Top Ten

March 5, 2018

RDC, ACAD to become universities

Last week, Alberta’s NDP government granted Red Deer College and the Alberta College of Art + Design permission to grant degrees. The Edmonton Journal reports that the announcement puts both schools on the path to becoming universities. The article notes that RDC already offers degrees in partnership with other universities, but notes that these partnerships often require students to move away from home. With the announcement, ACAD will also reportedly become the only arts-dedicated university on the Prairies. The school offers a number of degree programs, including a bachelor of fine arts and a bachelor of design at the undergraduate level, as well as a master’s degree in fine arts. An official new name for ACAD is expected to be announced in the coming months. Edmonton Journal | RDC | ACAD | Red Deer Express | Calgary Herald

Chronicling Canada’s failures on campus sexual assault

Canadian universities are failing students on the issue of sexual assault, writes Zane Schwartz in Maclean’s. The article reports that more than one in five female students, 46.7% of LGBTQ+ students, and 6.9% of male students have been sexually assaulted in their lifetimes, with half of those assaults happening while at university. Maclean’s interviewed 41 students who said that they had been sexually assaulted while at a Canadian university, and found frequent reports of university staff asking them not to contact the police or the media and encouraging them to resolve the issue informally. The article explores the stories of two women who say they were sexually assaulted while at university, and highlights the barriers these women allegedly faced with respect to reporting an incident, filing a complaint, and finding support. Maclean’s

International enrolments in Canadian universities rise 11%

The number of international students attending Canadian universities rose by 11% last year, according to recent survey data compiled by Universities Canada. Times Higher Education reports that the increase in students between 2016 and 2017 brings the total number of full- and part-time overseas university students in the country to 192,000. Universities in British Columbia saw the biggest jump, with a 15.6% increase. “Canada is known worldwide as a nation that values diversity and inclusion, and our universities are a big part of that,” says Paul Davidson, president of Universities Canada. “Students around the globe are increasingly choosing the internationally recognised quality of a Canadian university education, and the benefits for Canada are tremendous.” Times Higher Education

Study finds visible minorities underrepresented in medical textbook images

A joint study by UBC and the University of Toronto finds a startling lack of racial and ethnic diversity in images published in medical textbooks, the Vancouver Province reports. “Proportional to the population, race is represented fairly accurately, but this diversity is undermined by the fact that the images mostly depict light skin tones,” said lead UBC author Patricia Louie. After analyzing four thousand images in four medical textbooks, the researchers reportedly found that between 1% and 8% of the photos featured darker skin tones. In addition to perpetuating unconscious racial bias amongst medical professionals, Louie stated that the underrepresentation of visible minorities might correlate with late diagnoses of breast cancer and melanoma amongst those groups. The Province

New UBC investment fund looks to have significant global impact

The recently launched UBC Impact Fund invests capital in UBC-created ventures throughout the developing world, reports UBC. Two Vancouver-based startups, Brighter Investment and Wize Monkey, are reported to be amongst the beneficiaries of the fund. According to UBC, Brighter Investment provides funding aid for promising students in the developing world, while Wize Monkey is said to help coffee growers in Matagalpa, Nicaragua. “A key part of UBC’s innovation strategy is supporting ventures and activities that make significant societal contributions,” said Gail Murphy, vice-president, research and innovation at UBC. “This new fund gives donors an innovative opportunity to support entrepreneurship at UBC and has a tremendous ripple effect as returns are continuously re-invested into new ventures.” UBC

Queen’s announces $632k donation from Andrew W Mellon Foundation for art conservation program

Queen’s University has announced that the Andrew W Mellon foundation has awarded a $632K grant to its Master of Art Conservation program. The grant will reportedly support conservation research with a focus on Indigenous material culture. According to Queen’s, this is first time that the US-based Mellon Foundation has funded a Canadian art conservation project. A media tour on March 1 featured a demonstration by students of art conservation on techniques that included paper, painting, and object restoration. Nation Talk

2018 budget lauded as “historic” reinvestment in Canadian research

The federal government’s new budget features what it calls the largest-ever funding boost to Canadian research, writes Anqi Shen. Following the absence of any new funding in last year’s budget, this year’s $1.7B package, to be distributed over five years to tri-council agencies and research institutes, is considered by many in the research and university sectors as a “historic” reinvestment in Canadian science. “The government particularly invested in unfettered research, discovery and investigator-led research, and that’s significant,” said Paul Davidson, president of Universities Canada. “That was the core recommendation of the Naylor report – let researchers do their work, and don’t target or direct.” University Affairs

CICan and Scotiabank launch new international internship

Colleges and Institutes Canada and Scotiabank have launched a pilot project that provides Canadian students with international experience, CICan reports. According to CICan, two students from its member institutions “have embarked on a 12 week fully funded internship with Scotiabank’s Digital Factory in Mexico City.” The two students, a graphic designer and software developer from Saskatchewan Polytechnic and Vancouver Island University, respectively, were also enrolled in a three-week intensive Spanish language and culture course offered by a partner institution in Mexico City. CICan

CFS expresses concern over Liberal threat to withdraw PSE funding over sexual assault response

Canada’s largest postsecondary student organization says that it is concerned about a statement made in the most recent federal budget about the government withdrawing funding from institutions that do not meet certain standards in addressing campus sexual assault. Tabled last week, the budget included $5.5M over five years to develop a national framework aimed at addressing gender-based violence at postsecondary institutions. However, it also said that beginning in 2019, the federal government will consider holding back funding from those institutions that are not putting “best practices addressing sexual assaults on campus” into place. “This was actually a point in the budget that was slightly concerning to us,” said Charlotte Kiddell, national deputy chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. “We don't want to see federal funding tied to a kind of poorly defined standard that may not actually be the best measure for strong sexual assault policies according to students.” CTV News

UAlberta raises residence, international tuition fees

The cost of living on campus at the University of Alberta could increase in the next academic year, as is the price of tuition for international students. The Edmonton Journal reports that the university’s finance committee voted 6-2 last Tuesday for an across-the-board 4% increase to residence rates to become effective this coming September, pending approval from the university's board. It also approved a 3.14% increase to international tuition by the same margin. Graduate Students’ Association president Babak Soltannia and Students Union president Marina Banister were the two dissenting votes on both motions. The finance committee reportedly made its decisions after hearing arguments that UAlberta’s residence services and dining services are both losing money, that that the increases are needed to mitigate these losses. Edmonton Journal