Top Ten

December 20, 2016

“It makes no sense”: says MP of QC university funding situation

A Quebec MP and the Coalition Avenir Québec are urging the provincial government to find ways to better distribute the money among Quebec universities, arguing that the province does not currently have the level of expertise required to calculate the results of its own funding formula. The Journal de Montréal reports that according to its sources, the QC government does not have the expertise to calculate institutions’ funding and must seek experts from the university network to do so. “The Ministry of Higher Education has no one who understands the formula, it makes no sense,” said MP Jean-François Roberge in an interview with the Journal, adding that university rectors have come to him stating that the officials at the ministry do not understand the forms the universities send to them. Roberge has reportedly called upon the Ministry of Higher Education to address the problem and to remedy what he believes are current inequities in the province’s funding of universities. Journal de Montréal

Graduate student association fires café operator over use of “slave” in job ad

A debate has emerged over the decision to fire a café operator at Wilfrid Laurier University after he posted an advertisement stating that the café was looking for a “slave,” reports the CBC. Sandor Dosman, who runs Veritas Café at WLU, told the CBC that the school’s Graduate Students’ Association terminated his contract after learning about the job posting. Dosman, who has run the café for nearly five years, posted the ad on Facebook in late November. The former president of WLU’s Graduate Students’ Association, Robert Bruce, has condemned the decision to fire Dosman, stating in an open letter to WLU’s campus newspaper: “I am deeply disappointed and embarrassed by [the WLUGSA's] actions over the course of the past few days.” Current WLUGSA President Samantha Deeming has stated that the group plans to reopen the café in January and that it will make no further comment about Dosman’s dismissal. CBC | Montreal Gazette | Hamilton Record

UAlberta, MacEwan approve tuition increases for international students

The University of Alberta and MacEwan University have voted to increase tuition fees for international students starting in fall 2017, reports the Edmonton Journal. MacEwan University’s board of governors agreed this week to a 10% tuition increase to $18,240 from $16,590 in the next academic year and a 5% increase to $19,140 in 2018/19. UAlberta agreed to an across the board 3% increase for international tuition fees, bringing the cost of an arts and science undergraduate degree from $20,395 to $21,009 a year and a business degree from $26,827 to $27,636 a year. UAlberta has also agreed to introduce a $4K international graduate tuition fee that will be “cost neutral and revenue neutral” because students will receive $4K a year in financial support. Both schools have argued that the increases will bring them more in line with what other postsecondary institutions in Canada charge. They add that from an international student’s perspective, low tuition fees are linked to perceptions of lower quality education. Edmonton Journal

Canada’s business schools moving to create more grads skilled in business analytics

Canadian business schools are responding to a growing demand to produce more graduates with a thorough understanding of business analytics, writes Adam Stanley for the Globe and Mail. Stanley highlights efforts at McGill University, Carleton University, York University, and McMaster University to introduce MBA-level concentrations in analytics. “We’ve seen over the years in the MBA program the interest has changed a lot more to MBA students being interested in data-driven analytical decision making,” says Vedat Verter, an operations management professor at McGill. “They [students] were asking for courses in analytics, and to a large extent we looked at the market trends, and we saw the gap between the supply and the demand for more analytically-oriented managers.” Globe and Mail

Georgian partners with Irish technology institute

Georgian College graduates will be able to go on and earn a related degree from Ireland’s Institute of Technology Sligo, thanks to a new agreement between the two institutions. The partnership reportedly creates flexible, full-credit transfer, degree-completion pathways for graduates from a variety of different subject areas. “This agreement gives graduates of these Georgian programs opportunities to turn their diplomas into degrees in fields related to their studies,” said Kevin Weaver, Georgian vice-president, international, workforce development and partnerships. “We are always pleased to find ways to help our students and graduates add value to their Georgian credentials and to accelerate their careers.”

NVIT to build Centre for Excellence in Sustainability

Nicola Valley Institute of Technology will be constructing a Centre for Excellence in Sustainability, thanks to an $8.9M investment from the federal and British Columbian governments. The building will house innovative lab space, demonstrate solar and geo-exchange technologies, and contain a new teaching kitchen and greenhouse. NVIT will also have a new culinary arts program, and will see expansions and developments in the trades, environmental resources technology, and law enforcement preparation programs. “The Centre for Excellence in Sustainability will allow NVIT to recruit and retain students who want to pursue a career in a range of sectors including the emerging clean technology sector, which is important to our region,” said MLA for Fraser-Nicola Jackie Tegart. “NVIT is connecting Aboriginal students with the education and training needed for in-demand jobs.” BC

Ryerson students to use entrepreneurship to improve access to clean water in India, Egypt

Two teams of students from Ryerson University will spend most of their winter break in villages in India and Egypt teaching locals how to build and sell affordable water filters, reports the Canadian Press. The goal of the two small teams is to help improve access to clean water while providing local residents with an entrepreneurial education that can spur the creation of new businesses. The two student initiatives—Project Saaf and Project Myaah—are part of the Ryerson chapter of a non-profit organization known as Enactus, whose goal is to transform lives through socially conscious entrepreneurship. “What makes the holidays special for me is the act of giving...The most essential thing that I could give is something that I think should be a human right, the gift of water,” said Samarth Arabastani, a third-year electrical engineering student who is leading the project in India. CBC (CP)

$20M donation to develop open science research centre through McGill MNIH

McGill University has officially announced that a $20M gift to the McGill-affiliated Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, received from the Larry and Judy Tanenbaum family, will go towards the establishment of the Tanenbaum Open Science Institute. The institute is described as an initiative “that will facilitate the sharing of neuroscience findings worldwide to accelerate the discovery of leading edge therapeutics to treat patients suffering from neurological diseases.” MNIH Director and McGill University Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery Chair Guy Rouleau explained that “part of the Tanenbaum family’s donation will be used to incentivize other Canadian researchers and institutions to adopt an Open Science model, thus strengthening the network of like-minded institutes working in this field.” McGill | CBC | Journal de Montreal

MOOC expert to work with McMaster on new approaches to teaching and learning

McMaster University is set to begin new research on MOOCs and related teaching tools with the help of a global expert. As the new Santiago Ramón y Cajal Distinguished Scholar of Global Digital Learning at McMaster’s Paul R MacPherson Institute for Leadership, Innovation and Excellence in Teaching, Barbara Oakley will collaborate with McMaster faculty members to create a Skills for Success specialization that will combine her Learning How To Learn MOOC with four McMaster MOOCs. She will also advise on other MOOCs and hybrid and online courses. “I think the MOOC is a mirror that showcases how learning is evolving,” said MacPherson Director and AVP Teaching and Learning Arshad Ahmad. “Learners want offerings to be personalized, engaging, flexible, continuous and useful.” McMaster

UoGuelph to study viruses, heart health, food safety, nuclear reactors with new funding

The University of Guelph will receive nearly $2M from the Ontario government for research ranging from studying current and emerging viruses to investigating heart health, health and food safety, and next-generation of nuclear reactors. “We’re delighted to receive this critical investment from the provincial government,” said Malcolm Campbell, vice-president (research) at UoGuelph. “It supports both established researchers leading in their fields as well as our promising early-career faculty who will be tomorrow’s leaders. Their work will lead to applied, practical applications that will help improve life.” A UoGuelph release lists the projects that will benefit from the funding. UoGuelph