Top Ten

January 5, 2017

UBC president apologizes for cancellation of visiting speaker

University of British Columbia President Santa Ono has released a statement in response to public backlash over the cancellation of former Vancouver Olympic CEO John Furlong’s contract to speak at an event at UBC. Furlong’s speech was cancelled after the circulation of an open letter penned by UBC alumnus Glynnis Kirchmeier, who said that Furlong had been accused of abuse towards First Nations children by 45 people while teaching in 1969 and 1970. The RCMP has stated that an investigation into the claims ended without charges, yet Kirchmeier's letter argued that inviting Furlong was at odds with the university’s commitment to reconciliation with First Nations people. “UBC made this decision in good faith, but without proper consideration of its potential impact on Mr. Furlong or his family,” stated Ono. “While this decision was made without my knowledge or that of the UBC Board of Governors, I deeply regret this error and have apologized to Mr. Furlong on behalf of UBC.” UBC | Globe and Mail | Open Letter

Northern ON graduates find jobs close to home through Stay North program

College graduates across Northern Ontario have a better chance at finding work close to home thanks to a free program called Stay North, writes Maclean's. Launched in September 2015, Stay North works with employment agencies, employer groups, individual employers, recruitment agencies, municipalities, and chambers of commerce from across Northern Ontario to match graduates with jobs. Since its launch, Stay North has matched more than 50 graduates with jobs in health care, IT, graphic design, engineering, and the environment, doubling the goal of 25 matches it sought to make by the end of its mandate in June 2017. “Lots of students end up moving out of northern Ontario to find work,” says Alex Rogerson, Stay North’s employment liaison officer. “The Stay North goal is to help them find employment, first of all in their community, and if not that, then in the north.” Maclean’s

DND to formally dispose of RRU property

Canada’s Department of National Defence has declared that it plans to dispose of the lands on which Royal Roads University operates after determining that the land exists in surplus of the DND’s needs. The move is not expected to disrupt operations at the university, yet the Times Colonist reports that the move could result in new collaborations between RRU and the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations, both of which have expressed interest in the land and identified it as a core part of their claimed traditional territories. Songhees Chief Ron Sam said that if an agreement is reached with the federal government, it could mark the end of a 24-year modern treaty negotiation. “We’re not after Royal Roads University, we’re looking at the lands surrounding the university. My understanding is there’s about 500-plus acres of land at Royal Roads and that’s really what the Songhees Nation is looking at,” said Sam. Times Colonist  | The Province | RRU

Western students create “food rescue” program to send unused food to people in need

A group of students at Western University has launched what it calls a “food rescue” program to help close the gap between food waste and hunger in London, Ontario. The London Free Press reports that the venture, called reHarvest, aims to collect groceries bound for the garbage and bring them to the homes of people living in poverty. “We read an article about food waste and heard 30 to 40 per cent of food is being wasted and it is such a crazy number,” said Amy Wang, co-organizer of reHarvest. “You hear so much about hunger in the city. We were so shocked by that.” London Free Press

Montmorency magazine helps students with autism adapt to college life

A magazine titled “Lunatic” out of Collège Montmorency has provided a valuable place for students with autism to connect, integrate into college life, and develop workplace skills, says Maclean's. In addition to providing students an opportunity to make friends, “I also wanted to expose them to an activity that resembles a work setting, so they could develop skills of teamwork, of respecting deadlines and having responsibilities,” says Montmorency Guidance Counsellor Émilie Robert, who started the magazine after noticing an increasing number of incoming students with autism spectrum disorder diagnoses. The article offers several statements from students who feel that they have become better connected with the college and other students as a result of the magazine. Maclean’s

MacEwan shifts program to meet quadrupling demand for psychiatric nurses

MacEwan University is making changes to its psychiatric nursing program in an effort to meet a growing demand for these nurses in Alberta, which is projected to grow 400% in the next 25 years. The Journal notes that the biggest shift in the program is the transition from a 2-1/2-year diploma program to a four-year bachelor degree, with an option for a diploma exit for those who want to enter the workforce early. "The shift from diploma to degree comes down to the need to educate psychiatric nurses with higher levels of competency skills and knowledge to handle the evolving nursing role of the future,” says Brian Parker, chair and assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatric Nursing at MacEwan. Edmonton Journal

HEC Montréal professors concerned about expansion of English-language offerings

A number of professors at HEC Montréal have expressed concern about the school’s move to teach more courses in English, reports Journal de Montréal. “There has been a significant influx of texts and books in English, along with unilingual anglophone guests, and finally, courses and programs were added in English,” notes Omar Aktouf, a professor in the management department at HEC Montréal. Aktouf argues that the university is “trying to be a pale copy of Harvard” through its push for more English-language offerings. The Journal notes, however, that English remains the language of business all over the world and “Quebec is no exception.” Journal de Montréal

How boards and presidents can avoid forced separations: IHE contributor

“What can trustees, presidents and candidates for presidencies do to reduce the chances of [a] forced separation?” asks George Boggs for Inside Higher Ed. The first consideration, according to the author, should be one of fit, especially between the new president, the board, and the mission of the institution. Boggs specifically recommends that the board and new president schedule a retreat or workshop as soon as possible after the president’s arrival in order to develop a common set of goals. An annual formal evaluation of the president’s performance is also key, the author adds, as is the scheduling of periodic retreats or workshops throughout the president’s tenure. Finally, Boggs concludes that “boards need to understand that presidents must deal with conflicting demands, insufficient resources, hectic schedules and long hours.” Inside Higher Ed

Colleges gaining “parity of esteem” with universities: Toronto Star

Ontario colleges represented a “a step towards democratization of higher education” when they were first created, writes Andrea Gordon for the Toronto Star, but “‘parity of esteem’ was a long time coming.” While colleges were once thought to be stepping stones to a university, Gordon reports that “the traffic is going both ways” today, with university graduates becoming the largest growing cohort in the college system and both types of institutions collaborating on an increasing number of transfer pathways and other programs. Gordon highlights the stories of an alumnus and current student at Centennial College to illustrate the immense changes that have occurred in colleges' programming and esteem since their creation. Toronto Star

Industry/PSE collaboration thrives at Cégep Marie-Victorin wearable tech centre

A wearable technology research centre based at Montréal’s Cégep Marie-Victorin has provided both the school and industry partners with invaluable opportunities for innovation, reports Maclean’s. The Vestechpro research centre first opened as an incubator five years ago to help clothing companies spur innovation, yet it quickly turned its attention to the budding world of “smart garments,” which combine technology, advanced data, and uncommon fabrics. “It almost happened by accident,” says Nadine Meunier, a fashion design and manufacturing teacher at the CEGEP. “Now it’s an unexpected breeding ground for innovations that developed as a response to industry demands.” Maclean’s