Top Ten

January 12, 2018

Concordia launches formal investigation into sexual misconduct allegations

Concordia University has launched a formal investigation into the allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour in its creative writing program. Concordia graduate Mike Spry recently wrote that he had witnessed “innumerable instances of unwanted affection, groping, inappropriate remarks and propositions” in the program, and the Toronto Star reports that these experiences are shared by other former students. “I am disturbed by what I read in the blog post,” wrote Concordia President Alan Shepard in a letter to the Concordia community. “These allegations are serious, and will be treated seriously.” Shepard pointed to a number of initiatives that Concordia is undertaking in response to the allegations, and concluded that “I am personally committed to these and other efforts to continue building a safe and secure environment at the university, an environment free from sexual violence and harassment.” CBC | Toronto Star | Concordia

StFX, THC Dispensaries Canada sign 3-year agreement on co-ops, research

St Francis Xavier University has signed a 3-year MOU with THC Dispensaries Canada Inc to give students on-the-job training in a budding industry. The agreement will also see the company work with faculty on marijuana-related research projects. “It will be very exciting for them, and it will also be very exciting for us to meet some of these students, and hopefully hold on to them after they graduate,” said THC Dispensaries Canada Inc President, Frank MacMaster. "We're going to require a lot of manpower and we just happen to be lucky enough to be in the town and county of Antigonish, so we have such a draw with a great facility like St FX.” CBC

UCalgary faces pressure to expel sex offender whose prison sentence was postponed

The University of Calgary is facing pressure to expel a convicted sex offender after a judge postponed his sentence to allow him to finish his first semester. CBC reports that more than 18,000 signatures have been gathered on a petition calling on the school to expel Connor Neurauter, who was sentenced to three months in jail for sexual interference with a 13-year-old Kamloops girl. UCalgary’s policy on sexual violence says students and staff “alleged to have perpetrated sexual violence may be subject to the University's administrative processes and discipline systems in addition to the civil or criminal legal system.” UCalgary has released a statement saying that it is reviewing the situation and that it can confirm that Neurater was not on its campus this week. CBC | UCalgary | Metro News | Calgary Herald

Concordia Edmonton launches Bachelor of Arts (French) International Double Degree

Concordia University of Edmonton has launched a new international double degree program that it says is the first of its kind in Alberta. The program allows students to begin a three-year Bachelor of Arts (French) at Concordia Edmonton, and complete their final year at France’s Université de Bretagne – Sud. Students will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in French from Concordia Edmonton and a Licence Lettres Modernes from Bretagne – Sud. “This is a great achievement that opens up vistas for students enrolled in the programme,” said Bretagne – Sud President Jean Peeters. “They will obtain a double degree and better understand both Canadian and French cultures.” Concordia Edmonton also recently signed an agreement that will allow students to take a new international dual degree Bachelor of Management program with Concordia Edmonton and Beijing Foreign Studies University. Concordia Edmonton (1) | Concordia Edmonton (2)

Part-time ON college staff vote to unionize

Approximately 20,000 part-time support staff at Ontario’s colleges have voted to join the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. OPSEU says that 84% of the ballots counted were cast of in favour of joining the union. OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas called the vote “a magnificent victory for part-time college support staff and for all the people who worked hard for so many years to win union rights for them.” OPSEU has reportedly also mounted a province-wide campaign to represent more than 20,000 contract faculty in the colleges.That vote, which took place in October 2017, has yet to be counted by the Ontario Labour Relations Board. Ottawa Citizen

CNC turns to virtual instruction in face of falling enrolment

The College of New Caledonia has announced that it will be promoting digital delivery instruction as a method of maintaining popular course offerings in the face of falling enrolment. The Prince George Citizen reports that the college's Burns Lake campus has seen a 36% drop, and Executive Director of Communications Alyson Gourley-Cramer pointed to factors such as rural-urban migration and demographic shifts as contributing factors. The college has been increasing the number of courses delivered digitally year over year. “It really offers much more opportunities for students in their communities, and lets them stay at home and live at home,” said Gourley-Cramer. Prince George Citizen

Universities ramping up efforts to support students with children

Universities across Canada are facing more pressure to support students who are parents, reports Suzanne Bowness. Between 11% and 16% of Canada’s PSE students have at least one dependent child, according to research cited in the article, which means that the challenges faced by these students need to become a greater subject of attention for schools. The article explains that parents who are also students face difficulties such as a sense of social isolation and guilt over the effort to balance studying with parenting. The author highlights examples of how universities across Canada are working to improve the experience of parent students. University Affairs

USask Edwards MPAcc program receives further accreditation by CPA Canada

The University of Saskatchewan Edwards School of Business’ Master of Professional Accounting program has received further accreditation by CPA Canada to deliver Capstone 2 module programming. This new accreditation means that MPAcc graduates will gain advanced standing for all CPA Professional Education Program modules, allowing them to go directly to the common final exam upon graduation. “Our strong reputation has earned us the recognition as the first CPA accredited post-secondary institution in Canada,” said USask Edwards Dean Keith Willoughby. “The enhanced accreditation for our MPAcc program confirms the high quality, relevance, and impact of our program curriculum and faculty.” USask

BC looks to create safer campuses with Prevent Sexual Violence campaign

The British Columbia government has invited students, faculty, and staff at its public postsecondary institutions to share their thoughts on sexual violence policies through the province’s Prevent Sexual Violence campaign website. “Campuses must be safe places for learning and working,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “We want to raise awareness about sexual violence policies at B.C.’s public post-secondary institutions, find out if there’s room to strengthen them and understand what more we can do to prevent sexual violence on campus.” Mark is inviting feedback on policies to prevent and respond to sexual violence and misconduct on campus. BC

NAIT launches unique foundational operator drill rig program

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology is launching a two-year Foundation Drill Rig Operator program that is the first of its kind in North America, according to Global News. “The training program is connected to an institution that’s put some rigour around the curriculum,” said NAIT Associate Vice-President of Continuing Education and Workforce Development Brian Pardell. “The outcomes of the program really lead towards workers that will be safe, that will be validated by industry in terms of their skill set.” The program provides drill rig operators with formal training through an online curriculum and on-the-job experience. Global News