Top Ten

October 20, 2017

Contract cheating a growing problem in Canada: UCalgary professor

Contract cheating is on the rise in Canada, warns a University of Calgary professor. The practice of hiring ghostwriters to write papers or test-takers to sit exams now only requires a Google search and a credit card, says Sarah Eaton, acting associate dean of teaching and learning at the Werklund School of Education at UCalgary. This Wednesday marked the second International Day of Action against Contract Cheating, which called for increased awareness against firms that aggressively market contract cheating services to students on campus. Eaton said that while contract cheating has been studied extensively elsewhere in the world, there has been little data compiled about just how common it is in Canada. CBC | The Conversation

Canadian organization takes new approach to building Canadian university sports

The Canadian governing body for athletics at 56 schools is taking a more business-like approach to generate additional revenue and attract more top-tier athletes. The Globe and Mail reports that U Sports is looking to promote more domestic university sports teams by having at least one game appear on national television each week. The organization also says that it wants to experiment with changes to Canadian athletic scholarships that might attract more top athletes to Canadian institutions. “We are seeing traction, but it takes time,” says Spokesperson Stephanie White. “Coaches say they are now able to have conversations with the more talented players to try to recruit them to U Sports schools, whereas three or four years ago, they might have only looked at U.S. universities.” Globe and Mail

Dal Indigenous board member accuses school of institutional racism

The chair of the board of governors at Dalhousie University has apologized to an Indigenous member of the school’s board after the member claimed that she was subjected to institutionalized racism at a recent meeting. Kati George-Jim of the T’Sou-ke First Nation in British Columbia, a student representative on the university’s oversight board, says that when she broke the rules of a recent meeting by speaking up, she was harshly reprimanded by Board Chairman Lawrence Stordy. “The chair lost his temper. It was full-blown how you discipline a child,” she said in an interview Wednesday. “He was yelling and no one in the room stopped him or challenged him.” Stordy said he apologized to George-Jim and told her that her views are very important to him, the board, and the university at large. “I truly regret the unintended impact that my comments had on Ms. George-Jim,” said Stordy in an email. Montreal Gazette (CP)

University proximity to transportation hubs a ‘key factor’ in rankings

A study has found that universities that are well connected to “global transportation hubs,” such as airports with direct flights to other global hubs, are able to rise up in rankings tables faster than similar universities in less-connected areas. The study authors were able to rule out local economic development as a confounding factor. “While existing universities cannot change their location and are not likely to significantly influence airline operating patterns, it is possible to incentivise and subsidise international collaboration,” explained University of Warwick associate professor and study co-author Weisi Guo. University of Birmingham professor and co-author Ganna Pogrebna explained that the findings could support decisions around where to locate new universities, as “successful universities of the future need to be well connected via the global air network.” Times Higher Education

ON commits $30M to produce more AI, STEM graduates

Ontario has committed to investing $30M to boost the number of artificial intelligence graduates produced by its PSE system each year. CBC reports that the move is part of the province’s effort to support a technology boom and to attract Amazon to build its proposed $5B headquarters in ON. A provincial release states that the funds will be used to “help facilitate work with colleges and universities across the province” to start graduating more students with applied master`s degrees in AI, with the goal of graduating 1,000 students each year within five years. Additionally, the government has committed to help increase the number of graduates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics by 25% each year within a five-year timeline. CBC

It’s time to rethink the scheduling of final exams: Bauman

The reigning practice for scheduling exams at Canadian universities creates high stress for students without properly measuring how well they can process knowledge, writes Michael Bauman. Instead of having students “hurriedly ingesting large amounts of information that would be frantically regurgitated at exam time,” the author recommends that universities offer two optional exam dates for each course, with one coming potentially at the end of a semester and another coming at the beginning of the next semester. Bauman argues that giving students a short time to study for high-stakes exams is arbitrary and conducive to mental health issues. “Nowhere is there an intrinsic necessity that knowledge acquisition and testing must be closely sequentially coupled. Dates mean nothing,” concludes Bauman. University Affairs

Humber, Aruba sign MOU for mutually beneficial relationship

Humber College has signed an MOU with the Ministry of Education and Family Affairs of Aruba that aims to establish a mutually beneficial relationship through education and knowledge exchange. The agreement also seeks to encourage student mobility between Aruba and Canada. Humber reports that the agreement will allow Aruban students who choose to study at Humber to access Government of Aruba student loans, as well as international student scholarships offered through Humber. Humber states that the college signed the MOU with the aim to continue diversifying the college’s international student population and international engagement. Humber

UBC Alma Mater Society organizes training for overdose identification, naloxone

In light of what the Vancouver Sun calls a “devastating provincial health emergency,” the University of British Columbia’s Alma Mater Society is organizing mass training events to teach students how to recognize and reverse drug overdoses. “This is something that is an issue of our time and we want them to be prepared for the worst,” said AMS President Alan Ehrenholz. “We want to prepare our students to respond in an emergency situation so that they can support their peers and have a safe and fun party experience.” Yesterday, 120 students were registered to attend a two-hour training session that covered overdose warning signs, naloxone kit usage, and role playing stigma-free language for improving the lives of people who use drugs. Vancouver Sun

UMoncton Evolution campaign receives $1M gift from l'alUMni

The Université de Moncton’s Evolution campaign received a $1M gift from L’alUMni earlier this week. The Evolution campaign aims to raise $50M for five major projects at the university that will support excellence in the student experience and excellence in research and development. UMoncton reports that l’alUMni has made student experience a priority over the past five years in order to foster a sense of belonging and pride among future graduates. UMoncton President Raymond Théberge praised the gift and noted that it was the largest contribution that the university had received from an alumni association. UMoncton

Langara awarded LEED® Gold status for science and technology building

Langara College’s Science and Technology Building has officially received LEED® Gold status in recognition of its energy-efficient features. The building earned points for features such as its reflective and green roofs; energy-efficient building envelope; low-flow fume hoods; occupancy light sensors; Thermenex heat recovery system; and local, sustainable building materials. “The completion of Langara’s Science and Technology Building is a true achievement of technological innovation and teamwork,” said Langara President Lane Trotter. “I’d like to congratulate the entire project team on the well-deserved LEED® gold status for our newest building.” Langara