Top Ten

October 30, 2017

UCalgary, Mitacs, Kerui Group partner to expand energy research opportunities in China

The University of Calgary, Mitacs, and Kerui Group have joined together in a $1.35M research partnership that will focus on “driving energy innovation in China and around the world.” The project will build on UCalgary’s previous partnership with Kerui Group, advancing the institution’s priorities in internationalization and energy innovation, and providing hands-on research opportunities to postdoctoral scholars and graduate students. “This is a great opportunity for our postdocs and our students to go beyond Canada, to meet folks who have the same challenges doing similar work,” said Ian Gates, a professor with UCalgary and the Mitacs-Kerui Group project internship supervisor. “International collaboration is important because it opens our eyes to different ways of doing research, allowing for richer insights.” UCalgary

Against the international prioritizing of STEM: Axelrod

“The perception that science, technology, engineering and mathematics matter more, economically and academically, than the humanities and social sciences abounds around the world,” writes York University's Paul Axelrod, but the author argues that this approach neglects the essential role that the arts and social sciences play in the university and in society as a whole. Axelrod notes that no matter what program they come from, university graduates often end up in jobs unrelated to their area of study, and that this trend is merely a sign of education’s versatility rather than its irrelevance. Further, Axelrod quotes Stephen Hawking in arguing that as artificial intelligence gains the capacity to master fields of technical knowledge, humans will need to think deeply about what value they will continue to provide in the future. YaleGlobal Online

No, MOOCs have not failed: Ahmad, Oakley

A recent piece about the failure of Massive Online Open Courses makes a lot of sense, “that is, if you’re an ostrich with its head in the sand,” write McMaster University’s Arshad Ahmad and Oakland University’s Barbara Oakley. The authors argue that MOOCs provide many new opportunities for nontraditional learners and thus “allow universities a bigger footprint in their core mission to spread learning.” Ahmad and Oakley cite the World Conference on Online Learning, which has found that open learning has become a core part of course delivery in Canadian PSE. Inside Higher Ed

UoGuelph, UGFA reach tentative contract agreement

The University of Guelph and the University of Guelph Faculty Association have announced a tentative contract agreement. “The UGFA negotiating team is pleased to announce that, after eleven hours of mediation, we have reached a tentative agreement with management,” said chief negotiator Ed Carter and UGFA president Bill Cormack. “Without the support of the membership, expressed through a strong strike vote, we feel certain that we would not have reached a fair agreement.” The two sides have been negotiating since July. The details of the contract remain confidential pending a ratification vote by union members of UoGuelph’s Board of Directors. UoGuelph | Global News

Why some works should have trigger warnings: Weinberg

“It would be a mistake to assume that trigger warnings are overprotective or pose an invitation to skip class,” writes University of Alberta Augustana Instructor Erin Weinberg for the New Statesman. Weinberg argues that those who demean trigger warnings “invalidate the struggles of those who have survived some of the worst possible experiences, yet still have the resilience to pursue higher education.” The author adds that brief, parenthetical statements acknowledging potentially triggering material provide students with the opportunity to cope with their emotions ahead of class rather than during it. While some academics and professionals fear that “sensitivity will inevitably curtail academic freedom,” Weinberg concludes that “freedom must not become shorthand for teaching without a concern for the way our students are learning.” New Statesman              

Western opens first of its kind children’s clinic

Western University has opened the doors to a new, one-of-a-kind youth clinic. The Child and Youth Development Clinic will give Western graduate students the opportunity to work together under faculty supervision to provide assessment and treatments for children with education, psychological, behavioural, speech, and language difficulties. The only clinic of its kind in Ontario, the centre offers high-quality psychological services for children aged 3 to 18 with no referral necessary. “The motivation came from a number of different places … one was certainly about hearing the needs in our community,” said Colin King, director of the Child and Youth Development Clinic. “We know that there are hundreds of children on wait lists for various services in our community.” Western Gazette | Global News

Academics should provide more platforms to learn from each other at their own institutions

“Learning what people within our own organization are working on can increase the institution’s prestige, morale, networking, collaborative opportunities and overall sense of community,” writes Ruth Gotian, arguing that institutions should provide more platforms for academics to learn from others at their school. Gotian notes that academics will often spend more time travelling to conferences around the world than they do learning from the experts who work within their school. The author suggests that departments should consider running retreats to provide students and academics the opportunity to present their research to one another and engage in informal conversations about their work. Inside Higher Ed

USask pledges to discuss tuition rates early in the year, USSU pleased

The University of Saskatchewan Board of Governors has announced that it plans to establish tuition rates for the 2018-2019 academic year in March rather than December to enable “more meaningful consultation with students.” The university's student union has announced that it is pleased with the announcement. “This gives a good six-month period where upper administration has signed on to consulting, and that’s really, really important,” said USSU Vice President Deena Kapacila. Students “can and they will” have a stronger voice in tuition discussions, explained USask Provost Tony Vanelli, adding that students may favour increased tuition rates if the university demonstrates the added value to their education. Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Camosun launches world-class Babcock Canada Interaction Lab

Camosun College has officially opened the Babcock Canada Interaction Lab at Camosun’s Interurban campus. “The Interaction Lab has landed at the doorstep of Camosun College,” said Tim Walzak, Director of Camosun Innovates. “It’s a game-changer for applied learning, interdisciplinary research, and innovation that will drive forward regional economic development with our industry partners.” The lab is described as a technologically advanced physical space that will allow students, faculty, and staff from across the college to make use of technology such as 3D printers, 3D scanners, and robotic systems. The lab will help Camosun advance its focus on coastal skills and contribute to the growth of BC’s unique coastal communities and careers. Camosun