Top Ten

September 22, 2017

ULaval student found guilty of defrauding student union of $24.5K

A student of Université Laval will reportedly spend the weekend in prison after being found guilty of defrauding her student association for $24.5K. The Journal de Montréal reports that while working for the Université Laval Student Science and Engineering Association between October 2014 and 2015, Tricia Simoneau would end each shift by falsely claiming to receive a return of merchandise and pocket between $100 and $500. The judges of the Court of Appeal of Quebec accepted that the money was largely used for meals at restaurants and clothing. The trial judge then sentenced Simoneau to 30 days in jail to serve intermittently, in addition to a two-year probation. The judge stopped short, however, of demanding that the accused reimburse the stolen money. Journal de Montréal

It’s time to move away from tax policy as a tool for PSE access: YorkU provost

“Is tax policy the best way to improve access to postsecondary education? Count me as one who says it's not,” writes Lisa Philipps, provost and vice-president – academic (interim) at York University. The author notes that for 20 years, Canada’s policy makers have used RESPs, textbook tax credits, and the Canada Learning Bond to broaden access for higher ed. However, Philipps notes that the tax credits produced by these programs are most often claimed by parents, not the students themselves, which disproportionately benefits higher-income households. Philipps goes on to applaud recent efforts by the federal government to shift thinking away from tax credits “in favour of more direct and targeted support of individuals.” Globe and Mail

Kelowna, UBCO sign agreement to boost regional economic development

The City of Kelowna and UBC’s Okanagan Campus have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that commits the parties to collaborate on a broad range of issues. The MOU specifically aims to promote regional economic development and create a more prosperous and sustainable region near UBCO. A university release notes that the agreement will provide a framework to further the parties' common interests in research and innovation, community engagement, infrastructure, and risk management. “UBC’s Okanagan campus is a devoted and integral part of the cultural and economic fabric of the Okanagan Valley,” says Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal Deborah Buszard. “By further developing this relationship, we hope to tackle the challenges of tomorrow by advancing the skills, talent and ideas of our community today.” UBCO | UBC

StFX breaks ground on $100M transformative project

Saint Francis Xavier University has officially broken ground on what has been called the most transformative project in the university’s history. The groundbreaking for the $100M Brian Mulroney Institute of Government and the Xaverian Commons was attended by the institute’s namesake, former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. “This is not a StFX story or a provincial story. This is a national story,” said StFX President Kent MacDonald. “This is what it means to leave a legacy. The Mulroney legacy is one we will always be indebted to here at StFX.” StFX | CBC

New PSE program looks to connect Inuit youth with their culture

A new Montreal-based PSE program is aiming to support Inuit students in deepening their ties to their culture. Called Nunavik Sivunitsavut, the program’s title translates as “Nunavik our future” and focuses on teaching Inuktitut as well as the humanities, government relations, and physical education from an Inuit perspective. Students from across Quebec are spending the year living in Montreal and taking courses at the Avataq Cultural Institute. The program is coordinated and implemented by the Kativik School Board in partnership with John Abbott College in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue. The courses are all CEGEP-level and fully accredited. “Now that I'm here and they have the perfect teachers here, so … I'm feeling more comfortable to speak my own language,” said student Paasa Lemire. CBC

Online courses take more preparation time, says study

An Australian study of just over 2,000 academics has found that online courses are more time-consuming to prepare for than traditional teaching. The researchers found that it took an hour more to plan an online tutorial than to plan an in-person one, and that developing an entirely new unit required more hours when the course would be delivered online. The study also did not find any difference between older and younger academics in the time it took to develop an online course. “In our experience...the prevailing pressure from administrators is that online students take less staff time to teach, [but] staff indicate that the materials take longer to prepare,” explained researcher John Kenny, who noted that the results had implications for workload models that do not account for online course development time. Times Higher Education

UManitoba researchers receive $10M to study four diseases

Researchers at the University of Manitoba will be able to further their research on kidney disease, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and development disabilities, thanks to $10M in new funding. “This type of research is unique in that it engages patients in all aspects of study and ensures results are relevant to the priorities that they have identified,” said MB Growth, Enterprise, and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen. “By working together and investing in these networks, we are helping Manitoba’s research institutions create the innovative solutions needed to support patients across this province and beyond.” The funding comes from Research Manitoba, local research partners, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. CBC | National Post (CP)

UWindsor, WUFA reach new four-year deal

Windsor University Faculty Association members have voted 93% in favour of a new four-year agreement with the institution. The deal includes salary increases, clearer procedures for addressing harassment complaints, workload flexibility for department heads, and the creation of a professional development fund for sessional members. WUFA President Jeff Noonan described the deal as a “resounding success,” and explained that the contract addressed the negotiation priorities of fair pay, benefits, and “respect for our work as academics.” UWindsor President Alan Wildeman commended both bargaining teams “for their hard work over the summer.” CBC | Windsor Star | UWindsor

Others should adopt ON’s free tuition model: Di Muccio

“Funding qualified students who couldn’t otherwise afford an advanced education is meant to pay huge dividends towards Ontario’s future prosperity,” writes Maddie Di Muccio, arguing that other jurisdictions should thus emulate ON's free tuition model. The author cites statistics showing that in 2006, Canada’s high school dropouts had an 11.1% unemployment rate, while those with a university degree had only a 4.5% unemployment rate. Di Muccio argues that while ON’s free tuition plan is costing the province money today, the province will easily recoup its investment and much more through gain income tax revenue over the working lives of the recipients. Troy Media

Aurora offers pilots ground school course on drone safety

Students at the Aurora College Inuvik Campus are now able to earn a restricted operator’s certificate for radio communication through a ground school training course on drone safety. “There are still lots of people, aircraft and helicopters in the area and in order for them to work together, they need to understand the common ground,” explained Canadian Unmanned Incorporated President Sterling Cripps, who taught the course. “By taking this next step being successful in a ground school, [they're] understanding airspace rules and regulations and becoming efficient, safe pilot.” The organizers hope to offer courses in Yellowknife as well in the future. CBC