Top Ten

January 13, 2017

Predatory journals look to capitalize on Canada’s academic brand

“The world of scholarly publishing is in serious trouble,” writes Alex Gillis for University Affairs. “The number of predatory journals has skyrocketed in the past three to four years, leading to a tidal wave of poor-quality research being published.” The author notes that in 2014, publishers launched approximately 1,000 new journals, which can make distinguishing between legitimate journals and predatory ones increasingly difficult. In some cases, the author adds, academics themselves can be complicit in the rise of these journals, “publishing numerous articles in these questionable journals to earn quick and easy academic credit at their institutions.” Further, many predatory journals are now being run out of Canadian residences in an effort to capitalize on Canada’s “brand value” as a home for journals. Gillis concludes with a list of tips for identifying predatory or illegitimate journals. University Affairs

Critics speak out against “anti-psychiatry” scholarship

A scholarship in “anti-psychiatry” created and funded by a University of Toronto professor has provoked concern among critics and other professors at the school. The National Post reports that according to U of T Professor Bonnie Burstow, “there is no such thing as mental ‘illness,’ no evidence that psychological problems stem from physical imbalances in the brain, and even less that treatments like anti-psychotic drugs actually help people.” Critics, however, say that they are concerned that the school is allowing an anti-scientific scholarship that could put mentally ill people in harm’s way. “This is a case where academic freedom should be quashed,” says U of T Professor Edward Shorter. “People will read this and think ‘Well, maybe mother doesn’t need that psychiatrist after all, it’s just a lot of bunkum.’ And then the first thing you know, someone has committed suicide.” National Post

UBC Indigenous professor quits committee after university re-invites cancelled speaker

An Indigenous professor working on a sexual violence policy committee at the University of British Columbia has left the group after the school re-extended a speaking invitation to Vancouver Olympics CEO John Furlong. The Canadian Press reports that UBC Professor Daniel Heath Justice said in a letter to university president Santa Ono that the decision to re-invite Furlong “silenced and erased” allegations that Furlong abused First Nations students while teaching at a BC Catholic school in 1969 and 1970. “I believe that a viable and legitimate survivor-centred approach to sexual assault cannot stand with integrity alongside this deeply troubling decision,” said Justice’s letter. Sara-Jane Finlay, associate vice-president of equity and inclusion and co-chair of the UBC committee, praised Justice’s contributions and added that: “We are saddened by his resigning from the committee but we do respect his decision. Times Colonist (CP) | Maclean’s

Timmins, ON looks to determine feasibility of new university campus

The Northern Policy Institute has commissioned a study to determine the feasibility of a new university campus in Timmins, Ontario. CBC reports that the city, which is already home to Northern College, Collège Boréal, and the small Université de Hearst, asked long-time university administrator Ken Coates to perform a study determining whether such a campus would be feasible in the long-term. In a meeting with Timmins City Council, Coates warned against going ahead with a new school without first making sure it can produce the funds necessary to sustain itself. “You can build a university tomorrow if you want to borrow $200 million and build something and hope that something happens," Coates said. The report is expected to be complete in about a month, but there has been no announcement of when it will be made public. CBC | | Timmins Today

COTR to build $10M trades facility for 2018

College of the Rockies has announced that it will be building a $10M Trades Training Facility thanks to funding from the federal government, the BC government, Columbia Basin Trust, and COTR. The new facility will support 43 new full-time spaces in the electrical, millwright, and heavy-duty equipment programs, and will feature a trades yard and an engine lab. “The addition of this new facility will allow us to further expand our ability to provide trades' training that helps our students to reach their goals, secure careers in high-demand fields and to serve the needs of our communities and industry partners,” stated COTR President David Walls. The facility will be designed to the LEED Gold standard and is set to open in Fall 2018. BC Local News | COTR

Holland graduates gain pathway into UPEI Bachelor of Science in Paramedicine

Graduates of Holland College’s paramedicine program will have the opportunity to obtain a BSc within two years of graduation, thanks to a new pathway into the Bachelor of Science in Paramedicine at the University of Prince Edward Island. “The Canadian Paramedic Association of Canada has indicated that within ten years a degree will be required to enter this profession,” said Trevor Jain, UPEI Paramedicine Program Director and Holland Medical Director of the Primary Care Paramedicine and Advanced Care Paramedicine programs. “UPEI and Holland College are poised to become national leaders within this framework, providing a tailor-made BSc program for Paramedics.” The pathway program will reportedly provide paramedics who are interested in improving their scientific knowledge and research and communication skills with a variety of opportunities to benefit their careers. Holland

QC universities launch free online course on northern politics, development

The Institut Nordique du Québec—made up of Université Laval, McGill University, and Quebec’s national institute for scientific research (INRS)—are releasing a seven-session program on the social and political issues facing Nunavik and other regions in northern Quebec. Students who enroll in the online “Northern Quebec: issues, spaces and cultures” program will work independently through the modules, and will interact with others through an online forum. Over 1,800 students have already registered for the French-language version of the course, some of whom hail from France and North Africa. “I think everyone is interested in the North right now,” said ULaval professor Thierry Rodon. “It’s more than just students. It’s also for people who plan to go work in the North.” Nunatsiaq Online

VCC to train for in-demand jobs with $583K funding injection

Up to 80 residents from British Columbia's Lower Mainland are receiving the training they need for jobs in their communities, thanks to the federal-provincial partnership under the Canada-BC Job Fund Agreement. Approximately $583K has been allocated to Vancouver Community College (VCC) to deliver three programs: Entry to Hospitality Careers for Women, Office Assistant Training, and Building Service Worker training. “VCC is proud to be a part of the solution by offering students skills training in these high-demand fields,” said VCC President Peter Nunoda. “These VCC programs have 100% retention and 97 to 100% employment rates. We attribute this success to VCC’s supportive instructors and small classes.” VCC

US colleges should put an end to early admissions, writes IHE contributor

“Many colleges and universities loudly and proudly proclaim they are committed to admitting more low-income students,” writes Harold Levy for Inside Higher Ed, “but despite the best of intentions, many of their policies act as barriers to keep most low-income students out, including those students with outstanding academic records.” Despite all of the advantages of early admissions policies, Levy argues that these policies confer a massive advantage to students with college-educated parents who are aware of the advantages of applying for early admission, compared to students from lower income backgrounds whose parents might not be able to guide them in this respect. For this reason, Levy argues that colleges should do away with early admissions practices altogether. Inside Higher Ed

Retiring BrandonU faculty members launch new scholarship

Brandon University faculty members Kathryn Hyndman and Fran Racher celebrated their retirement this month by creating a scholarship that will help future Health Studies students at the school. Having trained at Brandon General Hospital, the two chose to recognize the longstanding relationship between the hospital and BrandonU by collaborating with their fellow Class of ’72 alumni to launch the Brandon General Hospital School of Nursing Scholarship. More than $5K has already been raised, which will be matched by the Manitoba Scholarship and Bursary Initiative for an endowment of more than $10K. “I’ve been thinking about it for a while. Often at retirements gifts are given, and I thought it might be nice to do this for future students instead of receiving gifts,” said Hyndman. BrandonU