Top Ten

March 14, 2017

UAlberta looks to diversify international student base, decrease dependence on China

The University of Alberta says that it will look to engage new regions for international student recruitment in an effort to make its international student body more diverse by 2020. The Edmonton Journal reports that achieving this goal will require the university to redirect some of the attention that is currently focused on China, which accounts for nearly 75% of the school’s international student population. UAlberta Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President of International Programs Britta Baron says that any adverse change to the school’s relationship with China “would cause serious financial trouble for the university.” The Journal adds that since student tuition is the second largest contributor to the overall university budget, such a lack of diversity poses a financial risk to the institution. Edmonton Journal

uSask student who left med school due to mental illness being sued by RBC

A former uSask student who left medical school after being diagnosed with a mental illness is being sued by RBC for a student line of credit totaling more than $170K. Bryan Robson tells CBC that he attended medical school for roughly two years before being diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder and leaving the program. Robson says that he assumed at the time that the disability insurance attached to his student line of credit would exempt him from a debt he would never be able to pay back. After meeting with an RBC professional, however, he learned that he was not covered. Since then, RBC has filed a suit to sue Robson for the outstanding loan. In an emailed statement to CBC, the company said, “For student lines of credit, it is important to note that clients who choose not to complete or are unable to complete their studies, for whatever reason, are expected to repay the loan.” CBC

UPEI students elect first international president of student union

A third-year engineering major has become the first international student to be elected president of the student union at the University of Prince Edward Island. Hammad Ahmed began studying at UPEI in 2014 and has previously served as president of the school’s Society of International Students. Ahmed's campaign platform included plans to create a more inclusive campus and to foster a sense of unity among Island students, students from other parts of Canada, and international students. “When you advertise an event as a normal event it's hard to get the international community to come and be part of it,” said Ahmed. “And if you call an event international or global something it's hard to get domestic students to get involved in it.” Ahmed says that one of his goals moving forward will be the creation of more gender-neutral washrooms on the school’s campus. CBC (1) | CBC (2)

Concordia Centre for Expanded Poetics criticized for publishing copyrighted materials

A centre at Concordia University has come under fire for an alleged violation of copyright law. Kate Taylor of the Globe and Mail reports that the school recently received complaints that its Centre for Expanded Poetics posted high-quality reproductions of entire books of poetry to an online platform without permission. Contacted at his office, centre director Nathan Brown acknowledged the centre's wrongdoing. “Posting those files was a mistake that has been corrected,” he said, adding that he will buy five copies of each posted book from the publishers. The reproductions have reportedly been taken down. Globe and Mail | Inside Higher Ed

Science Atlantic launches database to enable sharing of high-priced equipment

In an effort to make sure equipment bought with public money is used efficiently, CBC reports that a new database launched by Science Atlantic will make it easier for Atlantic Canadian researchers to share major equipment. AFRED—the online, open-access database—allows researchers to search for available research equipment at Atlantic postsecondary institutions, read brief descriptions of the equipment, and see contact information for the host facilities. Science Atlantic Chair David McCorquodale noted that the increasing the use of the specialized equipment, which is currently “not used to full capacity,” could result in benefits to both research and economic development. CBC

Langara faculty lead effort to boost BC higher ed funding

The faculty of Langara College are helping to lead a provincewide effort to secure higher levels of funding for PSE in British Columbia. The Vancouver Sun reports that these instructors are concerned that the province is relying too heavily on the high fees paid by international students in order to fund higher education. “The rise in international students is very much on our radar,” said humanities instructor Jessie Smith, who is on the board of the Langara College Faculty Association. Working with the Open the Doors BC campaign of the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC, Langara faculty and students have created transit advertisements that portray BC students who are exhausted from the work required to pay high tuition and rent fees. Vancouver Sun

Students' Society of McGill University president resigns

The president of the Students’ Society of McGill University recently became the third prominent member of the council to resign in just over two weeks. The Montreal Gazette reports that the SSMU published a brief statement last Thursday announcing Ben Ger’s resignation, citing only “personal reasons” as the cause for the departure. “Due to personal reasons, (Ger) felt that he was unable to continue in his duties as a representative of members of the Society,” the statement reads. “Ben will be missed as a member of our team and SSMU thanks him for his service to the Society.” Ger’s resignation follows those of Igor Sadikov as arts representative on March 8, and David Aird as vice-president (external affairs) on February 22. Montreal Gazette

Olds, SaskPolytech partner on applied research and smart agriculture

Olds College and Saskatchewan Polytechnic have signed an MOU that will see the two schools work together to explore the demand for new collaborative programming and applied research into the developing field of smart/intelligent agriculture. “By agreeing to work together, both Sask Polytech and Olds College can provide students with enhanced learning experiences in intelligent agriculture, while providing industry with new applied research opportunities,” said SaskPolytech President Larry Rosia. “Together, along with agricultural employers, we can develop solutions to real-world, everyday agricultural challenges.” The MOU will see the two institutions collaborate with other schools to identify new ways of supporting employers and industry in this field. Olds

Four ways to address youth unemployment: Polytechnics Canada CEO

“It’s not easy being young these days—especially where employment is concerned,” writes Polytechnics Canada CEO Nobina Robinson. While many of today’s adults might see youth as entitled or lazy, Robinson adds, “these stereotypes don’t reflect the realities of current employment opportunities,” in which youth often have access only to unstable and temporary work. Robinson reflects on how polytechnics can help address issues with youth employment before offering four key ways that Canada can improve the situation: 1) invest in better labour market data; 2) create new youth initiatives that take advantage of the existing resources at polytechnic and college employment centres; 3) bolster apprenticeships with better funding, public awareness, and programs to connect apprentices with employers; and 4) overhaul the federal Youth Employment Strategy. Montreal Gazette

Carleton signs MOU with Tokyo-based university

Carleton University has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Tokyo’s Waseda University that aims to provide more international study opportunities for students and research opportunities for faculty at both schools. A Carleton release states that it and Waseda are committed to global engagement through enhanced international mobility and research collaboration, as well as training programs for professionals like those at Carleton’s Global Academy. “As a capital city university with aspirations to use our Ottawa location as a global gateway, Carleton is especially well positioned to deepen academic, research and professional partnerships in Japan,” said Carleton Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Peter Ricketts. “We have approximately 250 students a year enrolled in Japanese language studies and dozens of faculty engaged in research with Japanese partners.” Carleton