Top Ten

December 6, 2016

UOttawa asks staff, faculties for recommendations on budget cuts

The University of Ottawa could cut millions of dollars to its faculties and services as it works to balance its budget for the next academic year, according to the Ottawa Citizen. The school has reportedly asked all faculties and services to describe how they would achieve a four-to-eight-per-cent reduction to their base budget for 2017-18. Last week, professors at the university organized a rally to protest nearly $2M in cuts to the school’s library budget, yet the Citizen notes that cutting online and print journals is only one of the options the university is considering. “The University of Ottawa is one of many Ontario universities facing financial challenges,” UOttawa Spokeswoman Isabelle Mailloux Pulkinghorn said in an email to the Citizen. “This is due in part to a permanent reduction in revenues from the provincial government of two per cent (over 2012-2013 levels) in government grants per registered students, resulting in decreased funding … At the same time, the university’s expenditures, especially those related to salaries, benefits, and special payments for pension plans continue to grow.” Ottawa Citizen

Protests, debate emerge around departed head of Ryerson School of Social Work

The Black Liberation Collective and the Indigenous Students Rising groups at Ryerson University led a rally last week to protest the school’s reported lack of response to open letters written by each group after the head of Ryerson’s School of Social Work stepped down more than a month ago. Henry Parada, former director of Ryerson’s school of social work, left his role as director after being accused of anti-Black racism for walking out during a Black instructor’s presentation at an anti-racism meeting.  Both the accusations surrounding Paradas and his decision to step down have drawn criticism from columnists Margaret Wente and Christie Blatchford, who have demanded more details regarding the circumstances of Paradas’ departure from the anti-racism meeting. “We are definitely here to have a serious dialogue about any issue they may have with us, and we value and respect the diversity of knowledge, views and experiences that reflect the different groups that we have,” said Ryerson President Mohamed Lachemi, who will reportedly meet with the student groups tomorrow to discuss the school’s next steps. Eyeopener (Incident) | Eyeopener (Rally) | Globe and Mail (Wente) | National Post (Blatchford 1)| National Post (Blatchford 2)

UBC Okanagan receives $40M for Teaching and Learning Centre, Infrastructure upgrades

The University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus will have a new Teaching and Learning Centre and will undergo various sustainability and infrastructure upgrades, thanks to a joint federal-provincial and university investment of a collective $40M. “I want to express my gratitude to our students for their commitment of up to $10 million to establish the Teaching and Learning Centre,” said Deborah Buszard, UBC deputy vice-chancellor and Okanagan campus principal. “It is an extraordinary contribution to future generations.” The funding will reportedly allow for sustainability upgrades to 11 campus buildings, as well as the provision of services and utilities to the UBC Innovation Precinct. UBC Okanagan | BC

SFU to expand tech entrepreneurship WIL program with new funding

Simon Fraser University will expand a new work-integrated learning program to help students build skills and develop market-driven technology products. The expansion of the Technology Entrepreneurship @ SFU program will be supported by one-time funding of $400K from the British Columbia government and enable teams of student entrepreneurs to spend a semester focusing on their technology ventures full-time. The funding will also support mechatronics graduate students who are looking to gain practical experience developing their research into commercial applications. “By equipping students with the skills to become entrepreneurs even before they have completed their studies, they are receiving the best possible start in becoming high-impact innovators, and putting their ideas to use for the betterment of society,” said SFU Vice-President, Research and International Joy Johnson. BC

Western lists 205 students caught cheating in report on academic offenses

Western University has released a report that provides the number of students who have been listed as academic offenders, reports the London Free Press. The report lists 205 students who were caught cheating and notes that punishments ranged from lowered grades to expulsion from a course. Western’s vice-provost in charge of academic programs, John Doerksen, says that the number of such incidents has remained roughly the same over the years, although students’ cheating tactics have evolved. Doerksen adds that while the number of documented cheaters is low, he adds that there are almost certainly more cheaters than this number represents. “I wish the number was zero,” he adds, “but for a community that size I think that’s a relatively small number of infractions.” London Free Press

Does academic freedom have to come at the expense of inclusivity?

“Too often [the] tension between academic freedom and inclusivity is presented as a fatal competition where one survives only if the other dies,” writes Grace Karram Stephenson for University World News. The author focuses on the recent debate surrounding Professor Jordan Peterson’s refusal to use gender-neutral pronouns, noting that “the situation raises some important questions about academic freedom, freedom of speech and human rights.” Stephenson notes that while the push for more inclusive campuses is a universally accepted premise, the clash between inclusivity and academic freedom sometimes leads professors to claim that an academic force is attempting to silence dissenting views. Stephenson argues, however, that “[the] difference is that inclusivity policy is often the result of student movements. And students are members of the university community.” University World News

CNC street humanities program works to expose marginalized individuals to PSE

A program at the College of New Caledonia is striving to help marginalized individuals access postsecondary education. Dubbed “The Street Humanities,” the program helps integrate vulnerable students into college life by providing them with meals, bus passes, tuition, books, supplies, study and discussion groups, an educational and emotional support network, and tours and orientations. Subjects covered by the program include anthropology, biology, English, First Nations studies, history, visual art, psychology, math, business, and sociology. “The street humanities program aims to decrease barriers to education and to provide an opportunity for marginalized men and women to walk through the college doors as students,” said CNC Administrative Coordinator Kim Bennet. “This long running program has seen many success stories over the years and we are proud to be able to offer this opportunity to the community.” Prince George Citizen | BC Colleges | CNC

OCADU to create design thinking research studio with $1M contribution

OCAD University is set to develop the new Scotiabank Design Thinking Research Studio with $1M in support from Scotiabank. The school states that the new studio will help foster the “leading thinkers, designers and creative professionals needed to drive the national economic engine.” Through the new studio, the school plans to develop a Design Thinking educational curriculum model and generate research, workshops, executive education, and an annual open public forum. “This collaboration is a tremendous opportunity for our students to engage in experiential learning to prepare for careers in this connected world,” said OCADU President Sara Diamond. Scotiabank

Algoma looks to partner with other schools to meet Brampton PSE goals

Algoma University is looking to partner with other universities and colleges in order to increase access to PSE in Brampton and Milton, reports the Sault Star. The university has offered classes at a satellite location in Brampton for nearly ten years, yet in October 2016, Ontario’s Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development announced that it wanted to establish new university-led PSE sites in the two cities, adding that it will spend up to $180M for the two new learning centres. Algoma President Craig Chamberlin has said that his school is too small to shoulder the effort alone, but adds that “what we're looking to do is collaborate with the other universities that express interest in the region and build a collective around those institutions where we play a major part.” Sault Star

Seneca signs MOUs with institutions from Japan, South Korea

Seneca College has reportedly signed MOUs with seven partner institutions from Japan and South Korea that will expand educational and career opportunities for students, create academic and professional exchanges, and allow for the exploration of joint applied research initiatives. The MOUs were signed with Japan College of Foreign Languages and Nagoya University of Foreign Studies of Japan; and with Cheju Halla University, ChungKang College of Cultural Industries, Dankook University, Jeonju University, and Konkuk University of Korea. “These agreements strengthen our international relationships and we are delighted to be offering increased avenues for student and academic exchanges,” said Seneca President David Agnew. Seneca