Top Ten

May 10, 2017

WLU Laurier raises salaries for 152 female professors to close wage gap

Wilfrid Laurier University says that it will pay 152 of its female professors an average of roughly $4.5K more per year after a study concluded these professors were unfairly paid less than their male counterparts. All women who are associate professors at the school are set to see their wages increase by 3%, while all women who are full professors will see their wages rise by 3.9%. No raises were approved for female assistant professors or librarians, however, as the university reportedly found no wage gap between women and men in these positions. The Waterloo Region Record reports that other Canadian universities have approved similar pay increases for women after finding similar wage gaps. “Gender equity with respect to wages and terms and conditions of employment is an important principle that Laurier must actively support,” said incoming Laurier president Deborah MacLatchy in a statement. Waterloo Region Record

UBCO professor pens paper claiming that foreign UBC students displace domestic ones

The University of British Columbia is unfairly displacing domestic students to make room for international students with lower qualifications, according to a UBC economist and University of Alberta law student. UBC Okanagan Associate Professor Peter Wylie and law student Shaun Campbell recently presented a research paper stating that some domestic students are being denied admission to in-demand career programs while foreign students with similar qualifications are getting in. UBC Vice-Provost Pamela Ratner, however, said Monday that “it is a myth that international students displace domestic students,” and added that “international and domestic students do not compete with each other when UBC is reviewing student applications; they are adjudicated in separate pools.” Vancouver Sun

“Something like this is needed”: universities respond to CRC diversity mandate

Universities say they are willing and eager to respond to a recent federal mandate to improve diversity within the Canada Research Chairs program. The recently announced mandate stated that universities would face funding cuts if they did not take demonstrable and effective action to improve diversity among those who hold CRC positions at their schools. Pari Johnston, vice-president of policy at Universities Canada, said that her association’s members were consulted in the run-up to the announcement, and that they are happy to have two to three years to adjust their practices. “Institutional change takes time. There is a reasonable time frame set out so that those changes can happen,” said Johnston. Globe and Mail

Independent reviewer says he is “optimistic” about Athabasca’s future

Despite its financial difficulties, Athabasca University has the potential for a sustainable and successful future if it embraces innovation and efficiency in a variety of areas, says a third-party reviewer. Ken Coates, who was hired to conduct a wide-ranging review of the school, says that the school’s problems have to do with innovation and efficiency more than enrolment. “I think it’s a question of the re-jigging of some of their structures and processes to make things more efficient and more effective down the line, and to make sure the right sort of financial discipline is in place,” said Coates, who added that embracing new innovations in online learning can help the school take advantage of potential enrolment spikes caused by Alberta’s oil downturn. 630 CHED

NAPE President calls on government for adult education at CNA

Jerry Earle, the president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees, has called on the provincial government to reinstate adult basic education (ABE) programming at the College of the North Atlantic. Advanced Education, Skills, and Labour Minister Gerry Byrne stated online that a review of CNA operations revealed that the removal of Adult Basic Education was “not based on sound financial evidence.” “Privatization of ABE is clearly a failed experiment which has had a profoundly negative impact on students who are simply trying to further their education to better themselves with the goal of improving their lot in life,” stated Earle. “If the province is serious about improving educational outcomes and reducing student debt, they would immediately begin the process of reinstating the ABE program at our public college.” The Packet

Quest president departs, no initial reason given

Peter Englert has stepped down from his role as president at Quest University, reports the Squamish Chief. A Quest press release announcing the departure on Monday gave no reason for the move. Englert had been the president for two years, and will be replaced by Interim President Marjorie Wonham, a life sciences professor at the school. “The Board of Governors has confidence in professor Wonham to provide strong leadership for the University’s administration while a thorough search for a new president is undertaken,” reads the release signed by Mary Jo Larson, chair of the Quest board of governors. Squamish Chief

UCN creates pathways for Canadian college graduates

Students with certificates or diplomas from public Canadian colleges will have the ability to transfer their credits into an Arts degree offered by University College of the North. The agreement will see college students with a 3.0 grade point average or higher become eligible to transfer up to 15 credits for a certificate, 30 credits for a 2-year diploma, and 45 credits for a 3-year diploma in any of UCN’s 3-year and 4-year Arts degree options. “Similar to arrangements in other provinces, this block transfer plan allows certificate and diploma graduates new opportunities to continue their education at UCN and more efficiently complete a degree,” said Harvey Briggs, Dean of UCN's Faculty of Arts, Business, and Science. “Students will be able to customize academic credentials to better fit their career paths, giving them additional advantages in the labour market.” UCN | NationTalk

URegina student union says students negatively impacted by provincial cuts

Reduced funding by the provincial government has forced the University of Regina to make major cuts to their staff and services, which URegina Student Union President Jermain McKenzie says has had an impact on students. “The government or the university administration don’t live with those realities—they’re just looking at the cold raw numbers,” said McKenzie. “But I have to live with the experiences and the emotions these students show, when they come in here and realize that the investment that they made here could be under threat because of another increase.” URegina President Vianne Timmons pointed to other challenges that the cuts will pose, including bigger class sizes and the closure of a research centre. Global News

FNTI sees surge in applications for flight program after marketing on social media

Enrolment numbers have soared at the First Nations Technical Institute on the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory in Ontario following marketing and outreach efforts on social media. The flight school, which is aimed exclusively at First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students, runs its provincially funded programs in conjunction with Canadore College. “Our students, once they solo, it's on Facebook, it's on Twitter. And then other First Nations youth see that, and they realize that it's a possibility," said Jo-Anne Tabobandung, the school's chief flight instructor. CBC outlines the financial difficulties faced by the flight program, as well as the positive experiences of many of the students. CBC

How a “fast track” position for early career researchers could improve gender balance

Issues of gender equity in university faculties could be greatly helped by the creation of more “fast track” defined-term faculty positions, writes Cambridge scholar David Kent. Kent argues that many researchers enter a “black hole” of part-time, short-contract work after they graduate, and have no clear idea of what will come next. This problem can be particularly bad for driving young female scholars out of the academic workforce, Kent adds, which is why creating a new form of “test drive,” fixed-term faculty position is worth considering. Such a position would offer several advantages, the author notes, which include serving as an indicator of future success and better recognizing the contributions of early-career researchers. “Most importantly,” Kent concludes, “it just might help retain young researchers with incredible potential before they feel forced out of science because ‘life got in the way.’” University Affairs