Top Ten

April 24, 2019

Speaker disinvited from Concordia lashes out in WSJ

Harvard University professor Harvey Mansfield recently stated in the Wall Street Journalthat Concordia University’s Liberal Arts College rescinded an offer for him to address students at an upcoming event due to his views as “a white male conservative professor.” “We heard from many that they would not attend the event because they objected to the views he has expressed publicly on women and homosexuals,” explained LAC Principal Mark Russell. “A majority of LAC faculty decided it was best NOT to have Professor Mansfield give the keynote address at the College’s reunion since it is intended to be a time of celebration and unity.” Russell stated that the LAC’s 40th anniversary celebrations have been postponed to the fall. The Province WSJ (Subscription required) (QC)

Canadore president says college can handle 10% tuition cut

The Ontario government’s decision to cut post-secondary funding will cost Canadore College nearly $800K, but President George Burton told the North Bay Nuggethe is not concerned. “We can accommodate the rollback because we’re going to have strong enrolment in the fall,” said Burton. “If [the tuition rollback] allows more students to attend post-secondary then I’m all in favour of it.” Although the college is in a stable fiscal position, Burton added that it still faces infrastructure challenges. Several buildings need millions of dollars’ worth of repairs, and the college was in talks with the previous government about support for new facilities. North Bay Nugget (ON)

BC cites career college for “misleading” claims about police course

The Province of British Columbia has cited Discovery Community Collegefor “false or misleading” advertising of its police foundations course, reports CBC. The college claims that the $20K course gives students “the skills to pursue a career as a law enforcement professional,” but some students have said that law enforcement agencies do not recognize the program. According to CBC, students only receive certification for basic security training by the end of the course, which can be obtained online through the Justice Institute of BC for $350. The college has since revamped the promises on its police foundations webpages, but DCC denies any wrongdoing. CBC (BC)

Ottawa injects $3M into student housing in Montreal

The federal government has announced that it will contribute $3M toward affordable student housing in Montreal. According to the Journal de Montréal, the proposed housing project is designed to accommodate 144 students in 90 units, with rents ranging from $450-$700. Laurent Levesque, coordinator of the Unité de travail pour l’implantation de logement étudiant (UTILE), acknowledged the federal government’s support for the project. The Journal adds that UTILE is in talks with the city for an additional 120 affordable student units. Journal de Montréal (QC)

Professors offer their takes on PhD supervision 

Six academics from a variety of disciplines offer their input on the PhD supervision process in a recent Times Higher Educationfeature. While their remarks suggest that PhD supervision eludes a one-size-fits-all approach, the writers implicitly agree that the dissertation should require candidates to pursue an independent research path that reflects expertise in a given field. Claire Kelly notes that some students might require a hands-on approach to acquire the necessary degree of intellectual independence. However, as Jennifer Schellmann points out, a supervisor also needs to tell a candidate if and when they might not be on track to completion. The authors also touch on the tension between independent research and career-building, the growing prevalence of non-academic jobs, and the necessity of interpersonal skills for supervisors. Times Higher Education (subscription required) (QC)

UTSC, Centennial team up for clean tech

The University of Toronto Scarborough and Centennial College are teaming up to build the EaRTH District, which will aim to advance the cleantech sector and develop Canada’s first net-zero vertical farm. Centennial Director of Strategic Initiatives and External Relations Andrew Petrou noted that the EaRTH District will help train a skilled workforce for the quickly growing clean tech sector. “Every single component of the building, from the heating and cooling to the lighting to the vertical farm, is an element that students, industry and the community can interact with,” said Petrou. “The goal is that they would be able to engage with this facility at all levels through programming, research, testing and experiential learning opportunities.” UTSC (ON)

New PhD in Quantitative Life Sciences puts McGill at the “vanguard” of research

McGill University is launching an interdisciplinary PhD program in Quantitative Life Sciences. A release states that the program will equip students to create, improve, and apply quantitative methods originating in the fields of mathematics, physics, statistics, and computer science to the broad study of biological systems. “Research problems are not always best identified by their relationship to a defined discipline – Biochemistry or Physics or Computer Science being examples,” said Dean of Science Bruce Lennox. “Instead, many research adventures can often be much better defined by being situated at the intersection of traditional disciplines. The QLS PhD program is a new and exciting recognition that some of today’s most compelling research problems arise at this intersection.” McGill (QC)

CapU launches Indigenous Digital Accelerator

Capilano University has partnered with Western Economic Diversification Canada to develop an innovative Indigenous Digital Accelerator (IDA) project at CapU’s North Vancouver campus. Located in CapU’s planned Creative Tech Community, the IDA is expected to launch in 2020 and will provide resources to promote Indigenous business growth in BC’s tech, digital-creative, and cultural sectors. A CapU release notes that the project will scale up early stage Indigenous companies with high growth, commercialization, and innovation potential within a framework that emphasizes community development and low environmental impact. CapU (BC)

Nowak investigates cookies and course evaluations

Considering a recent US study in which chocolate chip cookies significantly affected student evaluations of a course, Zachary Nowak asks how an instructor might truly use evaluations to improve the classroom experience. The author recommends frequent check-ins with students throughout a course, allowing them to express thoughts on which parts of the course they would like to drop, keep, and do more of. Nowak argues that when an instructor demonstrates a willingness to alter certain aspects of a course based on such feedback, it creates buy-in from students that can truly improve the classroom experience. Inside Higher Ed (International)

Western revisits code of conduct for off-campus events

Students at Western University may face academic penalties for misconduct at unsanctioned events such as street parties, reports Global News. The proposed amendment from Western’s Board of Governors states that, “in determining whether or not to exercise jurisdiction over off-campus conduct, the Associate Vice-President (Student Experience) or designate will consider the seriousness of the alleged conduct, the risk of harm involved, whether the victim(s) are members of the campus community and/or whether the off-campus conduct is part of a series of actions that occurred both on and off the premises.” Western’s current code applies only to conduct on the university’s premises and at university-sponsored events. Global News London Free Press (ON)