Top Ten

January 7, 2019

SFU partners with KPMG for new graduate program

Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business has partnered with KPMG to establish Digital University, which combines traditional MBA training with executive education. The Globe and Mail reports that 100 KPMG auditors will begin a nine-month graduate certificate in accounting with digital analytics in April. 40 participants from that cohort will go on to a second-year for a Master of Science in Accounting with cognitive analytics. Kristen Carscallen, KPMG’s Canadian Managing Partner, Audit, said that the firm chose to partner with SFU rather than outsource training to a third-party. “When we looked at [whether we] should develop it in-house or go external, we thought the highest quality learning would be with someone who does this every day,” said Carscallen. Globe and Mail (BC)

Canada must take action to protect scholars at risk around the world: Canadian professors

“Political, social and economic instability increasingly threaten scholarly work in laboratories and classrooms around the world,” write Canadian professors Melanie Adrian (Carleton), Viviana Fernandez (UOttawa), Nandini Ramanujam (McGill), and Anneke Smit (UWindsor). The authors note how recent decades have seen scholars from around the world become the targets of violence and discrimination, which has threatened their ability to publish, teach, and engage in public discourse. The authors further note that Canada must live up to its reputation as a global leader in the protection of human rights by committing to work with international networks like Scholars At Risk to protect academic freedom around the world. Globe and Mail (National)

Business schools begin foray into artificial intelligence

As business schools around the globe provide more introductory courses in blockchain, cryptocurrencies, BitCoin, and other new technologies, the Globe and Mail highlights how the ability to “speak” the language of these topics is in high demand. The article highlights courses that have been introduced at schools such as Queen’s University’s Smith School of Business, the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business, and the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business. “People aren’t really being trained, so we’re trying to address the dearth in the industry by training students in these areas,” stated Chris Rowell, who teaches an executive education course on blockchain at Sauder. UBC | Globe and Mail (National)

Cartwright evaluates strengths, weaknesses of the English major

Although English departments could benefit from some structural changes, the overall health of the discipline is not as dire as it sometimes appears, writes Kent Cartwright. The author suggests that departments could benefit from rethinking the historical requirement of the English major, and later discusses how they might better brand themselves. According to Cartwright, English departments have yet to make a clear distinction between a study of history that emphasizes contextual knowledge and the history of literature’s development within those contexts. A clearer methodology that acknowledges the tensions between these two streams of thought would justify the historical requirements of the English major, Cartwright argues. The author concludes by suggesting some possible pedagogical innovations to attract more students. Inside Higher Ed (International)

Brock professor returns to classroom after sexual harassment investigation

David Schimmelpennink, a Brock University professor who was disciplined after a sexual harassment complaint in 2014, will resume teaching after an absence of nearly three years, reports CBC. Brock said that its decision to let Schimmelpennink return to his duties was determined by the university’s Collective Agreement with its faculty, pending conditions. According to an email from Brock, Schimmelpennink “agreed to these conditions and has undertaken steps to meet them, including completing coaching for respectful workplace practices.” CBC says that an investigation determined the original incident “involved an unwelcome sexual advance, inappropriate and unwelcome physical touching, comments of a sexual nature, [and] a provocative comment attempting to arrange ongoing intimacy” with a female student. CBC (ON)

Preservation of Ojibwe language at heart of of USudbury introductory course

The University of Sudbury has introduced a course in Nishnaabemowin, the Ojibwe language spoken by Indigenous people around Lake Huron and Eastern Ontario, CBC reports. Mary Ann Corbiere, an Indigenous languages instructor from Wikiwemikong First Nation who is teaching the course, told CBC that she began preserving Nishnaabemowin in 1989. USudbury instructor Jessica Shonias added that the language is in danger of going extinct, as the last generation of native speakers is aging. “To me [UN's 2019 year of Indigenous Languages] is shedding a light on the urgency of Indigenous languages across Canada,” said Shonias. CBC (ON)

15 computers stolen from UVic over holidays

The Oak Bay Police are investigating the theft of 15 computers from the University of Victoria after responding to a break-and-enter call earlier this week, reports Victoria News. They determined that the crime occurred at UVic’s MacLaurin building between December 27th and 30th. Victoria News adds that the university’s campus was closed between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Deputy Chief Ray Bernoties states that, so far, there are no signs of a forced entry and is asking the public to keep an eye out for anyone selling a large quantity of computers online or in pawn shops. Victoria News | iHeart Radio (BC)

AB government reintroduces student employment program

The Alberta government has announced that it will accept applications for STEP—a work experience initiative for secondary and post-secondary students—through February of 2019. A release states that the program creates opportunities for students and local industry to build working relationships, adding that the government provides employers with a $7-per-hour wage subsidy. “The STEP program makes it possible to take on students to work in small businesses and public institutions that could not afford to hire them otherwise,” said Peter Wallis, President and Principal Scientist of Hyperion Research Ltd. The release adds that STEP was introduced in 2016. Nation Talk (AB)

Oshki-Wenjack Education Centre to provide skills training with mobile trailers

CBC reports that the Oshki-Wenjack Education Institute in Thunder Bay has acquired a new mobile trailer to provide skilled trades training for the 49 Nishnawbe Aski Nation communities in the north. “Our vision overall for these trailers is really to change the trend of industry of training our people just to be helpers,” said Institute Innovation and Training Coordinator Gordon Kakegamic, “and usually those types of jobs only last until the project is completed.” CBC adds that the program will include welding, carpentry, plumbing, electrical, mechanical and millwright training. CBC (ON)

Assessment a crucial component of critical thinking: historians

A paper by the Stanford History Education Group has found that history undergraduates are not developing critical thinking skills, reports Colleen Flaherty. In response to the paper, a panel at the American Historical Association conference has urged professors to implement formative, ongoing assessments to gauge student learning. The panel explained that such assessments could take the form of inviting students to engage with primary source documents, cultural symbols, historical sites, and debates between historians over interpretations of events or objects. Panelist Steven Mintz added that grade inflation only presses historians to ensure they “provide students with a more accurate measure of what they know, what they can do and how they compare to others.” Inside Higher Ed (International)