Top Ten

December 6, 2017

Students withdraw, faculty file grievances at ON colleges

Sources state that hundreds of students have withdrawn from the Ontario college system, and faculty have filed nearly 50 workload-related grievances following the five-week strike. The London Free Press reports that 800 students have chosen to withdraw from Fanshawe College, and the Windsor Star states that 600 students have withdrawn from St Clair College. The Kingston Whig-Standard states that St Lawrence College has seen 400 students drop out, which is reportedly “relatively similar” to last year’s numbers. CBC also reports that faculty grievances have surged at Confederation College regarding the increased workload. Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) Local 732 President Rebecca Ward said that the colleges have not revised faculty schedules since the end of the strike, and that faculty are still only permitted to work 44 hours per week with no compensation or accommodation for overtime. Windsor Star (St Clair) | London Free Press(Fanshawe) | CBC (Confederation)| The Whig (SLC)

Canada must invest in emotional labour as automation spreads: McKean

While more human jobs are eliminated by automation, it will be crucial for Canada to invest in research and training that supports the development of social, emotional, and communication skills, writes Matthew McKean of the Conference Board of Canada. The author notes that technology provides a benefit to society by growing its capacity to focus on the social, cultural, ethical and emotional demands of a rapidly changing world. McKean warns, however, that a continued focus on the technical over the social and emotional might lead Canada to miss a golden opportunity to truly improve the welfare of its citizens. In short, McKean concludes, “Canada might up end making better things, not making things better.” The Conversation

QC cannot ban teacher-student relations, says minister

Even if it wanted to, the Quebec government cannot formally ban intimate relationships between professors and students, says the province’s Higher Education Minister Hélène David. CEGEPs and universities, however, reportedly have the institutional authority to ban this type of relationship should they wish to. Last week, David presented the most recent amendments to Quebec’s Bill 151, which has been designed to combat sexual violence on the province’s PSE campuses. Journal de Montréal

Town hall held at U of T in wake of racist cyberattacks

A series of racist cyberattacks on a Black first-year engineering student at the University of Toronto is raising questions about the continuing legacy of anti-Black racism and institutional barriers to addressing the issue, reports the Toronto Star. Last week, the university’s Black Students’ Association held a town hall to highlight the latest incident as part of a larger systemic problem with racism. The event drew attention to a number of recent incidents in which Black U of T students were confronted with explicit racism on social media. A senior U of T official reportedly acknowledged that anti-Black racism existed on U of T campuses and that “there is more that we can do to address it.” Toronto Star

UBC self-navigating sailboat rescued off Florida coast

After a year and a half spent drifting at sea, a self-navigating robotic sailboat built by University of British Columbia students has been rescued off the coast of Florida by a US research vessel. UBC students launched the “sailbot”—called Ada after the first computer scientist—off the Newfoundland coast in August 2016, hoping that the boat would be the first of its kind to cross the Atlantic without human assistance. But the boat was damaged in a storm and the students lost track of its location. A UBC release reports that despite the setback, the boat did manage to set the record for longest distance autonomously sailed across the Atlantic Ocean. Efforts are now underway to bring the boat back to BC. UBC | Vancouver Sun | CBC

Holland launches rehabilitation assistant program

Holland College has announced the launch of a new, two-year Occupational Therapist Assistant and Physiotherapist Assistant diploma program. The program will provide students with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills needed for rehabilitation assistant careers. The students will also be able to apply their skills and knowledge by working under the supervision of a licensed and registered occupational therapist or physiotherapist through fieldwork placements at hospitals, long term care facilities, mental health facilities, and other such health organizations. Holland

YorkU Board approves design and budget for Markham Centre Campus

York University’s Board of Governors has approved the design and budget for the York University Markham Centre Campus project, which will begin construction at the end of 2018. “This important milestone sets a clear path toward York’s new Markham Centre Campus opening its doors in 2021,” said YorkU President Rhonda Lenton. “We look forward to getting shovels in the ground on a new campus that will contribute significantly to helping us realize our vision for York as well as to city-building in Markham.” The preliminary design features a large, landscaped campus commons area; a 10-storey building; and a four-storey podium with double-height glazing. YorkU      

Centennial offers accessibility training course for taxi, Uber, Lyft drivers

Centennial College is launching a new industry training course to provide professional drivers with disability awareness, legal requirements, and practical training on the proper methods for assisting passengers with disabilities and wheelchair securement in vehicles. A Centennial release reports that the training will be of interest to taxi drivers, as well as Uber and Lyft operators who are looking to earn an “accessible endorsement” on their vehicle-for-hire (VfH) licence. The two-day course will be taught at the college's Ashtonbee Campus in Scarborough. Centennial

UofGH launches research initiative on Soka Education and global citizenship

The University of Guelph-Humber has launched a new five-year research initiative that will focus on studying the philosophy and practices of Soka education, an educational philosophy grounded in the principle of value creation. A UofGH release states that the Soka Education Research Initiative on Global Citizenship will provide selected students and faculty with an opportunity to be part of a research group that will contribute to local and international discourse on research into Soka education and its practical application for educational settings. UofGH

Monetary incentives most effective at getting students to participate in online research: study

Monetary incentives are most effective at convincing postsecondary students to participate in voluntary research studies, according to a new study. The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario commissioned Academica Group to examine the effects of different incentives, communication strategies, and task demands on student participation in online research. The study's results suggest that monetary incentives yield a higher response rate than non-monetary incentives, regardless of the type of messaging used and the task demand. The findings also suggest that email invitations with a clear and concise subject line have a better chance of being opened than those using a more conversational or informal tone. HEQCO