Top Ten

February 27, 2018

Professors and students split on views of job-market skills, career preparation

A new report by the Conference Board of Canada found a significant gap between student and faculty perceptions about the skills acquired in university. The study asked both groups about their views of the links between academic courses and employer needs according to a number of indicators, such as creativity, verbal communication, and adaptability. While faculty members tended to believe that a university education successfully instills such skills and abilities, the majority of students tended to disagree. “Faculty in the humanities and social sciences are teaching the skills that graduates need … but historically, they've been doing it much more implicitly,” said Matthew McKean, the associate director of education for the CBoC. Additionally, the study noted that many professors appeared unaware of their students’ anxieties about the job market. Globe and Mail

UBCO student union approves pilot project to insure medical marijuana

The University of British Columbia Okanagan student union has approved a pilot project that provides coverage for medical marijuana. The initiative, set to launch in September of 2018, will be the first of its kind in British Columbia, and the second nationally. According to Michelle Thiessen, chair of Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy Okanagan, $20K of the union’s medical budget has been set aside for one year of coverage. Thiessen also stated that students will be subject to a third-party review that determines their eligibility. CBC

Dal offers support to university community in wake of racist graffiti incident

Dalhousie University has stated that it is offering support to students, staff, and faculty in response to racist anti-black graffiti that was found in the school’s student union building late last week. CBC reports that a member of the student union spotted the graffiti in a stairwell just after midnight last Friday. In a memo written to the Dal community, university president Richard Florizone said that “the words written were abhorrent, deeply impactful and an affront to all that we value and aspire to stand for as a community — inclusion, respect, human decency and dignity.” Dal’s student union president Amina Abawjy added that the graffiti “still sends a message to black students like myself, black faculty and staff that, despite what we see as progress in society, there are still people who hold anti-black views.” CBC

Carleton forges new partnership with India to create Smart Cities

Carleton University’s Canada-India Centre for Excellence and its partners in India have launched a new program to promote smart cities. A Carleton release states that the Canada-India Smart Cities Centre of Excellence for Capacity Building project was cemented during Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent trip to India. The project will specifically tap into Carleton’s expertise in areas such as wastewater treatment, urban infrastructure, and municipal governance to train Indian city planners. “Faculty and students at Carleton are recognized leaders in the development of smart cities,” said Carleton President Alastair Summerlee. “This new partnership enables us to grow Carleton’s strong connections in India and to share our expertise.” Carleton

Many student experiences are “embedded in racism”: Cote-Meek

The classroom experiences of many postsecondary students is “embedded in racism,” says Sheila Cote-Meek, Associate Vice-President of Academic & Indigenous Programs at Laurentian University. In an interview with CBC’s Unreserved, Cote-Meek notes how in her PhD research, she found a lack of scholarly work “that actually documents some of the experiences that Indigenous students and Indigenous peoples have, in their own words.” Indigenous students are often singled out to comment on issues facing Indigenous peoples, Cote-Meek argues, adding that the same is the case with Indigenous professors, who are often asked to comment on subjects outside their expertise because they are seen as speaking on behalf of Indigenous peoples. CBC

Partnership connects McGill nursing students with QC Indigenous communities

McGill University’s Ingram School of Nursing (ISoN), in partnership with Glenda Sandy, a Naskapi-Cree woman and Indigenous Nurse consultant for ISoN, have developed the Ashukin program, which enables Bachelor’s- and Master’s-level nursing students to acquire clinical experience in Indigenous communities in Quebec. “Students get to exchange culture and knowledge with members of an Indigenous community, while learning clinical competencies ranging from health promotion, health education to primary prevention care, and the communities get to share their knowledge, and benefit from the students’ work,” says ISoN co-chair Francoise Filion. McGill

UofT Graduate Student Union calls on CUPE, university to address incidents on campus

The University of Toronto Graduate Student Union is calling on the Canadian Union of Public Employees 3902 to address recent incidents on campus that it says have created a “toxic workplace environment for UofT employees.” Among other initiatives, CUPE 3902 has responded by stating that it will push for a campus-specific element in its anti-racism campaign, and has pledged to engage an anti-racism consultant to review its own policies and procedures. “By no means are we naïve to the issue, and we feel that it’s something we have to work hard on, and it’s something that we have to continue conversations on,” said UofT Vice-President of Human Resources and Equity Kelly Hannah-Moffat. Toronto Star

RRU, FNTC partner on education, supports for Indigenous innovators

The First Nations Technology Council and Royal Roads University have announced a partnership that will provide Indigenous innovators with access to key tools and training. RRU’s technology-enabled teaching and learning expertise will be used to expand the council’s Foundations in Innovation and Technology, a digital skills program, from classroom to online delivery. “Values-aligned partnerships such as this represent an opportunity to advance our vision of Indigenous innovators leading and thriving in a digital age,” said FNTC Executive Director Denise Williams. “We look forward to working with Royal Roads University to expand access to digital tools and training for Indigenous peoples across the province.” RRU

USherbrooke, UQAM, Concordia co-launch unique UNESCO chair

Université de Sherbrooke, Université du Québec à Montréal, and Concordia University have collaborated on the launch of a UNESCO Chair focused on radicalization and extremism. According to officials, the chair will develop, share, and promote research and action in the prevention of violent radicalization and extremism. The position will be co-chaired by professors from the three universities, and USherbrooke Professor Sami Aoun will act as director of the chair’s scientific committee. Concordia co-chair Vivek Venkatesh explained that the chair has already begun projects in areas such as public engagement and the SOMEONE project. Radio Canada | Journal de Montréal | Concordia

The pitfalls of applying “Moneyball” principles to tenure and promotion

The idea of using data-driven analysis to determine tenure and promotion decisions has become popular in some circles, yet it overlooks the question of what it means to “win” in academia, writes John Warner. The author refers to a recent article titled “Moneyball for Professors,” in which the authors argue that a data-based method for determining tenure and promotion can offer schools the best possibility of appointing scholars with high research productivity. Warner argues that such an approach fails to recognize the difference between “tenure as principle,” or the core reasons why schools grant tenure, and “tenure as policy,” which are the institutional requirements placed on professors looking to gain tenure. The divide between these two concepts, the author concludes, creates confusion around the definition of “winning” and the impact of tenure and promotion decisions. Inside Higher Ed