Top Ten

July 19, 2017

AB top PSE salaries need to come down, says advanced education minister

The Alberta government says that it plans to limit the pay and benefits that the province’s universities and colleges offer their top executives, reports the Edmonton Journal. AB Advanced Education Minister Marlin Schmidt said on Monday that AB university and college compensation for executives is “way out of line with the rest of the country.” The Journal reports that direct comparisons between provinces are difficult, yet publicly available data show that AB university presidents are the highest paid in the country, and AB college presidents are among the highest. Schmidt added that he hopes to have compensation limit recommendations ready to present to cabinet this fall, and legislation ready by spring 2018. Edmonton Journal

McGill accelerator for student-run businesses receives $2M donation

McGill University has received $2M to support a program for student-run startups. Provided by the John Dobson Foundation, the funds will support McGill’s X-1 Accelerator over a ten-year period by allowing the program to pay participants a stipend, in addition to paying the student coordinators who help run the program. “It’s external validation for us,” said Gregory Vit, a McGill professor and the director of the Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship, which runs the accelerator program. “It also allows us to not worry about resources for some time, so it allows us to think more strategically and long term and permanentize what we have.” Montreal Gazette | Globe and Mail

Annual BrandonU impact tops $417M

Brandon University is responsible for more than $417M in annual economic activity and 927 jobs, according to a new study. Produced by Kim Lemky in collaboration with BrandonU’s Institutional Data Analysis Unit, the study found that the university’s direct, indirect, and induced value for the areas of Brandon and Westman, Manitoba totalled $417.1M. “It is impossible to calculate the full impact that BU has on our city’s social and cultural scene,” says Incoming BrandonU President Steve Robinson. “Brandon University attracts both youth and educated professionals to Brandon, who contribute to our region in many important non-economic ways, from volunteering to voting. This is the best estimate we can give for the economic side of the equation—the hard dollars that BU brings to Brandon every year.” BrandonU

Canada faces challenge in accommodating influx of international postgrads

“Their counterparts in many other countries would probably love to have the problems that Canadian universities are dealing with this summer,” writes Jon Marcus in reference to the boom in international postgraduate students applying to Canadian institutions. Yet in many cases, the author notes, Canadian schools lack the research funding, course spaces, or supervisors to accommodate the massive influx of students. The author highlights the University of Toronto as an example, noting that the school has only been able to admit one out of 15 postgraduate students who are part of a 25% increase in applications to the school’s graduate programs. The author also cites a Universities Canada survey which found that 80% of Canadian universities see internationalisation as one of their top five priorities, while 83% say that the biggest barrier to international research collaboration is funding. Times Higher Education

Town council in Stephenville, NL concerned about possible CNA job relocations

The mayor of Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador says that he is concerned about management positions at College of the North Atlantic being located elsewhere. Mayor Tom O’Brien says that when he inquires with CNA staff about jobs being posted with “location to be determined” notices, he typically hears that it is hard to attract people to Stephenville. “Not being able to move to Stephenville is hogwash,” O’Brien argues. “Let’s ask them to come in and tell us why these jobs are going elsewhere.” CNA Interim President Elizabeth Kidd has stated that she is happy to meet with O’Brien and Stephenville council as soon as she receives an invitation, which O’Brien recently gained official approval to extend. Western Star

UCalgary receives silver-level certification for mental health

The University of Calgary has received Excellence Canada’s Mental Health at Work Silver Level Certification for implementing the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. The certification is part of a progressive four-level certification process. UCalgary underwent an evaluation that included an on-campus visit and focus groups to determine its eligibility for the new level of certification. “I am incredibly proud of the work accomplished collaboratively across our campus to achieve the silver level certification from Excellence Canada,” says Marcia Buchholz, associate vice-president (human resources). “It is rewarding to see the continued commitment to creating a mentally healthy workplace.” UCalgary

The role of higher education in the 21st Century

“Do institutions of higher education now have responsibilities to society that go beyond these traditional ones?” asks Margee Ensign of the Chronicle of Higher Education. Ensign discusses how college and universities have historically served as foundations for innovation and social change, and examines what this role looks like in the 21st century. To this end, the article covers a number of cases where higher education institutions have aimed to meet local needs through community initiatives and other efforts, as well as training students to have the necessary communication, integrity, and intercultural skills to make a difference. Chronicle of Higher Education

BC PSE institutions offer support in face of wildfires

A number of postsecondary schools in British Columbia have contributed to efforts to support those affected by the wildfires. In Prince George, both the College of New Caledonia and the University of Northern British Columbia have provided accommodations to evacuees, and CNC recently offered a course in wildfire suppression to the public. In Kamloops, Thompson Rivers University has provided operations space in addition to food and accommodations for evacuees, while faculty members of its School of Nursing have worked rotating shifts to act as a first line of assessment. My Prince George Now | TRU

NWCC to phase out use of Thunderbird symbol

Northwest Community College has announced that it will be phasing out the use of its Thunderbird symbol over the coming months as part of the college’s ongoing rebranding efforts. The decision reportedly came after school officials uncovered the history of the symbol’s development, which they believed constituted a process of Indigenous cultural appropriation. “When we learned the history of the symbol we knew we should phase out its use,” says NWCC President Ken Burt. “When examined through the lens of cultural appropriation, we felt it was incumbent on us as a post-secondary school to acknowledge this history and move forward.” NWCC