Top Ten

June 15, 2017

Three-quarters of Maritime university graduates say their jobs are linked to their studies

Roughly three-quarters of graduates from universities in the Maritimes say that their current job is at least somewhat related to their degree and/or that they are using skills learned in their program, according to a new report from the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission. The study looked at university graduates from the class of 2014 and also found that just over half were working in an occupation that required a university-level education or was at the management level. Compared in constant dollars, median earnings for the class of 2014 were found to be lower than those of the classes of 2007 and 2012. “The recession in 2008-2009 is likely a key factor explaining these trends. It is also important to remember that these are relatively recent graduates new to, or still in the midst of, their transition to the workforce,” said MPHEC Interim CEO Catherine Stewart. MPHEC | Report

UWindsor responds to anti-feminist, anti-Islamic graffiti on campus

Groups at the University of Windsor have condemned anti-feminist and anti-Islamic graffiti that was recently found on the school’s campus. CBC reports that some of the messages were found on posters near the Women’s and Gender Studies Department, and included phrases like “I'm tired of Islam” and “feminism is a hate movement.” UWindsor President Alan Wildeman says that he is hopeful that police will identify those who wrote the messages, adding that “such activity is hurtful, and can never be tolerated at the University of Windsor.” The university's faculty association has also issued a statement condemning the messages as “cowardly acts of violence.” CBC

UCalgary to simulate response to active shooter campus scenario

The University of Calgary will host more than 100 police and emergency responders in full gear later this month as part of an active shooter training exercise on its campus. The exercise is scheduled for Monday, June 26 and will involve the participation of police, fire crews, paramedics, 911 operators, and the Calgary Emergency Management Agency. University officials and police have declined to talk about the details of the exercise in advance. Last year, however, UCalgary’s associate director of emergency management, Bob Maber, reportedly told Postmedia: “we want to educate people on what to do in the event of an emergency. Any type of threat to the campus community is what we’re trying to prepare for.” Calgary Herald

UoGuelph receives $1.4M to fight, prevent Lyme disease

The University of Guelph has received $1.4M from the G Magnotta Foundation to create a lab that will prevent and fight Lyme disease. The grant will create the G Magnotta Lyme Disease Research Lab, which will aim to improve diagnostic testing and treatment to prevent long-term suffering from Lyme disease. UoGuelph scientists hope to identify disease biomarkers and prognostic indicators for Lyme disease, as well as new treatment options. The lab will operate within UoGuelph's College of Biological Science. “Lyme disease is a terrible affliction, and this laboratory will advance the Lyme disease research agenda for all Canadians,” said CBS dean Jonathan Newman. The foundation’s namesake, Gabe Magnotta, died in 2009 after a seven-year battle with the disease. UoGuelph

Queen’s research hub to harness IBM’s Watson technology

The Centre for Advanced Computing at Queen’s University has partnered with IBM on a new academic research project that will benefit from the company’s Watson cognitive technology. Known as the “Cognitive Development Hub,” the new initiative will see a team of cognitive developers at the CAC engage with academic researchers and support collaboration with industry partners to explore the potential benefits of integrating cognitive technologies into their businesses. “This collaboration between IBM and the CAC promises to increase our research capacity and help prepare our community for the next wave of technological innovation,” says Queen's Principal Daniel Woolf. Queen’s

Teaching staff lead design of university building in US

When designing a university building to encourage innovative teaching and learning, one US university asked teaching staff from a variety of disciplines to lead the development of its Academic Innovation Centre. Times Higher Education discusses the experience of Bryant University in developing this centre and outlines the many innovations involved, including transparent classroom walls that led students to sit more upright and to dress more neatly. “Universities [in the US] often say that we are ‘institutions with 100 years of tradition unimpeded by progress’, but teaching in this building shows that you can take pedagogies and make them relevant to students,” stated Bryant President Ronald Machtley. Times Higher Education

It begins with enthusiasm: the five stages of postdoctoral burnout

“The number of postdoctoral researchers that burn out at an early stage of their career seems to be increasing, and mental health has been a hot topic at universities and institutes across the world,” writes Sabrina Zeddies. With the pressure of funding struggles and job insecurity, Zeddies states that postdocs like herself can travel through five stages that ultimately lead to total collapse. These five stages begin with a naïve enthusiasm, which leads a new postdoc to take on more work than they can handle, then leads them to justify their overwork by assuming that it is the norm for their profession. For Zeddies, the process ends in burnout, which the sufferer often does not notice until it is too late. University Affairs

The market should determine tuition fees: HuffPo contributor

Investing more dollars in Quebec’s current higher education system is “like filling your leaky gas tank,” writes Jasmin Guénette for the Huffington Post. While doing so might alleviate the issue, the author adds, it does not solve the underlying problem, which for Guénette is QC’s current system of fixed tuition fees. This system reportedly charges all students the same price regardless of their program of study. The author argues that schools should be allowed to charge fees based on the perceived value of a given program of study, which would increase competition among schools and value for students. “Some provinces are contemplating the possibility of following the course that Quebec has charted by capping their own tuition fees,” the author concludes. “It ought to be pointed out that if Quebec is distinct, on higher education, this distinction hurts both the system itself and the students.” Huffington Post

Cross-Canada initiative looks to prevent alcohol-related harms on Canadian campuses

Colleges and universities across Canada have partnered with Universities Canada and the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction to address alcohol-related harms on the country’s campuses. The Postsecondary Education Partnership — Alcohol Harms (PEP–AH) works to support campus teams made up of students, staff, and faculty in their effort to reduce harms related to alcohol consumption. “PEP–AH is guided by a vision: that postsecondary campuses are communities where students are able to embrace the opportunity before them to learn and grow, free from serious harms related to alcohol,” said Catherine Paradis, co-chair of PEP–AH and senior research and policy analyst with CCSA. CCSA

Concordia, McGill form TeamMTL in construction of solar-powered house

Students and faculty from McGill University and Concordia University have partnered to build a full-size, solar-powered house on Concordia’s Loyola campus. Students participated in a summer construction course through McGill, as well as health and safety training through the Commission de la santé et de la securité du travail, to prepare for the project. The building will be used as an entry into the international 2018 Solar Decathlon China competition. “We’re very pleased to host this stage of the research project at Concordia,” said Justin Powlowski, Concordia’s Interim Vice-President of Research and Graduate Studies. “The Deep Performance Dwelling is an exciting collaboration between our two universities. It’s a great opportunity for Concordia and McGill students to apply their technical skills at this crucial step.” McGill | Concordia