Top Ten

December 13, 2016

CBU dismisses president, votes down faculty contract

Cape Breton University may face an impending faculty strike after the university’s board dismissed President David Wheeler and rejected a tentative contract agreement with professors, reports CBC. Wheeler’s departure is reportedly linked to his negotiation of the tentative agreement. “The board really didn't see [the agreement],” said Board Chair Ambrose White. “The negotiating committee and the advisory committee were not part of that agreement so the board did not see that, there were no reports to the board. So they had to vote it down at this point.” Faculty are considering job action and a possible a strike, according to union Spokesperson Andrew Reynolds, who says that “[from] our end, we had this thing locked up, we thought. This now throws us all into unchartered waters so we'll have to prepare for the worst.” CBU Vice President of Academic and Provost Dale Keefe will reportedly take over as acting president while a search committee looks for a new leader for the university. CBC | Medicine Hat News (CP) | Chronicle Herald

Is it time for Canadian universities to ban professor/student relationships?

“In an era of increasing discussion of sexual harassment on campus, should universities allow relationships between faculty and students at all?” asks Maryse Zeidler for the CBC. The author notes that prominent US institutions like Stanford and Harvard have banned all such relationships on the basis of the inherent problems caused by power dynamics between professors and students. Yet Shahin Imtiaz, vice-president of campus life with the University of Toronto Students' Union, argues that a ban is not the solution. “Affirmative consent is what we need to push for, regardless of who the people involved are,” Imtiaz said, adding that institutions need to do more to support sexual assault survivors. “To instate blanket policies and promises and ways of reducing liability for universities doesn't address a much larger concern.” CBC

Black defends U of T professor, OISE instructor launches campaign to support saying “they”

University of Toronto Professor Jordan Peterson should not face his critics alone, writes Conrad Black for the National Post. Citing Peterson’s refusal to use gender-neutral pronouns, Black argues that “this is a fundamental issue where the right of freedom of expression is being assaulted by people falsely claiming that abstentions from the use of contrived jargon, in the form of non-binary gender pronouns, somehow robs them of their constitutionally defined dignity.” The debate surrounding Peterson has also led Lee Airton, an instructor at U of T's Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, to launch a campaign called “No Big Deal,” which aims to inform the public that using a word like “they” instead of “he” or “she” should not be a significant issue for the person speaking. “My pronoun is a big deal to me,” said Airton. “It’s taken me many years to get here and find something that works—and that makes all kinds of things possible in my life—but I feel like it doesn’t have to be a big deal to you.” National Post (Black) | U of T (Airton)

ON launches online OSAP calculator for application season

Ontario has launched a new online calculator to offer students and their families a quick and accessible way to see whether they qualify for free tuition or other grants and supports from the province. The province notes that the release of the calculator coincides with the opening of 2017 applications for ON college and university programs. An ON release notes that users can enter basic information at and learn the amount of aid they could receive from OSAP with a few clicks. The release also reiterates new changes to the OSAP system, which starting in the 2017-18 will provide: free average tuition to more than 150,000 students across ON whose parents earn less than $50K, more generous grants to make college and university more affordable for students from middle income families, and greater access to grants for mature and married students. ON

Settlement reached between YorkU, Mandi Gray

York University has announced that it has reached a settlement with Mandi Gray, who filed a complaint against the school in summer 2016 after she was sexually assaulted by another student. A joint statement released on Monday says that the matter has been settled with no admission of liability by YorkU or concession by Gray. “Although the parties were unable to reach an agreement on many issues, part of the resolution of the [Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario] application is that the university will collaborate with sexual assault centres to provide specialized counselling to sexual violence survivors from the York community,” the statement says. Gray would not comment on the terms of the settlement, but noted that “[there] are definitely more changes that are needed.” The joint release also notes that “York University strives to be a progressive institution that believes in social justice and respects Ms. Gray’s efforts to bring public attention to the issue of sexual assault and the treatment of survivors.” Toronto Star | CTV News | YorkU (Joint Statement)

CMU receives $1.1M for Centre for Environmental and Economic Resilience

Canadian Mennonite University has announced that it will receive more than $1.1M in joint federal-provincial funding to create a Centre for Environmental and Economic Resilience. The centre will reportedly enhance more than 6,000 square feet of existing space located in a designated heritage building on CMU’s campus. The new centre will be designed to bolster the incubation and expansion of partnering social enterprises working toward low-carbon living and community development. “This generous investment of the Government of Canada and the Province of Manitoba signals a bold vision for cross-sector relationships and projects in service of society’s well-being,” said CMU President Cheryl Pauls. “CMU is grateful for the generous entrustment and partnership in this project from both levels of government. We look forward to the quality of social enterprise and stewardship that will be imagined and enacted through this centre.” Pembina Valley Online | mySteinbach

Grit is an important quality to teach despite its drawbacks: IHE contributor

“[Educators] should seek to build campus ecosystems where those with grit can shine, strengthen themselves and inspire others,” writes Daniel Porterfield for Inside Higher Ed. Drawing on the work of psychologist Angela Duckworth, the author writes that grit is “a fusion of passion, aspiration, tenacity and resilience that launches people to success.” He notes, however, that critics of Duckworth have also pointed out the limitations of trying to measure grit, as well as the dangers of having this concept overshadow structural barriers to student success such as generational poverty. Porterfield argues that educators should strive to create learning environments where students from all backgrounds can develop their sense of grit, offering several concrete strategies for doing so. “Such interior growth is one of the great aims of education," concludes the author. “Where both perseverance and passion flourish, education has done its most sublime work.” Inside Higher Ed

Loyalist launches program to support learners with intellectual, developmental disabilities

Loyalist College has announced a new two-year certificate program that will use modified programming to support students with intellectual or developmental disabilities in their pursuit of PSE. The Community Integration through Co-operative Education program will aim to instill core competencies in areas such as numeracy, communications, job skills, computer skills, human relations, and emergency response skills. As part of the program, students will secure field placements that will help them enhance their vocational skills, involvement in the community, and potential to live more independently as they move into volunteer or paid employment. “As a regional, access-focused College, Loyalist is committed to supporting all students, including those with intellectual disabilities, by customizing the learning experience,” said Loyalist College President Ann Marie Vaughan. Last Friday, the college also announced that it will receive nearly $900K in provincial funding to support Elevate Plus, the college’s new skills training pilot for the Quinte Region of Ontario. Loyalist (CICE) | Loyalist (Elevate)

CNC to build $15M heavy-mechanical trades-training facility

The College of New Caledonia is building a new $15M heavy-mechanical trades-training facility that will provide up-to-date facilities for students to gain skills needed for jobs in the oil and gas, forestry, and hydro-electricity sectors. “Our new heavy-mechanical trades-training facility will enable students to develop practical skills that match employers’ needs, in up-to-date facilities,” said CNC President Henry Reiser. “Experiential hands-on learning, such as this, reinforces textbook theory in a way that complements the entire educational process.” The project received a $13.8M combined investment from the federal and British Columbian governments, with CNC contributing an additional $1.2M. Prince George Citizen | BC

StMU, United Active Living sign MoU

St Mary’s University and United Active Living will be cooperating on research, joint conferences, continuing education, and more in a collaboration that will benefit both StMU’s students and the residents of United’s Fish Creek community. United Active Living reports that the program will see the continuation of the student-in-residence program that sees university students live and work alongside residents of United communities. “St Mary’s is very much involved in the greater community, and we have already been involved with them in a student-in-residence program that is proving very beneficial,” commented United Activing Living President Gail Hinchliffe. “The MoU opens the door to an even deeper partnership in such areas as learning, the arts and research.” StMU | United Active Living

Which campus spaces are your students most afraid of?

When it comes to students’ feelings of safety, not all campus spaces are experienced the same way. Hear what students across the country have to say about where they do and don’t feel safe on campus.

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