Top Ten

December 19, 2017

Canada must prepare for a “skills revolution,” says RBC President

“Across the country, we're seeing Canadians and Canadian companies embrace the next generation of technology like never before,” writes RBC President Dave McKay, adding that “unfortunately, the way we go about educating and employing the next generation of Canadians isn't keeping pace.” McKay notes that Canada is at a “historic crossroads” as the largest generation of young people to ever enter the workforce is arriving at a moment of extreme technological change. McKay cites RBC research to argue that Canada is on the verge of a “skills revolution” in which more than one-quarter of Canadian jobs will be heavily disrupted by technology in the next decade. The author notes that rather than meeting this finding with despair, Canadian citizens and policymakers should embrace this moment of change as an opportunity to rethink education and training for the 21st century and beyond. Globe and Mail

NB, NS reports provide stats, recommendations regarding campus sexual assaults

Separate reports released by New Brunswick and Nova Scotia have provided statistics and recommendations on campus sexual assault in their respective provinces. The NB document outlines how the province's new sexual assault support advocate, Maggie Forsythe, received sixty reports of sexual assaults on NB postsecondary campuses during her first 32 weeks on the job. In NS, a provincial committee has released a report with 10 recommendations to help end gender-based violence and sexual assault on university campuses. The report calls on universities to develop sexual violence prevention plans, training to respond to disclosures of sexual assault, and bystander education programs. CBC (NB) | CBC (NS) | NS (Report)

Durham launches applied research AI Hub

Durham College has announced the launch of the Durham College Hub for Applied Research in Artificial Intelligence for Business Systems, which it says is the first of its kind. The AI Hub will provide small and medium enterprises a much-needed access point to AI, related technical expertise, facilities and learning platforms, and students. “The promise of AI is bold, but for the 98 per cent of Ontario businesses that identify as SMEs, the challenges of AI adoption are significant,” said Debbie McKee Demczyk, Dean of Durham’s Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “The AI Hub was born out of our team identifying the need to bridge this gap between AI and the organizations who stand to benefit from it.” Durham

YorkU drops “College Master” title to remove bias from institutional language

York University has scrapped the academic title “College Master” in order to strip bias and discrimination from the official language used on campus. As of January 1st, the academic leaders of YorkU’s eight colleges will be known as “College Heads.” “We are all in agreement in enthusiastically supporting this change,” said YorkU Interim Vice-President Academic and Provost Lisa Philipps, who added that the soon-to-be college heads and faculty deans were consulted in advance. The National Post reflects on how similar changes have been recently made at Harvard University, Yale University, and Princeton University. National Post

UAlberta program seeks to help under-represented students enter health-care careers

The Peter Lougheed Leadership College at the University of Alberta has created a two-week internship program for students from groups that are under-represented in health professions. Called Venture Healthcare, the program has partnered with the college and Jill Konkin of UAlberta’s faculty of medicine and dentistry community engagement division to give students opportunities to try multiple careers through job shadowing, while providing them with potential mentors in order to encourage them to take an interest in health-care careers. “That becomes a problem because people who are from lower socioeconomic backgrounds but also vulnerable populations also tend to be over-represented in our health-care system,” said the program’s creator, Yasmin Rafiei. CBC

Humanities, social science PhDs working outside academe more satisfied than tenure-track peers

A new US-based study finds that humanities and social sciences PhDs working in nonprofits are more satisfied with their jobs than their peers in tenure-track faculty positions, even when the former originally intended to pursue a career in PSE. The working paper from Cornell University also found that one’s early career success does not necessarily determine later success in academic careers, as well as that children was not as detrimental to women’s tenure track success as previously believed. “These findings have the potential to help doctoral students envision and prepare for their careers, as well as to counteract perceptions held by some students that taking a non-tenure-track job or having young dependents in the household early in the career may preclude academic careers,” the study says. Inside Higher Ed

McGill researcher, UMontréal collaborate in declaration of AI ethics

McGill AI ethics researcher Abhishek Gupta has collaborated with the Université de Montréal to develop a set of principles to ethically guide the development of artificial intelligence (AI) globally. The Globe and Mail reports that the declaration’s principles are broken down into seven themes: well-being, autonomy, justice, privacy, knowledge, democracy, and responsibility. Gupta has also begun hosting a biweekly “AI ethics meet-up” in the city to bring together people who want to influence the way researchers are thinking about machine-learning. “In the past two months we've had six new AI labs open in Montreal,” Gupta said. “It makes complete sense we would also be the ones who would help guide the discussion on how to do it ethically.” Globe and Mail

BC Interior universities sign MOU to create research coalition

Students at British Columbia’s three Interior universities will enjoy enhanced research opportunities and increased mobility, thanks to a new agreement signed by University of Northern British Columbia, Thompson Rivers University, and the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus. The Interior University Research Coalition has been created through a memorandum of understanding signed by the three institutions after more than two years of collaboration. The agreement will facilitate mobility and academic opportunities for students and faculty, enhance research partnerships, and enable greater overall coordination among the institutions. TRU | UNBC |UBCO

How behavioural science techniques can improve student graduation rates

The field of behavioural science can offer valuable insights into how postsecondary institutions can improve support mechanisms and nurture stronger outcomes for students, write Kevin Kruger and Catherine Parkay. To this end, the authors offer a series of tips on how to achieve these student-centred goals. First, they recommend “flipping the script” on the notion that reaching out for extra support is a sign of weakness in a student. Second, they recommend that schools use “nudges” to take a proactive approach to student wellness. Finally, they offer suggestions on how schools can “make motivation and reflection a daily part of the student experience.” Inside Higher Ed

ON college faculty expect arbitration decision this week

An Ontario-appointed arbitrator will hand down a decision this week regarding the binding mediation-arbitration process being undertaken by the organizations representing province’s college faculty and college administration. On Sunday, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union said that it participated in mediation with the College Employer Council between December 14th and 16th. The process concluded with arbitration on Saturday. London Free Press