Top Ten

October 5, 2018

Canadian universities discuss Aung San Suu Kyi’s honorary doctorate degree status

Carleton University is considering stripping Myanmar’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, of her honorary degree, reports the Canadian Press. Questions about Kyi have arisen in light of her refusal to denounce Myanmar’s military for forcibly displacing hundreds of thousands of Rohingya. Steven Reid, a Carleton spokesperson, stated that a committee “will deliberate the issue and consider whether or not to make a recommendation to the university’s Senate on revoking the degree.” According to CP, Carleton has developed a policy for revoking honorary degrees if the actions of an honoree cause “significant concern.” The University of Toronto, Queen’s University, and Memorial University, who have also bestowed honorary degrees upon Kyi, have told the Canadian Press that they have no plans to revoke her honours. Montréal Gazette (CP)

UoGuelph OVC to benefit from nearly $5M

The University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College will benefit from nearly $5M raised at the annual Walk in the Park Gala. The funds will be used to support emergency medicine and critical care at OVC, as well as the expansion of the ICU.  “As pet lovers and caregivers, we know that the relationship we have with our veterinarian is one of the most important bonds we can develop to give our four-legged family members the healthiest life possible,” said event co-chair and philanthropist Emmanuelle Gattuso. “It is for this reason I am proud to support the Ontario Veterinary College and ensure we continue to have access to the very best in veterinary care close to home.” UoGuelph | Guelph Mercury

Algonquin announces increased fees, reduced operations to close $25M shortfall

CBC reports that Algonquin College is raising its fees, implementing new fees, and reducing its hours of operation in order to close a $25M pay equity shortfall. CBC reports that the shortfall is due to Bill 148, which requires employers to pay part-time staff the same rates as full-timers. Algonquin Vice-President of Finance and Administration Duane McNair noted that it has been recruiting staff for lower wages than colleges located in more competitive markets. The college’s faculty union has called for a more detailed breakdown of the $25M shortfall and how the cost-cutting measures will address it. CBC

Consultations underway for a ‘made-in-Canada’ Athena SWAN program

The Government of Canada is interested in developing a Canadian version of the United Kingdom’s Athena SWAN program, reports University Affairs, and has begun consultations on how to best to do so. The Athena SWAN program is focused on advancing the careers of women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The program allows members who sign a charter to apply for a bronze, silver, or gold award at the institutional or departmental level, committing them to a set of gender equity principles. Canada is reportedly looking to launch a pilot project in early 2019, with NSERC taking the lead on the new project. University Affairs

USask CUPE Local 1975 approves strike mandate

Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 1975, which represents approximately 1,900 support workers at the University of Saskatchewan, has voted to approve a strike mandate. The Saskatoon StarPhoenix reports that the union’s members, who work in clerical, administrative, and various other positions have been without a contract since December 2015. The Star Phoenix reports that a threat from USask to make unilateral cuts to its members’ pension plan is the “main sticking point” in the negotiations. “While we understand that CUPE has received a strike mandate from their members, it remains our goal to reach an agreement through the collective bargaining process,” said USask spokesman Gord Hunchak. The Star Phoenix

Seneca opens Odeyto centre

Seneca College has officially opened its new Indigenous centre at its Newnham campus. The multipurpose space is named after the Anishnaabe word “Odeyto,” which means “the Good Journey”. The centre features an office space, a computer lab, a kitchen and dedicated space for Indigenous elders.“The structure looks like a canoe resting on its side and the curvature of the roof mimics the position of the sun on June 21, the annual National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada,” explained Seneca associate dean of student services and Indigenous education Mark Solomon, “A neon sign created by the Cree visual artist Joi Arcand is among the Indigenized features inside Odeyto. It’s truly a home for our Indigenous students.”

MUN launches student-managed The Fund

Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Faculty of Business has launched The Fund, a student-managed investment fund. The Fund was made possible by $200K in donations from two MUN alumni to establish the White Trading Lab, where students in the faculty of business can use technology that provides real-time access to global market information. “We're going to make sure that everything is good. We're not going to be negligent or screw up everything,” said MUN Economics student Hieu Nguyen, adding that students have access to a faculty advisors and industry mentors throughout the process. The Telegram

Fixing systems easier said than done: Reed

While the notion of fixing “systems, not people” sounds like an easy point for PSE reformers to rally behind, these discussions tend to “fall flat for a few interconnected reasons,” states Matt Reed. Reed points to a number of issues, including the inability to see systems fully and clearly and the failure to understand that organizations are more than the sum of their parts. Reed concludes that putting a line like “fix systems, not people” into practice is difficult, but is “probably our best hope.” Inside Higher Ed

MHC receives recognition for licensed CNGVI certification program

Medicine Hat College has been recognized as the only licensed post-secondary institution in the province to offer a compressed natural gas inspection certification. “We have already trained individuals from throughout Alberta, including workers with the City of Medicine Hat,” explained MHC Dean of Trades and Technology Dennis Beaudoin. “However, the opportunity goes beyond Alberta. In Western Canada, besides Vancouver Community College,we are the only institute currently recognized by Alberta Municipal Affairs  that is huge and we are very excited about that.” Beaudoin noted that there is a growing interest in the area of CNG and Liquified Natural Gas. MHC

Demotion methods “murky” in a world focused on tenure: Kafka

Sanctions, demotions, and firings are a murky and rarely public matter, writes Alexander C. Kafka,and the path through them varies broadly by institution. Kafka describes how some institutions rely on disciplinary committees, while others rely solely on a provosts or other senior administrator. “Even when union grievance procedures or faculty handbooks codify the processes,” he writes, “administrators have a lot of leeway.” Kafka goes on to highlight a number of high-profile cases at institutions in the US and how these cases were managed. Chronicle of Higher Education