Top Ten

May 9, 2019

McMaster receives $1.2M for visiting Buddhist scholar program

McMaster University’s Department of Religious Studies says that it will create a new visiting scholar program in Buddhist Studies, thanks to a $1.2M donation. A McMaster release notes that the donation is the largest the department has ever received, and that it will be used to create the Numata Visiting Scholar Program in Buddhist Studies. The gift comes from Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai (BDK) — the Society for the Promotion of Buddhism, a global foundation based in Japan. “Thanks to this extraordinary support from BDK, we will have the funds to invite a prominent scholar in Buddhist studies each year,” said James A Benn, Director of McMaster’s Centre for Buddhist Studies. McMaster (ON)

UWinnipeg students face 3.7% tuition hike

CBC has learned that students at the University of Winnipeg will pay an average of $120 more for tuition in the 2019-20 school year. The increase follows a 1% cut to the university’s operating grant. CBC adds that the government implemented a 0.9% cut in its previous budget. Mahlet Cuff, VP of External Affairs for the University of Winnipeg Students' Association, said she would like to see the province boost funding so that students do not have to pay more out-of-pocket. The university told CBC the extra tuition will go toward improving student services and supports, including an additional $50K in bursaries. CBC (MB)

What students lose without the liberal arts: Ferguson Jr

The future will need more computer scientists and people fluent in the intricacies of technology, writes Robert W Ferguson Jr, but it will also need “workers who can communicate clearly and persuasively to vocalize their needs and the needs of others, and to boldly lead companies, charities and countries into an unpredictable future.” Ferguson argues that the growing emphasis on making a university education more career-oriented should not come at the expense of teaching verbal acuity and critical thinking. “The goal for all students should be to develop as expansive an education as possible, rooted in both skills and the knowledge that allows people to use those skills in broader and evolving context,” concludes Ferguson. Inside Higher Ed (International)

Resilience a goal-specific trait, not an overall personality quality: UAlberta study

Resilience and grit among students is a quality related to specific goals rather than an overall personality trait, according to new research from the University of Alberta. The study, titled “Examining the Domain Specificity of Grit,” found that “grit is best conceptualized as a domain-specific trait, and not in general, which is how the field has been measuring grit since it was conceptualized,” according to Danielle Cormier, former UAlberta master’s student who worked on the study under the supervision of sport psychology researcher John Dunn and co-author Janice Causgrove Dunn. The study also found a correlation between high grit scores and healthy levels of “adaptive perfectionism,” also known as perfectionistic strivings, which is distinguished from “maladaptive perfectionism,” or the tendency to set unrealistic goals that lead to anxiety and dropout. Folio (AB)

VIU expands Early Childhood Education to meet community care needs

Vancouver Island University is expanding its Early Childhood Education and Care Program to its Powell River campus. A release states that VIU has partnered with the local ECEC community, the City of Powell River’s Municipal Council, the Tla’amin Nation and School District 47 to establish the program’s delivery. Additionally, the government is offering a number of funding opportunities for students, including a $1K reimbursement in the event of lost wages for practicum experience. “The government has made it a priority to increase daycare seats and educate ECE practitioners to improve the quality of care for children and to support ECE practitioners once they are in the field,” said Sheila Grieve, VIU Chair of the ECEC program. VIU (BC)

How colleges should not respond to mass catastrophes: Shapiro

Following the recent attacks in Sri Lanka, an American college told its students that counselling services would be available to anybody who was upset by the news, reports Judith Shapiro. The author finds this approach troubling because the college did not try to determine if any individual students might have had direct ties to the Sri Lankan communities that were attacked; instead, the college catered to anybody who might find the news unsettling. Such an approach reinforces the stereotype of student fragility at the same time as it implicitly tells students to think about themselves first, argues Shapiro, who concludes that universities should instead provide students with reliable sources of information, such as faculty experts, in the event of a mass crisis. Inside Higher Ed (International)

MTA introduces minor in museum and curatorial studies 

Mount Allison University has introduced a Minor in Museum and Curatorial Studies, which the university says is the first undergraduate program of its kind in Atlantic Canada. “The new minor in museum and curatorial studies brings together expertise from several departments and areas on campus and helps formalize an important area of study at Mount Allison,” said Jeff Ollerhead, MTA Provost and VP Academic and Research. A release adds that the minor incorporates material from several campus resources, including the Owens Art Gallery, Colville House, the Mount Allison Libraries and Archives, and the visiting artists and curators program. MTA (NB)

US colleges discuss role as “bellwether for change” in light of climate emergency

Climate change has joined financial pressures and campus controversies in the many threats that a campus president must engage with, writes Lee Gardner, “and some must do so in communities where the words 'climate change' can turn a potentially productive conversation into a political argument.” Gardner highlights the experiences of universities in the United States that have seen flooding, extreme temperatures, and unreliable wildfire seasons, noting that these challenges are worsened by the tight-belt budgets that many colleges are working with. The article describes how institutions have pitched vanguard construction projects to generate excitement, encouraged buy-in from campus communities, and pushed to prepare the larger community for the future. Chronicle of Higher Education (International)

URegina, RPL help Arabic-speakers learn English

The University of Regina and the Regina Public Library have partnered on the development of an app to help Arabic-speaking refugees and immigrants learn English. “You can imagine the amount of frustration when you go to a foreign country and people there speak a language that you don’t understand,” said Munira Al-Ageili, a URegina post-doctoral fellow in computer sciences. “They come with limited English skills so we saw the need to help them.” The pilot project will last for two years, and has received funding by the George Reed Centre and Mitacs. StarPhoenix (SK)

Rancic: Who deserves an honorary degree?

The ritual of conferring an honorary degree to acknowledge the accomplishments of public figures is an act that is “inherently political – and not always without controversy,” writes Michael Rancic. The author highlights how post-secondary schools across the country screen nominees for honorary degrees, citing factors such as independent background research and consideration of what the selection of a recipient will ‘signal’ to the community. The article goes on to highlight how institutions have managed controversies following the announcement of honorary degree recipients at institutions such as the University of Alberta (David Suzuki) and Western University (Henry Morgentaler), as well as perspectives on rescinding honorary degrees. University Affairs (National)