Top Ten

July 28, 2017

Canada is wrong to exclude domestic applicants from 150 Research Chairs program: URegina professor

The Canadian government is misguided in its decision to exclude Canadians from applying for the Canada 150 Research Chairs program, writes University of Regina Professor Raymond Blake. The author argues that the decision to make the program only available to those coming from outside Canada “is purely political, part of Justin Trudeau’s plan to showcase Canada internationally as a welcoming place.” Further, Blake argues that the program exacerbates the demoralizing effects of what is already a difficult job market for new Canadian PhD graduates. Blake concludes that Canada should allow its own academics to compete for spaces in the program, as failing to do so may ultimately weaken the quality of Canada’s universities rather than improving it. Regina Leader-Post

Cultural factors play bigger role than financial supports in PSE access, say experts

“There is a mounting body of empirical evidence showing that cultural influences represent the most important determinants of [PSE] access in Canada,” write Ross Finnie, Arthur Sweetman, and Richard Mueller. While financial supports are important, the authors add, factors such as “parental education, reading habits and parental and community aspirations” have the greatest impact on PSE participation rates. With this in mind, the authors argue that research is needed to determine how organizations can reach out to children to provide them the cultural supports they need to make PSE access more equitable. The authors offer suggestions for initiatives that could address this issue, such as campus visits for children as early as primary school. Times Higher Education

CBU researchers to study traditional Mi’kmaq skin remedy using biomedical, Indigenous approaches

Researchers at Cape Breton University will study the traditional Mi’kmaq practice of using birch bark oil to treat skin conditions with the support of federal funding. Tuma Young, assistant professor of Mi’kmaq Studies, and Matthias Bierenstiel, associate professor of chemistry at CBU have received $150K from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to conduct biomedical screening and Indigenous studies on birch bark oil in treating topical skin conditions such as dry skin, eczema, and psoriasis. “When you’re talking about traditional medicines, you have to approach the research in what they would term a good way, or the proper way,” Young said, adding that CBU has hired a community liaison co-ordinator to help facilitate meetings with elders. Cape Breton Post

GBC to build 12-storey carbon neutral building on Toronto waterfront

George Brown College has announced that it will expand its Waterfront Campus in Toronto with a carbon-neutral wood building called The Arbour. A GBC release notes that the planned 12-storey structure will provide students with research and learning opportunities in climate-friendly building practices, both during the building’s construction and once it is complete. “This distinctive new location will help us contribute to the mitigation of climate change and environmental sustainability while supporting our continued intention to create campus environments that are innovative, creative and stimulating for student learning,” said GBC President Anne Sado. GBC

Canada must create Indigenous language preservation plan “with teeth”: USudbury professor

Canada’s Indigenous languages are in danger of dying out if the federal government does not develop an effective preservation plan, according to University of Sudbury Professor Mary Anne Corbiere. “If they are not preserved, they will die when the last speaker dies,” Corbiere told CBC's Morning North. Corbiere has reportedly been running her own for-credit courses at USudbury to help students learn to speak Indigenous languages. Corbiere also says that she welcomes any non-Indigenous learners who would like to learn the languages. “I welcome anybody who wants to learn our languages,” she says. “My view is that when someone makes a sincere effort to communicate on their terms, their language, that's the greatest sign of respect you can give anyone.” CBC

BC wildfire evacuees moved from CNC to UNBC

Forest fire evacuees who have been staying at the College of New Caledonia were relocated this Wednesday to the Northern Sport Centre at University of Northern British Columbia. A news release from Prince George’s city hall noted that the move was made “in order to better provide services to evacuees.” About 65 people and 30 tents were affected by the move, which raised the total number of people staying at the NSC to roughly 180. The Prince George Citizen reports that an emergency reception centre will remain at CNC to provide evacuee registration, renewal of referrals, and government services. Prince George Citizen

Gain maximum value from your postdoc experience: Reyes

“Many postdocs are as competitive as tenure-track jobs. But if you are one of the lucky few to receive a postdoc, what’s next?” writes Victoria Reyes. The first step, the author notes, is accepting the fact that “success—however you define it—is your responsibility.” Reyes offers a series of tips for getting the most out of a postdoc experience, which include updating one’s professional plans based on changes that might occur between applying for and beginning a postdoc. Reyes also advises readers to continue engaging with the intellectual community and meeting regularly with mentors. Finally, the author recommends that any new postdoc use every available opportunity to build and maintain connections with other academics. Inside Higher Ed

Faculty writing groups can help increase peer support, productivity: opinion

“Writing-stalled faculty members tend to cope with their frustrations in ways that end up being ineffective, or even destructive,” writes Joli Jensen. Some of these ineffective behaviours, the author adds, include throwing oneself into teaching and service, getting “unnecessarily embroiled” in departmental politics, or pursuing a number of research-related projects that do not meet tenure-and-promotion criteria. But rather than pursuing these avenues, the author suggests that faculty adopt clear and effective practices to increase writing productivity. One proven way to do this, the author adds, is to create an effective faculty writing program. The author concludes by giving tips for how to build such a program. Chronicle of Higher Education

NSCC grads to complete bachelor in two years through new agreement with Dal

Nova Scotia Community College graduates will now be able to complete a Bachelor of Management at Dalhousie University in two years, thanks to a new 2+2 agreement between the two institutions. According to an NSCC release, the pathway is available to recent and future graduates of the college’s business and technology diploma programs who meet Dal’s admission requirements. “This presents an exciting opportunity for our graduates,” says Greg Russell, Dean of the School of Business at NSCC. “This agreement opens the door to a new pathway for our graduates as they pursue lifelong learning and new career opportunities.” NSCC

25-year old arrested for Laurentian hack

A 25-year-old Sudbury man has been charged by police following a hack of Laurentian University's computer network in February 2017, reports CBC. Police issued a statement yesterday declaring that the suspect was arrested following a lengthy investigation. Computers and data storage devices were seized at the accused’s home, and the accused has been ordered to appear in court on September 6, 2017. The accused has been charged with unauthorized use of a computer system, mischief to data, and breach of probation. CBC | Sudbury Star