Top Ten

February 22, 2019

McMaster students demand investigation of possible Chinese interference after campus incidents

Student groups at McMaster University are calling on the federal government to investigate China’s potential involvement in two recent cases of student bullying and harassment, reports the Hamilton Spectator. The two incidents involved an online trolling campaign against Chemi Lhamo, a Tibetan-Canadian woman recently elected as student union President at the University of Toronto Scarborough, and a talk by Rukiye Turdush, former president of the Uyghur Canadian Society, which was interrupted by Chinese students. The Vancouver Sun states that both the government and McMaster have yet to respond to the call for an investigation, but Brock University professor and former Canadian diplomat Charles Burton said that any involvement by the Chinese government in these incidents would be “quite problematic.” Hamilton Spectator(1) |Hamilton Spectator(2) |Vancouver Sun (ON)

Youth with mental health and neurological conditions less likely to attend post-secondary: StatsCan

A new study from Statistics Canada has found that youth with a neurodevelopmental (NDC) or a mental health condition (MHC) are much less likely to enrol in post-secondary education than those with neither of these conditions. The sample consisted of youths between 7 and 15 years of age in 2000-01 who were followed until they turned 21-22. According to the study, 10% of the sample lived with either an NDC or MHC, with 61% of the sample composed of males. 60% of youth with an NDC and just under half with an MHC enrolled in post-secondary, while only 36% of youth with both conditions did so. The study adds that parents of youth with an NDC tend to have comparatively lower expectations for their child’s educational attainment. StatsCan (National)

Warner: Debunking the “meaningless rhetoric of the demands of the 21st century”

In a deft challenge to the de rigueur assumption that the 21st century demands post-secondary educators to rethink pedagogy, John Warner argues that a good deal of the prescribed methods and techniques under this banner in fact hinder student success. The author makes a distinction between teaching skills and teaching students how to think, suggesting that although the latter can better equip the future labour force to navigate the vagaries of the current job market, researchers of teaching and learning risk overemphasizing the former. Skills training, Warner adds, always carries an expiry date, while learning to think gives students the intellectual malleability to better adjust to the 21st century’s ever-changing professional landscape. Inside Higher Ed (International)

UBC launches task force to change medical school culture, prevent harassment

The University of British Columbia has launched a task force to address mistreatment and harassment of medical students. A recent reportby the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada indicated that UBC students are more likely than the national average to report experiencing sexist or harassing remarks, uninvited touching, and sexual assaults by peers, patients, and faculty. “We aren’t unique or isolated with these concerns,” said Deborah Money, Executive Vice-Dean of the UBC Medical School, “but we are obviously not happy to see these high reported rates so it’s launched a number of different initiatives.” The Province (BC)

MOU between UCalgary, California universities reflects abundance of “synergy and opportunities”

The University of Calgary has signed Memoranda of Understanding with the University of California Davis, University of California Irvine, and University of California Los Angeles. According to a UCalgary release, numerous faculty in areas as diverse as medicine, solar and wind energy, chemistry, philosophy, and political science are jointly publishing with academics in the UC system. “Building on many existing research and education collaborations and common interests, such MOUs create an institutional framework that drives greater collaboration between our universities,” said Janaka Ruwanpura, Vice-Provost, International at UCalgary. The release adds that collaborations between UCalgary and US institutions have produced almost 7,000 joint publications over the last five years. UCalgary (AB)

Partnership sees Canadore provide Indigenous training to local police

Canadore College and the North Bay Police Service have announced a strategic alliance to enhance and support the Anishinabek community. The four-year agreement will see the college certify several NBPS officers as Walk a Mile cultural awareness trainers, co-facilitate education sessions, and offer additional certifications for staff and first responders. The NBPS will also work with the college to provide interprofessional simulation expertise, knowledge, and perspective to reinforce learning within Canadore’s School of Community Justice and Police Studies. “The college has been delivering culturally respectful and holistic Indigenous education for well over 30 years and this partnership will strengthen our communities for years to come,” said Canadore Vice-President of Enrolment Management, Indigenous, and Student Services Shawn Chorney. Nation Talk |North Bay Nugget (ON)

Canadian government unveils draft Athena SWAN charter

Federal Minister of Science and Sport Kristy Duncan has unveiled a draft version of the Canadian Athena SWAN Charter, which aims for parity in STEM disciplines for underrepresented groups. Anqi Shen reports that the voluntary charter has expanded in scope since its introduction in the UK, where it sought to better represent women in STEM. “Unconsciously or not, there was always a tendency to talk about women and the ‘other’ equity groups so that racialized minorities, Indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities were seen as other, often unnamed,” said UAlberta professor Malinda Smith, adding that Canada’s Athena Swan Charter also takes LGBTQ groups into account. The program is expected to launch this summer. University Affairs Draft Charter (PDF) (National)

Yukon launches front-line program for Indigenous education and employment personnel

Yukon College has announced a new program that will train students to take on front-line roles within First Nations education departments and other organizations in YT and Northern Canada. A Yukon release states that the President’s Advisory Council on First Nations Initiatives and a working group featuring representatives from Vuntut Gwichin, Champagne Aishihik First Nations, Ta’an Kwäch’än Council, and Kwanlin Dün First Nation provided input for the program, and that it will cover topics in case management, project management and event planning, communication, professionalism and ethics, wellness and self-care, and computer and office fundamentals. Yukon (YK)

Record enrolments affirm Canada’s reputation as top destination for international students

New data from the Canadian Bureau for International Education shows that international student enrolments rose 16% from 2017 to 2018, following a 20% increase from the year before. “The new data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada clearly demonstrate the continuing attractiveness of Canada as a study destination,” said CBIE President Larissa Bezo. “Our research shows that international students choose Canada because of the quality of the Canadian education system and our reputation as a safe and tolerant country.” The report adds that India has eclipsed China as the leading country of origin for international students, with Indian student numbers skyrocketing by 40%. Chinese enrolments increased by 2%, while enrolments from South Korea saw a 3% boost. Inside Higher Ed CBIE (National)

ON universities limit homecoming games to two weekends to curb partying

Universities in Ontario will hold their homecoming football games on one of two weekends in order to curb unsanctioned student parties. “The idea was that by consolidating them, at least you wouldn’t have students travelling to the different homecoming events,” said OUA CEO Gord Grace. “There was no way we could put them all on one day.” Officials from multiple universities in ON met on Friday to discuss the common challenges and how different institutions are attempting to solve the issue. Wilfrid Laurier University Director of Communications Kevin Crowley stated that trying to shut down a party is not a viable option, as the issue is “far more complex” than many people realize. “It’s going to be a long game,” Crowley explained.