Top Ten

January 25, 2019

SAIT Students' Association raises $10M for proposed student centre

The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology Students’ Association will invest $10M in a new student centre. According to the Calgary Herald, funding for the project began in the 2007-08 academic year, when the student union held a vote to determine if students would agree to a $120 per-year fee to support a student facility. SAIT is awaiting final approval for a $25M loan from the province before it begins construction, but SAIT President David Ross took note of the students’ sizable contribution to the project. “It is just not very typical, but I think it speaks to the maturity, I think it speaks to the vision,” he said. Calgary Herald

WLU moves forward with Milton campus

Wilfrid Laurier University will move forward with its plans to build a campus in Milton, Ontario. “We are all ready to move forward, Laurier is not going away,” said Milton Mayor Gord Krantz. “They are already here and growing in our community.” A release states that WLU has been working with private sector investors and community partners to pursue alternative financial support for the Milton campus after the provincial government cancelled funding in 2018. The project consists of two phases: Phase One, which is underway, will introduce degree and non-degree programming to Milton’s MEV Innovation Centre in Winter 2020; in Phase Two, WLU will develop MEV lands and produce a campus master plan. InHalton | Town of Milton

Kim: Making peace with the difficulties of alt-ac work

One of the greatest challenges that alt-ac professionals face is the fusion of one’s job with one’s identity, writes Joshua Kim. The author notes that while this fusion occurs throughout a PhD program and continues among traditional academics, it finds little to no support in vaguely defined alt-ac career paths. PhD student are not only taught the skills of their discipline, Kim notes, but are socialized into the norms, values, hierarchies, prejudices, and language of the discipline, which makes the transition into a non-academic or alt-ac career much more difficult than it would be, had they not attended graduate school. For Kim, surviving and thriving as an alt-ac professional means making peace with these difficult challenges. Inside Higher Ed


McGill researchers to take part in $34M cancer research initiative

A multinational team that includes researchers from McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine and the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre has received £20M—or approximately $34M—for a project that investigates treatment options for cancer patients who suffer from chronic inflammation. “I am thrilled to be part of this world-class cancer research hub, along with colleagues from the RI-MUHC and McGill,” said McGill David S Mulder Chair in Surgery Lorenzo Ferri. “This grant will allow us to examine cancer from a different angle. “A McGill release adds that the research team will focus on chronic inflammation in patients that suffer from cancers of the esophagus, lungs, stomach, and colon. McGill


Argument for ON French university not just fiscal: Jedwab

Rejecting a French university in Ontario is tantamount to banning English-language universities in Quebec while expecting anglophones to take English courses in Francophone institutions, argues Jack Jedwab. Using francophone populations in Manitoba and New Brunswick—both of which have francophone institutions—as baselines for comparison, Jedwab also rebuts the argument that ON does not have a large enough francophone population to merit a French university. The author adds that the argument against a francophone university in ON is not just fiscal, but ideological; according to Jedwab, a French institution would reflect the historical struggle of ON francophones to expand French-language education in the province and the country. Ottawa Citizen


UNB faculty critical of secrecy around new president

Some faculty at the University of New Brunswick have raised concerns about the lack of transparency around its new president, reports CBC. UNB’s Board of Governors and Senate have chosen a replacement for outgoing President Eddie Campbell, but the name will not be public knowledge until the decision goes through the NB Premier. History Professor Greg Marquis told CBC that the university should have held a town hall to give the candidates an opportunity to meet with the community. UNB Board of Governors Chair Larry Hachey stated that the school has held public consultations in the past, but they are not required to do so under the UNB Act. CBC


UNBC, Rio Tinto partner to support students and research

The University of Northern British Columbia and Rio Tinto have announced that they are partnering to support students and grow the region’s capacity for education and research. Rio Tinto is contributing $450K over three years to support programs at the institution that are in areas of mutual interest and value. The parties will focus on research and analysis of the socioeconomic state within the Nechako Watershed region. Students will have the opportunity to be involved in hands-on research programs, as well as internships and co-operative placements with Rio Tinto. UNBC | Prince George Citizen


O’Meara: Third spaces can transgress hierarchies in higher ed

KerryAnn O’Meara writes about the importance of “third spaces,” places outside of both home and work where people interact. According to the author, third spaces in the context of the university can provide reprieve from the norms, logics, and assumptions that make people feel isolated with its hierarchy. O’Meara goes on to describe her experiences with third spaces for minority groups and graduate students. “Well-crafted third spaces allow members to breathe and reimagine another way to be an academic, teach, pursue a research agenda and balance work and life,” she concludes. Inside Higher Ed


UoGuelph announces effort to reduce carbon footprint, but does not divest from fossil fuels

The University of Guelph's Board of Governors has voted to reduce its endowment fund’s carbon footprint by 10% over the next two years. However, CBC reports that the plan will not include divestment from fossil fuels, which has raised an outcry from students and local environmental groups. Instead, UoGuelph states that it will establish a baseline carbon-footprint and Environmental, Social, and Governance score for its endowment investments, with the intention of improving the fund’s ESG rating over the next two years. UoGuelph VP of Finance, Administration, and Risk called the proposed 10% reduction an aggressive target, but acknowledged the students’ dissatisfaction. UoGuelph | CBC


US phishing scheme preys on instructors’ desire to please their deans

Faculty members at more than a dozen US universities have been targeted in a phishing scam in which fake email accounts pose as deans and department chairs asking professors to purchase and send photos of gift cards for popular online retailers. The scammers often tell the targeted professor that they are “in a meeting” and promise to reimburse the professor for the gift cards, which the fake dean or chair requires for a friend or relative’s birthday. While many professors have found the request odd, they note that the possibility of professors falling for the scam show how the power dynamics of academe might lead professors to entertain sometimes inappropriate requests from their deans or chairs. Chronicle