Top Ten

September 13, 2017

How PSE professionals can support one another’s mental health

“Mental health still seems to be the elephant in the room,” writes Sabrina Zeddies. “We do not know how to react to it as a concept and we definitely don’t know how to handle people that suffer from mental health issues.” The author notes that in addition to the stigma still attached to those with mental health struggles, many individuals still lack the knowledge or the will to reach out to someone when their behaviour indicates that they are having difficulties. Further, Zeddies notes that those who are suffering from mental burnout are often some of the last to notice, which makes it all the more important for peers to look out for one another. University Affairs

Concordia science building to expand without referendum

Concordia University has learned that it can proceed with a planned expansion of its new $52M science building without undergoing a referendum, due to a provincial law that was adopted in June of this year. Based at the school’s Loyola campus, the building project had been slated to be put to a referendum by nearby residents, but a borough clerk discovered that the recentlyintroduced provincial law rendered the issue ineligible for being put to a referendum. “Our clerk discovered this and we double-checked it with the legal department at (city hall),” said Russell Copeman, mayor of the Côte-des-Neiges-Notre Dame de Grâce borough. “It’s not that we are opting to do this, it is the law.” Montreal Gazette

Fleming president interested to see how basic income pilot impacts college enrolments

Fleming College President Tony Tilly says that he will keep a close eye on enrolment numbers at Fleming’s Frost Campus this fall to see if they are impacted by Ontario’s upcoming basic income pilot program. “I find the idea of the pilot exciting because we need to move beyond our current means of trying to address poverty,” says Tilly, who adds that it remains to be seen whether access to a guaranteed basic income will impact college enrolments. Tilly also notes that financial barriers to PSE come up often in his discussions with peers, and that a basic income might give students the financial confidence they need to enrol. Lindsay Advocate

Liberal arts schools should distinguish themselves without relying on “liberal arts” label: survey

The term “liberal arts” might be one of the biggest challenges facing liberal arts colleges in the US, according to a new survey. Conducted in March and April of 2017, the survey found that prospective students’ perceptions of the liberal arts were similar to those that liberal arts institutions have of themselves. However, the survey also found that the label “liberal arts” was not effective at attracting students’ interest. “It’s not necessarily that they [colleges] should be running away from liberal arts as a model of education,” said Craig Goebel, a principal at the group behind the survey. Rather, Goebel contends that trying to defend the liberal arts label and educate the public about its value might be a losing battle. Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

Why faculty senates should extend eligibility to part-time instructors

The declining proportion of tenure-track professors in the US is just one of the reasons why institutions need to begin giving faculty senate appointments to part-time instructors, write Neal Hutchens and Willis Jones. The authors argue that apart from giving the school a bigger pool of talented senate members to draw from, extending senate eligibility to part-time instructors sends a strong message that these instructors count as “real” faculty as much as full-time members do. Further, exclusion from faculty senates also prevents some of the most vulnerable faculty from raising concerns about important issues facing campus. Inside Higher Ed

UWindsor library acquires study bikes for students

The University of Windsor’s Leddy Library has acquired three new exercise study-bikes that allow students to study or work on a laptop while exercising. The bikes, which feature a mounted desk, have seen enthusiasm and positive reception from students according to information services librarian Helen Power. “When they come to the library, if they're here for a prolonged period of time, after a while the students' bodies might be getting sore,” adds UWindsor Kinesiology Associate Professor Sarah Woodruff. “They need to get up and move around, so this just gives them the option to do something while they are studying.” CBC | Ottawa Citizen

Queen’s, Kingston Health Sciences Centre unveil research centre

Officials from Queen’s University and the Kingston Health Sciences Centre unveiled the WJ Henderson Centre for Patient-Oriented Research. The centre includes new areas such as labs, workspaces, a treatment room for minor surgeries, patient exam rooms, and a gastrointestinal disease research lab; and will increase research space at the Kingston General Hospital site by 25%. “Research is a core component of the mission of Queen's University,” said Queen’s Interim Vice-Principal of Research John Fisher, who added that the centre presented a “remarkable opportunity” for researchers and patients. The $4.2M collaborative research area was funded through over 150 donations, including $1M from the WJ Henderson Foundation and $1.2M from the Canada Foundation for Innovation. Kingston Whig-Standard

BC students, faculty commend provincial budget updates

Recent provincial budget announcements show that the British Columbia government is committed to increasing access to PSE, according to a release from the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC and the BC Federation of Students. The release specifically commends the budget for allocating $19M in funding for adult basic education and English language learning. “The removal of financial barriers for adult education programs will allow some of the most marginalized people in our communities to access basic upgrading and education,” said BCFS Chairperson Simka Marshall. “After 16 years of neglect from the previous government … this government has taken the refreshing position of listening to stakeholders and acting quickly to make improvements for both students and educators,” added FSPE President George Davison. FPSE | CFJC Today

VCC, Rick Hansen Foundation partner to improve accessibility

Vancouver Community College and the Rick Hansen Foundation have partnered to develop and deliver the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification program. The program will outline the criteria used to rate a site or facility's overall accessibility against a national, universal scale. VCC will offer a two-week RHFAC Accessibility Assessors training program. “We know the importance of what a program like this truly means to people’s live,” said Kathryn McNaughton, VCC’s vice-president academic, students, and research. “With one of the highest population of students with disabilities in post-secondary in the province, we are acquainted with the wide range of mobility challenges people contend with on a daily basis.” VCC

UWinnipeg launches new Sustainability Strategy

The University of Winnipeg has announced the launch of a new Sustainability Strategy that provides concrete, measurable targets for greenhouse gas emission reduction, community building, academic programming, knowledge mobilization, and overall environmental impact. A UWinnipeg release states that the plan outlines four overarching sustainability goals and 19 targets to ensure those goals are met. Among these goals is a pledge to exceed Canada’s commitments under the Paris Accord by achieving a 50% in absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and zero emissions by 2035. Other goals include cultivating principled relationships with people and ecosystems, locally and internationally; and mobilizing evidence and research to address local and global challenges. UWinnipeg