Top Ten

December 7, 2016

MUNFA demands changes to operations, membership of board of regents

The faculty association at Memorial University is calling on the school to address operational and membership issues with its board of regents. A recent MUNFA news release states that it is unacceptable that school academic staff are not included on the board of regents, and that this practice is “fundamentally out of step with other Canadian universities and with basic democratic principles.” The faculty association is also calling for the board to change its confidentiality rules, arguing that an “open, transparent and accountable decision-making process is essential for sound governance and public confidence.” Last week, the board announced that it would review its practices after a student member resigned from the board, citing bullying as a cause. CBC

UAlberta looks to welcome more international students in era of Trump, Brexit

The University of Alberta has joined a growing list of Canadian institutions that have seen enrolment inquiries increase in the wake of Donald Trump’s election. The Edmonton Sun reports that more academics and professors from the US have also begun inquiring about positions at the school. “There is tons of evidence that US and the UK [after Brexit] are losing attractiveness for international students,” says UAlberta Associate Vice-President International Britta Baron. “(Because) there is the general political message of ‘we don’t want those bloody foreigners, from both Brexit and Trump camps.” Baron adds that UAlberta’s focus, however, is not only on US students looking to study in Canada, but the many Canadian students currently studying in the US. Edmonton Sun

VIU to expand trades complex and create energy system with $22.4M investment

Vancouver Island University has received $22.4M from the federal and British Columbia governments to expand its Marine, Automotive and Trades Complex and create a District Geo-Exchange Energy System. The first project aims to improve and expand training spaces for in-demand trades programs that align with the needs of industries and employers. The expansion will create an additional 128 full-time equivalent training spaces across the automotive, motorcycle, marine, and carpentry programs. The second project will see VIU create a District Geo-Exchange Energy System that will reduce the carbon output for heating and cooling at the school's Nanaimo campus by tapping into geothermal energy. “[These projects] will support VIU’s community sustainability mandate, allowing the university to reduce its carbon footprint and engage in research and innovation in this important area,” said VIU President Ralph Nilson. BC

UCalgary’s “I’ll Stand Up” event teaches men to intervene in gendered violence

An event hosted by the University of Calgary is reminding all students that gendered violence is an issue that affects everyone, reports Metro News. The event was hosted this week as part of the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, which was first marked after the murder of 14 women at École Polytechnique in Montreal on December 6, 1989. Speaker and performer Jeremy Loveday stated at the event that there is currently a leadership gap among men on the issue of gendered violence. “When we don’t stand up or speak up, even if we’re not perpetrating violence, we’re allowing it to happen. We’re allowing it to be normalized,” said Loveday. Metro

Coverage of PSE in Canadian print media on the decline, says HEQCO study

“Coverage of postsecondary education in Canadian print media outlets is declining and has been trending downward since the mid-2000s,” according to new report from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. The report finds that such coverage dropped significantly in 2008 and continued to decrease until 2015—the end of the period studied. The report also notes that the number of news articles relating to skills and training increased over the period of study, particularly during the 2008 recession, while coverage for all other areas declined. The study uncovered four additional issues that are likely to receive media coverage: scholarships and awards, plagiarism and legal issues, the societal and community role of postsecondary institutions, and campus safety and security. HEQCO | Report

UOIT, Durham sign MOU with Technological University for Dublin Alliance

The University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Durham College, and the Technological University for Dublin Alliance have signed an MOU that will create expanded international opportunities for student exchange and research collaborations in Ireland. The international MOU also creates the Canada-Ireland Centre for Higher Education Policy and Practice, which will reportedly focus on exploring new initiatives in higher ed policy and practice in both countries, as well as promote inter-institutional research collaborations, joint publications, joint conferences, and international exchange opportunities for faculty, staff, and students. UOIT

Chronicle highlights US strategies for tackling declining enrolments

US higher ed leaders are currently exploring strategies for coping with declining enrolments after years of growing high school graduation cohorts. The Chronicle examines how different institutions have expanded their recruitment nets, tapped other markets such as adult and distance learners, introduced new programming, adjusted their academic calendar and offerings to meet learner need, and undergone many other efforts to improve their enrolments. The article examines the successes and failures of several of these institutional efforts, and draws attention to the need to better appeal to and reflect the nation’s changing demographics. Chronicle

SMU buys former Canadian Martyrs church site

Saint Mary’s University has acquired a former church site owned by St Thomas Aquinas-Canadian Martyrs, a property that the university says it has wanted to acquire for some time. The site is expected to change hands next spring, but the Ottawa-based development company Ashcroft Homes claims that it has the right to buy the property in order to build two highrise towers for student residences. The company had reportedly made a deal to purchase the property earlier than SMU, yet the deal fell through in October 2016 when the church put the property back on the market due to a disagreement over financing terms. “Ashcroft remains ready and willing to close the original agreement of purchase and sale and intend to take legal action to enforce its right to do so,” said lawyer Nancy Rubin in a letter. The church, SMU, and a Halifax-based community group have all pushed for the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board to dismiss Ashcroft’s appeal. CBC

International students can inspire domestic ones, says UNB president

“We’re an aging country, which means immigration is more and more important to maintaining our quality of life and our opportunities for economic growth,” writes University of New Brunswick President Eddy Campbell. The higher ed leader argues that in addition to their positive economic impact, talented international students can help domestic Canadian students gain a more global perspective and remind them of the value of a Canadian education. Campbell celebrates recent updates to Canada’ express entry immigration system, yet adds that study permit processing times and issues with temporary work permits remain barriers to attracting international talent. The author concludes by endorsing recommendations recently made by Universities Canada to change Canada’s immigration process to better attract global talent. Universities Canada

Improving universities means actually listening to students, writes UWN contributor

Most university leaders do not think of essay writing contests when it comes to gathering meaningful feedback on higher ed, writes Emily Johnson for University World News, yet this type of effort can provide significant insight into how systems and institutions can change for the better. The author highlights one international contest in which Canadian students cited mental health support as a major area for improvement, and not only on the level of support services. In an academic context, students felt that the traditional lecture “is not conducive to good mental health.” In addition to more active forms of learning, the students suggested that Canadian institutions cap class sizes at 50 students so they can engage in more meaningful conversations with their professors. University World News