Top Ten

July 13, 2017

UWindsor looks to hire five “best and brightest” Indigenous professors

The University of Windsor says that it is committed to hiring five full-time Indigenous professors as part of its ongoing effort to increase diversity in Canadian academia. The announcement is part of a new President's Indigenous Peoples Scholars Program, which UWindsor President Alan Wildeman calls a “very strong statement about the importance of increasing Indigenous representation.” CBC reports that notice of the positions has been sent to Indigenous groups across the country. “[This initiative] will draw in more Aboriginal students ... [and it] will help educate Canadians—or whoever comes to school at the university—about the Indigenous people of Canada,” notes Valarie Waboose an Indigenous professor at UWindsor’s Faculty of Law. CBC

Data shows ON universities relying more on international student fees

Ontario’s universities are becoming increasingly dependent on revenues from international students, according to new research by CBC. Research shows that the number of international students attending an ON university increased 88.5% between 2010 and 2016, while enrolments from domestic students increased only 7%. The data also show that between the 2011-12 and 2015-16 academic years, total revenue from international student tuition fees rose from $620M to $1.28B. “Universities are relying more and more over time on tuition revenue versus government grants,” said the Council of Ontario Universities in its most recent financial report for 2015-16. The report also shows that government grants have shrunk to 40% of institutional operating revenue, down from 46% in 2011-12. CBC

Polytechnics hold key role in automation revolution

“If new studies are to be believed, nearly half of the Canadian labour force is at high risk of automation in the next 10 to 20 years,” writes Polytechnics Canada Senior Policy Analyst Daniel Komesch. “But what does that really mean for today’s – and tomorrow’s – workers?” Komesch urges policy makers and politicians to look to polytechnics, which are strongly involved in Canadian industries and hold key insights into the labour market. “If we are to harness all the talent we have available, it’s time Canada’s policy makers caught up and recognized the important place of polytechnics in the full suite of educational opportunities available to all Canadians,” adds Komesch. Globe and Mail

Student teachers at USask call on province, university for paid practicums

Students enrolled in the University of Saskatchewan's College of Education are calling on the university and the government to offer payment for their required work placements. Teacher candidates currently undertake an unpaid four-month practicum to complete their degree, and the students state that most other professional programs offer paid internships. “It puts forward a barrier for a lot of other people who may not be able to afford the varying costs that this internship will present,” said student Nathaniel Teed. The SK government responded in a CBC that students undertaking practicums “are receiving skills training … gaining practical experience while being assessed, monitored and supervised as a part of their educational program. They are not defined as employees or interns, and as such, would not earn wages." CBC

Graduate earnings data garners little interest from prospective PSE students: US study

A recent US-based study found that prospective PSE students showed limited interest in data about graduate’s labour market outcomes when applying to institutions. For the study, researchers created an informational website that described program-level earnings and other data points, which it then introduced to students at 25 high schools in Virginia. In addition to finding limited use of the tool by students, researchers noticed that the tool did not appear to impact the decisions made by those who did use it. “The rollout of the tool had no detectable impact on students,” according to the study. “Students from schools that received the treatment version of the website did not choose majors with higher average wages or institutions that had higher graduation rates or lower net prices than did students who received the control version.” Inside Higher Ed

ON college faculty file for conciliation in bargaining talks

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union reports that it has asked the Ministry of Labour to appoint a conciliator in its contract negotiations with the province’s College Employer Council. “When we proposed a better plan for academic decision-making through collegial governance, they refused to even consider it, despite the fact the very model we were proposing is already in place and functioning at Sheridan College,” says JP Hornick, chair of the bargaining team for OPSEU's College Academic Division. An OPSEU release states that the union is pushing for a deal that improves academic quality while better supporting a large number of faculty members who are “trapped in precarious part-time and contract positions.” OPSEU

Shift to open access can better serve the public interest

“The ongoing transformation of the academic publishing sector has been the subject of—at times heated—debate,” writes Marc Couture. The author highlights the rise of open access publishing as a major shift in academia, adding that while it is difficult to predict how this shift will change universities, most can agree that “in the near future, research findings will be disclosed in a much different manner than they have been.” With this in mind, Couture asks how this new publishing paradigm can be used to support the public good. To this end, the author examines the roles of publishers, libraries, research funding agencies, and researchers in ensuring that open access publishing can disseminate high-quality content at a reasonable cost. University Affairs

Canada invests $25M in CHU Sainte-Justine to support research and innovation activities

The Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec are investing $25.06 million in a project at Centre hospitalier universitaire Sainte-Justine in Montréal. A federal release states that the funding will allow CHU Sainte-Justine to create a technology centre for pediatric rehabilitation in Montréal. “The Marie Enfant Rehabilitation Centre is recognized as a centre of excellence in the care of disabled children. The integration of care, education and research allows these children and their families to benefit from technological and psychosocial innovations,” said Sainte-Justine President and Director General Fabrice Brunet. Canada

Making the most of a pre-tenure sabbatical

An early or pre-tenure sabbatical is “an opportunity to ensure you are on track to submit a successful tenure file in two to three years,” says Manya Whitaker, before outlining four ways to ensure that the sabbatical meets this purpose. Whitaker recommends that an individual use the time to focus on any areas where they need to improve that have been raised in previous reviews, in addition to spending time strengthening scholarship and evaluating one’s position as a scholar, and engaging in a number of ways to improve courses and teaching practices. Finally, Whitaker recommends taking time—at least two weeks—to get rest and have some fun. Chronicle Vitae

SFU, Surrey, Siemens Canada partner on mechatronics certification program

Simon Fraser University, the City of Surrey, and Siemens Canada have partnered to provide advanced learning and certification opportunities for engineering students and professionals. The collaboration will see the introduction of the Siemens Mechatronic Systems Certification Program at SFU’s Surrey campus—which will enable participants to obtain certification directly from Siemens—and an in-kind grant of sophisticated Siemens PLM software. “This certification will give program participants a clear advantage as they pursue careers in automation and manufacturing, and will equip them with skills and knowledge to meet the changing needs of industry,” says Joanne Curry, SFU Vice President External Relations. SFU