Top Ten

February 3, 2017

Campuses demonstrate much-needed support for Muslim students in wake of mosque attack: Globe

University campuses across Canada are hosting events this week to show support for the victims of Sunday’s shootings at a Quebec City mosque, writes Simona Chiose for the Globe and Mail, and Muslim students say that these demonstrations are necessary to help fight incidents of Islamophobia that have become more common in recent months. “We’ve had conversations with diversity leaders at universities and we have heard that they feel students need support,” said Amira Elghawaby, the communications director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM). The article further discusses the ways that recent incidents have come about. While some have blamed the internet for promoting and spreading Islamophobia, Concordia University Associate Professor of Education Vivek Venkatesh notes that “citizens find ways in which these conversations have lasting value. An open Internet is a very powerful way to have a dialogue.” Globe and Mail (Subscription Required)

ON colleges ask students to pitch innovation projects with new fund

Ontario’s college sector is celebrating its 50th anniversary with the launch of the new William G Davis Innovation Fund. Named for former ON Premier William Davis, the fund asks college students and alumni to compete for cash prizes by pitching innovative projects and initiatives. “When we launched the Ontario college system 50 years ago, I had hoped that we would create a meaningful and rewarding system that prepares students for a broad range of careers,” said the Honourable William Davis. “That hope was not only realized but surpassed. Today's colleges are preparing students for many of today's most challenging careers. This new fund will promote some of the truly innovative ideas being developed at colleges throughout the province.” Colleges Ontario

ECUAD unveils new logo ahead of move to new campus

When the new Emily Carr University of Art + Design campus on Great Northern Way opens for classes after Labour Day, it will be sporting a new logo and visual identity, says the Vancouver Sun. The new campus building is being built at the cost of approximately $122M, which will be the institution’s first purpose-built home. The building will feature a state-of-the-art fibre-optic network; studios for metalworking, ceramics, pottery, and sculpture; a covered outdoor area; and a 400-seat theatre. “Emily Carr University is setting out on a bold new future in a bold new building,” stated ECUAD President Ron Burnett. The new logo’s shape and colours are reportedly inspired by the painting palette of Canadian artist Emily Carr. Vancouver Sun | Straight | ECUAD

UNBC considering on-campus high school for international students

The University of Northern British Columbia is considering establishing an international high school on its campus. The Prince George Citizen reports that if the institution goes forward with the plan, a school with capacity for 50 to 100 high school students could be piloted as soon as September 2018.  The long-term intention would be to prepare students for postsecondary education in Canada. “They'll be more at home, they'll be more familiar with the place, so the transition to the university would be better,” explained UNBC Provost Dan Ryan, who added that increasing the university’s international student population would help Canadian students gain a global perspective. Prince George Citizen

Okanagan students speak out against rise in tuition fees

Students at Okanagan College say they are disappointed by the school’s recent decision to increase tuition fees beginning next year. The college’s Board of Governors has voted to increase domestic tuition by 2% and international tuition by 5%, a move that will reportedly offset a projected $1.7M budgetary shortfall by roughly $500K. The chairperson of the college board, Connie Denesiuk, said that the decision was difficult, but necessary due to lack of other avenues for balancing the budget. “Funding isn’t keeping pace with the increases in benefits, wages and utilities. We know that costs continue to climb,” said Denesiuk. The college’s student’s union has said that it wants some of the additional $500K to be allocated for mental health initiatives, including the hiring of more counsellors and the reinstatement of an on-campus nurse. Global News

NWCC weighs options for name change

Negative perceptions of the word “community” have led Northwest Community College to begin considering options for a new name, reports the Terrace Standard. “It’s how we fit into the world of postsecondary education. We get a lot of complaints. It’s that word ‘community’,” says Ken Burt, who says that members of the public see the word “community” as something that lowers the college’s standing. For these reasons, Burt adds, the college has also examined the “Northwest” component of its name. “We’re not even in the northwest, more like the middle west,” said Burt. “The problem with geographic locations are that they are problematic when you’re trying to expand your marketing efforts outside your region.” Terrace Standard

Study explores effect of data dashboards on student performance

Giving students performance feedback through a digital academic “dashboard” can help motivate some students to work harder, according to a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan School of Information. The researchers partnered with a digital learning company to collect data about students and present it to them at important moments in their PSE journeys. During the course of the research, students with a grade average of B or lower said they would be more likely than students with higher GPAs to use the dashboard’s feedback feature and take action on the system’s suggestions, such as talking to their professor. “What this kind of research can help us figure out is which students can benefit most from feedback,” said Stephanie Teasley, research professor in the Michigan School of Information. Inside Higher Ed

SFU promotes public access to research with new policy

Simon Fraser University’s senate has officially endorsed an Open Access Policy that demonstrates the academic community's commitment to share its research with the broadest possible audience. Faculty, students, and postdoctoral fellows at the school can satisfy the new policy by submitting an electronic copy of their published papers to the SFU library through an online deposit form. The text will then be made available to the public once the library has considered requirements for access delay. “Growing our open access, open data and open innovation activities is a key aspect of SFU’s Strategic Research Plan,” says Joy Johnson, SFU’s vice-president, research and international. “SFU is recognized as a trailblazer in open access and open knowledge initiatives, and the new OAP policy further supports our vision of being Canada’s leading engaged university.” SFU

CBU reaches tentative deal with faculty

Cape Breton University and the school's faculty association have reached a tentative contract agreement. In a joint release, the groups said that the agreement will now proceed to the university's board of governors and the membership of the Cape Breton University Faculty Association for ratification. CBC reports that prior negotiations had centred on the agreement’s contentious “layoff clause,” which would allow the university to lay off faculty members in certain circumstances. The school and faculty association have said that the terms of the new deal will be announced in the coming days. CBC | CBU