Top Ten

April 6, 2018

USask Board approves 4.8% tuition hike for 2018/19

USask’s Board of Governors approved a 4.8% tuition hike last month, the Saskatoon Star Phoenix has learned. The university states that it will return $64M to students through scholarships, bursaries, and credits, a dollar figure that USask Provost Tony Vannelli claims is both 50% above 2011 levels and higher than the median provided by other schools in Canada. According to the Star Phoenix, the tuition increase follows the provincial government’s decision to cut $18M from USask’s $312M operating grant in 2017/18. Deena Kapacila, VP of operations and finances for the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union, has reportedly called on the provincial government to raise funding above pre-reduction levels. Saskatoon Star Phoenix

McGill students demand response to abuse allegations

CBC reports that the Students’ Society of McGill University has written an open letter to the university that alleges the administration has failed to address ongoing sexual abuse by at least five professors in the Faculty of Arts. Connor Spencer, vice-president of external affairs for the Students' Society, told CBC that senior administration knows who the professors are, but has thus far refused to act. In a statement, McGill responded that “Every report or complaint of sexual misconduct, abuse of authority through sexual misconduct or 'predatory behaviour' that contains sufficiently detailed facts is investigated.” Spencer stated that the recent allegations of sexual misconduct by a creative writing professor at Concordia University impelled the Students’ Society to pressure McGill’s administration to act. CBC | Montreal Gazette

Entrepreneur and former senator donates $1.25M for student space, bursaries at UBCO

UBC Okanagan has announced that it will name its new Teaching and Learning Centre after entrepreneur and retired senator Ross Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick and his wife Linda reportedly donated $1.25M toward the building’s construction. “I remember having to study in the library stacks when I was a student at UBC [Vancouver] so I’m very happy to be able to participate in bringing a much more collaborative and vibrant space to today’s generation,” Fitzpatrick stated. UBCO adds that $250K of the donation has been set aside to establish the Ross and Linda Fitzpatrick Centennial Scholars Endowment, which will support students who demonstrate academic excellence, leadership, and financial need. UBCO

Citing “systemic issues,” Dean of Lakehead Law School stepping down

According to CBC, Angelique EagleWoman, the Dean of Lakehead University’s Law School, will step down by the end of June. “Systemic issues within the university and challenges to implementing the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law's Aboriginal and Indigenous law mandate have made my continued involvement in the law school untenable,” said EagleWoman, a member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate in Dakota, in an email to students. In a statement, Lakehead acknowledged EagleWoman’s resignation, adding that “[a]ll programs and services at our Faculty of Law continue as usual.” CBC

ON awards Fleming $12.6M for green projects

Jeff Leal, MPP for Peterborough, announced that Fleming College will receive $12.1M from the provincial government’s Greenhouse Gas Campus Retrofits Program. The investment will reportedly fund upgrades to the Kawartha Trades and Technology Centre, a new geothermal system, and a low-carbon demonstration site for students. “Developing these renewable energy systems will be a leap forward for us to further reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and replace aging, outdated heating and cooling systems. It will further provide valuable learning opportunities for our students,” said Fleming President Tony Tilly. Leal added that the province has also awarded Fleming’s Centre for Sustainable Municipalities (CSM) a $500K research grant to foster advanced asset management technologies. Fleming

UBC adds Musqueam language to street signs on campus

The University of British Columbia has added 54 street signs to its campus that showcase the Musqueam language alongside English. Andrew Seal reports that the school consulted Musqueam First Nation elders and language experts to pick street names that reflect the way Indigenous people have traditionally thought about direction.“Our directions are upriver or against the current, downriver or with the current, down towards the waterfront, and away from the waterfront,” Musqueam Elder Larry Grant said at an event to unveil the signs. “Those are the Indigenous ways of directionality that were universal around the world until Marco Polo found out the Chinese had a magnetic compass. Then there was north, east, south and west.” Globe and Mail

Niagara officially opens Green Automotive Technology Lab

Niagara College has officially opened its Green Automotive Technology Lab, which reportedly features several electric cars, charging stations, and diagnostic tools for hybrid and electric vehicles. According to Niagara, construction of the Lab was funded by a $1.4M provincial initiative to equip students for rapid technological changes in the automotive sector. St. Catharines MPP Jim Bradley stated that “the improved facilities and training programs give apprentices the hands-on experience they need to thrive in the skilled trades, and contribute to our economy.” The Lab is reportedly part of an ongoing $64M redevelopment project at the Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake campuses. Niagara

Researchers, cautious of “reproducibility crisis,” emphasize import of scientific method

Although a narrative about a “reproducibility crisis” has come to dominate scientific discussions in recent years, Rachael Pells finds that the issue is not necessarily worsening. Citing a study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Pells reports that although questionable methodologies occasionally sabotage research findings, the occurrences are not frequent enough to warrant being called a crisis. Christopher Chambers, professor of cognitive neuroscience at Cardiff University, adds that although he finds the notion of a crisis overblown, reproducibility must be protected as a core tenet of the scientific method. Inside Higher Ed

How a US school reversed its declining English enrolments

Administrators and faculty working in most humanities departments know what it is like to struggle with declining enrolments, writes Peter Kalliney, adding that his experience with reversing a decline in such enrolments can provide useful insights to other schools. To begin, Kalliney cautions English departments against overhauling their majors, which the author calls “a reflex reaction” that does not produce the intended results. Kalliney also cautions English departments against relying on student writing requirements to fill classes. Rather, Kalliney writes that the best way for English departments to attract more students is to have introductory Humanities courses taught by top professors, and to think of such classes as their best recruiting grounds. Chronicle of Higher Education

UWindsor students build 75-metre Rube Goldberg machine out of found objects

For their final exam, students in Rod Strickland’s first-year sculpture class at the University of Windsor incorporated water bottles, a record player, and a golden cat into a 75-metre Rube Goldberg Machine, CBC reports. "They have to use their design skills, work with found materials and transfer kinetic energy from one to the next," said Strickland. "A lot of patience, a lot of teamwork is happening here." First-year student Christa Bressan, whose section reportedly consisted of a pulley system and a Grease CD, emphasized that time management was crucial to the project’s successful completion. Strickland stated that the machine ran perfectly during rehearsals, but needed a “few gentle pushes” for the official run. CBC