Top Ten

May 12, 2017

UMontréal professors pen open letter denouncing “sexist appointment” of arts dean

The Université de Montréal is facing allegations of sexism after passing over an Acting Dean for promotion to Dean of its Faculty of Arts. In an open letter to La Presse, over a hundred UMontréal professors argued that Acting Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Tania Saba, should have received the five-year appointment to full dean instead of her male counterpart, Frédéric Bouchard. Saba had been acting dean for over two years, and had received over 65% of faculty support in a consultation, according to the letter. “We are extremely angry and stunned,” said Marie-Thérèse Chica, a full professor at the School of Industrial Relations at UMontréal and a signatory of the letter. “Tania Saba's career is impressive, her competence is obvious, there is no reason to justify this choice.” The professors have urged UMontréal Rector Guy Breton to reverse the appointment decision. La Presse

U of T president celebrates Uber research hub as a major victory for Canada

“For too long, we have watched our best and brightest talent in burgeoning fields like artificial intelligence pack their bags to leave Canada and make their future elsewhere,” writes University of Toronto President Meric Gertler for the Globe and Mail. The author celebrates the launch of Toronto’s Vector Institute and a recent investment by Uber in self-driving car research as examples of how Canada use forward-looking policy to “tilt the brain-drain back in our direction.” Gertler also addresses critics who see Uber’s hiring of a U of T professor as a poaching of Canadian talent, adding that “it makes no sense to say that the big players south of the border are not welcome here.” Gertler concludes that if Canada wishes to become a destination for talent and investment from around the world, it will need to foster “both homegrown startups and scale-ups, as well as knowledge-intensive multinationals investing locally in research and development.” Globe and Mail

Queen’s transition program offers benefits, appeals to underrepresented students

Programs designed to support the transition into PSE have particular appeal and benefits for students from underrepresented groups, according to a new report from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. The study looked at the effectiveness of Q Success, a pilot program launched at Queen’s University in 2013 to help incoming direct-entry undergraduate students develop personal and academic skills. It found that members of historically underrepresented groups participated in Q Success at levels that were higher than expected, registering for the program at a higher rate than their proportion in the first-year undergraduate cohort. Participants cited benefits such as insights into how to study better, advice about mental health and sleep, and access to program leaders who served as engaged mentors. HEQCO | Report

Why are so many adults obsessed with the concept of the coddled student?: IHE contributors

“From the left to the right, calls for college students to grow up are pointed, and getting louder and sharper,” write John and Christine Cavanaugh. The authors work to debunk what they see as flawed assumptions about students and higher ed, which include the assumption that students lack fortitude because they have been infantilized by universities that protect them from unpleasant ideas. The authors add that the “sink or swim” mentality that once governed higher ed prevented many institutions from adopting the support mechanisms necessary to make sure that more students had the opportunity to succeed. The authors also note that those who criticize safe spaces often paint all students with a single brush, ignoring the needs of specific marginalized groups that may need access to such spaces. The authors conclude that “colleges do not coddle anyone,” adding that “perhaps if we all were better at listening, we’d know this from our students already.” Inside Higher Ed

AB announces $16.4M for high school, PSE dual-credit programs

Alberta’s Ministry of Education has announced that it will invest $16.4M in the province’s dual-credit high school programs, which allow students in grades 10 to 12 to complete credits towards postsecondary programs. $8M of the funding will be used to develop at least 40 new dual-credit courses per year over the four years, with many of the new courses to become available in September 2017. The Edmonton Journal reports that in addition to giving students the ability to earn PSE credits, these programs provide students with a chance to try out possible career paths while still in high school. “This is considerable expansion,” said AB Education Minister David Eggen. “I would say that it probably doubles the expenditures from the previous years and thus we would expect it would at least double the students participating in the next four years.” Edmonton Journal

Durham, Olds, Algonquin partner on Kenya Education for Employment Program

Durham College, Olds College, and Algonquin College have partnered to provide support for the capacity-building goals of the Kenya Education for Employment Program. This three-year project will see the institutions partner with Kitale National Polytechnic and the Eldoret National Polytechnic in Kenya, providing support for institutional leadership and assisting in the implementation of Kenya's technical and vocational education and training reforms. “We are excited to be part of an initiative that will help build upon our partners’ established successes in the fields of agriculture and civil engineering,” commented Durham School of Skilled Trades Associate Dean Pam Stoneham. The project is reportedly led by Durham, and has received a total of $1.1M in funding from CICan as well as all three colleges. Durham

SFU ARC releases calls to action for use of $9M for reconciliation

The Simon Fraser University Aboriginal Reconciliation Council has released its calls to action to guide SFU in the allocation of $9M in funding towards reconciliation efforts on campus. These 29 calls to action included building more community supports and indigenizing spaces on campus, course curricula, and administrative policies. “Hopefully [the report] becomes a living document where the articulation of the principles and the directions of the calls to action become a sustaining part of the fabric of SFU,” said ARC Co-Chair Kris Magnusson. “I am so proud of how this community has come together and I am so encouraged by what potential we have if we agree to join arms and walk through the problems that we are going to face.” The Peak | SFU

Canada’s universities continue to see “Trump effect” in attracting students

The election of Donald Trump in the United States has created “many students worldwide who may choose to forego the US in search of a more welcoming country to study in,” writes Raphaela Nehme, adding that “for many, that country might be Canada.” Nehme chronicles the efforts of Canadian universities that responded to Trump’s proposed travel bans by waiving application fees, extending deadlines, and providing legal support, among other initiatives. Universities Canada President Paul Davidson notes that while Canadian universities have been making strong international outreach efforts for more than a decade, Trump’s policies and Brexit have become catalysts in driving more international students to consider Canada as a study destination. “There is a great opportunity here for Canada and we all have to work together to seize it, and make sure to attract the best students we can,” says Davidson. University Affairs | CTV News

McMaster, Mohawk, Redeemer, City of Hamilton launch CityLAB

McMaster University, Mohawk College, Redeemer University College, and the City of Hamilton have partnered to launch an innovation hub to support the city’s strategic priorities. The hub, called CityLAB, will allow postsecondary students, city staff, and community stakeholders to work together on solutions for issues confronting Hamilton, such as healthy neighbourhoods and municipal excellence. The hub will allow students to gain new skills and a tangible connection to the city that they work in, and will also allow the schools to build new cross-disciplinary bridges. Next steps for CityLAB include renovations of the former Canadian Football Hall of Fame building to meet both current building standards and CityLAB space requirements. McMaster

NAIT, CAE Healthcare announce simulation research partnership

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology has entered into a new partnership with training services company CAE Healthcare to provide students with access to cutting-edge health simulation technology. Around 2,500 students attend 18 programs at NAIT’s School of Health and Life Science’s multi-disciplinary simulation centre each year. Equipment being used at the centre includes patient simulators that react to anesthesia and other medications, a childbirth simulator, and surgical cut suits worn by actors to “provide students the ability to practice emergency and trauma procedures.” Edmonton Journal | NAIT