Top Ten

July 9, 2018

PSE executives among highest paid in AB public sector, Student Union seeks predictable tuition

Alberta’s Sunshine List reveals that University of Calgary President Margaret Cannon and University of Alberta President David Turpin are the fourth and fifth highest paid public employees in the province based on their 2017 salaries, the Star Edmonton reports. However, an impending salary cap will reduce both executives’ maximum compensation to $447K by 2020. When asked about the UAlberta Student Union’s position on executive pay, VP External Adam Brown told the Star that the Union is more focused on an upcoming provincial tuition review. “We’re really, really hoping that we will see this review come out in the fall sitting of the legislature. Because right now what students are looking for is a little bit of predictability,” said Brown. The Star Edmonton

Encouraging youth to “find their passion” can stifle learning: study

Telling a young person to pursue their passion may not be beneficial, as researchers from Yale-NUS college have found that views of one’s ‘life passions’ can prevent a person from developing other interests. Of the two schools of thought on interests, the authors theorize that a “fixed theory,” which holds that people are born with inclinations toward certain interests, can limit exploration and lead people to underestimate the effort required to pursue a passion. The “growth theory” approach sees interests developed slowly, with the opportunity to find many areas of interest instead of a single life passion. The report spans five studies that measure the influence that each mindset has on learning. CTV News | Report (Draft)

Business school building projects reflect growing value of social interaction: Lewington

A pair of capital projects at Canadian business schools are showing the benefits of bringing students together into common spaces, writes Jennifer Lewington. Highlighting recent efforts at Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business and the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary, Lewington notes that the value of having students, faculty, and other business school stakeholders engage in spontaneous interactions can be crucial for innovation. To help create these interactions, business schools are including more coffee shops, meeting spaces, and common areas. Lewington notes that business school students are also playing a major role in fundraising efforts to make these new types of spaces possible, as well as consulting on the design of learning areas. Globe and Mail

Conflict plagues USask Global Food Institute: CBC

CBC reports that “suspicion, fear, and open conflict” have plagued the University of Saskatchewan’s $100M Global Food Institute for the past two years. According to a letter from the Institute’s staff and researchers, requests for lab time and materials are routinely rejected without explanation, confidential data has been leaked, and staff have been pitted against each other. A USask communications officer told CBC that the university has not received any formal complaints about the Institute, but Patricia Farnese, Grievance Officer for USask’s Faculty Association, stated that she is working with faculty to present their case to the administration. CBC reports that much of the criticism revolves around the Institute’s CEO, Maurice Moloney, who will reportedly step down in November of 2018. CBC

Student with autism sues Red River, former counsellor, alleging ongoing sexual assault

A former Red River College student is suing the school and a former counsellor, reports CBC. A statement of claim says that the student, who has been diagnosed with autism, sought counselling after suffering panic attacks as he struggled to complete his coursework, and that the counsellor “engaged in certain sexual advances” for six to eight months. An RRC spokesperson told CBC that the college was not made aware of the allegations until recently. “A police investigation has since been launched and we are assisting where we can,” the spokesperson said. In 2013, the counsellor was placed on immediate leave amidst allegations of misconduct from a different complainant, adds CBC. CBC

Yellowknife MLA calls on city to build new campus downtown

According to Cabin Radio, the recently released report about Aurora College proposes that Yellowknife could open a new polytechnic as soon as 2024 if the Northwest Territories’ government moves quickly. Yellowknife North MLA Cory Vanthuyne stated that he would like the next mayor to replace the city’s Centre Square Mall with a university campus. “There’s a lot of things to be excited about there,” he said. “That could be the cornerstone for the revitalization of downtown.” Vanthuyne also acknowledged concerns about the report from residents of Fort Smith, home of Aurora’s present campus. The Fort Smith residents have argued that the report’s methodology is flawedCabin Radio

Premier Ford fires ON’s Chief Scientist

Newly-elected Ontario Premier Doug Ford has fired Molly Shoichet, a University of Toronto professor who was appointed as the province’s first and only Chief Scientist under Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government last year, reports the Globe and Mail. “I don’t think it was about me or even about the chief scientist position, but rather an out-with-the-old and in-with-the-new, even though, for me, I had just been there for six months,” said Shoichet. A provincial spokesperson told the Globe and Mail that Ford’s PCs will find a new person to fill the role. According to the Globe and Mail, the Chief Scientist briefs decision-makers, promotes Ontario’s scientific research both domestically and abroad, and crafts a research agenda for the government. The Globe and Mail

Top tips for those considering an institutional merger

“Dire predictions suggest that, in failing to respond to economic realities, as many as half of American colleges could fold or become bankrupt in the near future,” writes Stephen Spinelli Jr. The author notes that this prediction is not a bad thing, unless “keeping a campus open at all costs is the desired outcome.” Rather, the author suggests that disruption can provide opportunities for higher education to become more relevant in the 21st century. To this end, Spinelli Jr offers a number of tips for institutions considering mergers. These tips include focusing on the strengths and differentiating factors that can be gained from mergers; exploring the entire continuum of collaboration options with other schools, whether it be a full merger or not; and looking for complementary institutional partners rather than similar ones. Chronicle of Higher Education

UAlberta campus food vendor left asking questions after contract terminated without explanation

A local food vendor operating on the University of Alberta campus says it is “shocked” and “surprised” after its contract was unexpectedly terminated without explanation. Global News reports that Filistix, which specializes in Filipino cuisine, has operated on the campus since 2011. But co-founder Ariel del Rosario notes that Aramark, which runs dining services at the university, gave him word in June that it was terminating their contract. An instructor at the school has reportedly started a petition to keep the restaurant in operation. Aramark did not respond to questions from Global News about why the contract was terminated. Global News

How to solve a “visibility chasm” for your institution’s brand

“Isolated and insulated on campus, there’s a very good chance that decision-makers and their influencers believe your college or university enjoys a much higher level of visibility in your own backyard than is likely the case,” writes Eric Sickler. As an experienced market researcher, the author notes that actual levels of institutional visibility among the public and prospective students are often shockingly low compared to what institutional stakeholders might think. Only research can offer real insight into visibility levels, the author adds, noting that it remains the “single most effective way to help decision makers—even board members and major donors—wake up and appreciate the basic need for colleges and universities to engage in aggressive visibility building activity in their own backyards.” Inside Higher Ed