Top Ten

March 6, 2019

Gender-inclusive innovation front and centre for $1M project at Carleton

A group of interdisciplinary researchers at Carleton University has received over $1M to manage and coordinate calls for gender-inclusive technological design in STEAM disciplines from low- and middle-income countries. The Foundations for Innovation Program of the International Development Research Centre has provided the funds. According to a Carleton release, the project seeks to make the gendered challenges of technology design more visible to researchers while developing gendered case studies and design projects. The researchers will also distribute up to 30 small grants for building activities, with the expected research outputs to include up to 20 case studies and 10 design prototypes. Carleton adds that the project will also feature a Public Science portal of virtual exhibits. Carleton (ON)

Student advocates worried about dropout rates in the Maritimes

Student advocates in the Maritimes have expressed concerns about the region’s university dropout rate, reports CBC. According to a 2018 study by the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission, 31% of students entering Maritime universities dropped out. Tristan Bray, Executive Director of Students Nova Scotia, said that in addition to tuition costs, students face an array of social challenges that need to be addressed by institutions. “For many students it's the first time that they're living away from home, they're outside of their communities, they're outside of their support groups, and I think that universities across the province could do better to address those gaps,” said Tristan. CBC (NS)

Trump, easier citizenship steer Indian students to Canada

Students from India have supplanted Chinese students as the biggest international cohort on Canadian campuses, a trend that has been informed by a fear of no longer being welcome in the US under President Trump, writes Nathan Vanderklippe. University of Saskatchewan Assistant Vice-Provost Alison Pickrell adds that students are drawn to Canada’s “strong reputation for quality education, a welcoming and safe environment, affordability and clear paths to citizenship.” The Globe and Mail notes that the low value of the loonie relative to the US dollar and the simpler path to work permits and immigration credentials also inform international students’ decision to come to Canada. Globe and Mail (National)

YorkU balks at transit agency’s proposal

The Star has learned that Metrolinx, a transit provider that wasreroutedaway from York University after a subway station started to serve the campus, has offered to reinstate service if the university pays students $800K to compensate for the extra fares that followed the rerouting. York has responded that they cannot take money out of their Operating Budget to offset regional transportation costs, while Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster said that his agency and the province have already worked to keep fares low for students. A spokesperson for Transportation Minister Jeff Yurek said that the provincial government supports Metronlinx’s position. The Star (ON)

Why undergrads have anxiety

Diane Dreher suggests that an increase in materialistic values, the rising cost of college, and an “external locus of control” contribute to the prevalence of anxiety disorders amongst undergraduates in the US. According to the author, the “external locus of control” refers to the way in which young people, by their own admission, think of themselves as “kids” while “believing that their lives are controlled by people and forces outside themselves.” The author adds that today’s undergrads display a more external locus of control than 80% of undergrads in the 1960s, a shift that can be connected to declines in both physical and mental health. Psychology Today (International)

BC med students lobby government for more residencies

Fearing residency shortages, medical students in British Columbia are calling on the provincial government to provide funding for 29 new post-graduate training positions, reports the Vancouver Sun. Health Minister Adrian Dix said he understands the gravity of the situation, but the province cannot commit to a fixed number of additional seats. Students who do not secure a residency may try again in subsequent years, the Sun explains, but matches grow increasingly difficult as medical schools continue to graduate new cohorts. According to the Sun, the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada is calling for provincial governments to increase residency positions at a number 10% higher than the number of Canadian medicals school graduates each year. Vancouver Sun (BC)

"We all have different worldviews": U of T offers cultural competency training

The Office of Indigenous Initiatives at the University of Toronto has introduced day-long cultural competency training workshops across the university. “It’s to make people realize that we all have different world views, different belief systems, different spiritual practices and different cultures,” said John Croutch, a Cultural Competency Training Officer at the university. “These differences don't make someone less than. In fact, diversity adds to the value of our society by bringing different ideas into the mix.” Croutch added that the workshops will emphasize the shifting history of settler-Indigenous relations in Canada. U of T (ON)

NS students rally against tuition hikes

A small group of students and striking faculty from NSCAD University held a rally to protest tuition hikes in Nova Scotia this week. According to the Chronicle Herald, the provincial government removed a 3% cap on annual tuition increases in its 2015-16 budget. Currently, NS has the second-highest average tuition in the country at nearly $8K annually. Aidan McNally, Chairperson of the Nova Scotia chapter of the Canadian Federation of Students, said that NS students are asking for an immediate 10% reduction in tuition fees and a commitment to work toward a framework to eliminate tuition fees within 10 years. Chronicle Herald (1) |Chronicle Herald (2) (NS)

Gruder: How to support academics with partners and families

When universities create partner and family initiatives that address the needs of academics’ partners, they contribute to the wellbeing of both the partner and the academic’s department or unit, writes Kay Kimball Gruder. Some of these needs might include employment, transitions for children or other family members, or support with day-to-day tasks in unfamiliar surroundings. The author notes that support in these areas can come from many sources, including fellow academics,  departments, or other on-campus units like career services or mental health counselling. Others still might be led by the partners of other academics. Inside Higher Ed (International)

KPU cancels intake for music program

Students waited outside a recent meeting between the Dean of Arts and faculty about Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s music program after learning that its 2019-20 intake has been cancelled. KPU Provost and VP Academic Sal Ferreras said that the university is looking to revise the program, and that the cancelled intake does not signal its closure. “Moving forward to this 2019-20 budget, we have to make some adjustments to make sure our budget is balanced as is legislated by the province,” Ferreras said. CTV News adds that KPU’s Health Sciences and English programs are also looking to restructure. CTV (BC)