Top Ten

August 16, 2018

TWU drops community covenant that bans sex outside of heterosexual marriage

Trinity Western University has announced that students will no longer have to adhere to a “community covenant” that forbids any sexual relationship outside of heterosexual marriage, reports CBC. TWU President Bob Kuhn stated that the change was not connected to the recent Supreme Court ruling regarding TWU’s proposed law school, adding that TWU “will remain a Biblically-based, mission-focused, academically excellent university, fully committed to our foundational evangelical Christian principles.” Kuhn also noted that no decision has been made as to whether TWU will reapply for law school accreditation. CBC | Globe and Mail | Montreal Gazette

Why universities should diversify their international student populations

Saudi Arabia’s sudden decision to order all of its students out of Canada should serve as a warning to colleges and universities not to rely too heavily on international students from any one country, writes Josh Dehaas. While Saudis make up a small percentage of the province’s international student body, Dehaas adds, a mass exodus of Indian or Chinese students would be devastating. The author describes the varying degrees of success that different institutions throughout Ontario have had with their strategies to diversify their international populations. Dehaas concludes by identifying McGill University as a possible model for other schools, given that no more than one-fifth of its international students come from a single country. TVO

WLU prof critical of president's “better speech” stance

Wilfrid Laurier University Professor William McNally writes that in spite of its apparent even-handedness, a recent op-ed on free speech by WLU President Deborah MacLatchy “consistently supports her version of social justice over the pursuit of truth.” According to McNally, MacLatchy puts all power into the hands of alleged victims when she equates potentially offensive speech with violence. The author goes on to cite a number of examples in which WLU’s administration appeared to protect the rights of students who protested controversial speakers on campus while silencing those who held “conservative” or “libertarian” points of view. National Post

Understanding the meaning of “shared governance”: Cowen

The university model of shared governance does not mean that everyone gets to be a decision maker, writes Tulane University President Scott S Cowen. The author reflects on his experience in leading a university through a period of crisis following Hurricane Katrina. Cowen notes that it was only by suspending regular governance procedures that the school was able to weather the storm. Cowen defends shared governance as one of higher education’s greatest assets, but notes that within a model of shared governance, “faculty and staff members and students will need to understand and accept their roles as advisers, as opposed to decision makers.” To this end, Cowen supports the creation of senate executive committees and faculty advisory committees to help streamline university decision-making processes. Chronicle of Higher Education

UQAT unveils Val-d’Or campus expansion

The Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue has unveiled its newly expanded Val-d'Or campus. According to a UQAT release, the renovations include new IT infrastructure that will support Indigenous teaching and research. UQAT President Denis Martel stated that the project emphasizes the university’s ongoing partnership with the region’s Indigenous communities. The $5M expansion was funded by the Government of Quebec and the Government of Canada. UQAT

New USask database discloses salaries of top earners

The University of Saskatchewan has published an online database of its highest-paid employees, the Saskatoon StarPhoenix reports. The database, which lists 955 university employees who make more than $125K a year, was previously only available as a printed list in the USask library. Cheryl Carver, USask’s VP of human resources, told the StarPhoenix that the database represents a “further step” toward better public accountability. She added that the university strives for transparency, but noted there is always room to improve in making information publicly available. Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Okanagan expands cannabis offerings

Okanagan College will expand its offerings on cannabis education this fall, reports the Canadian Press. Dennis Silvestrone, Okanagan’s Director of Continuing Studies and Corporate Development, told CP that in addition to cannabis cultivation and pest management, the college will offer courses “related to cannabis in the workplace and considerations for employers that are having to deal with this new legal/regulatory framework.” The new courses also coincide with an influx of cannabis producers in the Okanagan region. CP states that the courses are currently offered through the college’s Continuing Education program, but that the college is open to the possibility of creating a certificate. Global News (CP)

YorkU students to pay separate fares for single trip

The Toronto Star has learned that York Region Transit and Viva will cancel service to York University. According to the Star, the cancellation follows a 2009 agreement between the Toronto Transit Commission and YRT not to duplicate services following the subway’s extension to YorkU. The change has prompted an outcry from students, as the service change will require students to pay two transit fares for a single journey. YRT General Manager Ann Marie Carroll stated that at the time of the agreement, it was expected that the province would have implemented a fare-integration solution. The Star adds that YorkU’s Federation of Students declined the option of a 2018 U-pass. Toronto Star

New map shows how feds have spent money from $2B postsecondary infrastructure fund

A new interactive map produced by University Affairs offers a glimpse into where the funds from the federal government’s Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund have been spent. Natalie Samson reports that the fund, announced as part of the 2016 federal budget, offered $2B in short-term investments for infrastructure projects already in progress at universities, colleges, and CEGEPs across the country. Samson reports that to date, some 299 projects have been funded through SIF at 63 universities and 99 colleges, CEGEPs, and polytechnics. University Affairs

How campuses can fight climate change

In the face of shifting climate change policies, Kristina M Johnson and Samuel L Stanley Jr describe how research universities will need to work quickly to implement solutions. In addition to being at the forefront of climate change research, the cross-disciplinary nature of universities can help both experts and intelligent non-experts model new ways of confronting and mitigating the ecological, economic, and social impacts of climate change, Johnson and Stanley Jr. add. The authors then discuss how several American universities are implementing green technologies to offset and reduce their carbon emissions. Chronicle of Higher Education