Top Ten

April 4, 2019

Six Canadian universities make global top 50 in new University Impact Rankings 

Times Higher Education has released a new set of world university rankings that assess institutions against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. THE notes that it creates the rankings by using “carefully calibrated indicators to provide comprehensive and balanced comparisons across three broad areas: research, outreach, and stewardship.” A total of six Canadian institutions made the global top 50, with McMaster University coming 2nd in the world overall. McMaster was followed by UBC (3), Université de Montréal (T7), University of Waterloo (T13), York University (26), and the University of Toronto (T31). Times Higher Education (International)

Students must engage in career exploration before they graduate: Rancourt

“By teaching students how to explore careers in their discipline, universities can help them to escape their helplessness and to become more engaged in their education,” writes University of Calgary Professor Derrick E Rancourt. The author notes that many university graduates take jobs that are unrelated to their education, adding that early-year career exploration initiatives will help them take control of their professional lives and thrive in the workforce after graduation. Optional on-campus career services are not enough on their own, states Rancourt, who notes that professors and curricula should require students to visit job boards, examine career lists, and read career blogs. University Affairs (National)

Six universities collaborate on FUSION national skills development project

The federal government has announced a $2.5M investment to support FUSION, the Future Skills Innovation Network. A release states that Simon Fraser University, University of Calgary, University of Saskatchewan, Concordia University, Carleton University, and Memorial University will collaborate on pilot projects to integrate more skills development into formal and informal learning; create more flexible learning formats to better facilitate skills acquisition; and increase access to, and success within, post-secondary education for underrepresented students in STEM. “This project will work towards supporting young Canadians in gaining access to new skills and will contribute to a growing evidence base in skills development research,” said Future Skills Centre’s Interim Executive Director Melanie Wright. Carleton | SFU (National)

Patel: Who do activists of colour speak for?

When activists of colour claim to speak for a minority group, they can oversimplify the diversity of perspectives that might exist in that group, argues Eboo Patel. The author suggests that stock phrases like “as a member of such-and-such a group” exacerbate the problem by implying that the speaker is a mouthpiece for an entire social group. While such identity claims might draw approval from those who subscribe to abstract notions of “diversity” or “ally-ship,” Patel adds, they do not provide the nuance that is needed to have a productive conversation about race and identity in this historical moment. Inside Higher Ed (International)

“We are on the cusp of something amazing”: Lethbridge launches VR/AR programs

Lethbridge College will launch a two-year diploma in Architectural Animation Technology and a one-year certificate in Virtual and Augmented Reality in the fall. “The potential is quite high for finding jobs. The industry over the next three years is forecast to grow over 400 per cent and a lot of these areas where we will be seeing this growth is in education and training,” said Michael McCready, a VR/AR instructor at Lethbridge. According to the Lethbridge Herald, the VR/AR program will train students to build immersive games, interactive landscapes, and training applications, while the Architectural Animation Technology diploma features hands-on training in VR and 3-D modelling technology. Lethbridge Herald (AB)

UBC Reconciliation Pole vandalized days before anniversary

The University of British Columbia’s Reconciliation Pole was vandalized last Friday in what has been condemned as “an affront to everyone on and off campus who embrace the pole’s symbolic importance.” UBC reports that the pole has shown no visible physical damage, but noted that the act of vandalism “profoundly disrespects everything the pole represents.” Haida Hereditary Chief and Master Carver 7idansuu stated that he would like to see the incident used as an opportunity to bring people together in understanding the pole’s meaning and what it represents. 7idansuu also indicated support for a cleansing ceremony that took place with Musqueam representatives. Summerland Review Ubyssey | UBC (BC)

Partnership aims to extend salad days at CBU

Cape Breton University has partnered with New Dawn Enterprises, a community development organization, for an on-campus greenhouse project. CBC reports that the greenhouse will use a low-level heating system to grow fresh greens year round. New Dawn will then sell the greens to its Meals on Wheels program at a reduced cost. “This winter we actually had to stop serving a lot of our salads, simply because we were finding the produce we were getting from grocery stores wasn't lasting as long,” said Meals on Wheels Co-ordinator Kathleen Whelan. Project Manager Stephen Kelloway added that the team will use extra space in the greenhouse to research how bioproducts can be converted into pesticides and fertilizers in the agriculture industry. CBC (NS)

With jobs set to double, YorkU launches UX certificate

Anticipating a boom in the industry, York University is launching a certificate in User Experience through its Continuing Studies program. A release states that the eight-weekend program is geared toward professionals in graphic and web design, web development, consulting, and business strategy, and that it will focus on UX design best practices, methodologies, and systems. “With changes in technology shaping what employers are looking for when they hire, the need to close the impending skills gap is critical. Our graduates leave our programs with the deep skills they need to excel in their job functions, as well as the broader skills to collaborate across teams and affect lasting change within their organizations,” said Tracey Taylor-O'Reilly, Assistant Vice-President of Continuing Studies. Newswire (ON)

Business school students, graduates view themselves as changemakers

Accusations that business schools promote “wealth over work, selfishness over sacrifice, and greed over responsibility” can make one wonder if a business school has a legitimate place in academia or society in general, write business professors Riina Koris and Anders Örtenblad. A survey of business students and alumni by the authors found that students tend to view themselves as a combination of “effectiveness increasers,” “pragmatic world improvers,” and “reflectionists” rather than as “replacers” who would maintain a status quo at a company. Business alumni, meanwhile, said they want to critically review business perspectives and perceived wisdom. The authors describe the results as hopeful, and encourage business schools to provide a balanced education with faculty from a wide range of perspectives. Times Higher Education (Sub Required) (International)

Durham looks to make esports a “household term” with new arena

Durham College has opened an esports arena at its Oshawa campus, a facility described by school officials as the first of its kind. CBC reports that the arena will serve as the training area for the Durham Lords, the college’s varsity esports team, and a recreational hub for gamers. “With a collegiate push behind it, it's becoming a household term,” said Sarah Wagg, the arena’s manager. “We're showing that there are initiatives for college students so they can learn, grow, and hone their craft.” CBC adds that the facility features 46 gaming computers with full broadcast and streaming capabilities as well as a lounge that can accommodate up to 120 spectators. CBC | Durham (ON)