Top Ten

May 24, 2019

USask receives $11.6M for nuclear innovation centre

Tina Beaudry-Mellor, the Minister Responsible for Innovation Saskatchewan, announced a five-year, $11.6M funding agreement to support nuclear research at the University of Saskatchewan. According to the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, USask will use the money for new technology at the Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation, an independent, non-profit corporation owned by the university. John Root, the Centre’s Executive Director, said the technologies will help researchers develop innovative procedures in health care. The StarPhoenix adds that the Centre will also house BioPETx, an imaging system that can provide new information about plants. StarPhoenixSK

UNB reviews allegations of hate speech against sociology professor

The University of New Brunswick is reviewing allegations that sociology professor Ricardo Duchesne has been spreading hate-speech online. CBC reports that the university defended Duchesne against similar accusations in 2015, but has opted to review his conduct following an article from the Huffington Post that connects his research to white supremacist publications, blogs, and podcasts. Mark Mercer, President of the Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship, told CBC that Duchesne should be free to express his ideas in a public forum. According to the Chair of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, however, Duchesne espouses “vile forms of hatred” that “tend to discriminate against people for various different reasons.” HuffPost CBC | UNB (NB)

Lower income students more likely to attend less selective, open-access institutions: US study

A study out of the US has found that while greater numbers of indigent and minority students are attending postsecondary, they choose less selective colleges, which can decrease their chances of earning a bachelor’s degree. The total share of undergraduate college students who come from low-income families increased from 12% in 1996 to 20%  in 2016, according to the report. The number of undergraduates who are nonwhite also increased from 29% in 1996 to 47% in 2016. The report also finds that the number of low-income, dependent students that attended “selective” institutions only increased by 3%—from 10% to 13%—while those in two-year public colleges jumped from 13% to 27% over the same 20 year period. Inside Higher Ed Report (International)

Private college’s abrupt closure leaves students with “absolutely nothing”

CBC has learned that Atlantica College, a for-profit institution in Saint John that offered a 3D animation program, abruptly closed this week. According to CBC, the college’s $34K tuition included a computer station that students were to keep, but they were asked to sign a release last week stating that the equipment was financed by Windsor Holdings. When students arrived on campus earlier this week, all the equipment was gone. Jeffrey Peterson, Director and Operations Manager for Windsor Holdings, said that Atlantica owed them over $30K. New Brunswick’s Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour said it was aware of the situation and is collecting information on the school's closure. CBC (NB)

Major US test provider speaks out against “adversity index”

A major college admissions test provider in the US has spoken out against the new “adversity score” that the College Board will soon assign to students based on their high schools and neighborhoods. Marten Roorden, CEO of ACT, says that while he agrees with the spirit of equity that lies behind the College Board’s move, the lack of transparency around the algorithm and research behind the Board’s adversity score creates significant issues for access and transparency. Roorden also noted that without proper research and safeguards, “some will attempt to manipulate and game the system. That is easy: you can use an address of someone you know who is living in a poor neighborhood or report lower family income.” Inside Higher Ed (International)

UBC maintains Huawei partnership as international tensions continue

The University of British Columbia has launched two new projects with Huawei, even as pressure mounts on Canada to ban the telecommunications giant, reports the Province. The research involves a pair of multi-year investigations into 5G technology supported by Huawei Canada, which US Senator Mark Warren has urged against. Scott Bardsley, spokesman for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, said that Canada is conducting an assessment of the potential risks associated with 5G development. Goodale declared in a statement that Canada’s “national security and the safety will not be put at risk.” According to the Province, UBC has committed to 16 projects, valued at $7.8M, with Huawei since 2017. The Province (BC)

New studies on teaching evaluations reveal insights on bias and tenure: Flaherty

A new study out of the US shows that student evaluations of teaching are biased, particularly against female professors, but also that “relatively simple changes to the language used in SETs can make a positive impact in assessments of female professors,” writes Colleen Flaherty. That said, the study also notes that students and their biases might adjust to the new language and thus negate the positive effect for female professors in the long term. Flaherty reports that a second recently released study has also found that professors are seen as better teachers by students prior to earning tenure, with the study’s authors suggesting that tenure might be associated with decreased “quality of output.” Inside Higher Ed | Bias Study | Tenure Study (International)

UWindsor to launch open course on teaching and learning

The University of Windsor’s Office of Open Learning is offering a free online course that explores non-traditional pedagogies and emerging technologies for online and hybrid teaching and learning. A release states that the seven-week course will cover topics in theoretical foundations of online and blended learning designs, open pedagogy and open educational practices, ePortfolios for teaching and learning, virtual and augmented reality, and learning analytics. “We will experiment with technologies, but the focus will be on ways to foster a more humanistic education online,” said instructor Nobuko Fujita. UWindsor (ON)

UCalgary researchers collaborate with international firm to commercialize new nanomedicine

Genentech, an international biotechnology firm, has partnered with researchers out of the University of Calgary to commercialize a nanomedicine designed to protect against autoimmune diseases. “We’re thrilled that this potentially transformative and highly innovative approach, discovered through research at the University of Calgary, is advancing toward the clinic where it could possibly have the opportunity to broadly impact those who suffer from these serious diseases here in our community and around the world,” said UCalgary President Ed McCauley. “Across our campuses, our researchers are making important discoveries like this in the life sciences.” A UCalgary release states that the partners will develop treatments for celiac disease, autoimmune liver diseases, and inflammatory bowel disease. UCalgary (AB)

When you really need to stop revising your academic paper: Schuman

“Anything that you produce in two days to replace months of careful writing—because suddenly you’ve realized something about your manuscript doesn’t quite work—is garbage,” writes Rebecca Schuman. “Meanwhile, what you thought was garbage because it had a few drafty little problems in it? That had the potential to be great, and you chucked it.” The author then offers a series of tips on how to resist the self-sabotage that can happen in the final stretch of writing, insisting that it is better to submit something that is not quite perfect than to try to start over at the 11th hour. Chronicle (International)