Top Ten

August 1, 2017

Professors, librarians at U of T’s St Michael’s College sign letter expressing doubt in president

A group of roughly 22 professors, librarians, and former administrators connected to the University of St Michael’s College at the University of Toronto have issued an open letter expressing doubt about their institution’s leader. The letter argues that College President David Mulroney’s recent public comments about the school “actively promoted a clear impression of SMC students as party animals and Islamophobes” instead of focusing on more positive aspects of the school and its student body. Mulroney has rejected this characterization of his comments, stating that “a lot of my stories were about the exciting things we are doing. … It is something that needs to be described as a turnaround because we’ve moved from some practices and habits that were, frankly, counterproductive.” The school’s administration has reportedly been in conflict with its student union for the past year over allegations of financial mismanagement directed toward the union. Globe and Mail | Toronto Star

The rising role of robots in ON postsecondary institutions

Human-like robots have been appearing more often on PSE campuses across Southern Ontario to help students study fields like engineering, health care, and dermatology, reports NOW Toronto. The article chronicles the efforts of researchers to incorporate robots into student learning and research at McMaster University, Ryerson University, Sheridan College, Canadore College, and the University of Waterloo. “In medical school training, we have to learn how to deal with nurses, secretaries, the team, because everyone has a position and a function. Now we may have to include how to interact with robots in the curriculum,” says Hermenio Lima, associate professor of medicine at the Michael G DeGroote School of Medicine and the director of McMaster’s new Dermatology Centre for Innovation. NOW Toronto

MUN Battery Facility looks to spur public engagement

“When the Battery Hotel went up for sale, it felt like a golden opportunity for Memorial,” says Rebecca Cohoe, senior communications adviser for public engagement at Memorial University. “We knew it would allow the university to grow and to work more closely with the people of the province and our community.” Cohoe tells the Telegram that MUN’s Battery Facility has made a priority of creating more residence and work space for graduate students, providing these students an opportunity to share their work with the community and to collaborate with other MUN units and local partners. The Telegram reports that when graduate students apply to the Battery Facility for student housing, they are asked whether they have an interest in public engagement. “It’s located in the heart of the city, we thought that it would be an awesome platform to bring Memorial closer to the people of the province,” says Cohoe. Telegram

How technology and in-class polling can enhance student participation

In-class polling is just one of many ways that technology can facilitate better classroom discussion among students, writes James Lang. The author recounts how he incorporated digital polling into his classroom using students’ mobile devices. While the polling did not generate complex answers to questions, it did produce sufficiently interesting responses to make in-class participation much more equitable. “The nature of the poll questions required them to keep their initial answers brief, but the in-class discussion encouraged an expansion of their thinking,” writes Lang, who adds that “instead of the same three or four students dominating the debate, lots of them raised their hand in order to explain their poll answer.” Lang offers further tips on how to use technology to facilitate classroom participation. Chronicle of Higher Education

Emergency financial support for Acadia takes other NS universities by surprise: CBC

The recent revelation that Acadia University has received more than $10M in emergency financial support from the Nova Scotia government has taken other university presidents in the province by surprise, reports CBC. Peter Halpin, executive director of the Council of Nova Scotia University Presidents, said that he spoke to three university presidents last Friday and that none of them was aware of the financial support. Halpin added that the council is looking to convene a meeting to discuss the matter as soon as possible. Representatives of the Canadian Federation of Students-Nova Scotia issued a news release on Friday saying the situation is “further proof of the funding crisis in the post-secondary education system in Nova Scotia.” CBC

Minister Duncan replies to URegina professor’s criticism of Canada 150 Research Chairs program

“The Canada 150 Research Chairs program … is designed to help universities attract top-tier international researchers, including Canadian scientists working abroad,” writes Canada’s Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan in response to a recent editorial by University of Regina Professor Raymond Blake. In the piece, Blake argued that limiting the Canada 150 Research Chairs program to non-Canadian and expat-Canadian researchers was both unproductive and unfair for Canada and its domestic researchers. Duncan replies, however, that “the new program complements the many other generous programs and investments our government has put in place to support researchers in Canada,” which includes more than $3B in annual funding that domestic researchers can access through the tri-council funding agencies. Duncan concludes that “it is my firm belief that our scientists and scholars are not inclined to build walls that block others from joining our rich culture of research.” Regina Leader-Post

Niagara-affiliated innovation centre celebrates grand opening

Niagara College will help develop a highly skilled workforce in Ontario through its Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre, which celebrated its grand opening in Welland, ON last Friday. The new Niagara-affiliated centre will provide students with more than 15,000 square feet of lab space for applied learning, innovation space for companies to work onsite, and office space for Niagara students and industry staff. The centre will also work to help Ontario’s small and medium-sized manufacturers save on production costs and reduce production time by providing them access to leading-edge equipment and state-of-the-art research facilities. St Catharines Standard| Niagara

US white working class skeptical about value of PSE: poll

A new survey of white working-class Americans reveals a strong skepticism toward higher education, regardless of political affiliation. Among the study’s key findings were that a majority (57%) of respondents believed that a postsecondary degree would “result in more debt and little likelihood of landing a good-paying job.” A large majority (83%) also said that a college degree was “no longer any guarantee of success in America.” The findings come from a poll on a range of political issues commissioned by the House Majority PAC, a political action committee that aims to regain a Democratic majority in the US House of Representatives. The study identified “working-class” respondents as those over the age of 24 without a college degree. Inside Higher Ed

Lakehead to give students a head start on accounting certification with new program

Lakehead University’s Faculty of Business Administration is launching a new Graduate Diploma in Accounting that will give students advanced standing in pursuing the Chartered Professional Accountant designation. The program will run this September at the school’s Thunder Bay campus and is accredited by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario. The five-course professional program offered over one semester gives students a head start in pursuing the CPA 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, CPA, CA, CFA, Vice-President, Student Services, Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario. Lakehead