Top Ten

February 8, 2017

HEQCO identifies strategies to counter negative impact of university labour strikes on students

Labour disruptions at postsecondary institutions can cause students to experience high levels of stress and confusion, according to a new report by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. The report identifies a number of negative effects associated with work stoppages at universities, and suggests that schools need to do more to keep students informed about the status of labour disputes as they play out. It also identifies interventions that can improve students’ experiences in the event of future strikes, and makes several recommendations for university administrators and faculty members to ease the burden on students. HEQCO | Report

Extreme right group looks to QC university, CEGEP campuses for recruitment

An extreme right group recently attempted to recruit new members at Université Laval and in at least two Quebec City CEGEPs, reports the Journal de Montréal. In late January, several posters from the ultra-nationalist group Atalante-Québec were posted on the campuses of the Cégep de Sainte-Foy and Cégep Limoilou without authorization. The same posters were found the next day at uLaval. “Defend your identity: join the ranks,” said one of the posters, which were quickly taken down. Quebec’s Fédération des cégeps is currently calling for the province to provide more resources for those hoping to keep young people from radicalizing. The Journal reports that according to a study conducted last year among 1,900 students attending eight CEGEPs, reports of racism and hate speech have become frequent at the schools. Journal de Montréal

Ryerson unveils plans for new innovation hub

A new centre run by Ryerson University will bring together researchers in nutrition, energy, and water in an urban context, reports the Toronto Star. Yesterday, the university unveiled plans for its $45.7M Centre for Urban Innovation in downtown Toronto. The 40,000-square-foot facility will reportedly adapt an 1886 heritage building that has been part of Ryerson since 1963. The building will be designed with many common spaces to encourage interaction among researchers, with an additional focus on pairing researchers with local startups. The building will “allow our faculty and students to develop solutions to critical urban issues,” wrote Ryerson President Mohamed Lachemi in a statement. Toronto Star | Ryerson

NB announces changes to student employment program

New Brunswick has announced changes to the Student Employment Experience Development program, some of which come in response to concerns raised about the program last year. The changes include 100% funding for positions at non-profit organizations and First Nations communities, 50% funding for positions in the private sector and municipalities, and an additional 400 positions. “Putting the onus on students to make this employment opportunity better for them, in their own way, is fundamentally what the SEED program is all about,” commented Robert Burroughs, Executive Director of The New Brunswick Student Alliance. “It's about students, and student employment.” CBC

Startups provide key internship experience to postsecondary students

“Ensuring our students are successful in translating their fundamental education into career opportunities is vital for the success of our students, businesses and economy,” writes Alon Eisenstein of the Impact Centre at the University of Toronto. Eisenstein writes about how students are able to learn these skills by taking on internships with startup companies, which are “constantly revisiting their business plans, re-evaluating their potential market and developing and re-developing their products.” Reflecting on the Impact Centre’s experiences and successes, the author encourages both students and industry to further investigate these opportunities to their mutual benefit, and suggests that the government support this model for work-integrated learning. Globe and Mail

UPEI's business program renamed as Faculty of Business

The business program at the University of Prince Edward Island has been officially renamed the Faculty of Business, in a move that Dean of Business Juergen Krause says is in keeping with the program’s growing status. When it began as a business administration program in 1969, the program reportedly had 200 students. Today, there are 800. “Historically we have grown significantly over time, in terms of student numbers, in terms of research opportunities,” says Krause, who adds that the school is looking to stay competitive with nearby universities that use the word faculty to refer to their business programs. “Students search for what is important for them and a faculty usually has a good standing.” CBC

How educators can make the most of growing student activism

“Colleges and universities will undoubtedly face more student unrest” in the coming years, write Nancy Thomas and Adam Gismondi for Inside Higher Ed, which is why educators need to think about how to use this opportunity to encourage inclusive political learning and participation. To this end, the authors offer a number of suggestions for how instructors can make the most of what they call a historic opportunity. These suggestions include using examples of student activism to teach problem-based learning, provide students with opportunities to gather and identify issues worthy of discussion, and teach the best possible habits of discussion. Finally, the authors suggest that the presidents and senior leaders of PSE institutions become more public about their positions on political issues as a way of providing students with more points of engagement. Inside Higher Ed

Laurentian, NOSM, HSNRI partner to strengthen northern research

Laurentian University and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine have signed an affiliation agreement with Health Sciences North Research Institute that will enhance research collaboration between the three institutions. An NOSM release states that the institutions’ shared goal is to improve the health of Northern Ontario residents by sharing resources through technology transfers, research development, and administrative support. “The Northern Ontario School of Medicine’s partnership with Health Sciences North Research Institute and Laurentian University will further enable our faculty members to continue to conduct valuable health research that will lead to improvements in clinical practice, health care, health outcomes, and education in line with NOSM’s social accountability mandate,” says NOSM Dean Roger Strasser. NOSM

BrandonU moves to acquire significant land in downtown Brandon

Brandon University is set to significantly increase its footprint in downtown Brandon through the acquisition of five parcels of land. A BrandonU release states that the land transfers will come at “minimal dollar value to facilitate the initiative while not straining the University’s financial resources.” “This is a truly exciting opportunity that we are ready to seize,” said BrandonU President Gervan Fearon. “We are building on the priorities of our Academic Plan and on the themes emerging from our Campus Master Plan to serve as a catalyst for growth and innovation, and to leverage the University’s capacity in support of community development. We will be pursuing a large-scale mixed-use and residence development in the downtown core that is good for BU students, faculty and staff, and for our partners.” BrandonU

Why robots will save the liberal arts

Robots have decimated employment opportunities in the manufacturing sector, and are now setting their sights on sectors that were once considered safe from automation, writes Eboo Patel for the Chronicle of Higher Education. The author notes that by some estimates, as much as 43% of the labour hours logged in the banking sector could be lost to automation in the near future. For Patel, this trend places a growing emphasis on jobs that rely on human interaction, creativity, and judgment, which the author claims are skills taught most effectively by the liberal arts. “The reason is simple,” Patel concludes. “People need interaction with other people to become better people, better citizens, and better employees. We have long relied on liberal education to produce such people, and all indications are that we will need it for many more years to come.” Chronicle