Top Ten

August 2, 2017

USask med school $57M shortfall causing “unhealthy tensions” at university

A significant funding shortfall at the University of Saskatchewan’s medical school has created “unhealthy tensions” with the rest of the university during a time of fiscal cutbacks. The Saskatoon StarPhoenix states that this shortfall is due to the provincial government’s decision to cut USask’s operating grant and requiring the university to repurpose $20M of its $294M 2017-2018 funding to the college of medicine. “Everyone is being asked to do (more) with less, but there is a perception that the university as a whole is being made to suffer for the benefit of a single college,” states a report from university administrators, adding that “even with the unsustainable repurposing of $20 million of university funds, as directed in the 2017-18 funding letter from (the government), we are still well short of adequate funding for an accredited college of medicine.” Saskatoon Star Phoenix

YorkU appeals Access Copyright ruling

York University has announced that it will appeal the decision by Canada’s Federal Court ruling that the university’s policies and practices around the use of copyrighted material does not constitute fair dealing. The release states, “Our Fair Dealing Guidelines are intended to reflect a balance between the interests of creators, publishers and of users and function within a system that continues to include the University spending millions of dollars per year on licenses and acquisitions.” The release notes that YorkU will appeal the decision by the October 2, 2017 deadline. The institution says that it will continue to respect copyright law during the appeal process and continue to seek improvements to its system of copyright compliance. YorkU

Student organizations from across Canada release joint report on student mental health

Student organizations from across Canada have released a joint publication on student mental health in the country. Titled “Shared Perspectives,” the report discusses some of the “limited successes and continued challenges” that still face PSE students, especially with respect to access to mental health-related services on campus. The report explores case studies from each of the participating provinces and offers recommendations. The publication includes contributions from the Council of Alberta University Students (CAUS), the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA), the New Brunswick Student Alliance (NBSA), and Students Nova Scotia (SNS), and was produced with the support of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA). OUSA (Joint Publication)

Queen’s program helps early-stage tech companies beat the “grind”

A Queen’s University-affiliated program aimed at supporting early-stage technology ventures has graduated more than 40 companies since its inception in 2014, a track record that Queen’s Assistant Vice-Principal (Partnerships and Innovation) Jim Banting says speaks to the success of the program. The 12-week program is led by seasoned entrepreneurs. Participating companies take part in highly-interactive workshops and receive mentoring and support from entrepreneurs and advisers. Rick Boswell, Queen's assistant director of industry partnerships and Innovation Park, says that companies feel that they benefit from joining GrindspaceXL, noting that “these companies have found out some of the things they didn't know and were able to apply them to the growth of their business.” Kingston Whig-Standard

Basing goals on earning specific grades not as effective as task-based goals for students: study

Students who focus on short-term, tangible classroom goals are more likely to earn an A than students who focus on grades, according to a new US-based study. The study’s authors measured two types of student goal setting: performance-based and task-based. After surveying 4,000 PSE students, they found that basing goals on getting specific grades did not have a statistically significant effect on whether a student actually obtained the desired grade. However, basing one’s goals on the tasks required to earn those grades—such as completing homework assignments—did have a statistically significant effect. “If you take the view that students don’t have the self-control to study as much as they want to, then something like goal setting is going to be effective,” said co-author Victoria Prowse. Inside Higher Ed

UNB to mark Canada 150 as part of Memorial Forest Project

The University of New Brunswick plans to launch its Memorial Forest Project today at its Fredericton campus. The ceremony will also see the dedication of the forest’s 150th tree to honour Canada 150. A UNB release states that one-hundred and forty-nine trees have been planted on the university’s Fredericton campus over the years, standing in memory of members of the UNB community and in honour of graduating classes and institutional milestones. The project is being led by UNB’s Faculty of Forestry & Environmental Management, Associated Alumni, and Facilities Management. “Since 1957, UNB and its alumni have planted trees to commemorate people and graduating classes,” says Ed Czerwinski, technical team lead in the faculty of forestry & environmental management. “The Memorial Forest is a way to provide true recognition to those trees and the people they were planted in honour of.” UNB

StFX receives additional investment in Oland Stadium infrastructure

St Francis Xavier University has received $500K from the Government of Canada to help replace ageing bleachers at its Oland Stadium. The infrastructure improvements will help the stadium to meet the required safety standards for securing and hosting national sporting events. The release states that the Province of Nova Scotia also announced $1M in support towards the project earlier this year. “This centre is the health and wellness heart of northern Nova Scotia. Students, athletes, and families from around the region engage in physical activity, sport and attend community events at the Oland Stadium,” commented StFX President Kent MacDonald. StFX

Yukon School of Visual Arts struggles with limited housing, declining enrolment

In light of struggles with declining enrolment and a lack of student housing, CBC reports that the future of the Yukon School of Visual Arts is “far from certain.” The school allows students to complete the first year of a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and has a minimum enrolment of six students. Officials state that many of the issues around enrolment stem from limited housing in Dawson City. “No one wants to see SOVA go forward this year and all years more than me and the department and this government,” said YK Minister of Education Tracy-Anne McPhee, who added that the government is trying to find student housing in Dawson. “The program is unique, a cornerstone of the arts community in Dawson.” CBC

BVC hosts Chinese nursing instructors looking to learn about long-term care

In light of an increasing demand for long-term care in China, a delegation of nursing instructors from the Guanghua International Nursing Education Alliance recently visited Bow Valley College to learn more about the tools and teaching methodology used in Canada to train nurses. “They have recently had a big boom in their continuing care needs, so they're looking at external resources, they're looking to partner with external resources, to learn how and what we're doing, best practices and what resources we're using,” said Ashley Holloway, BVC Clinical Placement Officer. The group spent time in BVC's classrooms and nursing simulation centre, in addition to long-term care facilities. CTV News

UBCO to offer first-year course on student health and wellbeing

This fall, UBC Okanagan will introduce a new elective course focusing on student health and wellbeing. Titled HEAL 100, the course will be offered by UBCO’s School of Health and Exercise Sciences and will offer an in-depth look at health studies with an emphasis on student health. “The course is for first-year students, when they’re making that big transition to university,” says Sally Stewart, senior instructor in the School of Health and Exercise Sciences. “We want to give students the tools and techniques to really thrive in a university environment. We already offer health programs – human kinetics, nursing, and facets of health and wellbeing in psychology courses, for example – but this course is more for students to develop health competencies.” UBCO