Top Ten

February 1, 2017

uLaval professor among those killed in QC mosque attack

A professor and researcher at Université Laval was among the victims killed in the shooting at the Islamic Cultural Center in Quebec City on Sunday night, reports CBC. Khaled Belkacemi, 60, was a father and full professor at the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Science at uLaval. “It's a big loss,” said Hani Antoun, a retired uLaval professor. “He was a very competent and well known man in his field.” Belkacemi’s wife, Safia Hamoudi, is also a full professor and researcher in the same faculty at uLaval. “Our university community is in mourning today. We mourn the death of an esteemed member of the Faculty and the University, a devoted and beloved man of his colleagues and students,” said uLaval University Rector Denis Brière in a statement. CBC | Journal de Montréal | Montreal Gazette

UBC creates $250K task force to support students, faculty impacted by US travel ban

The University of British Columbia has announced the creation of a new task force in response to a ban that prevents residents of seven countries from entering the US, reports CTV News. The task force will have an initial budget of $250K and will work to determine how the university can help those affected by the ban. A release from UBC President Santa Ono states that “UBC's academic strength and stature depends upon the freedom of our faculty, staff and students to travel abroad for purposes of scholarship and study and upon our ability to welcome the most talented individuals from around the world to our campuses. Actions that restrict this movement based on a person’s nationality or birthplace go against our values as a university.” CTV News | UBC

Five NS universities launch legal action against teachers union over work-to-rule

Five universities are pursuing legal action against the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, claiming that the group’s work-to-rule action is threatening the careers of students currently enrolled in the province’s education programs. CBC reports that Acadia University, Cape Breton University, Mount Saint Vincent University, St Francis Xavier University, and Université Sainte-Anne filed papers this Monday with the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, charging that the work-to-rule action may prevent 300 education students from graduating on time. A release from the institutions states that the union is violating the province’s Education Act by not accepting or supervising student teachers. Nova Scotia Teachers Union President Liette Doucet denies the claim, stating that teachers “are in a legal strike position which gives us the right to do that.” CBC

ON college funding formula doesn’t add up for small, medium schools: Canadore president

“We can manage in the short term, but over the long term we are in trouble,” says Canadore College President George Burton of all small-to-medium-sized colleges in Ontario. Burton tells the North Bay Nugget that while ON’s current college funding formula “works for the larger colleges, which have economies of scale” and access to larger population centres, it does not come close to covering the costs of smaller institutions. “We do not have three years or four years to address a funding shortfall,” says Burton. “We have to address it this year. Next year will be a new ballgame.” The Nugget reports that since 2007-08, provincial funding for colleges’ operating costs has decreased each year in real dollars. “We will push our way through,” adds Burton. “We will continue doing what we should be doing to fulfill our mandate. But we can’t do it alone.” North Bay Nugget

Healthy aging at stake for new SFU tech research institute

Simon Fraser University has announced the creation of a new research institute that will bolster British Columbia’s healthy aging tech industry. The centre will support research in areas such as mobile technologies, smart environments, big data, visualization and simulation, and wearable devices. SFU says that the Science and Technology for Aging Research Institute “builds on a significant ‘critical mass’ of research programs that already exist at SFU and will provide a platform for future proposals.” It will also act as a conduit for collaborations with community partners, service providers, and government. “The STAR Institute is a prime example of what we can accomplish through collaboration and the mobilization of ideas for positive social and economic impact,” says SFU’s Vice-President, Research and International Joy Johnson. SFU

Ten ways faculty, admin can support immigrant students

“While most university faculty, staff and administrators may not be in a position to directly influence federal immigration law or enforcement priorities, we do have the ability—indeed, we would argue, the responsibility—to mediate the impact of immigration policies on undocumented students,” write Anita Casavantes Bradford, Laura E Enriquez, and Susan Bibler Coutin. To this end, the authors offer ten ways that PSE faculty and administrators can better support immigrant students. These suggestions include learning about the laws and policies that impact undocumented students’ educational access, signaling support for students, and giving careful consideration to discussions of immigration-related issues and the current political climate in the classroom. Inside Higher Ed

BC to continue increasing targeted funds for in-demand job training

British Columbia has announced that it will continue to increase targeted funding for postsecondary training for in-demand occupations through 2017-18. While roughly 22% of the province’s $1.86B for PSE institutions is currently put toward targeted operating grants, the province is looking to increase this proportion to 25% by 2017-18. A BC release notes that the province also plans to increase targeted funding by $50M and to raise the overall amount of targeted funding for in-demand job training to $270M. The release adds that almost one million job openings are expected in the province by 2025 due to retirements and economic growth, and that eight out of 10 of these job openings will require some sort of postsecondary education or training. BC

MRU, MSVU sign MOU for public relations programs

Mount Royal University and Mount Saint Vincent University have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that connects the two institutions’ public relations programs. The MOU states that the institutions will explore collaborative opportunities such as credit transfers, student and faculty exchanges, collaborative programming, reciprocal work placements, and joint research and graduate student supervision. “For many years Mount Royal was the only public relations degree-granting institution in Western Canada and we considered Mount Saint Vincent our ‘sister’ program in Eastern Canada,” said Jane McNichol, chair of the Department of Public Relations in the School of Communication Studies at MRU. MRU

UNB receives $6.2M investment for smart grid technology research

The University of New Brunswick has received a $6.2M investment from Emera Inc to establish the Emera & NB Power Research Centre for Smart Grid Technologies. The investment will also fund smart grid research and support an Emera Chair in Smart Grid Technologies at UNB. “Smart grid is the future of electrical power distribution,” said UNB President Eddy Campbell. “This is a compelling example of a strong academic-industry partnership that will fuel innovation and growth in the economy. We are grateful for Emera’s leadership and contribution to advancing research in this area.” The new centre will reportedly facilitate industry partnerships and applied research. UNB

Sheridan and Fleming sign MOU on new pathway to Bachelor of Craft and Design

Eligible graduates of Fleming College’s Visual and Creative Arts Diploma program will now have the opportunity to enter directly into the second year of Sheridan College’s four-year Honours Bachelor of Craft and Design (BC&D) degree program. “A partnership with Sheridan College provides Fleming College graduates with an opportunity to seamlessly continue developing their studio practice while earning an Honours Bachelor of Craft and Design,” said Fleming's Haliburton Campus Principal Sandra Dupret. “Further, this pathway is an acknowledgment of the degree ready skills that our students develop during their studies at Haliburton School of Art + Design.” Fleming