Top Ten

January 19, 2017

ON college executives could see pay rise as much as 50%: Globe

Senior administrators at Ontario’s colleges could see their salaries rise as much as 50% when the province lifts a salary freeze for non-unionized public-sector workers, writes Simona Chiose for the Globe and Mail. Colleges are reportedly consulting on “compensation frameworks” that will determine the maximum pay that senior leaders in the public sector can receive. Chiose notes that in some cases, executives could be eligible for raises of more than $100K a year. Yet David Brook, CEO of the non-profit College Employer Council, argues that “there are no salary decisions made at this point,” adding that “it is premature and speculative to talk about salary levels. We don’t know what the actual impacts will be.” Globe and Mail

UAlberta may need to cut arts programs with low enrolment: Edmonton Journal

Declining enrolments may press the University of Alberta to to suspend admissions to 14 arts major and honours programs in 2018, reports the Edmonton Journal. An internal memo from the school reportedly states that some programs at the school had 10 or fewer students enrolled in each of the eight fall terms between 2009 and 2016. A total of 30 students are currently enrolled in the programs whose closures, if approved, would take effect in September 2018. UAlberta Faculty of Arts Dean Lesley Cormack says that students enrolled in these programs will be able to continue and complete their degrees, and adds that any decision to suspend enrolment in the programs will not impact the school’s staffing levels. “This is less about cost saving and more about good management so we can take finite resources and make decisions based on student demands and enrich their programs,” said Cormack. Edmonton Journal

Former CEO of Matane required to repay $215K

Quebec Minister of Higher Education Hélène David has reportedly asked the CÉGEP de Matane to take legal steps to recover an alleged $215K overpayment from former Matane CEO Émery Béland. La Presse reports that an audit conducted by David’s Cabinet found two irregular payments to Béland after he left in 2014 that corresponded with the starting premium of his annual salary of $150K and a reimbursement for 110 days of vacation. Along with the demand to pursue the return of the $215K, Minister David reportedly sent a governance specialist to support and advise the Matane Board of Directors and management on how to prevent the situation from occurring again. Radio-Canada | La Presse

Canada launches new platform for collaboration between PSE, public servants

The Canadian government has created a new online resource to offer academics and students new ways to connect and work with Canada’s public service. Natalie Samson of University Affairs notes that the platform, called GCcollab.ca, grew out of an open-source communication interface that government employees have been using for years. Samson reports that the new site allows users to create profiles, browse a newsfeed, and access an events calendar. GCollab was opened to users at five institutions in September 2016 on a pilot basis. Within a month, the tool was reportedly made available to academics and students at all universities and colleges due to significant demand. University Affairs

UWinnipeg to pilot dedicated gym hours for female, non-binary students

The University of Winnipeg and the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association have announced a new pilot project offering specific gym time to female and non-binary students. Slated to begin in September 2017, the pilot has been informed by a UWSA-led survey in the fall of 2016 that found that 50% of female respondents indicated discomfort in using the fitness centre. A UWinnipeg release states that the pilot is “one of several new initiatives underway to promote a diverse and inclusive culture of respect within all recreation services and facilities on UWinnipeg’s campus and to offer more wellness opportunities to students who may be underutilizing programs.” UWinnipeg

Federal book tax rebate to benefit NL institutions, but not students

Newfoundland & Labrador’s finance minister has stated that public institutions like Memorial University can help offset the cost of additional book taxes through a federal rebate, reports CBC. This rebate, however, will not help students who stand to face additional taxes created through the elimination of NL’s provincial book tax rebate. The rise in book costs first occurred when the NL government removed a provincial rebate on book taxes, effectively raising the tax on books. Finance Minister Cathy Bennett has pointed out that institutions can still access a book tax rebate through the federal government, but CBC reports that this rebate is not available to students. Earlier this week, MUN’s Students' Union raised concerns about the impact of the additional tax on textbooks. CBC

U of T releases report on Truth and Reconciliation

The University of Toronto’s Truth and Reconciliation Steering Committee has released its final report, which calls on the school to take action in six key areas. Titled Wecheehetowin, or “working together” in Cree, the report includes 34 distinct calls to action in areas that include Indigenous research ethics and community relationships, Indigenous students and co-curricular education, and Institutional leadership and implementation. “Creating this report was a process focused on inclusivity and engagement,” said Jonathan Hamilton-Diabo, coordinator of U of T’s Council of Aboriginal Initiatives and co-chair of the committee. “There was a strong emphasis on incorporating a wide range of voices from both the University and broader community.” U of T

WLU opens Community Innovation Hub, providing space for trial-and-error

Wilfrid Laurier University’s Schlegel Centre for Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation formally announced the opening of the Community Innovation Hub earlier this week. The Hub provides a collaborative space to facilitate social innovation and entrepreneurship activities for WLU students, staff, faculty, alumni, and Brantford community members. “The Community Innovation Hub provides a space to take a trial-and-error approach in a low-risk environment. Students and community members have access to mentors, advisors, tools and technology that can support their learning,” said Schlegel Centre Executive Director Joanne Benham-Rennick. “These types of work-integrated learning programs help people develop the skills they need to gain meaningful employment or start their own enterprises.” WLU

UBC collaborates with University of Central Asia on Earth and Environmental Sciences

The University of British Columbia has signed an agreement with the University of Central Asia that will see UBC design the curriculum for 22 Earth and Environmental Sciences courses that will be taught by UCA faculty. “I am excited by this initiative and the chance to partner with a new university in an often underserved part of the world,” said UBC President Santa Ono. “This partnership will not only allow UBC to have critical input into the development of new academic programmes half a world away, but will also provide UBC instructors with the chance to reflect on their own courses and how they might be improved and adapted to different learning environments.” The UCA Board of Trustees Chairman Shamsh Kassim-Lakha noted his hope that the institutions would collaborate in other academic fields, conduct joint research projects, and pursue faculty and student exchanges in the future. UCA

NOSM partners to increase number of medical physicists working in the North

The Norther Ontario School of Medicine has partnered with Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and Health Sciences North in Sudbury to establish an accredited Medical Physics Residency Education Program. “The Northern Ontario School of Medicine is pleased to be expanding our existing partnerships with the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and Health Sciences North,” says David Marsh, NOSM Acting Dean and Associate Dean, Community Engagement. “The School was founded on the premise that if health professionals are trained in the North, they are more likely to stay and practice after completion of their education.” One of the program's core goals will be to increase the number of trained medical physicists working in the North. NOSM