Top Ten

January 9, 2019

UAlberta to support digitization of priceless Indigenous cultural materials

A roomful of old interviews, music, and movies has turned out to be a treasure trove of Indigenous culture and language, reports CBC, and the man who saved this treasure is now working with the University of Alberta's Institute for Sound Studies to ensure that they are properly preserved and studied. Photographer Bert Crowfoot originally bought the materials from a now-defunct Indigenous cultural organization for one dollar decades ago, and is now working with UAlberta to turn the materials into a searchable digital archive. Known as “Digitizing the Ancestors,” the project will work to convert an estimated 2,000 reel-to-reel audio tapes and about 1,000 reels of 16-mm film to digital format. “Stories are important, images are important. It's a way of preserving and reviving our culture,” said Crowfoot, who notes that other Indigenous communities are already looking to “Digitizing the Ancestors” as a model for cultural preservation.


YorkU transit situation is one of “pay double, or walk”: NDP Transit Critic

“This week, a transit cut at York University kicks in, making things a little worse and more expensive for thousands of York U students, faculty and staff,” writes Ontario NDP Transit Critic Jessica Bell. Bell notes that while it took 10 years for the Toronto subway extension to reach YorkU, a failure to integrate the subway route with existing buses means that York Region buses that used to travel to the centre of the YorkU campus no longer do so. Students from the university have also expressed frustration with the change, while Star columnist Ed Keenan writes that the situation marks a failure of cooperation between municipal and provincial governments.

The Star (Bell) | The Star (Students) | The Star (Keenan)

New Order of Canada appointments include faculty, senior admin, researchers

The Governor General of Canada has announced 103 appointments to the Order of Canada that include numerous members of the Canadian post-secondary community. The appointments include Leroy Little Bear, founder of the University of Lethbridge’s Department of Native American Studies; Shirley Cheechoo, the chancellor of Brock University; former University of Calgary chancellor Joanne Cuthbertson; University of Toronto faculty members James Arthur, Geoffrey Hinton, Mary L’Abbé, Levente Diosady, Pekka Sinervo, Arthur Slutsky, and Alexandra F Johnston; Queen’s University professor Heather Stuart; Simon Fraser University President Andrew Petter; and several others. The Government of Canada states that the Order honours people “whose service shapes our society; whose innovations ignite our imaginations; and whose compassion unites our communities.”

Newswire | Fort MacLeod Gazette (Little Bear) | St Catherines Standard (Cheechoo) | U of T | The Whig (Queen’s) | SFU (Petter)

International popularity of Canadian MBA programs part of a long-term trend: experts

Canada’s MBA programs are faring well in a time of global uncertainty, reports Maclean’s. The publication notes that between 2017 and 2018, Canadian faculties saw a 7.7% increase in applications, while applications to US schools fell by 6.6%. While many attribute this shift to the political climate in the US, Maclean’s reports that the trend is long-term and connected to various other factors, including the cost of education and students’ aversion to debt. “What we’re seeing is a long-term trend, which is declining interest from students across the world to study at business schools in the U.S.,” said Sangeet Chowfla, president of the Graduate Management Admissions Council.


ACC waives application fee for mature students

Assiniboine Community College has announced that they are waiving the application fee for mature students in order to make post-secondary education more accessible. The removal of the cost comes after a two-year trial period that was supported by the Assiniboine Community College Foundation. “It’s a good thing, in terms of making the classes affordable and accessible to mature students who want to get their high school credential or upgrade so they can take a post-secondary program,” said Kate Pelletier, Dean of Trades, Technology and Access Programs. The Brandon Sun adds that students in the Mature Student High School program are only charged minimal course fees to attend, and that students who have not completed a high school diploma may take up to eight courses tuition-free.

Brandon Sun

US researchers impacted by third-longest federal government shutdown in history

Researchers in the United States who rely on national agencies such as the National Science Foundation for grant funding and other supports are being impacted by the federal shutdown in the country, reports Campus Technology. “While our universities and researchers do receive some funding from non-U.S. government sources,” explained Jennifer Poulakidas of the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, “the overwhelming majority of the funding that our scientists compete for and receive is from the federal government.” In addition to the halt of research funding, Inside Higher Ed reports that the prolonged shutdown has paused peer-review committees, disrupted travel and conference plans, stalled collaborations, and reduced data availability.

Campus Technology | Inside Higher Ed

Carleton receives three-star SPE Certification

Carleton University’s student dining hall has earned the first three-star SPE Certification to be awarded to a Canadian post-secondary institution. Carleton states that SPE Certification is a food service industry standard that investigates operational priorities, product sourcing, menu offerings, preparation techniques, environmental stewardship programs, and more. “The SPE certification is a rigorous, third-party process that requires institutions to demonstrate their commitment to providing healthy food – through purchasing, preparation, and choices – in their dining halls,” said Holly Sharpe, a registered dietitian with Carleton Dining Services. “By achieving three-star certification in the caf – the highest certification possible – Carleton has shown that we are operating at a gold standard.”


CEGEP graduation rate continues to decline among men

The Journal de Montréal reports that the graduation rate for men from CEGEPs has declined steadily from 57.6% to 55.9% over the last six years, while women have seen a slight rise in recent cohorts. Michel Perron of the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi stated that while enrollment in CEGEPs has increased by almost 20% in recent years, it is important to ask why CEGEPs are failing to graduate more students. The Journal notes that a survey of new CEGEP students conducted by the Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec (FECQ) found that men are more indecisive than women about their future career (49% vs 44%), are less likely to have an average above 85% in high school (19% vs 27%), and were less likely to complete all of their courses in their first session (62% vs 72%).

Journal de Montréal

Diversity and equity initiatives, goals require re-examination over time: Flier

“As biases and barriers diminish, programs that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion continue to grow, professionalize, and gain influence,” writes Jeffrey Flier. “In the process, fresh issues arise.” Flier writes about the importance of fostering diversity and equity in post-secondary institutions, while criticizing well-intentioned initiatives that he argues can open the door to political influence, encourage censorship, or create confusion and controversy. Flier argues that the sector must review diversity and equity principles and programs, engage in open and honest community dialogue about these initiatives, and ensure alignment with clearly articulated goals in order to avoid stalling the progress of recent decades and undermining the fundamental values of the academy. 

Chronicle of Higher Education  

Ford right to cancel funding for Francophone university in the GTA: Shaver

Ontario Premier Doug Ford was right to rethink the creation of a Francophone university in the GTA, writes Charles S Shaver for the Sudbury Star. Shaver notes that the “start-up” government funding cost of the new university was slated to be $83.5M over 10 years, with the federal government paying half. However, Shaver cites statistics showing that existing French-language university programs in ON already have trouble attracting students. “The question is whether we really need another French university, especially in the GTA, with high living costs and few French students in the immediate vicinity?” Shaver adds.

Sudbury Star