Top Ten

September 13, 2019

Canada represented strongly in 2020 World University Rankings

Times Higher Education has released the World University Rankings 2020, which includes nearly 1,400 universities across 92 countries. This year, seven Canadian postsecondary institutions appeared in the top 200 positions: University of Toronto (18), University of British Columbia (34), McGill University (42), McMaster University (72), University of Montreal (85), University of Alberta (136), and the University of Ottawa (141). “Canada has had a strong year, with six of its seven top 200 representatives rising up the table this year,” wrote Ellie Bothwell. “Many higher education commentators have highlighted that Canada is benefiting from the US’ increasingly hostile immigration policies, while some individual scholars who have recently moved to the north of the continent have cited escaping the Trump administration as a factor.” Times Higher Education | Times Higher Education (National)

Portage disputes AB panel report depiction of student success

Portage College President Nancy Broadbent has spoken out against a report released last week by a panel headed by former Saskatchewan finance minister Janice MacKinnon. The Edmonton Journal reported that the graduation rate data used in the report “may paint an inaccurate picture of Alberta post-secondary students' success.” Broadbent told the Journal that the panel’s use of “damning data without context” had caused “huge reputational damage” to the college. A Portage release stated that, in the report, “Portage College was singled out for having the lowest completion rates in the province at less than 40%. [...] Portage College's student completion rate, using the Advanced Education approved methodology, was 76% in 2017-18.” Edmonton Journal | Portage College (AB)

Humanities scholars must reclaim the authority to say what’s good and what isn’t: Clune

Despite their expertise and experience, many humanities scholars are hesitant to say that their judgements about artistic value are better than anyone else’s, writes Michael Clune. The author notes that the main reason for this is because the principle of equality dictates that all aesthetic preferences are equally correct. In this instance, however, “professors’ commitment to equality actually undermines their politics,” and this approach reinforces “the doctrine of the market” in which all desires are equal and all value is only opinion. “The first-year literature student doesn’t begin my class with a capacity to judge literature equivalent to mine,” concludes Clune. “Our work is to show students forms of life and thought that they may not value, and to help them become the kind of person who does.” Chronicle of Higher Education (International)

UCalgary Haskayne School of Business announces creation of entrepreneurship centre

The University of Calgary received a $5M donation from the Trico Charitable Foundation that will be used to build a Social Entrepreneurship Centre at the Haskayne School of Business. The centre will aim to address social challenges using business principles and provide students with a hand-on educational experience. The program will incorporate elements like community-based learning and internships. “Increasingly, the conversations about capitalism are calling for something more than just being about profit,” said Dan Overall, Executive Director of the Trico Foundation. UCalgary | Calgary Herald (AB)

FNTI receives $4.9M for aviation pilot program

First Nations Technical Institute has received a $4.9M investment from the Government of Canada to bolster its First People’s aviation flight pilot program. Delivered in partnership with Canadore College, the program provides hands-on training for those interested in becoming a commercial pilot. The funding will be used to increase culturally relevant programming and the participation of women and Indigenous peoples in the aviation industry. “Air transportation is absolutely crucial to the sustainability of our Indigenous communities, many of which have limited road infrastructure,” explains FNTI’s Dean of aviation, Jo-Anne Tabobandung. “This investment means increased participation of Indigenous people in the aviation sector, who are more likely to return to their communities.” Nation Talk (ON)

UQO opens BIMI as “one-stop shop” for complaints

Université du Québec en Outaouais has formally opened a new misconduct response office called the Bureau d’intervention en matière d’inconduite (BIMI). The office will serve as a one-stop shop for complaints and ensuring follow-up on issues related to sexual violence, plagiarism and fraud, and incivility. Rector Denis Harrisson stated that he is personally committed to making UQO free from all forms of violence and expressed confidence that the office would succeed in its mission. UQO (QC)

SaskPolytech receives funding from STAR to provide free training in trades

Saskatchewan Polytechnic has received funding from the Government of Canada’s Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness (STAR) Program to provide free training to underrepresented groups in the trades. Aiming to enable women, Indigenous peoples, newcomers, and persons with disabilities explore trade-related careers, Nation Talk reports that the funds will cover program tuition, book costs, learning resources, and online materials. Programs range from one-week introductory courses to 20-week applied certificate programs. “Students develop knowledge and practical skills in a particular trade area, jumpstarting their careers in the trades,” states SaskPolytech President Larry Rosia. “This program would not be possible without funding from the Government of Canada’s Skills Trade Awareness and Readiness (STAR) program.” Nation Talk (SK)

UBC’s Chung Collection, UManitoba’s NCTR Residential School archives added to UNESCO world register

The University of British Columbia’s Wallace B Chung and Madeline H Chung Collection and the University of Manitoba’s National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Residential School Archive have both been added to UNESCO’s Canada Memory of the World Register. UBC’s Chung Collection contains artifacts related to the settling of Chinese communities in BC, while UManitoba’s NCTR Archives hold documents detailing the history of Canada’s residential school system. “More than recognition, being included in a document collection in the Memory of the World Register underscores the importance of preserving it, highlights its relevance and encourages citizens, students and researchers to take an interest,” UNESCO notes. CBC | UBC (BC) | Newswire

StFX to offer Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Artificial Intelligence

St Francis Xavier University has announced the launch of a two-year, post-baccalaureate diploma in Artificial Intelligence. Students of the program will be able to take courses related to AI and develop the technical skills necessary to work in the field. StFX describes the program as valuable to those seeking to apply artificial intelligence to solve practical problems. “What’s really exciting is computer science and AI in general have so much potential applications outside computer science,” says StFX Professor Jacob Levman. “There’s a big disconnect between people who have those skills and people who need them. This program can really bridge that gap.” The program will start in January 2020. StFX (NS)

Policy needed to address and remove barriers to OER/P in higher ed: Study

An eCampusOntario report investigates what institutions of higher learning can structurally do to improve the uptake of open educational resources and practices. Discussing various obstacles to open educational practice (OEP), such as a lack of professional recognition for professors, the study recommends the development of “strong institutional policy supports for open educational resources.” Such policy developments should be guided by a “think globally, act locally” approach, and informed by dialogue across grassroots members of institutions. The report concludes by calling for "an open education diagnostic tool [that] can help institutions conduct an environmental scan of the place of OER/P in the institution’s teaching and learning ecosystem.” eCampusOntario (National)