Top Ten

June 10, 2019

Contract faculty will be hardest hit by ON's proposed wage caps: OCUFA

A recently announced cap on public sector wage increases in Ontario will prevent the province’s unions from improving the working conditions of precariously employed post-secondary instructors, according to the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations. "It’s those folks who are really going to suffer the most with this kind of legislation," said OCUFA President Gyllian Phillips. "Without that ability to bargain fairly to bring those folks up to a fair wage, the massive inequities in the system will just increase." Phillips noted that the legislation will also limit what provincial arbitrators can do in the event of a difficult strike. Critics also note that they do not understand how restricting wages for post-secondary workers will save the province money, as ON has already announced the funding that it intends to give institutions for the next three years.  Ottawa Citizen (ON)

BC provides a $3M boost to skilled trades equipment

The Government of British Columbia has announced a total of just over $3M in funding for 19 post-secondary schools across the province to purchase up-to-date equipment for trades and technology programs. “The experience trades students get in their classrooms, labs and kitchens is so important to set them up for successful careers,” said Industry Training Authority CEO Shelley Gray. “When students have access to the most-up-to-date equipment, it’s really building skills that employers need, and that will allow them to excel in their future careers.” BC states that it provided $160K to each institution, an investment that builds on the $5.4M provided to 15 institutions in 2017. BC (1) |  BC (2)

Science hiring assesses applicants based on presumed gender, race: Study

A recent study published in the US has found that scientists will significantly change their assessment of a job candidate when offered identical resumes with different names attached to them. The names used in the study were designed to convey variations by gender and race, and the scientists studied were found to operate “on a slew of stereotypes.” The study also found, however, that the findings varied by discipline. Candidates with women’s names were rated as more likable than men by both biologists and physicists, while physicists rated male candidates as more competent and hireable than female candidates. The studied physicists also found Asian and white candidates to be more competent and hireable than Black and Latinx candidates despite being offered identical resumes. Inside Higher Ed | Report (International)

Lakehead, Orillia formalize relationship with MOU focused on further collaboration

Lakehead University and the City of Orillia have formalized their long-standing relationship with an MOU that commits the parties to ongoing collaboration. In particular, the MOU outlines possible opportunities of collaboration that include international engagement, policy development, and entrepreneurship. "Formalizing this relationship enshrines our joint commitment to identify and pursue strategic opportunities for collaboration, partnerships, innovation and incubation," said Orillia Mayor Steve Clark. "We look forward to the many positive impacts this continued collaboration will have on the Orillia community and broader region." Lakehead (ON)

Experience preparing meals as a teenager best predictor of food skills in university: Study 

A new study led by researchers at Brescia University College has found evidence that experience in meal preparation as a teenager is the best predictor of food skills in university students. It also concluded that students who had taken a formal food and nutrition course had higher food skills than those who had not taken such a course. "Given the positive correlation between food skills and healthy eating behaviours, we believe that if students can acquire a food and nutrition education […] before living independently, this has the potential to increase their food proficiency," explained Brescia faculty member Jamie Seabrook. Brescia reports that the study is the largest to date in the literature on this subject. Brescia (ON)

Carleton Formula SAE club, GBatteries partner to kickstart electric race car development 

Carleton University’s Ravens Racing club and GBatteries have partnered to renew the team’s Formula SAE electric program. This summer, GBatteries will provide full-time summer internship positions and a dedicated facility for Ravens Racing in order to kickstart the development of a new Formula SAE electric race car. While the clubs’ Formula SAE team is “ranked among the best in the world,” they have not entered an electric vehicle into competition since 2015. “Collaborating with GBatteries on this project is an excellent opportunity to train young engineers in the clean technologies of the future,” said Ron Miller, chair of Carleton’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Carleton (ON)

UPEI launches online academic journal for the study of Island author LM Montgomery

The work of Anne of Green Gables author Lucy Maud Montgomery has inspired the University of Prince Edward Island to launch a new online academic journal devoted to studies of the Island author. UPEI Chair of LM Montgomery Studies Kate Scarth notes that while the journal will feature essays, the fact that it is online will open up opportunities to include other forms of media, collaboration, and discussion. Scarth notes that the journal will also open up participation to those outside the academy, adding: “The community is not just scholars […] so we want a lot of people to feel like they can submit their work — their responses to Montgomery, whether that's fan-fiction or video." CBC (PEI)

UBC unveils updated plans for 5,000-seat Thunderbird Stadium, local neighbourhood

The University of British Columbia has recently unveiled its plans for the proposed redesign of Thunderbird Stadium and a new 1,500-unit housing development. The redeveloped space has proposed space for a grocery store, childcare centres, and parks and open space. The new stadium will have 5,000 permanent seats under a covered viewing area and a community recreation green space that could accommodate temporary bleachers for an additional 5,000 seats. The initially proposed housing plan has also changed: 67% of the proposed housing units will be reserved for those who work or study at UBC – up from the initially proposed 40%. Global News says that the Board of Governors’ Housing Action Plan Working Group is expected to present a final, refined plan to the board and public in late 2019. Global News (BC)

BC crackdown on career college puts controversial Police Foundations course on hold 

Discovery Community College, a BC career college that falsely claimed an almost 100% employment rate for graduates of its "Police Foundations" program, has been ordered by the BC Ministry of Advanced Education to revise or remove the information immediately. CBC obtained a compliance order issued by the BC Ministry of Advanced Education, which states that if the institution is not compliant, it could face penalties or suspension. The order pertains specifically to the employment rate claimed by the college, which has a true placement rate that is reportedly closer to 1% for a program that costs students upwards of $20K. "That doesn't surprise me at all that it was less than one percent," said former RCMP officer Patricia Yendrys. "I could clearly see the course material was not helping them to become police officers." CBC (BC)

Holland College increases tuition by 2%

Holland College has announced that tuition will increase by 2%, effective September this year. The increase is part of a wider effort to balance cost reduction and revenue generation. “Although the college makes every effort to maintain the lowest tuition levels possible, there are times when tuition increases are necessary, as is the case with most post-secondary institutions,” said Holland President Alexander MacDonald. “Increases are limited to ensure that tuitions remain as affordable as possible.” CBC reports that tuition for the police science program will stay fixed at $18,910 per year, as it is currently the highest tuition at the college. CBC | Holland (PEI)