Top Ten

February 14, 2017

NS judge says education students have been “thrown under the bus” by work-to-rule action

Education students looking to graduate from Nova Scotia universities are being “thrown under the bus” by a work-to-rule campaign being pursued by Nova Scotia's public school teachers, according to a provincial Supreme Court judge. Justice Jamie Campbell made these comments during a hearing last Friday after five NS universities launched an injunction against the Nova Scotia Teachers Union stating that the union should be forced to accept students into the classroom. In order to graduate with a bachelor of education in Nova Scotia, student teachers must complete a minimum of 15 weeks of practicum. Before the court can decide whether to grant the universities' request to compel the union to accept education students in their classes, the judge must reportedly decide whether the universities should have standing in the case. CBC (Judge) | CBC (Injunction)

BC partners with higher ed institutions on First Nations language degree

BC has announced that it is funding the development of a new degree, titled the Indigenous Language Fluency Degree, that will help preserve First Nations languages. Community consultations were undertaken by the First Nations Education Steering Committee and the Indigenous Adult and Higher Learning Association, who have partnered on this project with postsecondary institutions such as Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, Wilp Wilxo’oskwhl Nisga’a, En’owkin Centre, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Northern British Columbia. The proposed degree program would include two years of language instruction in communities followed by two years at a public postsecondary institution. BC Colleges

CBU moves to end sexual violence with launch of pledge campaign

Cape Breton University has launched a new campaign asking members of the university community to make a personal commitment to ending sexual assault. Known as The Pledge, the campaign allows participants to make a formal commitment, either online or in-person, to become an active bystander and to pursue four core principles for ending sexual assault. These principles commit the participant to recognize that non-consensual sex is sexual assault, identify situations in which sexual assault may occur, intervene in situations where consent has not or cannot be given, and create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported. “Sexual violence and assault is a societal issue that has been plaguing communities and campuses for far too long,” says CBU Interim President Dale Keefe. “I am so proud that CBU is taking charge and stepping up to lead the culture shift and create a stronger, safer community for everyone.” CBU

KPU receives $22M for renovations, new classroom space

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has received a $22M joint federal-provincial investment that will go towards renovations and an addition for the Spruce Building at its Surrey campus. The resulting facility will offer space for an additional 300 students, reduce energy consumption, and house additional education spaces such as science labs, fine arts studios, and 3D shops. “This investment by our federal and provincial governments attests to their support of our ambition to meet the needs of the scientific, creative and cultural sectors, which are all important and growing aspects of the BC economy,” said KPU President Alan Davis. BC | KPU

Laurentian social work program receives accreditation for two more years

Students of Laurentian University’s social work program were relieved last week to learn that the program has received accreditation for two more years, reports CBC. The program was reportedly at risk of losing accreditation, but Laurentian learned last week that its English, French, and Indigenous social work programs will receive two more years of accreditation. “The need for our program to be accredited would directly affect whether or not we could register as social workers with our college,” says Stephanie Sindori, a fourth year-student and president of the students association for the English School of Social Work. To keep its accreditation, the university reportedly needs to hire eight additional full-time and one additional part-time staff member. A Laurentian spokesperson says that the school has already posted job openings, and hiring should take place over the next year. CBC

Universities move away from student-led panels to judge sexual assaults

Universities in British Columbia and Ontario are shifting away from allowing students to investigate sexual assault allegations against their peers, reports the Canadian Press. Both provinces have mandated that postsecondary institutions establish specific policies setting out how they respond to sexual violence. While some schools have historically used panels of students to judge whether a sexual assault took place, the CP notes that universities are abandoning this practice because students do not have proper training and complainants may feel intimidated by the thought of being judged by peers. The article adds that schools like the University of British Columbia “are revising their sexual assault policies to allow for highly trained, trauma-informed investigators to handle all allegations of sexual assault made against members of their communities.” Vancouver Sun (CP)

Suggestions for faculty who criticize student activists

“Recent years have seen students energized by grassroots movements mobilizing for change on campuses across the country,” writes Dean Spade for the Chronicle of Higher Education, but many faculty members have come to criticize student activists. Spade lays out the common lines of argument that faculty level against student protest, then offers four suggestions for how faculty can better support students who become engaged in this way. The first is to appreciate students’ willingness to take risks; the second is to reconsider the claim that faculty or administrators have become the “victims” of entitled students; the third is to realize that wanting students to “ask nicely” for change is not seen as a viable option by activists who feel ignored; and the fourth is to consider the possible benefits of student activism. Chronicle

Durham to receive $1M from regional municipality

Durham College has announced that it will receive $1M from the Regional Municipality of Durham to support its new Centre for Collaborative Education. “On behalf of everyone at Durham College, I would like to express our gratitude to the Region for its investment in our new Centre for Collaborative Education,” said Durham President Don Lovisa. “Not only is this contribution reflective of the ongoing support we’ve received from the Region over the years, it is also a vote of confidence in our vision for the CFCE – to create a 21st-century approach to learning that will enable the college to create an educational hub of excellence here in the region, while meeting the demands of students, employers and Ontario’s changing economy.” The announcement marks the second major contribution to the centre by a municipality this month. Durham

Ryerson students travel to UAE to pitch social innovation ideas

Ten students from the Ted Rogers School of Management and nine students from across other faculties at Ryerson University are set to travel to the United Arab Emirates for two weeks. During their visit, they will work with students from the Canadian University Dubai to pitch social innovation ideas to local business leaders and entrepreneurs. “I am extremely proud of the creativity, passion and vision our students have demonstrated in developing socially innovative ideas for the UAE,” said TRSM Dean Steven Murphy. “The opportunity to travel internationally to collaborate with students and business leaders in this region is an example of experiential learning at its finest. This initiative will help support our students in becoming future global business Leaders.” Ryerson

Humanities departments are guilty of adjunct exploitation, writes Chronicle contributor

“[The] profession of literary criticism depends upon exploitation,” writes Kevin Birmingham for the Chronicle of Higher Ed. The author contends that humanities departments' increasing dependence on part-time faculty has led these departments to intentionally produce more PhDs in order to maintain a constant stream of new graduates who are willing to work for little pay and no job security. “The abysmal conditions of adjuncts are not the inevitable byproducts of an economy with limited space for literature,” the author adds. “They are intentional. … If you are a tenured (or tenure-track) faculty member teaching in a humanities department with Ph.D. candidates, you are both the instrument and the direct beneficiary of exploitation.” Chronicle