Top Ten

December 20, 2018

Teachers critical of new free speech policy

A new free speech policy developed by Ontario’s 24 colleges is drawing criticism from teacher and faculty unions, reports the Kingston Whig-Standard. R.M. Kennedy, College Faculty Executive Chair of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, said that college administrators should have solicited input from faculty before drafting the policy. David Robinson, Executive Director of CAUT, added that the policy statement potentially threatens campus protests and demonstrations. “There’s absolutely no need for these policies, but at the very least colleges and universities should ensure that their statements don’t make matters worse. Including all stakeholders in the process of developing these statements is essential to meeting that goal,” Robinson said. Kingston Whig-Standard | CAUT

QC government offsets funding cut for five universities

Québec’s Education Minister, Jean-François Roberge, has announced that the Coalition Avenir Québec will give $7.5M to five universities. La Presse reports that the package partially offsets the previous government’s decision to eliminate $15M in funding for the Universities of Quebec in the Outaouais (UQO), Trois-Rivières (UQTR), Chicoutimi (UQAC), Rimouski (UQAR) and Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT). La Presse adds that the new government did not provide the full $15M because half of the fiscal year has already passed. La Presse

Ryerson pushes for law school despite funding rejection

Ryerson University says it will go ahead with plans to open a new law school after the provincial government rejected a key funding request. According to the Globe and Mail, the Progressive Conservative government told Ryerson that prospective students would not be eligible for the Ontario Student Assistance Program. Ryerson stated that it sought OSAP support because it will pitch the law school as an affordable alternative to programs at York University and the University of Toronto. The government claimed that a new law school is not in the interest of Ontarians, adding that there are too few positions in the province to justify more lawyers. Globe and Mail The Star


UManitoba opposes heritage designations

The University of Manitoba has formally objected to a proposal from the City of Winnipeg to designate three campus buildings under the city’s heritage bylaw, reports the Winnipeg Free Press. The university says that it has already committed to protecting and recognizing the buildings independently from the City. "They say in their own materials that any work they do would be sensitive to the character-defining heritage and architectural elements .... If I had to cut to the chase, I’d think the university just doesn’t want their hands tied," said Cindy Tugwell, Executive Director of Heritage Winnipeg. A university spokesperson did not respond when asked by the Free Press why UManitoba has refused the City’s proposal. Winnipeg Free Press

More funding for graduate students will boost Canada’s research potential: Lautens

As the “lifeblood” of laboratory research, graduate students need more support from universities, writes Mark Lautens. While acknowledging the federal government’s historic investment in science in this year’s budget, Lautens notes that graduate student funding remains constrained, with the average annual stipend ranging from $25-30K, minus tuition. Additionally, prestigious scholarships for select PhDs and postdoctoral fellows can limit research outputs; increased funding for more students who work in labs translates into potentially greater research outputs, the author reasons. “The point is not to support very few and pay them a small fortune, but rather to provide sufficient support to a broader cohort, large enough to create critical mass, that will move the needle,” states Lautens. Globe and Mail


SAIT to issue credentials to graduates via blockchain

The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology will issue credentials to its graduates via blockchain, making it the first postsecondary institution in Canada to do so, reports CBC. "There are more and more cases of fraudulent transcripts that post-secondaries are having to deal with," said SAIT registrar Neera Arora. "It's going to be totally secure just for their access." Daniel Duffy, SAIT's Chief Information Officer, added that employers and graduates will no longer have to request transcripts through the institution. CBC adds that the certificates will be issued via a partnership with the On-Demand Education Marketplace, an open-source platform. CBC


URegina recommits to reconciliation

CBC reports that the University of Regina has committed to five goals informed by the TRC’s calls to action:  treaty education; Indigenous knowledge; and educating staff, faculty and students on how they can engage reconciliation and promote knowledge of key elements within the TRC, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal People, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. CBC adds that the working group that drafted the guide has been working on a number of Indigenization and reconciliation initiatives, such as buying art from Indigenous artists, renaming streets and buildings, and working with chiefs in Treaty 4 and 6 territories. CBC


UCalgary announces new interdisciplinary centre

The University of Calgary has announced that it will develop a new Interdisciplinary Science and Innovation Centre. The building will provide a centralized facility for the environmental and life sciences on main campus, as well as spaces for programming and specialized research for numerous faculties, interdisciplinary learning, and entrepreneurial thinking. UCalgary states that the new building has been one of its highest-priority infrastructure projects for the past five years. The design and planning phase will begin in 2019. UCalgary

UWinnipeg opens cultural studies research centre

The University of Winnipeg has officially opened the Centre for Research in Cultural Studies (CRiCS) and re-opened the Centre for Research in Young People’s Texts and Culture. A release states that the two centres, located in UWinnipeg’s Centennial Hall, feature a collaborative research and knowledge mobilization lab, open workspaces for research assistants and research coordinators, new office spaces, resource area, and an interview and data management room. “Collaborative research space is critical given cultural studies’ commitment to interdisciplinarity and working with researchers from various other sectors and communities,” said CRiCS founding Director and Canada Research Chair Angela Faille. “It also helps us meet the goals of UWinnipeg’s 2016 – 2019 strategic plan.” Nation Talk


Humber signs partnership with leading sensor manufacturer

Humber College has inked a three-year partnership agreement with sensor manufacturer SICK. According to a release, SICK will provide sensor technologies and services worth $765K, training opportunities for Humber students, and a scholarship. “The workforce is continually changing,” said Craig S. Smith, President of SICK Ltd. Canada. “Partnering with Humber … gives us insight into student visionaries that will shape the future.” Humber adds that SICK is one of eight founding members of Humber’s Advanced Manufacturing Skills Consortium, a group of industry partners who work with the college to train students and employees of Canadian companies in Humber’s Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation. Humber