Top Ten

November 14, 2017

U of T professors express concern over Peterson plan to out those who teach “postmodern” courses

Faculty at the University of Toronto have asked for a meeting with the school’s executive to express concerns about a fellow professor’s plan to launch a website that would allow students to identify instructors who teach “neo-Marxist course content.” U of T Professor Jordan Peterson claims that the proposed website would help serve his broader goal of decreasing enrolment in “postmodern disciplines” by 75% over the next five years. Other professors at the school say that Peterson’s efforts have “created a climate of fear and intimidation” and have asked the executive to address the issue proactively before the website is launched. Peterson has stated that at this time, he is not certain if and how we will launch the proposed website. A spokesperson for U of T said that it is meeting with faculty to listen to their concerns. Globe and Mail | Toronto Star | Inside Higher Ed

VIU faces human-rights complaint from former director

Vancouver Island University is facing a human-rights complaint led by the school’s former director of human rights and workplace safety, says the Globe and Mail. Katrin Roth, the former director says that she was fired because she continued to investigate a situation where a student sexually harassed at least six women—including two professors, two staff employees, a counsellor, and a medical professional—at two of the university's campuses over a two-year period, and that VIU failed to take quick or meaningful action. The student asserted that he had a condition that needed to be accommodated, but reportedly did not provide any additional evidence. “We are confident the university acted appropriately throughout, and that there is no existing risk to our community related to this matter,” stated VIU CFO Shelley Legin in a statement. Globe and Mail

ON orders colleges to create financial relief fund for students affected by strike

The Ontario government has ordered the province's colleges to establish a fund that will provide financial relief to students who experience financial hardship as a result of the ongoing faculty strike. ON Advanced Education Minister Deb Matthews says that she has heard from many students who are worried about how to cover the unexpected costs that have arisen due to the strike. Matthews says Ontario's 24 colleges will establish the dedicated fund with all the savings from the strike, made up of unpaid wages to striking staff and other savings from not operating the schools. She says she will work with students and the colleges to establish the parameters of the fund. Globe and Mail | CBC | Windsor Star

MB premier defends legislation that will allow for 5% tuition increases

“Change is never easy,” said Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister in response to recent questions about several bills that his government has passed. These bills include a measure that will permit universities to hike tuition fees up to 5% beyond the inflation rate each year. Critics say that the legislation will put students at risk of higher bills and debt, but Pallister insists that his government will raise bursaries to ensure higher education remains an affordable option. But students who lobbied against the change argue otherwise. “I’d probably have to pick up more hours at my part-time job, in addition to being a full-time student,” said student Anne Beach, who helped collect 4,000 postcards opposing the tuition bill. Ottawa Citizen

The evolving role of the university chaplain

“What was once a traditional (and decidedly Christian) hallmark of Canadian universities … has now evolved into a multifaceted support network that is changing, and sometimes even questioning, the purpose of a campus chaplaincy,” writes Chantal Braganza. The author notes that in many cases, chaplains have been called upon to help fill the need to mental health support that universities are struggling to keep up with. “Everything’s hard to do the first time, and lot of those firsts happen in university,” says former Carleton University Chaplain Tom Sherwood. “Your first grandparent dies, your first friend dies, you attend your first funeral. People very successful in high school may for the first time experience failure or perhaps not being the smartest in the class.” University Affairs

Durham signs articulation agreements with Limerick Institute of Technology

Durham College and the Limerick Institute of Technology have signed nine articulation agreements to provide new degree pathways for Durham students. Graduates of several of the college’s two- and three-year programs will now be able to enter LIT bachelor programs with advanced standing, allowing them to earn a degree in as little as one academic year. Specifically, qualified graduates from DC’s Centre for Food (CFF) and schools of Media, Art & Design (MAD) and Business, IT & Management (BITM) will have the opportunity to pursue degrees at LIT. Durham

Against the argument that online classes “cannibalize” in-person ones: Reed

“Cannibalism!” is what some faculty might shout when confronted with the possibility of online or off-site classes displacing face-to-face ones, writes Matt Reed. Yet the author contends that this argument is based on the false assumption that face-to-face classes taught on a school’s main campus are more “real” than others. Reed insists that offering online or off-site courses helps avoid the duplication of departments across a school’s multiple locations while ensuring consistent quality. Further, Reed contends that offering online or offsite courses allows a school to ensure that academic standards, student learning outcomes, and the like are consistent. Inside Higher Ed

UCalgary students launch on-campus meal delivery service

Students from the University of Calgary have launched an on-campus meal delivery service called DeliverUs. The mobile app allows students to order food online from Mac Hall vendors and have it delivered by other students to their study space or office. “There are a number of food delivery apps out there already, but none that focus on micro-delivery right on campus while helping students earn cash in their spare time,” explained third-year UCalgary student and app co-developer Pouyan Shojaei. “Not only does this help keep students on task during study time, and faculty/staff focused during their work day, but it also helps to build a stronger community by connecting people, nourishing them, and supporting one another in the process.” UCalgary

Holland introduces Acadian in Residence

Students at Holland College's School of Performing Arts will have a new level of exposure to Acadian music and culture thanks to the school's new Acadian in Residence pilot program. The position has been filled by Philippe LeBlanc, a retired grade school music teacher from Mont Carmel, PEI. Among the traditional Acadian skills taught to the students is “mouth music,” which LeBlanc calls a tolut. “It's one way to stop assimilation — to give yourself an identity, to say 'I'm Acadian, this is part of my culture, and I take ownership of this,'” says LeBlanc of the program. CBC

UQAT, UQAC offer new doctoral program in engineering

The Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT) has announced that its School of Engineering will be offering a new doctoral program in Engineering in Fall 2018. The program will train engineering professionals to conduct industry-leading scientific research and contribute to the constant evolution of the field of engineering. The program will be offered in extension with the Université du Québec en Chicoutimi (UQAC), which will allow students to benefit from the joint expertise of the institutions and a high-level research environment. UQAT explained that the program is particularly relevant to the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region, as it will help develop the technologies needed to manufacture and develop regional natural resources. UQAT