Top Ten

April 3, 2017

Government of Japan to fund centre in Japan studies, endowed chair at U of T

The Government of Japan has announced that it will contribute $5M US to launch a Centre for the Study of Global Japan at the University of Toronto. A U of T release notes that it is the first university in Canada to receive such support from Japan, and that the new centre will be accompanied by an endowed chair in Japanese politics. “At a time when we are experiencing significant changes and instability on the global stage, Japan and Canada, as members of G7 countries that share common values, have a responsibility to make contributions to the world community that ensure peace and prosperity,” said Consul General of Japan Yasunori Nakayama. “We are deeply honoured ... to have been selected by the Government of Japan for this landmark endowment, which will extend and amplify our impact in the study of Japan as a major global power,” added U of T President Meric Gertler. U of T

UManitoba faces lawsuit from research volunteer

A woman is suing the University of Manitoba, two professors, and a PhD student for negligence after her eardrum was allegedly injured during a clinical trial associated with the school. CBC reports that Julianna van den Beuken volunteered for a study of neurological disorders that used EVestG technology, which involved having her brain activity measured using electrodes placed on her forehead and in each ear. She alleges that one of the electrodes in her ears punctured her eardrum. John Danakas, executive director of public affairs at the UManitoba, told CBC that he cannot comment on a case that is before the courts, but added that the university takes research safety seriously and that it “has a strong record of commitment to compliance with research protocols.” CBC

Brock opens first of its kind Global Scholars Office

Brock reports that it has become Canada’s first university to launch a Global Scholars Office designed to support international academic exchange and collaboration. The new centralized service assists international scholars with the logistics of visiting Brock while supporting Brock academics with pursuing collaborative opportunities around the globe. A Brock release describes the new centre as a “one-stop shop to provide supports and promote opportunities for both inbound and outbound academics looking to participate in international research and teaching experiences.” “The more welcome scholars feel here, the more likely they are to return, to do more research and collaborate with our faculty and grad students,” said Jamie Mandigo, the university’s Vice-Provost for Enrolment Management and International. Brock

Faculty diversity statements called threats to academic freedom by US organization

The “diversity statements” that many US colleges now require of applicants for faculty positions have been deemed “ideological litmus tests” by the Oregon affiliate of the National Association of Scholars. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the required statements are included in faculty hiring and promotion practices, and that they ask candidates for “statements discussing their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.” In a recent report, the National Association of Scholars chapter has called the statements “a direct threat to academic freedom and research excellence,” as well as “an ideological cudgel against scholars with alternative views.” University of Oregon Spokesperson Tobin Klinger, who was named in the report, has issued a statement that reads: “we understand that free speech and diversity essentially go hand in hand, as we strive to create an environment where all voices are respected and empowered to carry out their academic pursuits.” Chronicle

UFV to create new heavy-mechanical and farm-technology centre

The University of the Fraser Valley has announced that it will build $6.5M-worth of teaching and shop space that will be used to accommodate UFV students in the heavy-mechanical foundation and apprentice programs at the Canada Education Park in Chilliwack. Part of the funding will also support the purchase of trades equipment. The British Columbia government will provide $5.5M to the project, with UFV providing the remaining $1M. “The new mechanical and farm-technology centre will allow students to be able to complete their entire studies and apprenticeships all in one location and in their home community,” said UFV President Mark Evered. BC

Program providing high school students with UWaterloo experience cancelled after 13 years

An initiative that offers Waterloo high school students the chance to experience a postsecondary learning environment will end after 13 years and 39 programs. CBC reports that three times each year, Waterloo Unlimited has given students in grades 10 to 12 a week-long enrichment opportunity to experience programs in the University of Waterloo’s arts, science, and math faculties. Leslie Wilkinson, who attended the Grade 11 WU program over March Break, has reportedly started an online petition to save the program. “All the years for me have been so incredibly awesome and I've been telling all of my friends in Grade 10 that they need to go to the final Grade 10 program coming up soon,” said Wilkinson. CBC

Are CEOs who have MBAs more likely to fail?: Globe

McGill University Management Professor Henry Mintzberg argues that there is significant evidence showing that CEOs who hold MBAs are not as effective as those without the degree. Mitzberg recently worked with Joseph Lampel of Manchester Business School to study 19 Harvard Business School MBA alumni, and found that a majority of them or their companies failed according to the study’s criteria. The Globe and Mail cites another study that looked at 444 CEOs who had been celebrated on the covers of Business Week, Fortune, and Forbes from 1970 to 2008. The study compared the subsequent performance of those companies that were headed by MBAs with those that were not, and found that the ones headed by MBAs declined more quickly and the performance gap remained significant even seven years after the cover story. Globe and Mail

Women are better suited to lead universities: Norwegian study

A recent study performed at BI Norwegian Business School has concluded that women are better suited than men to lead universities. Writing for Times Higher Education, study author Øyvind Martinsen studied female and male leaders according to a set of effective leadership traits, which included the ability to withstand job-related pressure (emotional stability); the ability to take the initiative and communicate with clarity (outgoing); an ability to innovate, to retain curiosity and ambition (openness to new experiences); the ability to support colleagues and work inclusively (sociability); and an ability to set goals, to be thorough, and to follow up on tasks (methodical). The study gathered data from a survey of nearly 3,000 managers and found that women achieved higher scores in four of the five categories. Times Higher Education

PSE students, Innu community teach one another about medicine

Grade 6 to 12 students in the Innu community and postsecondary students from Memorial University of Newfoundland, Dalhousie University, and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine took part in a program that encouraged the two groups to teach one another about medicine. Titled Seeing Beyond Good Medicines, the program saw postsecondary students deliver health care profession simulations to the students from the Innu communities, while Innu elders, healers, and youth shared their knowledge of healing practices with the undergraduate students. “The medical students were able to meet and ask elders questions about Innu medicine,” said Kanani Davis, an educator and Innu consultant with the Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation Health Department. Davis also noted the benefits of Innu youth having the opportunity to try out different health professions: “they need to see themselves in this field and there’s no better way to do this than to experience it first-hand.” MUN

ULaval comes to agreement after seven-week strike

La Presse reports that the Université Laval has come to an agreement in principle with its support staff, ending the strike that began in February. The primary issues in the dispute were reportedly the provisions around the employee pension plan, as well as internal mobility of staff. Éric-Jan Zubrzycki, Syndicat des employés de l'Université Laval spokesperson, has stated that SEUL is very happy with the agreement. ULaval Executive Vice-President Eric Bauce stated that the university did not “shrink from the principles” that it entered into the negotiations with, but added that the longstanding conflict had major impacts on the institution. The details of the agreement have yet to be approved by the Board of Directors. La Presse | Le Journal de Québec