Top Ten

March 27, 2018

YorkU states classes will continue, students host sit-in

York University released a statement following a Senate meeting last week indicating that the university “remains open and classes that can continue will continue.” The YorkU release states that nearly 55% of courses have continued since the CUPE 3903 strike began on March 5, and that it believes it is in the best interests of students to keep the university open. The Star reports that in response, a group called Students for CUPE 3903 occupied the school’s senate chambers, refusing to leave until demands such as a return to the bargaining table were met. The group reportedly did so out of concerns that continuing to hold classes would penalize students who were unable to attend class and undermine the ability of striking faculty to put pressure on the university. Toronto Star | YorkU (1) | YorkU (2)

King's signs MOU with Tuscan centre

King’s University College has signed a memorandum of understanding with Rondine Cittadella della Pace, a centre for peace and conflict resolution located in Tuscany, Italy. King’s states that it is the first university in North America to sign an MOU with the institution. The agreement states that King’s and Rondine will explore areas of collaboration such as the movement of faculty, scholars, and staff between the two institutions; opportunities for King’s students to study at Rondine; research collaborations; the exchange of teaching materials, publications, and information; and the establishment of permanent networks. King’s

Concordia unveils cutting-edge renovations to library

Concordia University has unveiled its new and improved Webster Library, CBC reports. The three-year, $40M renovation reportedly includes “green” walls to improve air quality, an interactive arts studio, zero-noise rooms and a “technology sandbox” that offers 3-D printing and virtual reality equipment. In a news release, Concordia Vice-Provost of Digital Strategy Guylaine Beaudry states that she ensured that students had a say in the library’s development. “Consultations were the backbone of this project’s success. And, that is what gave us the confidence to boldly move ahead in new directions in reimagining a next-generation library,” said Beaudry. CBC | Concordia

UAlberta launches fashion business program, first of its kind for Western Canada

A new program at the University of Alberta focused on the business of fashion is a first of its kind in Western Canada, reports David Israelson of the Globe and Mail. The author notes that the new Bachelor of Science in Fashion Business Management will offer students in Western Canada the opportunity to learn the skills they need to work in the fashion business without needing to move east. “The focus [of the program] is on combining knowledge of fashion with understanding of the business,” says Kathryn Chandler, practicum co-ordinator for the program. “There's a need to focus more on logistics and what it means to do business offshore,” adds program professor Lori Moran. “On the retail side it's important to understand analytics and data collection, because consumers today are much more demanding.” Globe and Mail

Saskatoon, SIIT formally ink agreement supporting students

Saskatoon’s City Council has formally inked an agreement between Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies and the Gabriel Dumont Institute of Native Studies and Applied Research. “One of the most tangible things is to identify and make sure that … the qualifications and the training that students are getting here are going to set them up to be able to compete with anybody else for positions,” said Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark. Clark explained that the agreement will make it easier for graduating students to get good jobs and create a more representative workforce in Saskatoon, and further noted that giving young Indigenous people opportunities to succeed is vital to the health of the economy. The Star Phoenix

Cannabis teaching lab under construction at Niagara

Niagara College announced that it has received five specially modified shipping containers for its cannabis production teaching lab. The 900-square foot facility will accommodate 150-200 plants while housing “state-of-the art lighting and environmental control equipment,” according to the Niagara release. The program is set to launch in September of 2018, and will reportedly train students in cultivation techniques while ensuring that they gain expertise in the complex regulatory framework that governs Canada’s cannabis industry. Niagara said that it has received over 300 applications for the program, which requires a diploma or degree in “in the areas of Horticulture, Greenhouse Technology, Agricultural Sciences, Plant Sciences, Biology or a related discipline.” Niagara

More emphasis on “human skills” crucial for up-and-coming workers: RBC

A new study by the Royal Bank of Canada calls on postsecondary programs to put more focus on “human-skills” such as critical thinking, active listening, and social perceptiveness, the Globe and Mail reports. The federal government has reportedly emphasized the importance of STEM disciplines to prepare young people for a labour force premised on technological advances, but RBC cautions against overemphasizing technological training at the cost of foundational human skills. “We believe there's a national dialogue that's lacking around this issue,” stated RBC President Dave McKay. “It won't be good enough if we keep training ourselves on the same old, same old going forward — machines can do a lot of what we're training students for.” Globe and Mail

UNBC passes tuition fee increase, balanced budget

UNBC’s Board of Governors passed a 2% tuition fee increase for 2018/19 as part of a balanced budget, the Prince George Citizen has learned. A 2017/18 financial planning overview passed by the Board of Governors last year said that in May of 2016, staff had discovered an “unexpected $3.5 million deficit (consolidated) for the 2015/16 fiscal year” after the Board had already approved a balanced budget for the 2016/17 year. According to UNBC Provost and VP Academic Dan Ryan, the discrepancy prompted the BC Government to launch an inquiry into the university’s finances. Following the upcoming budget announcement, Ryan stated that the province is “pleased that we're going in the right direction and that's absolutely critical because ultimately we have to be careful that we don't make all the decisions based solely on financial equilibrium.” Prince George Citizen

Innovation a key weapon for tackling institutional challenges: Mintz

Steven Mintz reflects on the insights he gleaned from leading The Institute for Transformational Learning, a major effort in the US to improve access, affordability, and student success. Mintz writes that the Institute leveraged technologies and learning sciences to create “agile, relevant learning pathways;” foster lifelong learning as a pillar in the knowledge economy; and establish improved transparency around learning and employment outcomes. Mintz also stresses that innovators can negotiate the “fluid, dynamic, and unstable circumstances” of institutional priorities by continuously altering strategies and tactics. Inside Higher Ed

UMoncton, FJFNB renew partnership

Université de Moncton and the Fédération des jeunes francophones du Nouveau-Brunswick (FJFNB) have renewed their partnership. The partnership is said to be part of an ongoing commitment toward the development of Acadian and Francophone youth in New Brunswick through scholarships and activities offered by the FJFNB. The partnership includes collaborative activities, contributions to FJFNB’s initiatives, and scholarships for students. FJFNB President Sue Duguay explained that the partnership represents UMoncton’s support of the organization’s initiative, and that it is critical to the vitality of Acadian and Francophone youth in the province. UMoncton