Top Ten

September 4, 2019

Sustainability index recognizes Canadian institutions for green performance

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education has released its 2019 Sustainable Campus Index, which recognizes top-performing colleges and universities in 17 sustainability areas. Several Canadian institutions were represented in the rankings. With regard to subject areas, Université Laval tied for first place in the Air & Climate section, the University of Alberta and Thompson Rivers University both tied for first in Coordination and Planning, TRU ranked first for Energy, the University of Winnipeg ranked first for Food & Dining, and Dalhousie University ranked first for Purchasing. With regard to overall performance, Nova Scotia Community College ranked first for associate colleges and TRU ranked first for Master’s institutions. AASHE (International)

UoGuelph to improve food literacy among families, children with $1.5M gift

The University of Guelph has received $1.5M from the Helderleigh Foundation to promote food literacy research through the Guelph Family Health Study. A release from UoGuelph states that the Study consists of a long-term research project involving more than 300 local families with preschool-aged children. “Thanks to this gift, and the support and resources this relationship provides, the Guelph Family Health Study will be able to increase its focus on improving food literacy of families and children in our community,” said Gwen Chapman, Dean of UoGuelph’s College of Social and Applied Human Sciences. UoGuelph adds that the funds will also support three new Helderleigh Foundation Family Food Literacy Graduate Scholarships, worth $22K each. UoGuelph (ON)

Dal renames MLIS program to draw interest in data analytics, information systems

Dalhousie University is renaming its Master of Library and Information Studies degree in order to help the program “recruit students and faculty who are interested in the competitive areas of data analytics and information systems.” The newly dubbed Master of Information will not have a different program structure or content, states Dal. Students may choose a concentration in librarianship or an emerging area of the information profession, such as data management, which includes courses on data visualization and geospatial information management. Dal (NS)

UVic introduces philosophy course for prison inmates

The University of Victoria has partnered with British Columbia Corrections to provide philosophy courses to inmates. According to a UVic release, the class will be held at Vancouver Island Regional Correction Centre and will feature works by the writer Ursula Le Guin, feminist scholar bell hooks, civil rights leader Martin Luther King, and writer Albert Camus. “What underlies this course is the transformative power of education, but also different ways of looking at education, in which it is not simply the transmission of knowledge from one party to another,” said associate professor Audrey Yap, “but the co-creation of knowledge by people with different perspectives on and experiences of the world.” UVic (BC)

For some, it’s publish and perish: Rudy

Kathryn M Rudy, an art historian based out of the UK, writes that the work of art historians is unsustainable because universities have failed to adequately compensate them for their publishing costs. Rudy explains that art historians incur costs related to travel, materials, data storage, copyright fees, and production in order to maintain their research profiles. Yet the country’s universities, image-holding institutions, and publishers expect the researchers that essentially work for them to pay for their own work. “Underfunded humanities are an extension of unpaid internships and poorly paid fellowships in museums,” concludes Rudy. “Do we really believe that our disciplines are just a decoration and offer viable careers only to those with trust funds?” Times Higher Education (International)

Bishop's students to encounter game-changing labs, study spaces, greenhouse this fall

Students arriving at Bishop’s University will be greeted by new labs, study spaces, and a greenhouse that together make up a game-changing infrastructure upgrade, according to the chair of the university’s chemistry department. CBC reports that the $9.3M renovation project benefits students in astrophysics, biodiversity, epidemiology, and cell biology. However, Chemistry Chair Alexandre Drouin notes that it is especially good news for professors and grad students in his department as well. Kerry Hull, a co-interim dean of arts and sciences and director of the renovation project, said that funding for the revocation came in part from a “Hail Mary” funding application, and added that the new greenhouse is “the jewel” of the project. CBC (QC)

UNB law school discusses potential name change

A conversation has emerged at the University of New Brunswick around potentially changing the name of Ludlow Hall, the building that houses UNB’s law school, due to its namesake’s historical views on slavery and early residential schools. CBC reports that George Duncan Ludlow, a Loyalist and the first chief justice of New Brunswick, sided with slave owners in the colony and supported an early residential school for Indigenous children. Law student Karen McGill has petitioned for the change, while the Law Students Society has called for a conversation about the issue. In an email statement, law dean John Kleefeld acknowledged the ways in which society is becoming more aware of “our colonial past” and noted that a change could be considered. CBC (NB)

Algonquin students receive Shopify subscription, use platform in coursework through new partnership

Students at Algonquin College will receive free subscriptions to Shopify beginning this year as part of the company’s Open Learning program. Students of eligible programs will be expected to engage the platform for assignments and extracurricular initiatives to learn the real-world skills needed to start, manage, and grow businesses. “Shopify’s generosity strengthens Algonquin College’s position as a leader in experiential learning that will foster an entrepreneurial mindset and a hands-on approach among our students,” said Algonquin President Claude Brulé. Ottawa Business Journal | Algonquin (ON)

Institutions, students prepare for changes in ON campus life

This fall, Ontario students will have the option to opt out of all fees deemed “non-essential,” and it is yet to be seen how significant an impact this will have on campus life, writes Joanne Laucius. The author notes that the move will see undergraduates on most campuses save less than $200 a year out of a total of about $2,000 in student fees if they opt out of all “non-essential” fees. Some student groups are reportedly already cutting staff in anticipation of financial shortfalls. Among the groups expected to be most significantly hit will be student unions and the services they provide, such as food banks, Indigenous centres, women’s centres, and LGBTQ+ support centres. Ottawa Citizen | Windsor Star (ON)

Canada’s student loans system should account for different earnings by different fields: Moloney

Canada’s student loan system must begin accounting for the different economic outcomes associated with different fields of study, writes Carleton Public Affairs and Policy Management student Kieran Moloney. The author compares the folly of Canada’s current system to the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008, which was due largely to the fact that money was being lent en masse to people who were unlikely to pay it back. Moloney calls for a more transparent system that not only allows students taking out loans to see the debt-to-earning differences are across different faculties, programs, or institutions, but also charges different repayment rates based on these figures. National Post (National)