Top Ten

September 24, 2019

Universities should be responding to public need not institutional rankings: Opinion

What kind of university system does Canadian society want? asks Michelle Stack. According to the author, Canadians should not be striving to attain a system that relies upon university rankings to determine institutions’ value. Looking at the American PSE system, Stack notes that despite having the highest number of top universities according to world rankings, the American system is highly inequitable and university rankings potentially contribute to sustaining that inequity by “conflat[ing] the ability of a university to acquire money with the quality of education and research.” Vancouver Sun (National)

UNB partners with Siemens, offers students paid experience and tuition credit

The University of New Brunswick has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Siemens Canada allowing the institution to become an official partner in Siemens Canada’s Dual Educational Program. The partnership will enable Siemens to recruit UNB students who are near degree completion to complete their engineering and technology studies with Siemens in a 16-month program. Students will be paid a salary during the program and will receive a tuition credit. “This MOU will allow UNB students a unique experience training for their future careers while on the job with Siemens, expanding their skills and growing our province’s workforce,” says UNB President Paul Mazerolle. UNB (NB)

ACC, Southern Chiefs partner to offer Restorative Justice Certificate, promote “Anishinaabe and Dakota worldviews”

Assiniboine Community College has partnered with the Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) to deliver The Restorative Justice Certificate, a program that aims to provide an Indigenous perspective on justice for individuals who are already working within or who are interested in pursuing a career in justice. Beginning in January 2020, the program will feature classroom studies, a cultural camp, and a field placement through SCO in a community justice program within an Indigenous community. “The overall purpose of this program is to build capacity of our community members in administering forms of justice rooted in Anishinaabe and Dakota worldviews,” explains SCO Grand Chief Jerry Daniels. NationTalk (MB)

Olds announces creation of school that blends agronomy, tech, data

Olds College has announced the launch of the Werklund School of Agriculture Technology, giving students access to new agricultural technology and programs. The new programs, Techgronomy Diploma and Agriculture Technology Integration Post-Diploma Certificate, are now accepting applicants and will prepare students for careers that require an understanding of the congruence between agronomy, technology, and data sciences. According an Olds release, the school will also enable students’ access to “hands on, high tech learning experiences through the Olds College Smart Farm, the Smart Ag Innovation Centre, and the new ag tech learning hub that is scheduled to be opened for the start of classes in the fall of 2022.” Calgary Herald | Olds (AB)

“There is a link between heavy usage of social software and better grades”: Study

A small study of students’ social communications at the University of Texas suggests that there is “a link between heavy usage of social software and better grades,” reports Campus Technology. Surveying students in one of the institution’s most difficult STEM courses, the study found that of the students who used internal campus social software to communicate with their peers about course materials, “82 percent improved their grades over the course of the semester. Of the 55 students who used the software infrequently, just 44 percent improved their grades over the term.” Campus Technology (International)

YorkU scientist begins $10M collaborative project to create bee health diagnosis tool

A York University researcher will lead a team comprised of 22 scholars from across Canada to develop a new health assessment and diagnosis platform to manage and improve bee health. Supported by Ontario Genomics and Genome Canada, the $10M project aims “to modernize the industry by delivering a tool to quickly assess bee health in living colonies that would allow loss-mitigating strategies to be implemented,” writes YorkU in a release. “We need to think of innovative solutions to fix the bee health crisis. The current tools are just not cutting it,” explains YorkU lead researcher Amro Zayed. YorkU (ON)

Targeted programming can help address unique aspects of grad student stress: Western PhD student

The unique challenges of graduate school require targeted ways to address grad student stress, according to Rebecca Fried, a doctoral student at Western University’s Health and Rehabilitation Sciences program. Fried’s dissertation research has found that a peer-coaching program focused on mentorship, motivational interviewing, and life coaching among graduates could be an effective way of addressing grad student stress. The research saw study participants alternate between being a coach and receiving coaching for an average of 28 sessions each, with participants reporting beneficial results. Western News notes that greater isolation, combined with less regular feedback, can contribute to grad student stress in ways different from what undergraduates experience. WesternU (ON)

UWaterloo opens new $16.5M Field House, foregrounds student “well-being"

The University of Waterloo has opened its new $16.5M Columbia Icefield Field House. The 65,000 square foot building includes a multi-activity turf area that can be divided into three spaces to host multiple activities at once. The Field House will help increase space for intramural activities and varsity athletic training, and providing more opportunities for community use of the space for activities like summer camps. “The well-being of our students is at the forefront at our University and we are thrilled to be able to deliver on this priority through additional recreational space at the Field House,” says director of Athletics and Recreation Roly Webster. UWaterloo (ON)

UMontréal unveils Science Complex building on new “MIL Campus”

The Université de Montréal has formally launched its new Science Complex building on the institution’s new MIL campus. The complex, which stands on the grounds of the old Outremont railyard, is 60,000 square feet and is comprised of two wings and a library. The result of 10 years of planning and three years of construction, the new building can accommodate 2,000 students and 200 teachers. “The construction also creates a new residential neighbourhood to house up to 3,000 residents — as the university sold some of its land to the city,” reports the Montréal Gazette. Journal de Montréal | Montréal Gazette (QC)

UFV launches interdisciplinary School of Creative Arts

The University of the Fraser Valley has announced the launch of the School of Creative Arts (SoCA) within the university’s College of Arts. The new school, which is the result of the unification of UFV’s Theatre and Visual Arts departments, integrates digital technologies and media with traditional arts practice and performance. “Combining theatre and visual arts into a new school gives us a chance to think consciously about what our vision and values will be and what we as an interdisciplinary school can do for our students and the Fraser Valley community,” says the newly appointed SoCA director Heather Davis-Fisch. UFV (BC)