Top Ten

May 30, 2018

Three tips for how higher ed should manage disruption: UOIT president

“Change in the digital age affects every sector, from banking and retail to healthcare, hospitality and non-profit. Higher education is no different,” writes UOIT President Steven Murphy. In an era of changing educational technology, the author asks whether the value-add of lecture-style teaching at Canada’s colleges and universities is still high enough for students. Murphy answers with a “tentative yes,” while noting that it is the ability to offer recognized credentials that keeps many higher ed institutions in operation. Murphy concludes that higher ed must pursue three key goals in order to proactively address the forces of disruption: educate administrators and boards of governors on disruption, partner with the private sector, and turn risk management into opportunity. Globe and Mail

Canadian universities strengthen relationship with Mexico

Eight Canadian university presidents and research partners recently concluded a three-day mission in Mexico City to foster greater talent exchange, research collaboration and Indigenous higher education between the two countries. “The connections made this week reinforce our strong relationship with Mexico and will help bring even more Canadian talent to the world,” stated Universities Canada President Paul Davidson. A Universities Canada release adds that the mission included seven new Memoranda of Understanding; detailed discussions about Indigenous initiatives, urbanization, energy policy and climate change; and a call for Canada to send more students to study in Mexico. Universities Canada

PSE institutions must step up to bolster Canada’s social infrastructure: Petter

“In a world of globalized commerce and communications, but localized problems, where can we turn for the relationships and social structures that our communities need to thrive?” asks Simon Fraser University President Andrew Petter. The author notes that globalization has disrupted the “anchoring” effect that domestic industry and robust government revenues once had on local communities. Yet Petter also argues that Canada’s network of universities, colleges, and institutes is ideally positioned to take on this responsibility, not only through its core mission of teaching and learning, but also “in the ways we use land and facilities; purchase goods and services; manage and invest funds; steward human resources; and nurture and maintain relationships.” Vancouver Sun

Toronto lifts exemption on frat, sorority houses

Toronto City Council recently moved to subject fraternity and sorority houses to the same licensing restrictions as all other rooming houses, reports the Toronto Star. According to the Star, the move arose from concerns about incidents of assault and sexual violence in fraternity and sorority houses, a claim that the Kappa Kappa Gamma House Corporation has denied. The bylaw requires that the owner of any shared residence of three or more people provide an emergency contact and have an approved fire safety plan, in addition to further safety measures. Toronto Star

SFU implements policy, student training against sexual violence

Citing a recent joint report by several student associations across Canada, the Richmond News highlights SFU's recently opened Sexual Violence Support and Prevention Office. SFU has also implemented a sexual violence and misconduct prevention policy that includes training for elected student council members and leaders on how to be an “active bystander.” “I think they made a significant commitment as an institution, and I think we have to wait and see. I’m really happy to see what they’ve been doing,” said Simon Fraser Student Society CEO Martin Wyant. Richmond News

Queen’s establishes School of Public Policy & Global Affairs

Queen’s University has established the Queen’s School of Public Policy and Global Affairs. According to the Queen's Journal, the School will foster a modernized approach to education and public policy at Queen’s while providing crucial assets for policy makers across the country. Michael Horgan, Chair of the Commission that founded the School, stated that the School will “enrich the student learning experience, advance the university’s research and innovation goals, increase Queen’s policy influence, and enhance its national and international reputation.” Queen’s Journal

Tips for a successful transition from postdoc to tenure

In a discussion of the transition from postdoctoral work to the tenure track, Stephen J Aguilar writes that success in higher education depends not only on hard work, but on the reception of that work in the scholarly community. Aguilar touches on the key qualities of a successful postdoctoral experience, including secure funding, working knowledge of a faculty mentor’s areas of expertise, and a clear set of goals. The author also encourages postdocs to attend meetings and to establish relationships with faculty during the course of their appointments. Inside Higher Ed

MHC plans to meet economic trends with $150K in new programming

Medicine Hat College has earmarked $150K in its upcoming budget for new programming to compliment economic trends in the region, reports Medicine Hat News. According to MHC Interim President Wayne Resch, the funds will put “programming in place that the region is looking for.” Resch added that a 2% funding increase from the province facilitated the budget allocation. Medicine Hat News adds that MHC will also lay off five faculty positions and one lab aid to balance its 2018/19 budget. “It’s a bit of the cyclical world of trades, at the same time it’s very expensive for the college to lay people off and then have to hire the exact same skill set the following year,” Resch stated. Medicine Hat News

Academic freedom, democracy, must be global mandates: Butler

Citing instances of state oppression in Turkey, Brazil, and Iran, Judith Butler writes on the importance of the university's commitment to academic freedom as universities increasingly act as global hubs. Part of the university’s core mission, she states, is the imperative to protect both academic freedom and political expression as distinct categories of the same principle. If either of these categories are compromised, Butler adds, “the task of the university is undermined.” The article goes on to touch on the tangled nature of academic freedom and democracy in the university's simultaneous roles as an institution of the state and an independent check on the state’s power. Chronicle of Higher Education

U of King's College launches review of possible connections to slavery

The University of King's College has launched a year-long scholarly review to investigate the possible connections between the institution and the transatlantic slave trade during the 18th and 19th centuries. “Tackling these questions in an open, transparent and scholarly way is one of the things we’re doing to make ourselves more welcoming as a community to people of diverse racial backgrounds,” said U of King's College President William Lahey. The review builds on a similar investigation being undertaken at Dalhousie University, and follows a number of other studies that have been undertaken at American universities. University Affairs | U of King's College