Top Ten

February 6, 2019

Shaming of sexual assault survivor triggered brawl between StFX, Acadia hockey teams say coach, player

A player and the head coach of the St Francis Xavier University X-Men hockey team say that a bench-clearing brawl between their team and the Acadia University Axemen this week was triggered when a player on the Axemen shamed a sexual assault survivor. Sam Studnicka, the StFx player, said he told Coach Brian Peddle about the opposing player’s comments, and that Peddle reported the exchange to officials. CBC reports that the opposing player was sent to the faceoff circle against Studnicka moments later. The donnybrook started soon after. Peddle told CBC that he does not approve of fighting in the game, but added that he was proud of how the team rallied around Studnicka. Both Acadia and StFX are working with Atlantic University Sport to investigate the incident. CBC (NS)

Strike unlikely, but contingency plan in place: USask admin

As the deadlock over pensions between the University of Saskatchewan and the union that represents its support workers continues, administrators say that the university has contingency plans in place should CUPE 1975 call a strike. The Saskatoon StarPhoenix states that CUPE 1975 represents a wide range of support workers on campus, some of whom are students. In an email to students, USask Vice-Provost Patti McDougall said that any students who might be concerned about crossing picket lines to attend classes should talk to their supervisor, but added that students are responsible for their academic attendance. USask Spokesman Gord Hunchak noted that if a tribunal rules that the university is a public employer, the matter of essential services must be resolved before the union may legally strike. StarPhoenix (SK)

Colleges and polytechnics crucial for Canadian innovation: Watts-Rynard, Amyot

Although colleges and polytechnics host some of Canada’s most significant advances in research and innovation, they tend to fly under the radar, write Sarah Watts-Rynard and Denise Amyot. According to the authors, federal grants allocated for polytechnics and colleges only account for 3% of total government spending on PSE. Despite the limited funding, however, these institutions have developed nearly 7,000 research partnerships with private, public, and non-profit sector organizations. Wynatts-Rynard and Amyot conclude that greater government investment would “boost business innovation and growth, with beneficiaries in small towns and urban centres in every corner of Canada.” Troy Media (National)

Diplomatic tensions could negatively affect AB universities’ Chinese partnerships, enrolments

Diplomatic tensions between China and Canada have raised questions about the potential impacts on funding arrangements and Chinese student enrolments at Alberta universities, reports CBC. The University of Alberta is involved in 170 agreements with Chinese companies and organizations that cover research, student and faculty exchanges, scholarships, and space-sharing. The University of Calgary, meanwhile, has 22 research agreements with China that are worth a combined total of $5.29M. UAlberta VP Research Matthias Ruth told CBC that those arrangements could be impacted if the federal government severs ties with Huawei following the arrest of CFO Meng Wanzhou. Gordon Houlden, Director of UAlberta’s China Institute, said that it does not currently appear as though China is discouraging students from studying in Canada amidst tension between the two countries. CBC (AB)

Social media an “extension of the podium” for university presidents: Study

A study carried out between 2017 and 2018 has found that Canadian university presidents’ social media use is perceived to carry risks and rewards in building relationships with students and alumni, traditional media, other institutions, and government. Anqi Shen reports that the study included 11 anonymized interviews with leaders from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Nova Scotia. Jane Antoniak, the study’s author, noted that all of the leaders she interviewed said that they used social media as a way to engage stakeholders in the community, but that they preferred to move conversations offline. As a result, Antoniak found that the social media communication itself tended to  consist of one-way communications – “an extension of the podium.” University Affairs (National)

OPSEU looks to ratify agreement for ON support staff

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union reports that it has reached a tentative agreement for part-time support staff at Ontario colleges. “Our members will no longer have their lives turned upside down because of chaotic scheduling. They’ll have rules surrounding job security, and they’ll know that OPSEU/NUPGE will support them if they’re unfairly treated on the job,” said OPSEU President Smokey Thomas. “All of us at OPSEU/NUPGE are thrilled that we’ve taken a major step in making Ontario a better place for thousands of hard-working people.” A release states that the specifics of the deal will be made public after union members ratify the agreement. OPSEU (ON)

CNA, Anaconda mining look to strike gold in NL

The College of the North Atlantic is collaborating with Anaconda Mining on a gold exploration project in Newfoundland's Baie Verte Peninsula. A CNA release states that student interns will perform a feasibility study, map sediment thickness, and perform laboratory tests as the partners seek cost-effective mining processes to extract gold from the area. “The challenge is to find a technology that’s appropriate for the environment,” said Michael Long, CNA’s Associate VP of Applied Research and Innovation. “The operations require a smaller-scale technology that’s less invasive, yet economically feasible for a company to use. The site has to be assessed before you decide on the kind of technology to deploy.” CNA (NL)

New Paramedic Diploma program keeps Keyano students close to home

Keyano College has announced that it will introduce an Advanced Care Paramedic Diploma this month. A Keyano release states that the program will be delivered in a blended format and prepare students to write the Alberta College of Paramedics regulation exam. “We’re very excited to be able to launch this program now,” said Keyano's Vice President Academic Fred Russell. “This two-year, advanced care level diploma program is needed in this area, and will give students the opportunity to remain in the Wood Buffalo region for the majority of their education.” Keyano adds that it will continue to offer its Primary Care Paramedic certificate program. Keyano (AB)

Mintz: The value of liberal arts in an era of credentialing

The debates around liberal education and credentialing have produced valid critiques on both sides, but the question of how these two approaches might be synthesized deserves closer investigation, writes Steven Mintz. The author begins with a brief overview of credentialing as an education model that responds to both job market needs and the diverse class and racial demographics it can serve. He adds that while credentialing teaches a given skillset, important dimensions of advanced education typically associated with the liberal arts, such as faculty-implemented course design and emphasis on written and spoken communication, risk falling by the wayside. Mintz concludes that these two approaches do not need to be mutually exclusive. Inside Higher Ed (International)

LGBTQ students lobby for access to NS bursary program

CBC has learned that the Nova Scotia government will broaden the eligibility parameters for a bursary meant to promote diversity after staff and students at Mount Saint Vincent University voiced concerns that it excluded LGBTQ students. The Communications Nova Scotia bursary offers $1K to public relations, journalism, or photography students who are either Indigenous, black, or from any other visible minority; have disabilities; or who speak French as a first language. Communications Nova Scotia said it will extend this year’s deadline and open it to more applicants, and that it will revisit its eligibility criteria for the future. CBC (NS)