Top Ten

August 11, 2017

Kinew pledges free tuition, job creation for those in MB’s child welfare system

Manitoba MLA Wab Kinew has said that if he becomes premier, children in MB’s child welfare system could see their tuition and books for university covered by the province. The provincial NDP leadership candidate made the pledge this Wednesday after describing a similar program that he was involved in while working for the University of Winnipeg. The program, which covered the cost of living for some, was eventually expanded to the province's other universities. Kinew said the NDP would also work with local businesses to hire program graduates and help pay their salaries for the first three months of employment. Kinew said that the NDP would also launch a task force to determine how to help graduates find their first job. CBC | Winnipeg Free Press

Former Quest president files lawsuit against school

Former Quest University President Peter Englert has filed a lawsuit against the school alleging that the university did not compensate him according to the rules of his employment contract. Englert also alleges that Quest “without cause purported to terminate the plaintiff’s employment.” In a written claim, Englert notes that he has applied for permanent residency in Canada, but no longer satisfies the criteria to obtain permanent residence because he is no longer employed by the university. Quest has said that it cannot comment on pending litigation, but notes that it will issue a full statement on the matter in the future. Squamish Chief

Three keys to building an effective university board

“What, exactly, qualifies an individual to serve on a board?” This is the question posed by Brett Fairbairn and Murray Fulton of the University of Saskatchewan and Dionne Pohler of the University of Toronto. Reflecting on recent debates around board appointments, the authors outline three key principles to follow when appointing new members to a university’s board. First, the researchers insist that because the primary purpose of a university is the public good, schools and senates should elect board members who are most likely to serve this good. Second, individual board members need to have the ability to contribute and to work with diverse perspectives. Finally, the researchers argue that each individual appointment “should be justified according to how the appointee’s abilities and perspectives fill gaps or needs on the existing board.” Regina Leader-Post

STU, UNB establish first Canadian research chairs in cannabis

St Thomas University and the University of New Brunswick have become the first two universities in Canada to create a health research chair in cannabis. STU announced its plans to create the chair in May 2017, while UNB announced this week that it also plans to hire someone in this area. The STU chair will reportedly focus on policy development, as well as socio-economic and health issues related to cannabis use. UNB's chair will focus on pharmacological sciences and conduct preclinical pharmacology studies. Funding for both positions is provided by NB, as well as Shoppers Drug Mart for the STU position and Tetra Bio-Pharma Inc for UNB's chair. The universities will receive $1M each over five years, with $500K provided by each company. CBC | UNB

NIC announces new campus location to increase access

North Island College has announced that its Mount Waddington regional campus will be moved to Thunderbird Mall in order to be more accessible for students and the community. “Students and community members can more easily drop in, register for a course, or talk to us about the programs and services they’d like to see in their community,” explained Campus Coordinator Caitlin Hartnet. The $1.1M renovation project includes developing additional space and wheelchair accessible washrooms at the adjacent Sacred Wolf Friendship Centre, which has collaborated with NIC to deliver programs and events off-campus in the past, as well as four classrooms, including a computer lab and a multi-purpose room that will double as a nursing lab. NationTalk | NIC

Mulcair in talks to with two Montreal universities

Thomas Mulcair is reportedly in discussions with two university centres in the Montreal area to explore employment opportunities. The Journal de Montréal reports that Mulcair says he will not be working in a university this fall, but may be for the beginning of January. “Do not be surprised if I am here at the opening of Parliament holding Mr. Trudeau to account,” he told TVA News. “I really like what I do, I was elected for a full term. But I have a lot of interest from universities with which I continue to have discussions.” Journal de Montréal

International students are an “overlooked population” in PSE mental health

Existing data show that international students are more likely than their peers to suffer depression and less likely to seek help, writes Clara Turnage. For international students, the author notes, “a newfound minority status can combine with the isolation of a new culture, expectations from home, and a mandatory full course load — all in what is often a second language — to produce mental illness.” Many international students may come from cultures that think of mental illness as a weakness, the author adds, which is why it is crucial for schools to have staff who are sensitive to cultural differences and can respond to them appropriately. The author offers examples of how teaching students a “language of self-care” can go a long way in helping them with their mental illness. Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

RDC breaks ground on Alternative Energy Lab

Red Deer College celebrated the official groundbreaking for its Alternative Energy Lab earlier this week. “The Alternative Energy Lab will be an innovative learning space that will give RDC students hands-on experiences to build familiarity and confidence with alternative energy systems,” says RDC President Joel Ward. The facility will be used for applied research, demonstration, and teaching; and Vice President of College Services Jim Brinkhurst adds that the lab will “serve as a data hub to increase knowledge and awareness for industry, consumers and researchers.” The facility is one of the three key components of RDC’s Alternative Energy Initiative, and is anticipated to be completed in April 2018. RDC

Langara, APF Canada, Optimus Information partner on India Connect Program

Langara College, the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, and Optimus Information have announced that they have partnered on the India Connect Program. The program will see Langara students receive scholarships in order to gain co-op experience in India. “This is a tremendous opportunity for Canadian students to gain valuable experience, broadening their intercultural skills in the process,” said Langara Vice-President of External Development Ajay Patel. Langara stated in a release that the program is the first in a series of country-specific scholarship initiatives within APF Canada’s Asia Connect Program. Langara

More Canadian universities should consider creating employee resource groups

“It is not uncommon for employees working in the traditional silos of a university to feel isolated,” which is why it is important for Canadian universities to consider creating employee resource groups (ERGs), write Erin Clow, Emma Sobel, Joelle B Thorpe, and Jennifer Valberg. The authors reflect on their experience as members of an ERG at Queen’s University called Young Women at Queen’s, which offers young women in the school's staff “holistic career support using a bottom-up approach.” The authors highlight several advantages of ERGs and note that while common in the US, they have much room to grow in Canada. The authors also note that these groups function best when a university’s administration gives them its full support in a “hands-off manner.” University Affairs