Top Ten

November 22, 2017

ON college students return to school for extended semester

Ontario college semesters will be extended for December and will now stretch into January to make up for class time lost during the five-week faculty strike. The Barrie Examiner reports that the extended semester will require students to cope with new, compressed schedules. “It's going to be tough,” says Georgian College student union president Avery Konda. “I don't think it's impossible, but I think for some programs that are very academic-oriented, like health sciences, it's going to be very difficult.” Konda adds that most students take five to seven courses a semester with three-hour classes, meaning that students have roughly 15 to 21 hours of class time per week to make up in order to advance in their studies. Toronto Star | North Bay Nugget | Barrie Examiner

WLU president, professor apologize to TA chastized for presentation of Peterson clip

Wilfrid Laurier University Teaching Assistant Lindsay Shepherd has released a recording of a meeting with two professors and a university official that saw her chastised for how she presented a clip of University of Toronto Professor Jordan Peterson to her class. In the recording, her professors reportedly condemn her for showing her tutorial students a clip from TVOntario in which Peterson and another U of T professor debate the issue of gender and pronoun use. A Globe and Mail editorial argues that “the condemnation of Laurier's handling of the incident has been near-universal.” Yesterday, WLU President Deborah MacLatchy released a statement apologizing to Shepherd, adding that “the conversation I heard [on the recording] does not reflect the values and practices to which Laurier aspires.” WLU Professor Nathan Rambukkana has also published an open letter to Shepherd apologizing for his role in the meeting at which Shepherd was chastised. Globe and Mail | National Post (Recording) | WLU (President's Apology) | WLU (Rambukkana) 

USask College of Medicine made case for more money before SK reversed its cut

The Saskatchewan government chose to provide an additional $20M to the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Medicine after examining the school’s annual financial statements and a formal request for more funding, reports the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. Prior to the decision, the College was expected to suffer a $17M shortfall this year, which would have brought its deficit to $57M. “The success of the College of Medicine will not be fully achieved until sufficient provincial government funding is provided to address the structural deficit,” USask officials said in the report. “Ongoing relationships with government and the health region are essential in the long term to ensure that accreditation issues … are addressed and current momentum and progress continues.” Saskatoon StarPhoenix

TWU more than doubles numbers for teaching program to help meet demand in BC

Trinity Western University reports that it has expanded the capacity of its teaching program from 40 to 85 students this year. The Langley Advance reports that TWU is one of the few universities in British Columbia to offer a concurrent education degree, in which students begin taking education courses in their first year. “Our concurrent education program means we get highly committed and motivated students choosing our program who feel a calling to the teaching profession from very early on,” said TWU School of Education Dean Allyson Jule. “Also, they are well prepared for the classroom when they graduate because they have so much more time to really come to see themselves as teachers.” Langley Advance | Newswire | Aldergrove Star

What NU can learn from Finland’s ULapland

A Finnish university located at roughly the same latitude as Iqaluit might hold some important lessons for how to develop a successful arctic university in Canada, reports Nunatsiaq Online. Boasting 5,000 students and 600 staff, the University of Lapland supports its operations by selling itself abroad and offering students an “Arctic adventure” that includes ice fishing, winter cycling, skiing and “Arctic way of life,” in addition to an English-friendly atmosphere. The university also recently entered a cooperation agreement with four other arctic European universities, a strategy that Nunatsiaq Online notes that Nunavut plans to adopt while working toward an NU-based university. Nunatsiaq Online

McMaster student charged after breaching university’s computer system

A McMaster University student has been accused of hacking into a university computer database that contained admissions offer letters from 2015 to 2017. The database contained some students’ names, birthdates, internal student numbers, and addresses, according to CHCH. “The key piece here is that there was no disclosure to any sensitive financial or health information,” said McMaster Spokesperson Gord Arbeau. CHCH reports that the Hamilton police have charged the student with unauthorized use of a computer, and that further charges are pending. Hamilton Spectator | CHCH

UAlberta, Servus establish five-year funding partnership around technology research

The University of Alberta and Servus Credit Union have signed a five-year research and partnership collaboration. Servus will provide $1.6M in funding over the duration of the partnership to support research projects in data science, artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing, and related areas. The partnership will also see the creation of a new industrial research chair, increased opportunities for UAlberta graduate student research in the area of financial challenges, and professional development for Servus employees. Edmonton Journal | CBJ

UPEI earns full mobile accessible designation, receives applause from national wheelchair athlete

The University of Prince Edward Island is being praised for the work it undertook to earn a full mobile accessible designation from Access Advisor. The changes to campus were reportedly made with the assistance of a Canada 150 grant. “I'm excited to come back and be a catalyst to celebrate what UPEI is doing,” said Kristen Cameron, a member of Canada's national wheelchair rugby team. “It's awesome that UPEI has taken the initiative to go out and apply and get one of these grants, because it's time the East Coast steps up their game a little bit.” Earlier this year, the Charlottetown Guardian explained that the $30K grant, issued through the Rick Hansen Foundation’s Access4All Program, would be used to fund infrastructural accessibility upgrades at 10 buildings at UPEI. CBC | Charlottetown Guardian

NIC turns to community to find housing for international students

North Island College’s Office of Global Engagement is asking residents of BC's Comox Valley community to host international students at their homes in an effort to cope with the area's 1% rental vacancy rate. “Some of our students come a long way to study and live in our community. We want them to be successful and experience the best the Comox Valley has to offer,” says NIC’s Executive Director of Global Engagement Thevi Pather. NIC says about one-third of their international students attending class this September live in homestay and peerstay accommodations. CHEK

How the gig economy has erased the clear path toward becoming a professor

“As a tail-end member of Generation X, I’ve been in the box seat to witness changes to the status and working conditions of academics over the past three decades,” writes Inger Mewburn. “In fact, I’ve had the dubious privilege of seeing the situation from both sides: as a student in the so-called golden age of academia, and then as a precarious academic during its so-called decline.” Mewburn notes that in the modern age of the “gig” economy, there is no longer any clear path toward becoming an academic. The author notes that this path can cause problems for many people if hiring committees feel that they have been teaching part-time for “too long.” For this reason, the author argues that it is no surprise that many of the world’s most talented academics are choosing to leave the academy. Times Higher Education