Top Ten

May 26, 2017

USask offers buyout packages, says it will close research centre in response to budget cuts

The University of Saskatchewan has offered voluntary buyout packages to over a thousand employees in an effort to cope with provincial cuts to its budget, reports CBC. The package was presented to members of the Administrative and Supervisory Personnel Association, which represents 1,100 employees at the school. USask has also announced that it will close its International Centre for Northern Governance and Development on June 15 in response to the cuts. The centre’s research has focused on subjects such as northern governance, First Nations and resource development, northern innovation, and socio-economics. University President Peter Stoicheff says that the university is “deeply disheartened” by the loss of provincial government funding for the centre. CBC (Buyouts)| Saskatoon StarPhoenix (Centre)

Business schools must respond to the forces behind populism: Ryerson leaders

“The new populist movements challenge business schools to ask new questions,” write Kim Bates and Steven Murphy of the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University. The authors note that business schools bear some responsibility for the economic conditions that are feeding the rise of populism and its animosity toward urban elites. On the positive side, the authors note that business schools provide opportunities for youth from all parts of the developed world to launch their careers. But business schools are also to blame, they note, for the thinking that has caused many companies to move formerly well-paid jobs away from western countries in search of cheaper labour. For this reason, the authors argue that business schools will need to rethink their traditional curricula if they are going to “navigate the challenges of a new reality where corporations’ prosperity is tied to making a positive impact on their communities.” Globe and Mail

Student blinded by ex-husband graduates from UBC law school

A UBC student who was blinded by her ex-husband six years ago celebrated her graduation from law school this week. Rumana Monzur graduated from the Peter A Allard School of Law at UBC and used the opportunity to thank those who had helped her throughout her education. “I always had my friends with me—they never left me alone,” said Monzur. “I guess my blindness gave me a filter—so only people with good hearts were able to connect with me.” The Globe and Mail reports that Monzur completed her education with help from UBC’s support systems for students with disabilities, which included years of support from volunteer readers. Globe and Mail

Canada, AB invest $21.8M in four colleges

The governments of Canada and Alberta have announced that they will invest a total of $21.8M in Keyano College, Lethbridge College, Portage College, and Grande Prairie Regional College. The funding will support a total of 12 projects across the four schools. A federal release states that these projects will include the expansion of a centre for diagnosing the pests, parasites, and pathogens that are affecting Canada’s bee population; various mechanical and systems upgrades to make existing buildings more efficient and environmentally sustainable; and the construction of a new applied research centre to facilitate improved water management and help address the shortage of water operators in northeastern AB. “Supporting our colleges with these significant infrastructure investments will ensure Albertans have access to state-of-the-art learning opportunities and create much-needed jobs to stimulate and grow our economy,” said AB Minister of Advanced Education Marlin Schmidt. Canada

Canada’s smaller universities are launchpads for talented researchers: STFX president

“Canadians can and should be proud of the excellent research taking place at universities of all sizes across the country,” writes Saint Francis Xavier University President Kent MacDonald, who adds that “smaller universities have a unique but often underestimated role in developing that talent.” One of the key ways that smaller universities develop this talent, MacDonald argues, is by offering undergraduates opportunities to work closely with leading researchers in hands-on environments. The author points to the recent Fundamental Science Review report, which highlights this advantage. “Of course, making recommendations is just the first step,” MacDonald concludes. “Now it’s up to the government to convert them to policy, ideally guided by an action plan to track its progress in phasing in the report’s key recommendations.” Universities Canada

UWaterloo lab for industrial 3D printing receives major investment

A lab for additive manufacturing—also known as 3D printing—at the University of Waterloo learned this week that it will receive $8.9M in funding through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. Experts at the Multi-Scale Additive Manufacturing Lab, which is backed by nearly $27M in cash and in-kind support overall, will strive to help Canadian companies use AM to advance their business and research goals. “Additive manufacturing is poised to fundamentally change the way things are made,” said UWaterloo President said Feridun Hamdullahpur. “Fuelled by a culture of innovation and backed by broad expertise in the advanced manufacturing sector, we look forward to playing a key role with our partners in unlocking the potential of this exciting technology.” UWaterloo

Lethbridge receives nearly $6.8M for innovation space

Students, faculty, and industry will be able to access a new modular innovation space at Lethbridge College, thanks to an investment of nearly $6.8M from the federal government. Lethbridge will reportedly use the funding to develop a 7,000 square foot innovation space in the second phase of the college’s new trades and technologies facility, which will welcome its first students in August 2017. The funds will also be used to upgrade the power supply in the school’s Aquaculture Centre of Excellence, allowing the facility to support a new agriculture research and development greenhouse. Lethbridge President Paula Burns notes that the funding will “be used to develop an innovation space that will enable students, faculty and industry professionals to do applied research that can have direct impact on regional economic and social sustainability in a wide range of disciplines.” Lethbridge

UWindsor opens Great Lakes centre through municipal partnership

A new centre will offer students at the University of Windsor a chance to perform hands-on research that is designed to restore the Great Lakes, reports CBC. The $1.2M Freshwater Restoration Ecology Centre in LaSalle, Ontario has been funded through a partnership between the town, UWindsor, the Ontario Research Foundation, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. “It will move us beyond just monitoring problems and allows us to actually do some restoration ecology,” said the centre's director, Trevor Pitcher. UWindsor graduate student Celine LaJoie also praised the new centre, saying that “we're now able to test a lot of new concepts we weren't able to before at other locations.” CBC | Windsor Star

Arctic College expansion’s new “Tundra design” unveiled

The design for the expansion of Nunavut Arctic College was unveiled this week at an Iqaluit city council meeting. During the meeting, the municipal government worked to secure a building permit for the expansion, which is reportedly on a tight timeline. With $10M in federal funding in place until March 2018, the college and the Nunavut government are seeking approval for building permits in stages. “The goal is to sort of have that foundation in place so that by the time the first sealift arrives they can begin to erect the structural steel,” said Paul Mulak, director of capital projects for NU's Department of Community and Government Services. Reflecting on the expansion’s proposed design, Arctic College Vice President Eric Corneau noted that “the colouring and everything else is to replicate the mountain, and the windows are actually going to have these white tints to it to replicate the snow.” CBC

Five causes of “Administrative Bloat”

The concept of “administrative bloat” is a contentious one across higher education, writes Audrey Williams for the Chronicle of Higher Education, yet many stakeholders still do not understand the forces that are driving this phenomenon. Williams lays out five key factors that are leading universities to hire more managers, which are: students and their families want services and amenities that universities have not traditionally offered; student success and retention has become a “high-stakes game”; schools are hiring fundraising professionals to make up for declining public investment; accountability and performance assessment have become full-time jobs; and finally, bureaucracy simply begets bureaucracy. “And once those [administrative] hires are made,” the author concludes, “it’s almost impossible to reverse course.” Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)