Top Ten

August 19, 2019

17 institutions chosen for pilot of Dimensions: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Canada pilot

A group of post-secondary institutions from across Canada has been chosen to participate in the federal government’s new Dimensions: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Canada pilot program. Based on the United Kingdom's Athena Swan Charter, the program is supported by all of Canada’s Tri-Council organizations, and will look to lead the way in increasing diversity at Canadian post-secondary institutions. “We are bringing wholesale culture change to Canadian science and research while incorporating the Canadian values of equity, diversity and inclusion so that our researchers better reflect the Canada we live in,” said Canada’s Minister of Science and Sport Kirsty Duncan. Canada (National)

ON earmarks $1.2M for bioproduct research at UoGuelph

The Government of Ontario has announced that it is earmarking $1.2M for research at the University of Guelph on bio-products, waste reduction, and recycling technologies. The projects include looking at bio-degradable or compostable straws from the natural fibre of miscanthus grass and corn stover, creating renewable biochemical products from dead chickens, and turning greenhouse vegetable waste into renewable energy. "All of these projects are really around can we replace some of these plastics,” said UoGuelph Professor Beverley Hale, who also serves as the associate VP of research for the Agri-Food partnership. “And of course that's big on everybody's mind right now, with a recent report on micro-plastics being everywhere.” UoGuelph | Guelph Mercury Tribune (ON)

McMaster students strip club of status, citing alleged ties to groups espousing white supremacist beliefs

Students at McMaster University have stripped a club of its official status after concerns were raised about the group’s alleged ties to external organizations expressing white supremacist beliefs, reports the Hamilton Spectator. "It is important to ensure all clubs are truthful throughout the application process, and that we ensure that discriminatory or xenophobic attitudes have no place in the MSU clubs system or in campus discourse," said Students Union President Joshua Marando. The Dominion Club had originally applied for status as the Macdonald Society, named after Canada's first prime minister, Sir John A Macdonald, noting that it would fill a void of "clubs aimed to address the promotion of Canadian culture, traditions and heritage." Hamilton Spectator (ON)

US institutions hosting more orientation programs directed solely at parents

In response to the still-growing phenomenon of helicopter parents, many post-secondary institutions in the US are now offering orientation programs directed specifically at parents, reports Jeremy Bauer-Wolf. The author notes that these orientations are designed primarily to assuage parents’ fears about their children being on their own for the first time, in addition to other concerns about issues like campus safety, employment prospects after graduation, and underage drinking. In some cases, parents will attend orientation programming in place of their children and direct their children to choose a school based on these experiences. Inside Higher Ed (International)

Cambrian launches maintenance management program

Cambrian College has announced that it will be offering a Maintenance Management Professional certificate program this fall. The program focuses on effectively managing the physical assets of a business, as well as improving safety and productivity. “Being able to take the courses at night, we feel is a real benefit to anybody who is already working in the industry,” said Cambrian Director of Business Operations Kim Lair. "Definitely we're at that point where industry partners and the general public are asking for this program to be offered, and we want to be able to fill that void." CBC (ON)

Calling on students at random in the classroom could negatively affect women: study

“A professor calling on students might have the best of intentions. But because being in the hot seat is so much riskier for women, the scholars suggest, instructors should avoid putting students there,” writes Beckie Supiano. The author cites a study which found that women are much more fearful than men about answering a question incorrectly in front of others, likely due in part to fears about confirming gender stereotypes. For this reason, a professor calling on students at random might be detrimental to women. Chronicle of Higher Education (International)

Presidents must take ownership of their institution’s brand: Sickler

“Organizing and reinforcing your stakeholders’ positive perceptions about your school by the way you and your college or university community members act and talk about your school will help create a healthy, efficient, effective, and optimistic culture whose members are eager to follow your lead toward a bright future,” writes Eric Sickler. The author notes that this point goes especially for prospective stakeholders whose perceptions of an institution are yet to be shaped, and offers presidents tips on how to make sure they use every opportunity to communicate a clear and consistent brand for their school. Inside Higher Ed (International)

Laurentian deepens ties with China, Peru

Several recent events at Laurentian University have helped to deepen its with China and Peru, reports the Sudbury Star. Most notably, a recent $250K donation from TPEI Accounting and Education Foundation will help provide scholarships to support exchanges for Chinese and Canadian students. The Star notes that this donation is the first of its kind made to a Canadian institution by the Foundation. The university also recently hosted colleagues from Peru to participate in a weeklong Building Environmental Strategies workshop. The Sudbury Star (ON)

Debunking the myth of conservative persecution on campus: Cairns

Even a cursory look at the cultures of Canadian campuses will show that conservative voices are not only surviving, but thriving in these spaces, writes Wilfrid Laurier University Professor James Cairns. The author defines conservatism as a “worldview that believes social hierarchies are both inevitable and beneficial,” and one that “takes for granted the supremacy of the Western literary canon, the neutrality of political and legal institutions, the goodness of imperialist powers.” These values exist nearly everywhere on campus, Cairns adds, from the makeup of university boards to what is taught in classrooms. The author concludes that the true barrier to a diversity of ideas on campus is the extreme reaction that conservatism exhibits when it is challenged. Waterloo Region Record (National)

Using Instagram to stay connected with students after the course: Golding

After spending a full course forging a connection with students, especially in smaller seminars where the primary pedagogy is discussion, Professor Jonathan Golding asked himself why he was willing to “let it all slip away after a class was over.” In order to stay in touch with students, Golding proceeded to create an Instagram account at the recommendation of his students, where he posts “a photo a few days each week either at work (e.g., leading a discussion in my new senior seminar) or at some event (e.g., a university basketball game).” While acknowledging that this approach is not for everyone, Golding encourages faculty members to “take the plunge” and get to know the joy of staying connected with past students. Inside Higher Ed (International)