Top Ten

January 26, 2017

ON must rein in proposed salary increases for college presidents: Toronto Star

“Raise your hand if your salary increased by more than 50% in the past five years. Nope? Didn’t think so,” writes the Toronto Star in response to recent reports that Ontario’s college presidents could receive as much as a 50% pay increase. The potential increases are reportedly due to the lifting of a five-year wage freeze on non-unionized public sector workers. The Star argues that ON needs to reign salary increases in, “[n]ot only to stop a salary race at the college level, but to manage pay expectations for other public sector workers, including those at universities, hospitals, school boards and government agencies.” The editorial lists the pay increases that a number of colleges have proposed for their presidents, with some slated to increase to as much as half a million dollars. Toronto Star

Loyalist becomes first college in Canada to have laboratory approved for cannabis research

Health Canada has recently approved Loyalist College for a Controlled Drugs and Substances License for the purpose of research and analysis using medical cannabis, which Loyalist says makes it the only college in Canada and the only Ontario academic institution with this laboratory approval. Future cannabis testing will be undertaken at Loyalist’s Supercritical CO2 Extraction Applied Research Laboratory. “In partnership with Health Canada and industry leaders, we will help to inform related decision making, continuous quality improvement and sustainable practices,” said Loyalist President Ann Marie Vaughan. “Increased R&D in this area is timely and essential moving forward.” Loyalist

UBC president to lead BC innovation network

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark has chosen University of British Columbia President Santa Ono to serve as chief advisor on a new provincial innovation network. The Province reports that the network aims to foster collaboration between postsecondary schools and innovation-driven industries. The group, which will work with the Premier’s Technology Council, will strive to provide graduates with the skills employers need while increasing industry’s access to postsecondary researchers. “We are all part of an ecosystem that seeks to compete on the world stage, that strives to be the source of new knowledge, discoveries, and innovative products and techniques,” said Ono. “As the premier has mentioned, we are already collectively succeeding.” The Province | BC | UBC

ON premier announces $20M fund to help college students gain job experience

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has announced the creation of a new $20M fund that will help the province’s college students gain hands-on experience, reports CBC. The Colleges Applied Research and Development Fund will run for three years and will be designed to help students develop the skills most needed by employers. Students can apply for funding to work on research and development projects at an Ontario company, while colleges can use the money to partner with businesses and industry associations. Finally, the funds can be used to create opportunities for students to consult with companies while they are mentored by a member of their college's faculty. “By increasing access to experiential learning opportunities, where students can solve real-world challenges, we are giving them the tools they need to thrive in the workforce,” said Wynne in a release. CBC

How can Canada reverse its “accidental brain drain”?

“I’ve become one of those people—part of the nation’s brain drain—and I can assure you that it was entirely accidental,” writes Adam Crymble for University Affairs. Every year, the author writes, hundreds of Canadian travel abroad to pursue PhDs or postdocs with the aim of gaining international experience. Many of these people do not return to Canada, Crymble adds, citing several key reasons why this may be the case. These reasons can include the average length of time to complete a degree or fellowship in different countries, but also the tendency for expats to become invested in and connected to the place where they pursue their studies. “Students abroad need to be regularly reminded of why they should return,” Crymble concludes. “And this should happen from the day they board their flights to leave because it is then that the romantic connection to Canada is strongest.” University Affairs

Queen's to bolster mental health research with $1M from Bell Let's Talk

Queen’s University Professor Heather Stuart will continue to pursue important research in mental health thanks to a $1M donation from Bell Let’s Talk. The funds will be used to support the Bell Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair at Queen’s, occupied by Stuart, for at least five more years. Stuart says that the amount of attention given to mental health today is significantly higher than it was earlier in her career. “It’s just incredible the difference you can see. People are here, they are interested, they want to talk about this,” she says. “The fact that they are here and want to talk is a sea change for me. It’s unbelievable.” Queen’s | Kingston Whig-Standard

George Brown Waterfront Campus expanding for new School of Design facility, Innovation Exchange

George Brown College’s Waterfront Campus will soon expand to include a new School of Design facility that will house the Innovation Exchange, a research hub that will allow students and businesses to collaborate. George Brown explains that the new facility will include a 200-seat flexible meeting space and a 135-seat auditorium, as well as classrooms, labs, and study spaces. The Innovation Exchange will include gallery spaces, a maker space, industry-college classrooms, and a variety of labs. “Our Innovation Exchange will be a living lab to test commercial ideas, concepts and user functionality while providing our students with hands-on experience alongside the industry’s most innovative creators," said Luigi Ferrara, George Brown’s Dean of the Centre for Arts, Design & Information Technology. George Brown

NIC receives $13.5M for new trades facility

North Island College will help prepare students for in-demand jobs in the skilled trades through the construction of a new trades training centre. A $13.5M investment from British Columbia will allow NIC to replace its aging Vigar Vocational Centre and consolidate programs at its Campbell River Heritage Lands Education Centre campus. When complete, the facility will include a campus commons and redesigned library, along with a First Nations lounge and study area with office space for the Elder in Residence. “The new facilities will transform the delivery of North Island College programs and services in Campbell River,” says NIC President John Bowman. “Trades and apprenticeship training students will have access to state-of-the-art learning spaces and equipment.” My Comox Valley Now | NIC

Confederation names wellness centre in recognition of student union contribution

Confederation College formally recognized an $8.5M contribution from its student union to its new Wellness Centre with the naming of the facility: SUCCI Wellness Centre, “Minowaadiziiwin.” Confederation explains that Minowaadiziiwin means “Lead a Good Life,” which reflects the values of the facility. “We are proud to be a key partner in this project and honoured to have the Centre named with us in mind,” said Jodi Connor, President of the Student Union (SUCCI). “This new facility will focus on more than just fitness, providing an opportunity for students to de-stress and unwind, get healthy, socialize or simply engage in quiet reflection.” Confederation

UQAR, Cégep de Rimouski, Cégep de La Pocatière receive $17.8M investment in infrastructure

Infrastructure projects at two research spaces operated by the Université du Québec à Rimouski, as well as projects at Cégep de Rimouski and Cégep de La Pocatière, are benefiting from nearly $18M in combined investment from the Government of Canada, Government of Quebec, and the institutions themselves. According to L’Avantage, UQAR received $13M of the investment, which will be dedicated to a major redevelopment project and the improvement of existing laboratories on campus. Radio-Canada reports that Cégep de Rimouski will be upgrading its Amqui facilities with the received investment, while Cégep de La Pocatière will be renovating its library. Canada | L'Avantage (UQAR) | Radio-Canada (CEGEPs)