Top Ten

July 5, 2019

Weight gain in first year more pronounced in men than women: Study

A study by researchers from York University and Brock University has found that male undergraduates tend to gain twice as much weight as females—eight pounds for males compare to four for females—in their first-year. The survey of self-reported eating habits from 229 females and 72 males also found that diet quality fell while alcohol consumption rose, CBC reports. However, the study’s methodological limitations have drawn criticism. Sean Wharton, an internal medicine specialist in Toronto, said the sample size was too small to draw any meaningful conclusions. "The other big limitation is they just asked the students: What did you eat? They didn't actually track them,” He explained. “The gender difference could be a sampling error.” CBC ()

Man files complaint after arrest by Algonquin security guards

Noah Coker has scheduled a meeting with Algonquin College to file a complaint and called on the Ottawa police to investigate a situation where he was injured during an arrest by college security guards while on his way home from a nearby grocery store. While being escorted off campus, he asked the guards to stop following him and the situation escalated. Coker added that it did not feel as though race played a role in the incident until a security guard said that he looked “like you've been arrested before.” Algonquin issued a statement to CBC stating that security staff "became aware of a man causing a disturbance on college property" Wednesday, and that he was "noticeably intoxicated and hostile when approached." CBC (ON)

Fired college instructor's views on glyphosate at root of dismissal, says former colleague

Wildlife biologist Rod Cumberland has been fired from his teaching post at Maritime College of Forest Technology in Fredericton. MCFT holds that Cumberland was dismissed for reasons pertaining to his conduct both in and out of the classroom, but a former employee told CBC that Cumberland’s outspokenness against glyphosate, a controversial herbicide used by New Brunswick’s forest industry, is the likely cause for the firing. While Health Canada claims that glyphosate is “not genotoxic” and unlikely to pose health risks to humans, the product has been banned in several areas worldwide, including Crown land and Quebec. Green Party Leader David Coon called on the province to launch an inquiry into the matter. CBC (NB)

Keyano reinstates Early Learning Child Care Diploma program

Keyano College has reinstated its Early Learning Child Care diploma program. The program was suspended due to low enrolment in 2015, but an ongoing need for trained child care administrators and supervisors was identified in the region. The program delivery was fully restructured by Keyano following consultation with stakeholders in the community. “We listened carefully, and from that Keyano College is responding to the community’s needs,” said Keyano VP Academic Fred Russell. “As such, we are extremely excited to reoffer this program with a new delivery model that will provide a more flexible learning opportunity for students.” Keyano (AB)

Employers should ignore GPAs when hiring: Stirrett

“Given the tight labour market, Canadian companies are losing out on high potential talent by using academic performance as a criterion for hiring and will benefit from discontinuing this approach,” writes Venture for Canada CEO Scott Stirrett. The author cites studies showing no correlation between job performance and GPA, except for a minor correlation among brand-new grads. Stirrett also notes that some factors – such as previous work experience, WIL, or extracurriculars – are all more useful than GPAs in helping employers make the best hiring decisions. Globe and Mail (Subscription Required) (National)

Reed critiques the business model approach to US colleges

Subsidies are a crucial yet poorly understood factor in the current funding crisis that looms over US community colleges, writes Matt Reed. While the forms of subsidies can vary by geographic area, the fact remains that colleges, like universities, are not meant to be economically self-sustaining entities. Reed surveys a handful of alternative funding models that have attempted to compensate for this fact, but he concludes that operating at a loss is a feature of the system. The real source of the US college crisis comes down to the fact that popular discourse refuses to acknowledge that public sector funding can be more efficient than the private sector in some contexts, concludes Reed. Inside Higher Ed (International)

We can’t deny the systemic racism that persists in today’s universities: Bahia

“Systemic racism is in the very foundations of universities; its influence is insidious and persistent,” writes Carleton University PhD student Jasmeet Bahia. The author begins by describing the experience of being a master’s student in British Columbia, during which time they found that for all the prejudice they experienced, the bias encountered in the university setting was “most exhausting.” This experience included constant insinuations that the author’s research was too race-oriented and that they were biased toward certain subjects due to their race. The challenges of navigating the university’s systemic racism can feel overwhelming, Bahia concludes, yet for all the difficulty of this experience, they find that “academia is exactly where my brown skin needs to be.” University Affairs (National)

Camosun launches discussions for film studio

Camosun College has entered discussions with the Lexi Development Group about building a film studio, sound stage, and educational facilities for students at its Interurban campus. “Camosun delivers quality education and training that is relevant, responsive and applied, giving students the skills that employers and industry are looking for,” said Camosun President Sherri Bell. “We’re starting to explore the potential of a film studio in partnership with industry that would complement existing programs, while opening the door to educational programs that support B.C.’s film industry.” A release adds that British Columbia’s motion picture industry is expected to have nearly 13,000 job openings over the next ten years. Camosun (BC)

As demand for childcare on campus grows, choosing how to provide it is difficult

“The need for campus child care is growing — and not just among instructors and graduate students,” writes Liam Knox. The author cites a number of US studies that demonstrate this growing need, including a 2014 study showing that nearly five million undergraduate students in the US are parents, and another noting that access to affordable child care “is one of the most important factors in a student-parent’s decision to enrol at a college or university.” The debate about providing such services, Knox continues, tends to centre on the issue of resources, which in turn raises the question of whether such services should be provided by an institution itself or by a contracted third-party provider. Chronicle of Higher Education (International)

Woods calls on BC campuses to go smoke-free

In spite of the demonstrable health risks of smoking, only two campuses in British Columbia have gone 100% smoke-free, writes Patricia Woods. The author attributes campus leaders’ reluctance to ban smoking to several possible factors, including outdated opinions about smoking-related health risks or concerns about deterring potential international students from countries where smoking remains an acceptable norm. After refuting these positions, the author calls on all of BC’s colleges and universities to ban smoking immediately. Vancouver Sun (BC)