Top Ten

May 9, 2018

Carleton receives $5M for accessibility initiatives from ON

Citing Carleton University as “a leading light” for accessible education, Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi has announced the creation of the David C Onley Initiative for Employment and Enterprise Development initiative. A Carleton release states that the two-year, $5M program will provide mentorship for entrepreneurial development, employment support, and one-on-one coaching for students with disabilities. Naqvi’s announcement follows an earlier provincial commitment of $800K for the Carleton University Accessible Experiential Learning project, which gives students with disabilities access to work-integrated learning initiatives. Carleton President Alastair Summerlee stated that the fund’s namesake, David C Onley, “was an eloquent advocate for all people no matter where they are in their life or status.” Carleton

UWaterloo dean responds to report about STEM brain-drain

In response to a report that warns of a brain-drain in Canadian STEM disciplines, University of Waterloo Dean of Engineering Pearl Sullivan tells the Waterloo Region Record that universities cannot dictate where their graduates choose to live. “To think that young people with the right skill set and experience are not going to be attracted outside where they went to school is fairly naive,” Sullivan said. “Technology is a global enterprise.” Sullivan added that UWaterloo is anticipating a demand for training in digital security and the Internet of Things. According to the Record, 83% of UWaterloo’s STEM graduates work in Canada. Waterloo Region Record

Queen’s receives $8.9M for green retrofit

Queen’s University has reportedly received $8.9M from Ontario’s Greenhouse Gas Campus Retrofit Program. According to a release, the funds will support the university’s West Campus District Energy Conversion project, which will upgrade the heating system for academic and residential spaces on campus. “The District Energy project is a great example of the sustainable work being done at Queen’s to reach our carbon neutral target in 2040,” stated Queen’s Vice-Principal of Finance and Administration Donna Janiec. “This project will support Queen’s sustainability and fiscal priorities by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, fuel costs, and the deferred maintenance liability.” The project is slated for completion by 2019. Queen’s

UQAC signs partnership with local communities for groundwater initiative

The Université du Québec à Chicoutimi has announced the signing of a partnership agreement with the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region, la Ville de Saguenay, and Première Nation des Pekuakamiulnuatsh. According to UQAC, the partnership will facilitate a $228K groundwater project to assess sustainability and public health. The project will reportedly include a publicly accessible groundwater database, a system to track regional groundwater distribution and need, and the implementation of a centre for long-term groundwater governance. UQAC

SaskPolytech investigates rumours that faculty are distributing exams before test dates

An anonymous tip alleging that faculty are distributing exams to students before test dates has launched an investigation at Saskatchewan Polytechnic, reports CBC. SaskPolytech Provost and VP Anne Neufeld stated that the investigation is in its early stages, and that the polytechnic’s leadership has not yet determined whether one or more faculty members are involved. “You can imagine with this type of situation in the early days there is a lot of rumour and innuendo so our job as academic leaders is to really to get to the bottom of it,” said SaskPolytechnic Provost and VP Anne Neufeld. CBC

URegina wrestling, volleyball teams implore university to restore cut programs

Members of the University of Regina’s wrestling and volleyball teams have called on university leadership to reinstate their teams, reports CBC. The teams were cut after the university decided that it could not support 16 teams on its current budget. The students reportedly argued that the university’s decision suggests that other teams will be cut, as well. “If we keep going this way … every time there is a deficit in the budget, every time there's spending cuts, there's going to be no more teams,” stated student athlete Jordan Tholl. CBC adds that Tholl also questioned the university’s explanation that the teams were cut because of a lack of finances, engagement, and community interest. CBC

How higher education institutions can improve their public image

Both the general public and policy makers are unhappy with PSE, but a good deal of the problem lies in contemporary perceptions about higher education, writes Catharine Bond Hill. The author cites three fundamental issues that colleges and universities must address: better access to affordable education; a more concerted effort to encourage diversity of thought and dissenting political opinions amongst students, faculty, and visiting speakers; and better transparency about career outcomes for degree holders. To achieve these goals, Hill concludes, institutions must improve graduation rates and times to degree completion, better foster transitions into careers, and protect academic freedom and the right to free speech on campus. Insider Higher Ed

Proposed back-to-work legislation at YorkU an “insult”: NDP

The Ontario NDP has thwarted the Liberal government’s attempt to impose back-to-work legislation on York University’s striking academic staff, reports the Toronto Star. “It is disappointing that the NDP is not willing to work with us to find a path forward through which this disruption can be ended and students can be returned to the classroom,” said Liberal spokesperson Beckie Codd-Downey. William Kaplan, a provincial investigator, concluded that arbitration was the only viable option to end the strike, as YorkU and the union “have completely different world views that are informed by completely different academic and institutional aspirations.” YorkU reportedly issued a new offer on Monday, stating that CUPE had until Thursday to accept. CBC | Toronto Star

UoGuelph researchers receive $800K for slate of innovative projects

University of Guelph researchers have received more than $800K from the provincial governments of Alberta and Ontario for projects ranging from improving nutrition and reducing methane emissions in dairy cattle to value chain genomics. The funding comes from the Alberta-Ontario Innovation Program, a cross-provincial collaboration between the two provinces. A UoGuelph release states that the program brings together industry and academia to solve key industry challenges AB and ON through research and development. Funded projects will reportedly focus on strengthening global competitiveness in areas such as water and energy conservation, environmental remediation, manufacturing and assembly, converting waste into energy, and agriculture. UoGuelph

CEGEPs receive $500K for mental health initiatives

Bell Let’s Talk and the Rossy Family Foundation have announced a $500K donation to Fédération des cégeps and the Fondation de l'Université du Québec à Montréal for mental health initiatives. According to a Bell release, the funds will support the Zenétudes program for students making the transition from high school to postsecondary. “These initiatives make an important contribution to engaging the public in a frank, open discussion of mental illness, and deserve to be acknowledged and highlighted,” said Québec Health and Social Services Minister Gaétan Barrette. Bell | CTV