Top Ten

July 4, 2019

Western establishes $250M fund for pursuit of strategic opportunities

Western University’s Board of Governors has established a $250M fund to give the institution more capacity to capitalize on significant strategic projects. The institution states that the Major Strategic Opportunities Fund is intended “to seek and seize new major initiatives which have the potential of having transformational impact on the institution.” Western Board Chair Paul Jenkins said that the process will ensure continued good stewardship and accountability, as well as providing Western the tools to take advantage of strategic opportunities. The board also recently barred federal, provincial, and municipal candidates from posting election signs. Western (ON)

UBCO receives $1M for studying brain injuries

The University of British Columbia Okanagan has received $1M from the Government of Canada to further study and develop best practices for supporting traumatic brain injury in survivors of intimate partner violence. The announcement was part of a $50M funding announcement that will benefit nearly 60 projects in communities across the country. “We are thankful for the Government of Canada’s financial support of our research,” said UBCO Professor Paul van Donkelaar. “There are minimal resources currently available to survivors of intimate partner violence and the community service agencies that support them, in relation to traumatic brain injury, and we believe that our work will be important in helping to fill these unacceptable gaps.” Canada (BC)

“It was my heart and soul”: Financial woes force Edmonton Digital Arts College closure

Edmonton Digital Arts College will close following a last-ditch effort to find an unnamed buyer, reports the Edmonton Journal. Executive Director and owner Owen Brierley said that classrooms will remain open to ensure that current students nearing completion can finish their projects. Students who enrolled more recently will be placed at another institution or permitted to apply for financial security held by the Private Career Colleges branch for tuition refunds. “I think the entire staff is very upset about it. We’d all worked very hard to produce an amazing program at the school,” said instructor Logan Foster. The Journal adds that the college relied entirely on tuition to operate, but financial pressures became too much to bear. Edmonton Journal (AB)

USask athletics board members resign

Five of six members on the Board of Huskie Athletics at the University of Saskatchewan have resigned. USask President Peter Stoicheff told CBC that the Board “wanted more influence,” an assertion that members David Sutherland and David Dube patently denied. According to Dube, Stoicheff ignored advice from trustees and changed the governance structure such that the board would play a tertiary role in decision-making. The Saskatoon StarPhoenix reports that the Chief Athletics Officer would report functionally to the VP University Relations while the Board would provide advice. The Board, which was announced in 2016, had been part of a plan to make Huskie Athletics the strongest in the country. CBC (SK) | Saskatoon StarPhoenix

UPEI to lead ClimateSense project

The University of Prince Edward Island will be leading ClimateSense, an innovative climate change adaptation project valued at $2.17M. The project focuses on creating a professional development and training program to help professionals and recent graduates understand climate change and integrate adaptation into their daily work. "The UPEI Climate Research Lab is pleased to participate in Natural Resource Canada's BRACE project, delivering professional development programming and offering resources to expand climate literacy and adaptation knowledge in partnership with the Government of Prince Edward Island," said UPEI Climate Research Lab Director Adam Fenech. "It is imperative that we all better prepare ourselves to mitigate climate change and respond to the challenges it brings to our communities on PEI." Canada (PEI) | UPEI

Canada’s universities must focus on closing the “empathy gap” to bring real change: Diamond

“University education should foster empathy – an essential human capacity needed for effective management and societal well-being,” writes OCAD University President Sara Diamond. The author highlights numerous examples of the ways in which empathy will prove essential to both industrial and social innovation in the 21st century. As part of this project, universities must redouble their efforts to bring together faculty, students, industry, networked incubators, and scale-ups to address problems that cannot be solved without strong empathetic thinking. “Universities and our partners must conspire to produce the fearless leaders who can bridge the empathy gaps of yet unknown future economies, cultures and societies to create a humane, sustainable and competitive future,” Diamond concludes. Globe and Mail (National)

Oates: Why we need to pay attention to post-secondary funding

Newfoundland is suffering a “void in public policy solutions,” and institutions like Memorial University are no exception, writes Lori Lee Oates. To productively respond to this crisis, the author proposes that academics must better engage with the public, administrators must be be held to account, and public policy must align with universities as sites of knowledge production. The common thread that runs through these three imperatives, Oates adds, is that public disengagement ultimately concentrates power in the hands of an elite class who will uphold the status quo while constraining the university’s core mission of knowledge production. CBC (NL)

Grad departments should make it easier for students to take on outside work: Larson

Many graduate departments need to rethink any rules or norms that might be in place to dissuade students from taking on outside work, writes Zeb Larson. The author highlights the most common reasons why these barriers are in place, which center mostly on the notion that grad students are professors-in-training and that outside work is an unwelcome distraction. However, the reality is that today’s grad students face financial burdens and an uncertain academic job market that make paid non-academic work a necessity in most cases. The author notes that departments are welcome to continue training future professors, but adds only that “given the precarity most of us young academics face, letting people take outside jobs would give us a leg up on the ‘alternate’ careers most of us will have.” Inside Higher Ed (International)

Laurentian groups brace for funding shortfalls

Laurentian University’s student newspaper, The Lambda, and radio station CKLU are preparing for the worst as provincial legislation that gives students the option to opt out of non-essential services goes into effect. Ashley Thompson, who sits on the student newspaper’s Board of Directors, told CBC that the paper will have to find ways to survive on less money. "What I expect to happen is that The Lambda, if it publishes at all, and I hope it will, will publish in an online version," he said. CKLU General Manager Rob Straughan added that the station has already cut some staff in order to keep expenses down. CBC (ON)

Algonquin receives $650K for international student supports

Algonquin College has received $650K from guard.me International Insurance. A release from Algonquin explains that the money will support scholarships and a bursary fund for international students. “International students make significant social, economic and education contributions to Algonquin College and the Ottawa community,” said Algonquin President Cheryl Jensen. “This generous donation from guard.me will help support international students who have a sudden, unforeseen change in their financial situation.” The college adds that over 3,800 students from 100 countries were enrolled in Algonquin programs during the 2018-2019 academic year. Algonquin (ON) | Ottawa Matters