Top Ten

January 20, 2017

Brock Senate adopts Experiential Education definitions in Canadian first

Brock University has announced that it is the first Canadian university to have experiential education definitions adopted by its Senate. These definitions were reportedly developed through consultation with members of Brock’s community—including faculty, staff, and students—as well as with the University of Victoria. “You can come to Brock and have that rich university learning experience, use critical thinking, gain knowledge and graduate with a degree, but also gain the experience you require to start down your desired career path,” stated Cara Boese, Brock’s Director of Co-Op, Career and Experiential Education. Boese added that the adoption of formal definitions allows Brock to measure, track, and report on experiential education and helps faculty integrate more experiential learning into the classroom. Brock

ON tuition plan for low-income students to benefit mature students for first time

For the first time, mature students in Ontario who apply to college or university will be eligible for the same amount of financial help as teens applying straight from ON high schools. The Toronto Star reports that mature students will now also be eligible for free tuition under ON’s plan for low-income students. ON Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development Deb Matthews said that under the old system, a 30% tuition rebate was only offered to students for the four years following high school graduation, and that mature students did not qualify for an additional access grant directed at low-income families. “Somebody like me who went back to school as a mature student would not have been eligible for that much aid,” she said. “So it opens a lot of doors for mature students.” Toronto Star

Prominent list of “predatory” journals disappears amidst possible threats

The world’s most prominent index of academic journals identified as “predatory” has vanished from the internet, reports the Ottawa Citizen, and some have hinted that the list’s publisher has faced legal threats. According to the Citizen, Beall’s List—compiled by former University of Colorado librarian Jeffrey Beall—has been “the world’s main source of information on journals that publish conspiracy theories and incompetent research, making them appear real.” On Sunday, Beall’s website allegedly went blank, and a Texas-based company later hinted online that Beall had shut down the site due to “threats and politics.” “To see Beall’s work disappear would be an absolute disaster,” says University of Saskatchewan Medical Researcher Roger Pierson. “We need to do everything that we can to ensure that the work continues.” Ottawa Citizen

Microsoft donates $7M to McGill, UMontréal for AI research

Microsoft has announced that it will donate $7M to McGill University and the Université de Montréal and hire 40 specialists to boost research in the field of artificial intelligence. The Journal de Montréal reports that Microsoft is in the process of purchasing a Montreal “deep learning” company named Maluuba and will double the company’s workforce from 40 to 80. UMontréal will have the biggest share of the funds and will receive $6M for the Montreal Learning Algorithms Institute. “There are three gems in Artificial Intelligence in Montreal. Maluuba, which we bought, as well as [McGill and UMontréal], that we will support financially,” said Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer of Microsoft. Journal de Montréal

QC court order sparks concern over academic research confidentiality: UA

A court order in Quebec has raised concerns about the protection of privacy in academic research, reports Diane Peters for University Affairs. Marie-Ève Maillé has been told by a Quebec court to turn over lengthy interviews she conducted with 93 rural Quebec residents while she was a PhD candidate at Université du Québec à Montréal in 2010. In 2015, residents from the same area asked Maillé to testify in court as an expert witness on the social disruption allegedly caused by a proposed large-scale wind farm. Maillé reportedly agreed under the assumption that she would merely read from her findings. But due to a court order, the words and identities of the people she interviewed may be used in a civil case involving the wind farm. University Affairs

Ted Rogers School of Management launches Business Innovation Hub with CIBC Mellon

The Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University has partnered with CIBC Mellon to launch the Business Innovation Hub. Located at CIBC Mellon, the hub will bring together five Ryerson students from various fields and five CIBC Mellon employees to identify and solve key challenges facing CIBC Mellon. “Thanks to the leadership and vision of CIBC Mellon and Senior Vice President Richard Anton, the hub will enable our students to bridge the critical skills gap in today’s work force,” said Steven Murphy, Dean of the Ted Rogers School of Management. “This is a game-changing approach to co-op, and I’m proud of the guidance and dedication that Richard and all of our advisory council members—more than 160 strong—demonstrate to our students and alumni.” Ryerson

UNB, UNBSU launch #BreakTheSilence campaign

The UNB Student Union has partnered with the University of New Brunswick to launch a new campaign aiming to dispel the stigma surrounding discussions of sexual violence. Titled #BreakTheSilence, the campaign uses posters featuring four key statistics drawn from the UNB Sexual Assault Climate Survey conducted in 2015-2016: 1) In over 60% of sexual assault cases, both the student and the other individual had been drinking alcohol, 2) 62% of students’ experiences of sexual violence occurred in a home known to them, 3) 90% of sexual assaults happened between two people who knew each other, and 4) 1 in 5 students experienced an incident of sexual assault since coming to UNB. “Break the Silence shows students that while sexual assault is our reality, we have procedures and people in place to provide support,” said UNBSU Vice President External, Katie Beers. UNBSU

Students need to be taught how to spot lies, writes THE contributor

“We in the US are living in an era of stunningly unreliable narration,” writes Donald Hall for Times Higher Education, adding that this “is particularly true of young adults.” Hall notes that in his 25 years as an instructor, he has observed a significant constant: “first-year students arrive on campus often not knowing how to evaluate source material, distinguish credible from problematic arguments and sort through the myriad data points and interpretations that confront them when reading through print material or scanning websites or social media updates.” Hall argues that while it is true that people can develop critical thinking skills in a variety of places, the liberal arts and sciences specialize in fostering these skills. “While an education emphasising technical skills can have its uses, we must continue to assert without embarrassment or apology that we believe in the outcome of training in the liberal arts and sciences,” Hall concludes. “Anything less is potentially catastrophic.” Times Higher Education

ON invites proposals for creating university campus in Milton, Brampton

The conversation around creating university campuses in Milton and Brampton, Ontario took another step forward this week as the ON Government invited universities to develop proposals for creating a campus at one or both sites. Between the two municipalities, the government plans to spend $180M, with each location expected to accommodate 1,000 students within two to five years of opening. An ON release indicates that the government expects candidate universities to demonstrate strong partnerships with colleges, as well as local communities, business, and other institutions. Wilfrid Laurier University has reportedly been collaborating with the Town of Milton for more than eight years to develop plans for a campus, but Inside Halton reports that WLU will still need to go through the proposal process. Milton Council recently passed a motion reiterating a previous endorsement of WLU's submission to the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development for the university. Inside Halton | Brampton Guardian 

TRU partners with Stenberg, JIBC, allowing graduates an opportunity to acquire BHS

Thompson Rivers University has announced that it has signed partnerships with Stenberg College and the Justice Institute of British Columbia to provide graduates with the opportunity to acquire a Bachelor of Health Science. The agreements allow graduates of JIBC’s paramedic and health sciences programs or Stenberg’s Psychiatric Nursing and Cardiology Technologist diploma programs to pursue a degree completion pathway into the TRU Open Learning Bachelor of Health Science program. TRU reports that the Stenberg graduates will leave with a BHS and will be eligible to teach clinical courses in BC after they have acquired five years' experience in nursing. “The BHS has proven to be a very effective credential for today’s health care professionals, who are looking to augment or direct their future professional development,” said TRU Director of Strategic Partnerships Don Poirier. TRU (Stenberg) | TRU (JIBC)