Top Ten

March 30, 2017

Why Andrew Potter’s resignation should matter to marginalized scholars: three professors

“If Andrew Potter wasn’t a well-connected white guy, would anyone care?” ask Amanda Bittner, Elizabeth Goodyear-Grant, and Erin Tolley of the McGill University instructor’s recent resignation as director of McGill's Institute for the Study of Canada. The authors argue that Potter’s social privilege as an educated white male should make his resignation all the more concerning for people from marginalized groups, explaining that “Potter should be the type of person most insulated from sanction and the least likely to face repercussions. His resignation is therefore a canary in the coal mine that exposes deeper systemic problems that will affect women, people of colour, and Indigenous peoples.” Maclean’s

Maritime universities deliver on personal growth, less so on career prep: MPHEC study

Maritime universities deliver on the promise of helping graduates experience personal growth, but fall short on expectations for job training, according to a study by the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission. The study found that the expectations of university-bound grade 12 students were mostly met in areas such as personal growth and gaining an understanding of a particular subject. Expectations were not met, however, with respect to preparing students for the workforce. MPHEC chair Jean-Francois Richard says that many of the students surveyed were still making their transition into the workforce, or pursuing graduate studies or a professional degree two years after graduation. Richards added, however, that once students do transition into the workforce, “their experiences may align more closely with the workforce-related expectations of high school students.” CBC

Carleton discovers key-logging devices on campus

Carleton University has urged staff and students to be cautious and to change their passwords after discovering USB key-logging devices on six classroom computers across three different buildings. The devices were discovered during a routine classroom inspection, but it was not clear how long the devices had been in place. “These computers are used solely for instructional purposes in classrooms and do not store any university, personal or confidential information,” Carleton said in an internal note to staff. “We have no evidence that any information was retrieved from these devices or that any university data were compromised.” Guelph Mercury Tribune

UVic approves tuition increases for international, domestic students

International students at the University of Victoria will see their tuition fees rise to twice the amount charged to domestic students, reports the Times Colonist. Tuition fees for these students will rise 4%, while domestic students will see their fees rise 2%. Alysha Flipse, the students society’s director of outreach and university relations, said of the board’s decision: “I think a lot of students were quite upset … that we were there and we put in all this effort to tell the university that we were really unhappy with this and we weren’t heard.” Gayle Gorrill, UVic’s vice-president finance and operations, said the increase for international students reflects the true rate of inflation at universities. The Times Colonist reports that the university’s tuition fees for international students are in the bottom third of tuition rates across Canadian institutions. Times Colonist

What is Academic Quality? asks HEQCO president

“When I started working at the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario[,] I asked the obvious question, given the title of the organization: What is quality?” writes HEQCO President Harvey Weingarten. Despite his attempts to research the issue, the author notes that he “got no clarity” on the issue because “there appeared to be no consensus on a definition of quality.” Weingarten adds that after much thought and discussion, he came to understand that “simply put, high quality results when all needs and requirements are achieved. Low quality results when they are not.” This definition, the author notes, raises the further question of what our society requires from postsecondary institutions. Weingarten notes that this can differ by institution, but concludes that it ultimately boils down to giving students the chance to “acquire the knowledge, skills and competencies they need to lead successful lives.” HEQCO

What if businesses paid for students’ PhD education?

Canada could greatly benefit if more businesses funded students’ doctoral educations in exchange for a fixed number of years of employment after graduation, writes Daniel Woolf for University Affairs. Woolf notes that Canada’s production of PhDs has waned in recent years, particularly in the STEM disciplines, and that this trend might prove damaging for the country’s innovation capacity. Having students coordinate their educations with a particular business, he adds, would address several issues currently facing the production of PhDs. It would provide an alternative stream of funding for students, remove the problem of “what do I do when I’m finished”? and ensure a steady supply of PhDs in areas of industrial need. “The world has changed,” Woolf concludes, “and we need as a country to raise our game and examine other models of integration. If we do not, we run the risk of losing the next generation of research leaders.” University Affairs

Canadian youth at risk of unemployment due to automation, study confirms

A new report has confirmed that trends in technology will leave youth increasingly vulnerable in a difficult labour market, reports CBC. Titled Future-proof: Preparing Young Canadians for the Future of Work, the report focuses on how automation in entry-level jobs could transform the Canadian labour market in coming years. Looking at data from Statistics Canada, the institute found that 42% of current jobs are at a high risk of being either replaced or significantly reduced in number due to automation. “The interesting thing and the potentially scary thing is that it turns out, based on our analysis, it's going to have a disproportionate impact on youth,” said Brookfield Executive Director Sean Mullins. CBC

Algonquin, UOttawa partner to research victims' resilience in wake of experiencing violent crime

Algonquin College and the University of Ottawa are collaborating to learn more about how victims of violent crime find resilience and support in the wake of their traumatic experiences. “What makes our research a big deal is that much of the research around for victims of violence focuses around the harms experienced by victims,” says Jennifer Barkley, project manager of the study. “Less is known about their strengths that contribute to their resilience, and that’s why we find this so exciting because we’re giving victims of violence a chance to reflect on their strengths.” Launched in partnership with the Victim Justice Network, the study will bring together Algonquin and UOttawa researchers to interview participants, with the aim of training victims’ service providers on how to better help those affected by violent crime. Ottawa Citizen | Globe and Mail | Ottawa Sun

Northern Lakes to get new campus in High Prairie

Northern Lakes College has received over $20M in funding to consolidate a new NLC campus in High Prairie.  “We are delighted that the Government of Alberta has supported this investment for the consolidated High Prairie campus,” said NLC President Ann Everatt. “This new facility will support new generations of learners and enable the college to enhance access to a wider variety of programs and services in High Prairie for our post-secondary and dual-credit students.” A news release from the AB government, posted by NLC, notes that the new facility will be able to accommodate 250 students, will be scalable to address future growth plans, and will meet employment demands in the region. Northern Lakes | Big Country XX | South Peace News

USudbury to cut Indigenous courses from satellite sites after funding not renewed

The University of Sudbury has announced that it will be cutting Indigenous courses from its satellite sites after losing funding, which CBC says will leave up to 50 postsecondary students “in limbo” with their degrees. Nine courses in Indigenous studies are currently offered at sites in Moose Factory, Fort Albany, Attawapiskat, and Kashechewan; however, the funding received from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada will reportedly not be renewed next year. While students would be able to finish their degrees if they moved, Professor Emily Faries states that “that means uprooting, not only themselves, but most of the students have families.” Faries adds that being able to access education along the James Bay coast has helped many community members with personal advancement and self-sufficiency. CBC