Top Ten

June 20, 2019

Seven Canadian universities appear in 2020 QS Top 200

QS has released its world university rankings for 2020 and seven Canadian institutions have made the list. The University of Toronto was the top-ranked Canadian university coming in at a tie for 29th place. It was followed closely by McGill University in a tie for 35th. The University of British Columbia placed 51st, followed by the University of Alberta (113), Université de Montréal (137), McMaster University (tied for 140), and the University of Waterloo (tied for 173). QS (Rankings) | QS (Rankings Explained) (National)

Western, degree recipient apologize for convocation speech that degraded women 

Western University has issued an apology for honourary degree recipient Stephan Moccio’s remarks during a recent convocation address. According to the National Post, Moccio reminisced about “[m]y earliest memory of driving in off the 401 with a sign that said, ‘Thank you fathers for dropping off your virgin daughters.’” Moccio also recited a song about a then all-female residence hall that included apparent references to oral sex, calling it "an iconic piece of music." In a statement later that day, Moccio apologized for his comments. The Postadds that this is not the first such incident at a Western Convocation—in October of 2018, philanthropist Aubrey Dancame under fire for citing Playboy magazine’s assessment of the university’s female student population. National Post Inside Higher Ed (ON)

State disinvestment causing long-term damage to higher education: US study

A new working paper from the National Bureau for Economic Research in the US has found that a decades-long decline in state funding for public universities has created significant threats to the future of public higher education. The study compared trends at public universities in states where cuts in higher-education funding have been steep with those in states where funding for public institutions has remained fairly stable. It concludes that the continuing decline in state funding will very likely lead to a shortage of skilled workers with degrees, as well as the erosion of universities’ "long-term research capacity, which contributes to economic growth." The study also found that trends in disinvestment in public higher education could not be attributed to whether governments were progressive or conservative, or to declines in state budgets as a whole. Chronicle (Subscription Required) | Study (International)

BC invests in Indigenous teachers

The Government of British Columbia has invested $2.7M into Indigenous teacher training. According to a release from the province, $1.4M will go toward education seats for Indigenous students. $600K—to integrate Indigenous knowledge and culture into the BC teacher education curriculum—will be distributed to eight institutions for the BC Public Teacher Education Programs, while the Association of BC Deans of Education will receive $200K to support co-ordination and collaboration across the institutions. The release adds that the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology will also receive $730K for two master of education cohorts in partnership with the University of British Columbia. BC (BC)

Canadian PSE experiencing a psychedelic revival: Banks

Psychedelic drug research was an area of investigation that initially showed promise for health in the 1950s, writes Kerry Banks, and new research into these drugs has marked the revival of the field after four decades. The author discusses the history of psychedelic research in Canada and highlights new studies across the country. "Funding is a constant headache because we don’t have support from the pharmaceutical industry," said MAPS Canada Executive Director and UBC Adjunct Professor Mark Haden. "The drug companies want drugs that people have to take on a daily basis, to treat symptoms, not the problem." University Affairs (International)

Yukon College launches new First Nations Art certificate program

Yukon College has launched its new Yukon First Nations Art certificate program and is recruiting students for the September 2019 session. The program includes hands-on instruction in beadwork, sewing, and other fine craftwork, as well as courses focused on developing the skills needed for a career in producing high-quality arts and crafts. "My greatest moments of happiness are when teaching traditional arts and culture to younger generations or being out on the land," said lead instructor Darlene "Shakhwaye" Scurvey, a Kwanlin Dün First Nation citizen and member of the wolf clan. "Our land here is so beautiful and abundant with everything we need to create authentic, vibrant art and crafts. I aim to encourage innovation and value credibility and integrity in the students." Nation Talk (YK)

UBCO to build environmentally friendly, on-campus housing

The University of British Columbia Okanagan will be building on-campus housing with a loan from the Government of British Columbia. The 220-unit, on-campus affordable student housing project is seeking to address a waitlist of over 1,000 students. "Student housing is more than just buildings, they’re unique communities that support learners as they work towards their career of choice," said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. "The expansion of on-campus housing at UBC’s Okanagan campus will reduce the burden in finding an affordable place to live." The six-storey building, called Skeena, will include lounges, study space, activity rooms, and laundry. Skeena will be built to meet the international Passive House standard in support of the province’s long-term climate strategy. BC (BC)

Bucking stereotype, students plan to vote in droves: Report

The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations has released a report that finds post-secondary students are “very motivated” to vote in the upcoming federal election. According to the report, 93% of students said they plan to vote, and that they are primarily concerned with job opportunities, affordable post-secondary education, climate change, affordable housing, and improving Canada’s healthcare system. "CASA and student associations across Canada are developing a non-partisan voter mobilization campaign, called Get Out The Vote," said Adam Brown, Chair of CASA and Vice-President External of the University of Alberta Students’ Union. "Political parties would be wise to consider the power of the student vote and the concerns that are top-of-mind for this group." Nation Talk Report (National)

Federal funds support national hub for women’s entrepreneurship 

Ten institutions are collaborating through the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, a federally funded national network and accessible digital platform for sharing research, resources, and best practices to increase female entrepreneurs in Canada. Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion Mary Ng stated that only 16% of small and medium enterprises in Canada are led by women, but added that these women contribute $150B to the economy and employ 1.5 million Canadians. Led by Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute, the Hub also includes Carleton University, Simon Fraser University, Mount Royal University, the University of Manitoba, the PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise, Université de Montreal, Yukon College, OCAD University, and Dalhousie University. Carleton (1) | Carleton (2) (ON)

Nugent: Guidance from a former president for women considering the top job

After demonstrating why higher ed needs more women presidents, S Georgia Nugent outlines what it takes to fulfill the role. According to the author, a strong president must, above all else, be able to assess their own strengths and weaknesses beforehand. "If you don’t know, going into the office, a great deal about yourself, the likelihood of a successful tenure is diminished," writes Nugent. Temperament also matters, as a given president’s predilection toward extroversion or introversion will influence how they engage with the public. Nugent concludes that strong presidents must also know how to act in moments of crisis. Inside Higher Ed (International)