Top Ten

August 30, 2018

UManitoba calls for re-examination of provincial privacy laws

Administrators at the University of Manitoba want to re-examine provincial privacy laws that prevent them from sharing details about past employees’ sexual misconduct with potential new employers, reports CBC. The call follows the allegations against two UManitoba professors in recent months. “I think that privacy laws is … a conversation that is important for us to engage in,” said UManitoba Provost and Academic Vice-President Janice Ristock. “It's … not only unique to what we're dealing with but it's something people are talking about across the country.” A spokesperson for the province issued a statement saying that the department is reviewing the submissions and comparing them to what other jurisdictions have in place. CBC

Faculty applaud arbiter’s decision on use of student evaluations for tenure, promotion decisions

Faculty across Canada are celebrating the decision of an Ontario arbiter ordering Ryerson University to ensure that student evaluations of teaching, or SETs, “are not used to measure teaching effectiveness for promotion or tenure.” The issue of using student evaluations for this purpose has been discussed in Ryerson’s collective bargaining sessions since 2003, with a formal grievance being filed in 2009. “We were delighted,” said Ryerson Computer Science Professor Sophie Quigley. “These are statistically correct arguments we’ve been making over the years, and it’s wonderful that reason has prevailed.” The arbiter’s conclusion that SETs are deeply problematic will “unleash debate at universities across the country,” said David Robinson, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers. University Affairs

NAIT partnership looks to help low-income Edmontonians build careers in the trades

A partnership between the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, Stuart Olson, and Capital Region Housing will help low-income Edmontonians to build careers in the trades. The partnership will see interested tenants of Capital Region Housing train as apprentices at NAIT while they work for Stuart Olson to build a new affordable housing project. The construction project is expected to take three years. “It’s really exciting to see a helping organization, a responsible corporate citizen and a post-secondary institution all coming together to provide something that can be life-changing for people,” said city councillor Aaron Paquette. “This is the kind of thing that we would like to see more of in the city.” NAITThe Star Edmonton

UCalgary launches non-credit Intersections in Diversity program

The University of Calgary has announced that it will launch a new co-curricular program called Intersections in Diversity this fall. The eight-workshop, non-credit program will help students learn key concepts, resources, and skills to engage meaningfully with others, identify inequity, and make the campus community more inclusive. “The program takes the concept of intersectionality and how we live intersectional lives — to look at issues like race, gender and sexuality and start to understand how those intersect,” said Theresa Kenney, a UCalgary alumna and McMaster University PhD who is helping to develop and coordinate the program. “Students in this program get to have an introspective experience.” UCalgary

UQO receives support for unified campus, new health programs

Université du Québec en Outaouais has announced that it has received support from the Government of Québec for a unified campus project in Gatineau and for health programming. Under the unified campus project, UQO will be investigating the expansion or construction of a new pavilion. This pavilion would provide a space for interdisciplinary research, accelerate the development of health and natural science programs, improve student life, and increase the impact of UQO's presence in the Gatineau region. UQO will also be using a $500K grant from the Government of Quebec to develop new health programs to support the Outaouais region. UQO

AB professors urge province to revamp curriculum to promote digital literacy

When a group of professors petitioned the Alberta government 20 years ago to include computational skills in the province’s K-12 curriculum, they were told “there will never be coding in the curriculum,” says University of Alberta educational psychology professor Mike Carbonaro. Yet two decades later, the winds of change are strongly blowing in this direction. Carbonaro was one of a dozen professors, industry representatives, and non-profit group leaders who earlier this week implored AB Education Minister David Eggen to include foundational skills for computer coding in a revamped K-12 curriculum, which is now under development. Edmonton Journal

UQAM launches graduate program on mindfulness

To meet the increased demand for programs supporting psychological health, The Université de Quebec à Montréal will be launching a 15-credit short-cycle program focused on mindfulness. The program is designed for teachers and other professionals who want to be able to use mindfulness interventions to promote psychological wellbeing. UQAM states that it is the first university in QC to offer training in the field, with currently available training only offered by private companies. UQAM

Algonquin students looking to launch outdoor European Christmas market in 2018

A group of architecture students from Algonquin College is looking to bring the wonder and excitement of a European outdoor Christmas market to Ottawa this winter. CBC reports that for the past few months, the students have been creating a prototype for a market stall they would like to see installed in the city’s ByWard Market area for four weeks leading up to Christmas. Entrepreneur Carine Basiala with Maka Events said she came up with the idea when she was living in Manchester, England. “We want to foster that kind of enthusiasm and that magical spirit,” explained Basiala. “I think it's just another event [to get] families outside and have kids away from iPads, and just kind of really connect with each other and spent time.” CBC

TRU strengthens Mexican ties with new MOU

Thompson Rivers University has strengthened its relationship with one of Mexico’s growing universities after signing a memorandum of understanding that could pave the way for enhanced program and training offerings at both institutions. The MOU agreement with Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero in Mexico builds on a Protocol of Cooperation signed in 2015 that has led to new opportunities for both parties, including faculty visits in the School of Education at both institutions, speaking engagements at a conference and workshops at UAGro, and UAGro student participation in TRU’s Language and Culture Program. “We look forward to solidifying program plans and providing new educational opportunities for students in both Mexico and Canada,” said TRU Associate Vice President, International Baihua Chadwick. TRU

UQAC, Rio Tinto announce two partnerships

The Université du Québec à Chicoutimi and Rio Tinto have announced the renewal of two partnerships worth $4M over five years. The first partnership will support research focused on metallurgy, as well as the training of metallurgists and engineers for the aluminum industry. The second partnership will support research that aims to improve the control of greenhouse gas emissions from aluminum production. UQAC Rector Nicole Bouchard added that the projects will help the university contribute to the competitiveness of local organizations as well as providing training opportunities for graduate students. UQAC