Top Ten

May 27, 2019

Indigenous housing at CNC to offer students “foundation for success”: Lheidli T'enneh Chief

Construction has started on a housing project for Indigenous students at the College of New Caledonia. A release states that the British Columbia government is investing $2.6M into the facilities, which will include 12 furnished student rooms, a suite for an Elder, shared kitchen, living area, washrooms and laundry facilities, as well as a designated area for cultural practices, teachings and activities. "A safe, welcoming and supportive home gives Indigenous students the foundation for continued success," said Lheidli T'enneh Chief Clayton Pountney. "We've worked closely with our Elders and community members to get to the start of construction and look forward to the completion of the new building." BC

UOttawa students call for more mental health services following deaths

The University of Ottawa’s new student union is calling for more on-campus mental health resources following the deaths of two students, reports CBC. Although details of the students’ deaths have not been released, UOttawa President and Vice-Chancellor Jacques Frémont reminded students to use the available mental health services on campus. CBC adds that students voted in favour of a fee increase to fund more services through UOttawa’s Student Academic Success Service. The student union said that it hopes the student-funded increase will be matched by the university to bring in more counsellors. Student council member Natasha-Lyne Roy added that students would also like to see applied suicide intervention skills training provided by the Ontario Association for Suicide Prevention. CBC (ON)

Warner on the potential risks of institutional metrics

“Metrical cynicism,” arbitrary data, and the uncritical acceptance of historical data as a predictor of future trends are some of the more glaring issues around the higher education sector’s heavy reliance on metrics, writes John Warner. The author levels his most biting critique against metrical cynicism, a scenario in which administrators and faculty realize the uselessness of a given metric while pretending that it is meaningful. The danger with metrical cynicism, reasons Warner, is that it risks undermining potentially useful data. Warner also addresses the dangers of applying outcomes-related frameworks to intangible, iterative learning processes such as writing, reasoning, and critical thinking. He concludes that a degree’s value must be measured according to terms—and metrics—that people find useful and trustworthy. Inside Higher Ed (International)

Court rules that Busch-Vishniac may proceed with lawsuit

A lawsuit filed by former University of Saskatchewan President Ilene Busch-Vishniac has been allowed to proceed. The Saskatoon StarPhoenix reports that Busch-Vishniac filed the lawsuit in 2014 against then-Board of Governors members Brad Wall and Rob Norris for interfering in the university’s decision to fire her. The board members requested that Busch-Vishniac’s claim against them be dropped on the grounds that the board cannot be sued for things they do while performing their duties. However, Busch-Vishniac’s lawyer argued that the former board members in this case may be sued because they overreached their roles at the time. Justice Martel Popescul wrote in a decision that lawsuits may only be dismissed if it has no reasonable chance of success. StarPhoenix (SK)

Justice and Dever: Bridging the faculty-administrator divide

“What would it mean to assume that significant administrative service should be part of a strong, healthy and fulfilling faculty career?” George Justice and Carolyn Dever pose this question as a point of departure for a series of articles that look to investigate the cultural divide between “faculty” and “administration.” Breaking up the “us” and “them” dynamic, Justice and Dever add, begins with finding a common ground between faculty and administration. The authors also assert that effective leadership begins with reorienting attitudes about leadership as a form of service. Inside Higher Ed (International)

Lakeridge Health, Durham harness AI to predict emergency room wait times

Lakeridge Health and Durham College are collaborating on a 40-week project that uses AI to predict emergency room wait times. A Durham release explains that the partners will develop a “prototype for an AI-infused recommender system” that will make individual wait-time predictions based on that person’s condition, the emergency room they are visiting, and the time of day and year. “The work we are doing in this project has the potential to be tremendously helpful for patients while showcasing the real-world application of AI in a health-care setting in a way that will positively impact the system as a whole,” said Durham President Don Lovisa. Durham (ON)

Career exploration for graduate students needs to be systematic: Layton

Rebekah Layton offers tips for a systematic approach to career exploration beyond the academic track. Layton starts by suggesting that job-seekers let go of any career expectations associated with specific job titles, and focus instead on the skills and keywords associated with jobs that interest them. Second, Layton recommends thinking about which parts of one’s training one enjoys most, and then determining the associated keywords. The author goes on to outline several more tips for a fulfilling career. Inside Higher Ed (International)

Western collaborates with global team for TB diagnosis, treatment in Madagascar

Researchers from Western University are working with a global team to test drone technology for tuberculosis diagnosis and treatment in remote parts of Madagascar. “Travelling to the nearest hospital from a remote part of Madagascar can take days, and, if an individual is sick and those accompanying them have no family near the hospital, this trip can incur significant expense,” said Elysée Nouvet, a medical anthropologist from Western’s School of Health Studies. According to a release, the team is developing methods to pick up patient samples from more than 50 villages for delivery to medical facilities. Medications for patients who test positive are then flown back to the respective villages. Western (ON)

Don’t wait to communicate website redesigns: Lehmann

“It’s never too early to start talking to your stakeholders about an upcoming web redesign or migration project,” writes Donna Lehmann, adding that the best practice is to “communicate early and often” and to “tell anyone who will listen” about a coming redesign. Lehmann adds that it is important to remember that many members of the campus community have invested many hours of work into a current site. Thus it is both prudent and fair to engage these stakeholders as early as possible, even when more collaboration might mean more work. Inside Higher Ed (International)

Occupational and physical therapy seats en route to northern BC

The University of British Columbia has received $2.2M from the provincial government to expand its Master of Physical Therapy program in partnership with the University of Northern British Columbia. A release states that the partners will also receive $1.1M for a similar initiative involving UBC’s occupational therapy program. According to the release, the money is part of an effort to provide more seats for students in the north. "Expanding these programs in Prince George will improve patient-health outcomes for Northerners for years to come," said Dermot Kelleher, Dean of Medicine at UBC. "Together with UNBC, we are grateful to the government for making this expansion a reality." BC