Top Ten

April 3, 2019

HEQCO: First-gen, underrepresented students less likely to complete postsecondary

First-generation students remain less likely to complete college or university than those who have at least one parent with a post-secondary credential, according to a study from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. The study notes that the gap—more than 20 percentage points between first-generation students aged 25-34 and those with at least one parent who earned a credential—is the same as that of older cohorts. The study also found that first-generation students are more than twice as likely to drop out of high school. The authors argue that the government should re-route resources intended for first-generation and other underrepresented students to the K-12 system. HEQCO (ON)

UAlberta receives timely investment for Alzheimer’s research

The University of Alberta has received $1M to support Alzheimer’s research. CBC states that the Alzheimer Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories provided $500K, which was matched by the University Hospital Foundation. Roger Dixon, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at UAlberta, stated that Alzheimer’s cases are expected to skyrocket as baby boomers age. “At the U of A we have a lot of people who are very good at various aspects of Alzheimer's disease and related dementia but don't have funding sources to bring them together, to work together, but that's what this grant will do,” Dixon added. CBC (AB)

How to embrace faculty as drivers of innovation

“Instead of regarding themselves as victims—of budget cuts, administrative mandates, accreditation requirements, and unsympathetic legislators—faculty members need to see themselves as the true and rightful drivers and owners of innovation,” writes Steven Mintz. To this end, the author offers three key ways for institutions to empower faculty to drive innovation: rethinking how academic support units can best collaborate with faculty, creating spaces where faculty are free to experiment and evaluate innovations, and incentivizing innovation. “Tapping their [faculty’s] energies and insights is, without a doubt, the most cost-effective way to bring about the changes that higher education needs,” concludes Mintz. Inside Higher Ed (International)

Suspected Langara arsonist arrested 

Vancouver police have arrested a man in connection with a suspected arson at Langara College, reports CBC. According to police, the man entered the college with incendiary devices, and an emergency response unit found several additional devices after an hours-long search. The Vancouver Sun adds that Langara initially cancelled classes in its science and technology building, but later ordered a campus-wide evacuation. Constable Jason Doucette said that witnesses told police that a person entered the college and lit “one or more fires.” There were no reported injuries, adds the SunCBC |Vancouver Sun (BC)

Patch reflects on the value of non-tenured faculty

In a guest post for John Warner’s blog, Paula Patch writes that a dizzying array of titles and roles can define permanent, non-tenure track faculty. Yet non-tenured faculty are often viewed as contingent or temporary by their tenured colleagues. Patch suggests a shift in institutional culture whereby faculty pay closer attention to the horizontal linkages across tenure and non-tenure lines that articulate academic labour in the context of their departments. “Not all non-tenure-track positions—or, moreover, the people who chose to make a career in them—are bad,” Patch concludes. “But our insistence on lumping them together under one umbrella term is.” Inside Higher Ed (International)

U of T unveils action plan for mental health after student suicide

In the aftermath of asuicideby a student, the University of Toronto has unveiled a four-point action plan for campus mental health. A release states that the plan includes a task force headed by Trevor Young, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine. Sandy Welsh, Vice-Provostof Students, and Joshua Barker, Vice-Provost of Graduate Research and Education and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, will serve as senior assessors. U of T adds that although the university has spent $1.3M for additional wellness counsellors and $1.5M for accessibility services, it cannot keep up with the demand for services. According to the release, U of T will also approach the provincial government for additional resources. U of T(1) |U of T(2) (ON)

McGill’s new Institute of Health Sciences Education to be a “community for shared learning”

McGill University has established a new Institute of Health Sciences Education. A release states that the Institute features an inclusive mandate that encompasses the Faculty of Medicine’s health professions and biomedical sciences, with members coming from a range of academic disciplines and health care institutions. “A critical ingredient of our success is that we actively bring a range of stakeholders to the table from diverse disciplines and professions. It’s this creative and healthy mix of people, theory and practice that fosters some really dynamic work,” said Institute Director Yvonne Steinert. The release adds that the Institute will be structured around three pillars: Education, Research, and Community Outreach. McGill (QC)

Student calls new MRU registration fee an “obstacle”

Mount Royal University’s new $250 course registration fee should have been communicated sooner, Policy Studies student Tala Abu Hayyaneh recently told CBC. The university announced that students could register for a full year, or two semesters, at once, but would need to pay a $125 fee for each semester at the time of registration. Hayyaneh said that although the ability to apply ahead of time was a “relief,” she did not have enough time to come up with the money. MRU Communications Director Andrea Ranson noted that the university could have communicated the change more clearly. CBC (AB)

UQAM re-outfits fashion program

The Université du Québec à Montréal has introduced a new concentration and added 26 courses to its Bachelor of Fashion Management and Design. According to Marie-Eve Faust, directrice de l'École supérieure de mode de l'ESG UQAM, the concentration in  theory, culture and valorization of fashion engages in verbal, textual, and semiotic analyses of clothing. UQAM adds that the program has also forged new partnerships with industry stakeholders and other faculties. A new course will draw on expertise from researchers with Groupe CTT, while another will be cross-listed with the university’s law faculty. UQAM (QC)

Carleton graduate students highlight discrepancy in sexual assault numbers

A group of graduate students at Carleton University say that their school should do more to acknowledge the extent to which sexual assault is an issue on their campus. The Ottawa Citizenreports that the comments come a week after a provincial survey indicated that more than 1,300 Carleton University students had been sexually assaulted during the 2017-2018 school year, while the school’s internal statistics put the number at three. Carleton spokeswoman Beth Gorham noted that anonymous surveys commonly reveal such discrepancies. Jessica Wilson, a member of Carleton’s Graduate Students’ Association, said that the discrepancy in numbers between the survey and official reports of sexual assault indicate the university’s policy is inaccessible and hard to navigate. Ottawa Citizen (ON)