

Talented graduates need more reasons to stay in Atlantic Canada, said IBM Canada’s Dino Trevisani in a recent keynote address in Halifax. Trevisani cited statistics showing that 1,300 young people between the ages of 20 to 29 leave Nova Scotia every year, arguing that many of them would not do so if they had access to good jobs. Trevisani’s remarks were followed by a panel of young Atlantic Canadian entrepreneurs, who reflected on their experiences starting and running businesses in the region. “There’s a lot of opportunity for young people in Atlantic Canada and we need to convey that story better,” said digital marketing expert Ross Simmonds. When asked about the role universities should play in preparing young people for successful careers, many of the panelists highlighted co-ops and internships as being of vital importance. University Affairs

uOttawa professor accuses school of racial bias following appointment non-renewal

A University of Ottawa professor has launched a discrimination lawsuit against his university over allegations that he was denied a prestigious Canada Research Chair promotion based on racial bias. Law professor Amir Attaran says that the university’s decision to deny him a renewal of his Canada Research Chair professorship was the result of discriminatory practices. “There is a systemic problem with not enough visible minorities, women, disabled and aboriginal people getting into Canada Research Chairs, not just in this university, but across the country,” said Attaran, who has filed the suit against both the university and the Association of Professors of the University of Ottawa. uOttawa defended its efforts, saying that as of Nov 1, it had nearly met its target for visible minorities obtaining Canada Research Chairs. “We are at 90 per cent of our target and will actually surpass it by year end,” wrote university spokeswoman Isabelle Mailloux-Pulkinghorn. None of Attaran’s allegations against the university or the union have been tested in court. National Post

Laurentian to name new research centre in honour of $1M donation

Laurentian University will name its new research and development centre the Norinne E Perdue Collaborative Research and Development Centre in recognition of a $1M gift from the Perdue family. The university says that the centre will help researchers across its seven faculties to collaborate and share equipment. The space was reportedly designed in consultation with local industry, researchers, and faculty, with an aim to bolster collaborations and interdisciplinary opportunities. “The Perdue family have a long history of supporting Laurentian University,” said Jennifer Witty, chairwoman of the university's board of governors. “Our students have benefited greatly from their generosity and through this investment our region will continue to prosper with a much needed Collaborative Research and Development Centre.” Sudbury Star

AB significantly increases funding for program aiming to help Indigenous students pursue PSE

Alberta has expanded funding for its Future Ready education initiative from $4.3M to $7M to help more than 1,500 Indigenous students pursue PSE. “Every Albertan should have the same opportunity to pursue higher education, regardless of financial circumstances,” said Marlin Schmidt, Minister of Advanced Education. “These awards are helping reduce barriers for Indigenous students, creating opportunities to build the skills they need for rewarding, successful careers.” “It’s been such a blessing, not having to worry about finances while I study,” added student Denise Simmons. “It’s still really stressful, trying to raise children while you’re going to school. But [funding from the program] has helped tremendously.” Calgary Herald

Combating the stigma around part-time studies

“There are myriad reasons why a student chooses part-time studies, and they all carry their own stories,” writes Amanda Ghazale Aziz. The author notes that while it might appear beneficial to some, studying part-time can stigmatize a person as being lazy or not intelligent enough to complete their studies on time. “We know that’s not the case,” writes Aziz, “but that stigma makes students hesitate before considering a lighter course load.” Anne Forrestall, assistant vice-provost for student affairs at Dalhousie University, says she is familiar with the conflict students feel at the thought of part-time study: “When I was working as an adviser myself, I would often tell students: 10 years from now, you’ll be 10 years older no matter what you do. But you could be 10 years older and have a degree [whether you finish in four or more years].” Maclean’s

UCalgary formally opens Canadian Natural Resources Limited Engineering Complex

The University of Calgary has formally opened the Canadian Natural Resources Limited Engineering Complex, which has expanded to include the Schulich School of Engineering. The $174M expansion project has added additional classrooms, labs, workrooms, research space, and two new 240-seat theatres. UCalgary’s Schulich School of Engineering also released a discussion of the department’s history in advance of the official opening. The project was funded by the Government of Alberta, the Government of Canada, the philanthropic community, and a “notable gift” from Canadian Natural Resources Limited. MarketWired | UCalgary | UCalgary (History)

Student leaders meeting with federal government to call for improvements

As part of CASA’s Advocacy Week, student leaders from across Canada have reportedly joined on Parliament Hill to meet with members of the federal government and share the student perspective on today’s post-secondary system and call for further improvements to Canada’s postsecondary system. “This year, student leaders want to make sure that no student in need is left unsupported and that all students can access an innovative education to help them succeed later on,” explained CASA Board Chair and UPEI Student Union VP John Rix. The students’ recommendations reportedly include increasing the support of First Nations students, funding initial assessments for mental health disabilities, and reducing teacher prep time and student textbook prices through the utilization of open-educational resources. NationTalk

Canada needs more of its students to study in China, say experts

“Canadian students need to go to China,” states the title of a recent Maclean’s article, yet despite this country’s growing influence around the world, students do not see it as a desirable place to study. The article notes that the issue is not with a potential language barrier, as cross-country surveys have shown that students have a higher interest in countries like Japan, South Korea, and Brazil. Further, Chinese universities currently offer hundreds of degrees in English, and the number is growing quickly. One expert tells Maclean’s that financial support is a major issue, especially when one considers the cost of tuition in Canada compared to a country like Germany, where tuition is free. Considering that China is the world’s second-biggest economy and Canada's second-largest trading partner, experts say that a lack of knowledge is putting Canada's future at risk. Maclean’s

Why incoming presidents need to be educated on fundraising: IHE contributors

University presidents are often recruited to raise their institution’s profile and increase private donations, but many can face challenges connecting with major donors, write Barbara McFadden Allen, Robin Kaler and Ruth Watkins. The authors outline a hypothetical scenario, in which a new university president is offered millions of dollars by a “powerful graduate” to establish a centre for conservative governance. Such a centre would not play to the school’s strengths or political leanings, write the authors, and yet the president cannot help but feel immense pressure to accept the donation. The authors go on to outline how the fictional president can succeed in this situation, and how this success can provide a model for how he governs moving forward. Inside Higher Ed