Top Ten

January 23, 2017

Athabasca to undergo third-party review to determine sustainability

Athabasca University will reportedly undergo an independent third-party review to determine its long-term sustainability in light of a budget deficit and increasing financial pressures. CBC cites an internal report from 2015 suggesting that union contracts, provincial funding changes, and the remote location of the university’s headquarters would lead to insolvency within two years. The Edmonton Journal further points to the increasing costs related to upgrading Athabasca’s information technology. “My report is not designed to shut (the university) down,” said external reviewer and University of Saskatchewan Professor Ken Coates. “Athabasca University has a chance to re-invent itself and expand its current operations and model to do some really, truly exciting things.” CBC | Edmonton Journal

“We cannot buy our way out of this”: UCalgary cuts as many as 1,600 journals

The University of Calgary has cancelled subscriptions to as many as 1,600 journal titles in an effort to save $1.5M in costs, reports CBC. Administrators, staff, and faculty appear to agree, however, that the blame for the cuts falls squarely on the journals’ publishers. UCalgary Head Librarian Tom Hickerson tells CBC that five publishers currently control more than half the market for academic journals, and that these companies raise their prices every year. “Even if we had more money, we cannot buy our way out of this,” Hickerson says. “We really have to change the model.” UCalgary Professor of Communication, Media and Film Tamara Shepherd agrees with Hickerson, adding that “it's easy to place blame on the library for cutting them, but really the problem lies with the publishers, because there's a totally unsustainable publishing model in academic work.” CBC | The Gauntlet

MBA grads can look forward to “promising” job market in 2017

Canada’s MBA graduates will enter a strong job market in 2017, according to a new survey of global employers. Jennifer Lewington of the Globe and Mail reports that a poll conducted in November 2016 found that 83% of employers said that they planned to hire graduates with an MBA or specialized degree in 2017, and 58% of companies said that they planned to increase their base annual salaries in line with or above the rate of inflation. Companies also reported that their top goals for 2017 were to “overcome challenges,” maintain their current position, and/or grow. Globe and Mail

No papers, lectures in problem-based CCNB business program

A business program at Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick has gotten rid of term papers and lectures in favour of creating a real-world work environment for its students, reports Maclean’s. The Gestion de la petite et moyenne entreprise (small and medium business management program) uses a classroom model known as SCALE-UP, in which students form groups and work on projects to support a range of real companies. In many cases, the students might create a marketing proposal, a human resources framework, or even a financial plan. “Through this model, [we are] creating conditions for them to collaborate, to use technology, and to be creative, [as well as] to gain real experience in the business field.” says Gaetan Lanteigne, the instructor in charge of the program. Maclean’s

Camosun to build Health education with $43.5M in new funding

Camosun College is set to build a new Health education centre at its Interurban campus thanks to a combined $43.5M investment from the Canadian and British Columbian governments. The new health sciences centre will be a four-storey, 8,300-square-metre centre and will house 18 health science programs. A Camosun release states that the new building will give science students access to a better learning environment where they can hone their knowledge and skills in a clinic-like setting. “A new leading-edge Health Sciences education centre at our Interurban campus is an essential investment in the future health of our province,” says Camosun President Sherri Bell. Camosun | BC

USB signs agreement with UMoncton, SFM for law students

Université de Saint-Boniface, the University of Moncton, and the Société franco-manitobaine have ratified an agreement that will grant admission to UMoncton’s law program to at least five Saint-Boniface graduates who meet program admission requirements. The three partners will also reportedly work together to explore ways to fund the creation of one or more scholarships specifically targeting Manitoba Francophone Students in order to encourage internships and clerk positions in Manitoba. “Young people here can come to USB knowing that their degree opens the door to law studies,” commented USB Rector Gabor Csepregi. “There are places for them in Moncton and we will help them keep their ties with Manitoba and come back. This agreement will encourage the training of the lawyers our community needs to serve its people and to defend its interests.” USB

RRU create living laboratory for sustainability and intercultural understanding

Royal Roads University will take a significant step forward in fostering innovation in research, sustainability, and intercultural understanding through the creation of its Centre for Environmental Science and International Partnership. The project will include the creation of environmental science teaching labs and applied research space, student learning commons, facilities for computer labs, wet labs, academic support, and integrated student service functions. In addition to $15M provided by the Canadian and British Columbian governments, the project will benefit from a $5M donation from philanthropist Sherman Jen and a $1.5M commitment from the university. “In a highly competitive process for the funding, an investment of this significance demonstrates federal and provincial endorsement for our efforts to create a life-changing future for our graduates,” says RRU President Allan Cahoon. RRU | BC

Queen’s, McMaster move to bolster collaboration with city governments

Two Ontario universities are working to bolster collaboration with the cities in which they are based. Queen’s University and the City of Kingston have reportedly created an MOU that will be put to Kingston City Council tomorrow for their consideration. The agreement would see Queen’s and Kingston work closely together to pursue opportunities in innovation, economic development, and the retention of more young people within Kingston. In Hamilton, McMaster University is working with the Xperience Annex program, an initiative delivered with funding from the Local Poverty Reduction Fund, to help Hamilton youth between the ages of 18-29 with basic needs, employment, and education. Queen’s | McMaster

NSCADU students designing greeting cards for inmates

Students at NSCAD University have begun designing greeting cards to improve the lives of people in prison, reports CBC. The project has been led by NSCADU Professor May Chung and former Halifax Poet-Laureate El Jones, the latter of whom worked to gather quotes from the family members of incarcerated people to use as text on the cards. “It's something very different from what [the students] normally do,” said Chung. “This is a project about a need in society and designers can do things that can help bring about change in society.” Third-year NSCADU student Sam Lynn told CBC that the messages she read from both current and former prisoners inspired her, adding that “the love and hope that these people feel has really been inspiring and it really helped us to put a lot of effort into the project.” CBC

WLU receives Fair Trade Campus designation, discusses process

Wilfrid Laurier University has announced that it has joined other progressive campuses in Canada after receiving a fair trade designation from the Canadian Fair Trade Network. The designation includes a number of requirements, including ensuring that all coffee sold on campus is fair trade. “When we talk to the student body about sustainability issues, food consistently is top of mind,” explained Tyler Plante, outreach and program coordinator in WLU's Sustainability Office. “It's something that is very tangible because they need to eat every day and we drink a lot of coffee and that's one of the main focus areas of fair trade. That's really why we chose [a] fair trade campus as one of the avenues we'd go down.” Plante further expressed interest in educating students on the meaning of fair trade products.  WLU (Fair Trade) | CBC (Fair Trade)