Top Ten

November 24, 2017

End of ON college strike does not address underlying problem of contract faculty: Examiner

Ontario’s provincial government was correct to order striking college teachers back to work, writes the Peterborough Examiner, but it does not address the underlying issues that led to the strike in the first place. The biggest of these issues, the paper notes, is the college system’s heavy reliance on part-time and partial-load contract teachers. The editorial argues that the proportion of college teaching done by these instructors has risen dramatically in recent years, and adds that “[the] change has not been driven by evidence that it produces a better education for students. It is all about cutting costs. And regardless of how the colleges might try to frame it, any organization that has so much of its staff working restricted hours for second-tier wages risks providing a second-rate product.” Peterborough Examiner

Low-income students disproportionately affected by tuition changes: study

A recent report has revealed that increases in tuition rates disproportionately affect low-income students. Commissioned by the Manitoba Organization of Faculty Associations, the report looks at the impact of tuition fees on student enrolment, career preference, teacher compensation, and other factors. It finds that while tuition changes do not influence the overall demand for PSE in OECD countries, they do make low-income students less likely to attend university. The study also found that contrary to universities’ claims that “one of the costs that’s going up is professors, libraries, and salaries,” a greater portion of new university costs was put toward capital projects and administrative increases. The Manitoban

UVic launches third-party review of Indigenous governance program

The University of Victoria has asked two experts in conflict resolution, lateral violence, and trauma to lead a review of its Indigenous governance program, reports CBC. UVic’s Acting Director of Ethics and Human Rights Cassbreea Dewis told CBC in a statement that “there are a variety of reasons why environmental reviews are held, and we are unable to elaborate on those reasons because of privacy and integrity of process that we need to respect.” The review will reportedly be conducted by Madeleine Kétéskwew Dion Stout, a retired professor and nurse who specializes in Indigenous health, racism, lateral violence, and trauma; and Jamie Chicanot, a partner with ADR Education, a firm which specializes in workplace conflict resolution. CBC

We don't need to muzzle ideas to create a safe campus: Randall

“Safety does not require the muzzling of dissenting ideas, most especially not in institutions of higher learning,” writes Melanie Randall, associate professor at the Faculty of Law at Western University. Randall touches on the recent controversy surrounding Wilfrid Laurier University Teaching Assistant Lindsay Shepherd, arguing that her treatment at the hands of university and faculty staff for showing a video clip in class “reveals some of the worst excesses” of those who use “their institutional power against an extremely junior, vulnerable employee and graduate student, in seriously misguided, even chillingly totalitarian ways.” Randall concludes that “we cannot afford these kinds of clumsy setbacks in the progress made to end sexual violence.” Globe and Mail

THE asks university faculty, staff what keeps them awake at night

“Oh, sure, I worry about all the usual things. The crisis of the humanities; the threat of being restructured – again; quality assurance regimes that encourage disciplinary conformity and stifle innovation.” This is but one of the responses that Times Higher Education received from university staff and faculty when it asked what keeps you up at night. The article provides the responses of 11 higher ed professionals whose anxieties run the gamut from the fear of being stuck in part-time teaching limbo to the collapse of international trade and cooperation. Times Higher Education

How Canada became a global leader in sexuality research

“Year in, year out, Canada dominates the field of sexuality research,” writes Zosia Bielski for the Globe and Mail. Bielski chronicles the success that Canadians have had in running the world’s top sexuality associations, which include the International Academy of Sex Research (led by the University of New Brunswick's Sandra Byers) and the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (led by Trent University's Terry Humphreys). The author notes that Canadians also run some of the most prestigious journals in this field. The article goes on to profile seven Canadian academics who have become global leaders in sexuality research. Globe and Mail

WesternU provides additional grief counsellors to help students cope with two recent deaths on campus

Western University has called in additional grief counsellors to help meet an increased demand for mental health services following the sudden deaths of two of its students. “We had a real need to support students in navigating grief and a lot of the emotional distress that comes with a friend passing away,” said Rick Ezekiel, senior director of ­student experience, in response to the sudden death of a student that occurred November 9th. “We’ve communicated already with students and faculty and staff who would have been most connected with the student who passed away and notified them we have grief counselling this week as well.” Second-year nursing student Cara Ellen Soules, 19, of Toronto, passed away on November 9th, while fourth-year geological sciences student Brandon Papp, 21, of London passed away on November 19th. London Free Press

U of T Contract Academic Staff vote in favour of strike mandate

Contract academic workers at the University of Toronto have given their union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, a 91% strike action if the union and institution are unable to reach a satisfactory contract. The union includes workers such as non-student sessional lecturers, writing instructors, and music professionals. CUPE and UToronto have been bargaining for four months, and CUPE says that the key issue is postsecondary institutions’ reliance on “precarious labour.” Union official Jess Taylor says that the union have made gains during the negotiations in terms of wage increases, but that it still needs to see a pathway for contract workers to reach permanent employment. Bargaining is set to resume on Friday. CBC (CP)

CBU, Parks Canada sign three-year MOU focused on cultural heritage conservation

Parks Canada and Cape Breton University have agreed to work together on advancing research and education in natural and cultural heritage conservation, as well as visitor experience. The formalized three-year MOU will benefit students, faculty, and Parks Canada staff through innovation, student mentorship, and community engagement. “Through an MOU of this nature we are positioned to further strengthen the organizational relationship, collaborate on the highest calibre of research projects, and provide our students with unique experiential learning opportunities,” said CBU Interim President Dale Keefe. “The deep-rooted relationship between CBU and Parks Canada provides the ideal setting for collaboration and we are very much looking forward to further enhancing the awareness of the amazing and innovative projects being brought to life under this MOU.” Canada

WLU’s Lazaridis School of Business and Economics receives $500K to build Finance Lab

The Lazaridis School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University has received $500K from CI Financial to create a new lab that will provide finance students with hands-on experience in securities analysis. The donation will fund the construction and operation of the CI Financial Finance Lab, and will also provide software required for a new WLU course on market microstructure. “This investment from CI Financial will further advance our university’s ability to provide premiere education in finance and make important contributions to its field of research,” said Micheál J. Kelly, dean of the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics. “With this support, we will continue to attract and retain the top finance students and faculty in the country.” WLU