Top Ten

June 26, 2017

MacEwan contract professors criticize alleged exclusion from pay-grade vote

Sessional professors at MacEwan University are voicing disappointment over their alleged exclusion from a recent vote affecting their pay scales. The MacEwan University Faculty Association voted at its last annual general meeting to put forward a motion that would standardize pay for sessional, contracted instructors. The motion would increase the pay for some instructors while lowering it for others, depending on the instructor’s level of education. A group of sessional professors claims that a number of contract faculty were excluded from voting, as sessional instructors can only vote on issues if they are teaching during the term in which the annual general meeting falls. Faculty Association President Chris Hancock issued a written statement stating that “if the association allows people to vote on a new collective agreement even though they are not actually employed by the university or a current member of the association, then the ratification vote would be subject to legal challenge." Edmonton Journal

StudentsNS praises AB for investment in PSE mental health

Students Nova Scotia has issued a release praising the Alberta government’s commitment of $25.8M to support on-campus mental health resources in the province. “With this investment, it’s clear that the Government of Alberta has taken a leadership role on the issue of post-secondary mental health,” said StudentsNS Chair Annie Sirois. “We know that mental health is emerging as a critical issue for students in Nova Scotia, and we are excited to see the importance of on-campus supports acknowledged in Alberta.” The release adds that StudentsNS has previously urged NS to collect better data on postsecondary mental health and to foster more collaboration between students, government, and stakeholders on the issue. StudentsNS

KPU offers new, unique Indigenous community justice minor program

Kwantlen Polytechnic University is launching what it calls a first-of-its-kind Indigenous Studies program focused on community and justice. “My hope is that this minor will play a role in honouring, acknowledging, and respecting Indigenous peoples,” said KPU criminology instructor Lisa Monchalin, who developed the program. “Canada is Indigenous land, it always has been, and it always will be.” Access to Indigenous content and learning methods will be ensured through ongoing input from KPU’s Aboriginal Advisory Committee, and KPU states that students will learn how to challenge false assumptions, identify the impact of colonialism, explore systemic and institutional racism, critically assess government and corporate intrusion on Indigenous rights and lands, and more. KPU

UWindsor centre seeks alternatives to animal testing

A new centre founded by a researcher at the University of Windsor is investigating alternative ways to conduct testing that do not rely on animals. “We’ve used animals for decades—It’s not working,” says University of Windsor researcher and Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods founder Charu Chandrasekera. “When you have 95 per cent failure to translate from animal models to human clinical trials, there’s something wrong with the paradigm.” CCAAM will bring together UWindsor faculty members from fields such as biology, biochemistry, philosophy, and ethics, and will investigate alternatives to animal testing such as computer modeling or organoid modelling. The centre aims to one day offer degree programs in animal replacement science. Windsor Star

Ryerson, McMaster launch joint robotics research project

Ryerson University and McMaster University have partnered to launch a research initiative dedicated to introducing social robotics and artificial intelligence into clinical health care. The Smart Robots for Health Communication project is a collaboration between David Harris Smith, a professor in the department of communication studies and multimedia at McMaster; Frauke Zeller, a professor in the school of professional communication at Ryerson; and Hermenio Lima, a dermatologist and professor of medicine at McMaster’s school of medicine. The universities state that they hope to both create and learn more about physical and virtual human-robot interactions, which can lead to insights on how to better understand patient behavior. Betakit

Algoma signs agreement with CMHA to improve student mental health services

Algoma University has partnered with the Canadian Mental Health Association in an effort to improve mental health services for students. This initiative will provide the Algoma community with access to a Mental Health Educator who will support existing programming and help to implement additional activities. As part of the agreement, Algoma says that it will also become the first university in Canada to launch Talk Today – a mental health and suicide awareness program designed to support student athletes. “We are very happy to formalize an agreement with the Canadian Mental Health Association,” said Algoma Director of Ancillary and Student Services Tom Mauro. “Having access to a Mental Health Educator will further supplement the services already provided on campus and support our training efforts.” Algoma

MSVU, Dal researchers awarded $1.5M to advance Alzheimer’s research

A Halifax-based team featuring researchers from Mount Saint Vincent University and Dalhousie University has received roughly $1.5M to help develop a more effective way of diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease. The grant was awarded to Dal-based researcher Sultan Darvesh and co-applicants Ian Pottie of MSVU and Steve Burrell of Dal. In February of 2016, an article in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine revealed that the team had developed a new type of diagnostic agent that will hopefully advance the fight against Alzheimer’s disease through early detection and, ultimately, new treatments. MSVU

YorkU renames hall, establishes reconciliation fund

At a ceremony during National Aboriginal day, York University’s Hart House was renamed Skennen’kó:wa Gamig, or the House of Great Peace.The newly renovated building is intended to be a welcoming, safe and supportive space for Indigenous students, faculty, and staff to come together, celebrate, and share knowledge and teachings. “Some of those students learn about their history for the first time after coming to York U,” said York Indigenous Council co-chair Ruth Koleszar-Green. “This house provides a safe and supportive place for that learning, but it also allows for a space where Indigenous peoples can lead the conversation.” YorkU’s Osgoode Hall Law School has also established a Reconciliation Fund for Indigenous initiatives. YorkU | YorkU | CBC

BCIT, Keyano sign Indigenous Education Protocol

The British Columbia Institute of Technology and Keyano College have signed the Indigenous Education Protocol to mark their commitment to supporting indigenization in postsecondary education. “In signing the Indigenous Education Protocol, BCIT commits to further enriching our Institute with Indigenous wisdom, knowledge, and traditions. It is not a commitment we undertake lightly,” said BCIT President Kathy Kinloch. Keyano President Tracy Edwards noted that “signing this document today reaffirms our commitment to Indigenous Education for our Aboriginal communities. As we respect the intellectual and cultural traditions of Indigenous peoples, we also strengthen our college.” BCIT | Keyano

SLC breaks ground on new Student Life and Innovation Centre

St Lawrence College has officially broken ground on its new Student Life and Innovation Centre, which is reportedly the largest construction project ever undertaken by the school. The new centre will include a double gym, fitness centre, student lounge, private study rooms, and a venue space. “The Student Life and Innovation Centre is a legacy the students and staff of St Lawrence College are building today for the benefit of the next generation of community leaders,” said SLC President Glenn Vollebregt. SLC