Top Ten

March 13, 2017

Universities across Canada respond to opioid crisis

Universities across Canada are stepping up their efforts to respond to the growing number of opioid-related emergencies and deaths, reports Tara Siebarth. Many universities are responding by distributing naloxone kits, which UBC’s Marna Nelson says are intended “for those who are designated as high-risk individuals or their friends and family.” The University of Toronto's Aaron Orkin adds that naloxone is only one part of the solution to a problem that he blames on failed public policy, particularly governments’ decisions to stop the distribution of oxycodone, which has been blamed for a rise in the use of heroin and fentanyl. The author explores the efforts being made to address the opioid crisis by universities such as UBC, Thompson Rivers University, U of T, University of Alberta, University of Manitoba, University of Calgary, and University of Waterloo. University Affairs

Dal to replace convocation mace, deems it a relic of British colonial values

Dalhousie University says that it will retire a ceremonial symbol used at its convocation ceremonies due to its reflection of European colonial values. CBC reports that the ornamental mace used in the ceremonies is carved with symbols representing Lord Dalhousie, medieval scholars, and references to the European colonization of North America, symbols that Dal Art Gallery curator Peter Dykhuis says are out of step with the school’s student body. Dykhuis is chair of a committee that has been tasked with reimagining the mace in a way that better reflects the diversity of Dal and of Canada as a whole. The mace committee will review submissions for a new ceremonial object, and will consist of representatives from the Mi'kmaq and African-Nova Scotian communities, students, and other Dal community members. CBC

UQAT announces creation of new research laboratory on Indigenous women’s issues

The University of Quebec in Abitibi-Témiscamingue has announced the creation of the new Laboratoire de Recherche sur les Enjeux Relatifs aux Femmes Autochtones – Akwatisiw. UQAT states that the laboratory has been developed in response to the need for more research projects addressing Indigenous women’s issues, and that it will fulfill a number of objectives, including the creation of a research directory related to Quebec studies concerning Aboriginal women, the identification of research projects relevant to Aboriginal women in Quebec, the analysis of existing government programs, and the study of the role of Aboriginal women in territorial governance and consultation processes. Several organizations have chosen to partner with the laboratory. The laboratory will be led by UQAT School of Aboriginal Studies Professor Suzy Basile. UQAT

US study finds that use of alcohol, marijuana together is linked to decline in PSE grades

Students who mix the use of alcohol and marijuana experience a significant drop in grades compared to students who drink a moderate to heavy amount of alcohol on its own, according to a new US study. Researchers at Yale University tracked more than 1,100 students at two unnamed colleges in Connecticut over the course of two years, and found that students who drank minimal alcohol and used minimal marijuana had an average GPA of 3.10, while those who drank alcohol earned an average GPA of 3.03. The most dramatic change occurred in students who used both alcohol and marijuana, whose GPAs averaged 2.66. The study notes that these results held even when the students had similar SAT scores. Inside Higher Ed

uBishop’s, Brescia sign MOU providing automatic admission into undergraduate programs

Bishop’s University and Brescia University College have signed an MOU that allows students who have successfully completed Brescia’s Preliminary Year Program to qualify for automatic admission into one of Bishop’s undergraduate programs. Effective Fall 2017, the agreement marks the first of its kind for the Preliminary Year Program at Brescia. “We are delighted to partner with Bishop’s in providing this new and effective pathway for our students,” says Marianne Simm, Brescia’s Vice-Principal Students. “Beyond their existing pathways at Western and our affiliate partners, Brescia’s Preliminary Year students, who are predominantly international, will now have the opportunity to pursue their post-secondary education within a similar and intimate, supportive liberal arts environment.” Brescia

Administrators should teach to stay connected to students, school’s mission

“It seems that the changing culture of higher education and the sheer volume of our work have made teaching for administrators as rare as spotting a leatherback turtle,” writes Richard Greenwald for the Chronicle of Higher Education. Greenwald argues that in a world where PSE administrators and professors are becoming more alien to one another, the classroom should be a place that unites them by connecting them with students and the mission of their institutions. Finally, Greenwald suggests that teaching can provide administrators with crucial insight into what is happening at their institution. “Teaching reminds us of the daily grind of education, how it builds class upon class, term upon term, year upon year,” the author concludes. “It provides a perspective that no spreadsheet can replace.” Chronicle (Subscription Required)

GPA a better predictor of success than exam scores, says US study

When it comes to predicting success in postsecondary school, a US study has determined that GPA is a better indicator than exam scores for direct entry students. The study, which looked at how high school GPA and exam performance predicted college success among first-time students entering the University of Alaska, noted that for those who delay their college entry, the results become somewhat more dependent on the type of test and their program subject area. The report authors concluded that the study provided initial evidence that high school GPA indicated a readiness for college coursework that was not typically captured by standardized exam scores, and noted that further research could lead to the development of specific grade cutpoints to be used in college readiness indicator systems. Campus Technology | Report

UNB partners with Terrestrial Energy on “zero meltdown” nuclear technology

The University of New Brunswick has partnered with a vendor of Advanced Reactor power plants to research and develop a safer form of nuclear power generation. The project will specifically focus on the technology known as an integral molten salt reactor, which uses molten salts to generate power more safely than the current reactors by reportedly rendering nuclear meltdown impossible. Research work at UNB is being managed by William Cook, professor in chemical engineering and director of the Centre for Nuclear Energy Research at the university. “UNB students will benefit greatly from exposure to IMSR technology,” says Cook. “Everyone here is enthusiastic to be involved in this Canadian-grown project that holds tremendous potential to drive a new age of clean industrial-scale energy.” UNB

MUN reviewing bids for construction of $325M science building

Memorial University tells CBC that a second attempt to kick-start construction of its new science building is well underway. The university is now in the process of reviewing bids for the building’s construction, which has a slated total budget of $325M. MUN’s board of regents reportedly expects to see a vendor recommended this Thursday. If accepted, the bid will require final approval from the Newfoundland and Labrador government. A university spokesperson said that the process could be completed in April, at which point construction could begin. CBC

Georgian chooses site of downtown Barrie campus

Georgian College has chosen the location for its planned campus in downtown Barrie, reports CTV News. The college says that it plans to hold classes inside a 17,000 square-foot building that will be the new home for students of digital photography and imaging, digital video, graphic design, and graphic design production. “We’re excited about the possibilities this will bring, and we eagerly anticipate the first day of classes in September,” said Dean of Technology and Visual Arts Georgian Bill Angelakos in a statement. “This new leased downtown location will provide our students greater opportunities for work-integrated and experiential learning and collaboration with experts in Barrie’s vibrant creative community, as well as space to show and sell their work.” CTV News