Top Ten

April 10, 2017

Indigenous studies are here to stay, says professor

“Indigenous programs are here to stay and it’s time to accept that,” writes Adam Gaudry, a Métis Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta. Gaudry examines the pervasive, false belief that Indigenous programs are “a kind of equity uplift meant to temporarily ‘bridge the gap’ by providing Indigenous students with less competitive (that is, easier) programming.” Gaudry recommends turning attention to how Indigenous Studies behaves not as a transition program, but as a program that allows “Indigenous peoples to work with Indigenous and allied knowledges to address the needs of their community, in an atmosphere of support from academics and community alike.” The author concludes by stating that accepting this reality will allow universities to put energy towards creating a more robust and self-sufficient Indigenous intellectual community on campus. Queen's

Freezer malfunction damages uAlberta ice core collection

A freezer malfunction has reportedly damaged 12 per cent of the ice core collection housed at the University of Alberta. The ice cores reportedly represent over 80,000 years of climate change, with some samples dating back to the last ice age, and the Canadian Press states that this collection contains the only ice cores in the world from the Canadian Arctic. “The loss of any ice core sample is deeply concerning to the University of Alberta and to our research teams, who plan to use this ice to answer important questions about climate change and our planet's history,” said uAlberta Vice-President of Facilities and Operations Andrew Sharman. “With the assistance of our service provider, the affected freezer has been restored, an investigation is ongoing, and we are working to ensure this does not happen again.” Times Colonist (CP) | Edmonton Journal | CBC

NL cuts MUN’s operating grant by $3M, tells it to find operational savings

The Newfoundland and Labrador budget released last week includes a $3M cut in Memorial University’s operating budget, writes CBC, a cut that the government says will require MUN to find savings by cutting operational costs. The cut to MUN’s overall operating grant is set at $7M overall, but CBC notes that part of this cut will be offset by a $4M payment intended to help MUN accommodate the province’s existing tuition freeze. Advanced Education Minister Gerry Byrne says he believes that it is “very much achievable” for the school to find $3M in savings without needing to raise tuition fees. Byrne added that under the new budget, an estimated $2M in extra funding will become available for students to cover the cost of PSE. CBC

Investigate neurobiology to help improve academic performance, says contributor

Recognizing the role of intelligence in academic performance will help end under-performance in poor and minority students, writes professor emeritus Richard J Haier for Times Higher Education. Haier points to genetics and research around IQ and how this influences academic achievement. The author notes that studies that suggested that the average intelligence test score was lower for some disadvantaged or minority groups led to efforts to discredit intelligence tests. “Basic neurobiology is the same for all humans, and both genetic and neuroimaging research connects neurobiology to intelligence,” Haier says. “Understanding the complexities of how this works has potential for designing ways to improve mental ability and maximise education for all students, irrespective of background.” Times Higher Ed

BC announces $1.3M for co-op education

Postsecondary students in British Columbia will soon benefit from increased work-integrated experience opportunities, thanks to a $1.3M investment in co-op education from the BC government. “Co-op programs provide post-secondary students with opportunities to apply their learning and gain valuable skills that are relevant for their future line of work,” said BC Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson. “The investment of $1.3 million by our government will encourage more post-secondary students and employers to take advantage of co-op education opportunities.” A BC release explains that each of the 16 public postsecondary institutions in BC will receive $75K in one-time funding, while the Association for Co-operative Education BC/Yukon will receive an additional $100K. BC

OCADU, ON partner to improve accessibility for consumers

OCAD University’s Inclusive Design Research Centre has partnered with the Ontario Government to pilot BIG IDeA, a collaborative program that celebrates successes and promotes innovations in accessibility. The program received a $500K investment from the provincial government through the EnAbling Change Program, and will be piloted in Toronto before being expanded across the province. “The BIG IDeA promotes the innovative ways Ontario businesses can serve people of all abilities, which ultimately builds our province’s culture of inclusion,” said Tracy MacCharles, the Ontario Minister Responsible for Accessibility. “Ontario is a leader in accessibility, and collaborative programs like this are helping us build momentum to reach our goal of being accessible by 2025.” OCAD U | ON

Four ways to improve campus-community connections

“It can be challenging for post-secondary education (PSE) institutions and the municipalities they operate in to connect with one another,” writes Elizabeth Martin, Research Associate with the Conference Board of Canada. However, Martin notes that communities and PSE institutions are well aware of the value in bridging this gap and engaging in collaborative work. Successful community-institutions collaborations, Martin maintains, typically have four things in particular on their side: supportive public policy, willing and complementary participation by both partners, buy-in throughout all levels of the PSE institution, and clear intended outcomes for the collaboration. Martin goes on to provide some examples of partnerships that have succeeded on these points. CBoC

UMoncton nursing program receives five-year approval and accreditation

The University of Moncton Edmundston Campus’s nursing program has received renewed approval and five-year accreditation through the Nurses Association of New Brunswick and the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing. The evaluation examined all aspects of the Bachelor of Nursing program in order to assess its quality, and included visits with internship students, discussions with management and faculty, and an evaluations of theoretical courses and simulation learning labs. UMoncton

MSVU, NS partner to cut assessment wait list in public schools

The Nova Scotia government and Mount Saint Vincent University have partnered to cut the wait list for in-school, psychological-educational assessments for public school students. The initiative will see registered psychologists as well as four senior master’s students from the MSVU psychology program carry out the assessments for K-12 students. NS Education Minister Karen Casey announced that the government is investing nearly $1M in the initiative, and hopes to see the wait list of 300 students eliminated by September. CBC

AB government tables bill giving academic staff right to strike

A new bill tabled by the Alberta Government will give academic staff--including postsecondary faculty, graduate students, and post-doctoral fellows--the right to strike. Currently, contract disputes for professors and graduate students are settled through mandatory binding arbitration, while post-doctoral fellows are not recognized under current legistlation. “We do recognize that students' educations could be put at risk and so if there is the possibility of convening an emergency tribunal in the case of a public emergency written into the legislation,” stated Advanced Education Minister Marlin Schmidt. Chairman of the Canadian Association of Post Doctoral Scholar Joe Sparling praised the legislation as “huge” news for post-doctoral academics who “have been asking for recognition as employees in the province here alone for at least 20 years.” Edmonton Journal | CBC