Top Ten

June 20, 2017

U of T to host first-ever Black graduation ceremony

The University of Toronto is set to host what is believed to be the first Black university graduation ceremony in Canada. The Toronto Star reports that the event is expected to attract 100 graduates from all three of U of T’s campuses in downtown Toronto, Scarborough, and Mississauga. Students attending the ceremony will include those who have just completed undergraduate, Master’s, or PhD programs. “We’re hoping this event will inspire other Black students,” says Nasma Ahmed, one of the event’s organizers who is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in public policy and city studies at the Scarborough campus. U of T Vice-President of Human Resources and Equity Kelly Hannah-Moffat says the event will send the message “that University of Toronto is a place for Black students to come and study at the undergraduate level and the graduate level and potentially as post-docs, (which) creates a pipeline for faculty and staff.” Toronto Star

MB undertakes strategic review of college sector

Manitoba has announced that it is undertaking a comprehensive review of its college education system to identify opportunities for enhancement, improve outcomes for students, and focus programming on skills needed in the province’s labour market. “With shifts in industry, labour market needs, emerging technologies and innovation, this review is timely in a rapidly evolving college landscape,” said Education and Training Minister Ian Wishart. “Improving coordination in the college education system will support institutions in adapting to this changing environment and building a high-skilled, job-ready labour force.” MB

Canada, QC invest $11.7M in Institut national de la recherche scientifique

The Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec are investing $11.7M in infrastructure at the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS). A federal release notes that INRS will use some of the funds to set up a lab at the INRS–Institut Armand-Frappier Research Centre to house a 600 MHz nuclear magnetic resonance instrument, as well as to renovate a research pavilion at this same centre. Part of the funding will go toward creating an advanced imaging lab at the Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications Research Centre, one of the four research and training centres that make up INRS. “Thanks to this major government funding, the INRS will be able to enhance and maintain its state-of-the-art facilities that support our research and training goals,” said Claude Arbour, Acting Rector, Institut national de la recherche scientifique. Canada

UWinnipeg students camp out to support fossil fuel divestment, board votes

Dozens of students at the University of Winnipeg camped on the university’s front lawn Sunday night to support fossil fuel divestment in advance of a vote by the school’s Board of Regents. The board met yesterday to vote on a new environmental investment policy. “After three years of fighting and working really hard to get this university to divest from fossil fuels, they're finally going to be voting on a motion,” said UWinnipeg student and event organizer Avery Letkemann. “So we want to show them that we have a broad support system, students care about this issue, community members care about this issue, faculty cares about this issue.” Metro reported late last evening that UWinnipeg's Board of Regents ultimately adopted a a “responsible investing policy” that stopped short of full divestment, but committed to “establishing a renewable energy investment fund ie: a 'green fund' as a new option for investors.” CBC | Metro

Regional job losses result in lower PSE enrolments, even for those not affected directly: report

Large scale job losses in a region can have long-term negative impacts on postsecondary attendance rates, particularly for those from low-income families, according to new US-based research. The research found that economically disadvantaged middle school and high school students who live through major job losses in their region attend college at significantly lower rates once they turn 19. A 7% statewide job loss was found to make the most impoverished adolescents 20% less likely to attend PSE, even for those whose families were not directly impacted by the job loss. The research found that the widespread job loss had detrimental mental health effects and resulted in lower academic performance. Inside Higher Ed

Trent launches new School for the Study of Canada

Trent University has launched its new School for the Study of Canada. This interdisciplinary school will bring together all existing Canadian Studies programs at Trent, facilitate exchange programs, perform community-based research, develop student internships, and offer public lectures and symposiums. The school will cover themes such as sovereignty, nationalism, health and aging, indigeneity, and multiculturalism. “The school will build on Trent’s existing leadership in Canadian Studies and draw upon Canadian-focused scholarship from other disciplines including Geography, Sociology, Anthropology and Environmental and Resource Studies, reinforcing the study of Canada as a central part of Trent’s broader mission,” stated Anthropology Professor James Conolly, who will be the director of the School. Trent

Academics must “come off the sidelines” to prevent a post-scholar America

“Fraudulent news allegations circulate, the ‘alternative facts’ of politicians have become commonplace, and funding for the arts and humanities faces the threat of decline,” write Keisha Blain and Ibram Kendi for the Chronicle of Higher Education. In response to this trend, the authors argue that scholars must step “out of the shadows” of their libraries, labs, and classrooms in order to engage the public more directly with their scholarship. For this to happen, the authors add, “professional association leaders, department chairs, deans, and provosts must encourage and reward public scholarship. Tenure and promotion committees should make public scholarship the expectation—not the exception.” Chronicle of Higher Education

UQÀM, trade unions renew MOU on research, training

Université du Québec à Montréal has renewed an MOU with three major QC trade unions to promote joint research projects and training on issues facing the unions. “The agreement provides for 21 ongoing research and training projects involving some thirty union partners, as well as about 20 professors and as many graduate students from the six faculties and the School of Management Sciences,” said Director of Service aux collectivités Marcel Simoneau. The five-year agreement defines and updates the partners’ respective contributions and provides for the continuous revision of activities to meet their changing needs. It will also see the partners monitor the new economic, social, technological, and legal challenges faced by trade unions. UQÀM

Lakehead introduces new Graduate Diploma in Accounting

Lakehead University has announced that it is launching its new Graduate Diploma in Accounting program in September. The program will give students advanced standing in their pursuit of a Chartered Professional Accountant designation. “The CPA Accreditation of Lakehead’s Graduate Diploma in Accounting program will serve the best interests of the school, its students and our profession for many years to come,” said Richard Piticco, Vice-President, Student Services, Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario. “In building upon our already strong relationship with Lakehead University, we are very proud to have accredited this excellent program.” Lakehead | CBC

MSVU invests $700K, names new graduate scholarship for retiring president and spouse

Mount Saint Vincent University has announced that it will honour its retiring president and her husband by naming a new graduate scholarship in their honour. The Dr Ramona Lumpkin, CM and Dr William H Blackburn Graduate Studies Scholarship will benefit from more than $700K already raised by the school. An MSVU release notes that the scholarship will support graduate students in fields such as Child & Youth Study, Applied Human Nutrition, Women and Gender Studies, Family Studies & Gerontology, Education, and Communications & Public Relations. “The scholarship in honour of Ramona and Bill will allow countless Mount graduate students access to much needed financial support,” said Catherine Woodman, chair of the President Legacy Committee tasked with fundraising for the scholarship. MSVU