Top Ten

December 20, 2017

WLU third-party report reveals that no students ever complained about TA Lindsay Shepherd

A third-party investigation has “completely exonerated” Wilfrid Laurier University Teaching Assistant Lindsay Shepherd after it found that no student ever complained formally or informally about a video that Shepherd screened in class earlier this year. The finding contradicts what Shepherd was told by professors and an administrator in a meeting during which she was chastised for showing a clip of University of Toronto Professor Jordan Peterson to her class. “It's become clear to us that there was significant overreach for invoking one of our policies on campus,” said WLU President Deborah MacLatchy, who added that the school's gendered and sexual-violence policy will be reviewed and clarified as a result of the incident. The school will also provide mandatory training for faculty and teaching assistants on how to establish guidelines for what is expected of TAs. Globe and Mail | Toronto Star

Postsecondary institutions, school districts sign MOU to promote Victoria as education destination

Three postsecondary institutions and three school districts in British Columbia's greater Victoria region have signed an MOU pledging to work together to promote Victoria as an education destination for international students. Camosun College, Royal Roads University, the University of Victoria, the Greater Victoria School District 61, Sooke School District 62, and Saanich School District 63 are now members of Education Victoria, which is a “joint partnership to promote academic cooperation and student pathways for the benefit of students and the six institutions and school districts.” RRU | Times Colonist

Mohawk unveils new climate change centre

Mohawk College has formally unveiled its Centre for Climate Change Management, which aims to help accelerate the region’s transition to a low-carbon economy. The $1.9M centre is the result of a partnership between Mohawk, the province of Ontario, and the cities of Hamilton and Burlington. The centre will incorporate industry partnerships with local businesses, a campus carbon management program, the Bay Area Climate Change Coordinating Office, and a campus sustainability office. “Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a priority for our college, region, province and country,” said Mohawk President Ron McKerlie. “While it's a big challenge, it offers great opportunities.” Hamilton Spectator

UWinnipeg receives national accreditation for therapy program

The University of Winnipeg’s Master of Marriage and Family Therapy Program has received accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). “We have been working through the accreditation application process since 2015 and we are very excited to have met the outcome-based COAMFTE standards,” said UWinnipeg MMFT Program Director Narumi Taniguchi. “We improved our data collection, and developed new materials and documentation to increase the program’s transparency. We are very proud of our program and everyone who collaborated to make this happen.” The university is reportedly one of two institutions in Canada that have received this accreditation. UWinnipeg

Cambrian creates digital slide bank to support MLT training

Thanks to a grant from the Canadian Society of Medical Laboratory Science, Cambrian College is creating a digital slide bank that students can use to study and identify cells without ever using a microscope. “The inventory of digital slides we’re creating will help students gain experience with cell identification and counting, and it will help employers test students’ competencies before and after clinical placements,” said Cambrian Medical Laboratory Technology Professor Sheri Johnson Purdon. As 50% of the current medical laboratory technologist workforce reaches retirement age over the next decade, the CSMLS says that it is anticipating a nationwide shortage in workers and that innovative teaching and assessment tools will help train new technologists to fill the gap. Sudbury Star

Review of Aurora should include nursing, teachers’ associations, says MLA

Northwest Territories MLA Shane Thompson says that the review of Aurora College should include more voices, given the proposed program cuts to teacher education and social work. The review currently involves several stakeholders, including Indigenous governments and organizations and several industry organizations, but Thompson has called upon the government to include the Association of Social Workers in Northern Canada, the NWT Teachers' Association, and the Registered Nurses Association of the NWT and Nunavut. NWT Assistant Deputy Minister Andy Bevan noted that stakeholders will not look at specific programming, but will instead examine the range of programs that need to be offered. CBC

Centennial culinary arts program launches student-exchange partnership with school in Turin, Italy

Centennial College’s culinary arts program is launching a new student-exchange partnership with Italian Food Style Education (IFSE) culinary school in Turin, Italy. The exchange will see Centennial students travel to IFSE for a two-week intensive Italian food experience, in addition to having IFSE students come to Centennial for a three-week school term and an eight-week restaurant experience where they will work and learn in Toronto. Centennial students will also travel to IFSE for a three-week school-intensive program and an eight-week restaurant experience where they will work and learn in Italy. “All of these opportunities will be life-changing for those involved, truly experiential with taste, culture and learning at the core,” said Suzanne Caskie, chair of culinary arts in the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts. Canadian Pizza

UoGuelph, coalition call on Canada to Create National Food Policy Council

The University of Guelph has announced that it is part of a national coalition calling on the federal government to set up an advisory group to support and inform Ottawa’s pending national food policy. A UoGuelph release notes that creating such a group was recommended in a report released this week by an informal ad hoc working group on food policy governance. The report was compiled at the request of an informal network of organizations in food and farming, civil society, and philanthropic and academic sectors. UoGuelph

Performance-based funding in PSE has negative, unintended consequences: two US reports

Two newly released academic research papers in the US have identified negative consequences linked to states’ performance-based funding formulas for PSE. Inside Higher Ed reports that 35 states currently tie some funding for public colleges to metrics like graduation rates or degree production. The two new studies reportedly add to a growing body of research indicating that the policies may not work or might have unintended consequences. One paper found that more aggressive forms of state-based formulas can increase public colleges’ production of short-term certificates while reducing the number of associate degrees earned by students. Inside Higher Ed

The false choice between leaving, staying in academia

PhD students and postdocs can find it difficult to make career decisions when it seems as though those decisions will have lifelong consequences, writes Joseph Barber. The good news, the author adds, is that no decision needs to impact a person’s entire career, not even decisions related to pursuing or not pursuing an tenure-track academic position. Barber maintains that the choice to pursue an academic job is often mistakenly framed as one of staying in or leaving academia. The author argues instead that “it is a choice among a handful of potentially viable career paths. You are not leaving anything -- your academic experiences will come with you -- but you are focusing on what comes next and what roles allow you to apply your skills and knowledge.” Inside Higher Ed