Top Ten

December 6, 2018

McMaster receives $3.4M to study how parenting can prevent violence

McMaster University has received $3.4M from the Government of Canada to study the effectiveness of the Positive Parenting Program. The Triple P program is a public health program that aims to decrease behavioural and emotional problems in children, while also increasing parents’ knowledge, skills, and confidence. The funding is part of the federal government’s $187M, five-year strategy to prevent and address gender-based violence. Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor stated that violence is a learned behavior and that early intervention is key to ensuring violence-free homes and preventing youth dating violence. Global News (ON)

Top scientists pen letter urging government to pay more attention to climate science

Three of Canada’s top environmental scientists have penned a letter urging the federal government to take climate science more seriously, reports the Saskatoon Star Phoenix.  William Peltier, head of the University of Toronto’s Centre for Global Change Science; John Smol, a Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change at Queen’s University; and David Schindler, Prominent Ecologist and Professor Emeritus at the University of Alberta, state that the “overall effect [of climate change] on the economy and the environment will be as devastating as a slow-moving international war.” The letter also calls on scientists to better educate laypeople about climate change, a move that it says might seem counterintuitive in a discipline founded on neutrality and which values technical publications over public engagement. Saskatoon StarPhoenix (National)

UCalgary celebrates transfer of 19,000-acre ranch, plans to create "living laboratory" 

The University of Calgary has officially received WA Ranches at the University of Calgary, a 19,000-acre living laboratory and classroom, from JC Anderson and Wynne Chisholme. “One goal for our activities is to carry out research to improve management practices for ranchers,” explained Ed Pajor, the inaugural director of the ranch, “and we want to develop academic programming for our DVM students so we graduate better veterinarians in the long run, with more hands-on experience in cow-calf and beef cattle care.” In addition to the learning opportunities for students, UCVM Associate Dean of Research Hermann Schaetzl added that the ranch will provide substantial research opportunities for UCalgary faculty from several disciplines. UCalgary  (AB)

QC researchers investigate relationship between state regulation and AI

The École nationale d’administration publique has officially launched the Observatoire international sur les impacts sociétaux de l'intelligence artificielle et du numérique. Led by Lise Langlois, Director of the Institute of Applied Ethics at Laval Université, OIISIAN studies the potential impacts of Artificial Intelligence. According to a release, the research team will investigate three key connections between AI and the state: how AI transforms how states organize themselves; processes behind state regulatory mechanisms; and the linkage between state transformations and ethics. The release adds that OIISIAN will bring together over 160 researchers from QC, and that les trois Fonds de recherche du Québec will contribute $1.5M to the initiative over a five-year period. UQuébec (QC)

New study investigates side-effects of performance funding

A new report out of the US finds that performance-based funding, which allocates money to public institutions based on student outcomes rather than enrolments, does not improve degree completions or graduation rates. The research also found that while performance-based funding incentivized schools to pay more attention to completion goals and institutional performance, some colleges exploited the fact that the policy did not differentiate between types of certification. Consequently, short-term certificates skyrocketed at the expense of two-year degrees. Furthermore, the researcher discovered that the funding model prompted some schools to aggressively target high school students with higher GPAs, which can further marginalize students from at-risk populations who might already have difficulty accessing post-secondary education. Campus Technology (International)

WLU introduces new tool for experiential learners

Wilfrid Laurier University has introduced the Laurier Experience Record, an online tool that helps students track their skills development in curricular and co-curricular activities. According to the Waterloo Region Record, the tool provides students with the means to organize all of their experiential learning in a single document. “Co-op is often the first thing that comes to mind when we say ‘experiential,’ but it’s important to realize that co-op represents one of hundreds of opportunities for us to connect students to engaging experiences that may help shape their future,” said Jan Basso, Assistant VP of Experiential Learning and Career Development. The Record adds that WLU will soon launch a new facility for community and workplace partnerships. Waterloo Region Record (ON)

Smith School of Business launches Global Master of Management Analytics

The Smith School of Business at Queen’s University has official launched its Global Master of Management Analytics. A Queen’s release notes that the program will offer world-class business strategy and data analytics education by building on the success of the Toronto-based Master of Management Analytics, which blends virtual team-based learning with immersive international residential sessions in Toronto, Europe, and Asia. “The smart management of data is the next revolution in business,” says Yuri Levin, Smith’s Executive Director, Analytics and AI. “Teaching our students how to unleash the potential of data as part of a business strategy gives them and the organizations they represent a competitive advantage.” Queen's (ON)

SoTL still struggling to captivate research community: Bortolin

Despite the fact that conferences and journals support the scholarship of teaching and learning, it remains a periphery discipline, writes Kathleen Bortolin. The author finds that part of the difficulty lies with the fact that SoTL practitioners tend to be located in teaching-intensive universities. While the notion of research on teaching seems like something of a no-brainer, Bortolin states, the limited research capacity of teaching universities can also make it difficult to implement. Bortolin concludes that the solution to this quandary remains unclear, and that faculty have been further burdened to renew their focus on mental health issues in the context of pedagogy. University Affairs (National)

UMontréal receives backlash for course taught in English

Marie-Victorin MP Catherine Fournier has denounced the Université de Montréal for its approach to language in the classroom. The denouncement comes as a response to a recent open letter in La Presse + by UMontréal Master’s student Stéphanie Codsi, who wrote about her experiences with course lectures, course materials, and course presentations in which English appeared to take precedence over French.  Fournier described the letter as concerning and called on the ministers responsible for French Language and Higher Education to investigate UMontréal’s application of its language policies. UMontréal has said that it is sorry for the situation experienced by the student and added that its policies stipulate that French is the language of instruction at the undergraduate level, as well as the typical language for instruction at other levels. La Presse + | La Presse (QC)

StFX welcomes two new Canada Research Chairs

St Francis Xavier University has welcomed two new Canada Research Chairs in Digital Humanities and New Media and Health Equity and Social Justice. A StFX release states that each chair will receive $500K annually, plus a stipend of $20K. According to StFX, Katie Aubrecht will establish the Intersectional Disability Studies Research Lab, an initiative to improve mental health care for diverse populations in the Atlantic, and that Laura Estill will advance pedagogical research in the digital humanities. “We are fortunate to have attracted Dr. Aubrecht and Dr. Estill, two exceptionally talented early career scholars to StFX as Canada Research Chairs,” said StFX Associate VP, Research and Graduate Studies Richard Isnor. StFX (NS)