Top Ten

March 23, 2018

Minister’s criticism of UAlberta is political posturing, says university president

University of Alberta President David Turpin tells reporters that recent criticism directed toward him and UAlberta by AB Advanced Education Minister Marlin Schmidt was a political charade. Earlier this week, Schmidt told reporters that Turpin should have looked at cutting his own salary and those of other senior UAlberta executives instead of “rummaging in the pockets of students.” Turpin claims that all of UAlberta’s budget decisions had been presented to the ministry at an earlier time, and that “there were no surprises here.” Turpin adds that Schmidt was also already aware that UAlberta plans to make cuts in executive compensation. CBC | Edmonton Journal

StudentsNS praises NS budget’s investments, raises concerns about affordability, accessibility

Students Nova Scotia has issued a statement voicing its pleasure in the recent NS budget’s investment in postsecondary mental health and student employment, but adds that it is discouraged by the lack of action related to affordability and accessibility. “It’s disappointing that government chose not to provide Medical Service Insurance (MSI) to our international students,” said Annie Sirois, Chair of StudentsNS. “International students contribute immeasurably to our economy and our communities.” StudentsNS concluded that the budget demonstrates that the “Government listens to the student voice and takes action to address some student concerns.” StudentsNS

Nipissing offers alumni additional education if they cannot secure employment

Nipissing University has announced the Nipissing Promise, an initiative that it calls the first of its kind at an Ontario university. The program enables Nipissing alumni who do not secure career-related employment within six months of graduation from a four-year undergraduate degree program to return, tuition-free, for an additional year of education. “Nipissing has built a strong reputation as a student-focussed university that strives to position our students for a successful future. The Nipissing Promise is totally in-line with that sense of commitment and dedication to student success,” said Nipissing Assistant Vice-President, Students Casey Phillips. “We want our students to know that we are here to help and support them, even after graduation.” Nipissing (1) | Nipissing (2)

UBC faculty express concern about affordable housing

Some faculty members at the University of British Columbia have raised concerns about their ability to find affordable housing in Vancouver, reports The Ubyssey. UBC Mathematics Professor Nassif Ghoussoub argues that adequate faculty housing is essential for the recruitment and the retention of faculty who could further the quality of education provided at UBC. UBC Manager of Housing Support Programs Siobhan Murphy said in an emailed statement that the retention and recruitment of faculty remains a “priority” for the university. “The housing market in Vancouver is very challenging, and has affected UBC the same way it has affected any employer in Metro Vancouver,” added Murphy. “That’s why we’re doing what we can to address it.” Ubyssey

Fleming, Trent, Innovation Centre partner on Graduate Program

The Innovation Cluster in the Peterborough and Kawarthas region has announced the launch of a graduate program for Fleming College and Trent University alumni. The Graduate Program, created in partnership between the Innovation Cluster and the two institutions, aims to contribute to the growth of entrepreneurship, employment, and student opportunities in Peterborough. “Fleming College and Trent University does a great job at bringing in National and International students,” says Innovation Cluster President Michael Skinner. “We hope this program will retain this talent in our region.” Innovation Cluster

Cumberland, Hanfood Group undertake education and research partnership

Cumberland College and Hanfood Group have developed a partnership that will see the two parties jointly identify potential research and educational opportunities. Cumberland will also service Hanfood Group’s training, research, and food production needs. “Hanfood has ambitious plans for food processing and production in Saskatchewan, and particularly for honey from the region,” said Cumberland President Tom Weegar. “Our relationship with Hanfood will allow Cumberland College to form Applied Research partnerships that will benefit our students, the honey production industry, and Hanfood.” Nipawin Journal

Orienting board members to ensure quality governance

“When board governance goes wrong, it can go very wrong,” writes Kathryn Masterson, which is why providing new board members with the tools, support, and information needed for the job is a critical step. The author argues that both a disengaged and an overengaged board can create major problems for an institution. To solve this, Masterson discusses how different US institutions are improving orientations and the training process for new board members to ensure that board members are well-equipped and prepared for their role. Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

Sault, Laurentian sign 2+2 agreement for business students

Sault College and Laurentian University have signed an agreement that offers business students the opportunity to complete a diploma and degree in four years. Under the agreement, Laurentian University will reportedly recognize applications from Sault students who have completed the first two years of study in Sault’s Business Program. A Sault release states that “this new pathway agreement is great for students who want to further develop and enhance the business skills obtained through Sault College at an exceptional university.” Sault | Sudbury Star | Soo Today

Belief in the value of teaching is the greatest predictor of best teaching practices: study

“Simply put, faculty who teach because they enjoy and value it tend to teach in the most effective ways,” says Robert Stupnisky, the lead author on a recent study investigating how teachers’ motives impact the quality of their work. The study found that other forms of motivation, such as such as seeking external rewards; satisfying self-esteem; or avoiding shame, guilt, or punishment have little to no relationship with best teaching practices. The study concludes with a recommendation that institutional efforts to improve teaching should focus on nurturing faculty members’ belief in the intrinsic importance of teaching. Inside Higher Ed

UCalgary course applies Indigenous traditions to current legal system

A new course offered at the University of Calgary uses Indigenous legal traditions to examine current events and legal decisions. Taught by Professor Kathleen Mahoney, Indigenous Legal Traditions engages students with guest speakers and a guided field trip to Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park in Alberta. UCalgary notes that Indigenous legal traditions are an emerging area of law in Canada, and that there has been a trend in recent years toward incorporating more Indigenous legal traditions into general legal systems. “Learning about an independent legal order which is fundamentally different from the one I’ve studied in my other classes allows me to think critically about the other areas of law,” says second-year UCalgary law student Hannah Hunter-Loubert. UCalgary