Top Ten

October 29, 2019

AB public school advocate asks why faith-based postsecondary institutions were spared from cuts

An Alberta public education advocate is questioning why postsecondary institutions with religious affiliations were exempted from financial cuts to the province’s advanced education budget. The faith-based Ambrose University, Burman University, St Mary’s University, and The King’s University were all reportedly excused from the government’s 5% reduction in public funding, as well the formerly faith-based Concordia University of Edmonton. In email communications with CBC, a spokesperson for the AB advanced education minister said that the cuts were made unevenly across institutions to ensure the sustainability of the postsecondary system, and that Concordia Edmonton’s inclusion in the list contradicts the religious affiliation hypothesis. CBC reports that when asked why a school like Alberta University of the Arts, with a $399K average surplus, will be impacted by the cuts but Concordia, with a $601K average surplus, will not be, the spokesperson did not respond. CBC (AB)

AB public school advocate asks why faith-based postsecondary institutions were spared from cuts

Many Canadian postsecondary institutions are incorporating mental health education into their orientation seminars and courses for new students as surveys continue to reveal increasing numbers of students experiencing mental wellness challenges. According to a 2016 survey by the Canadian national college health assessment, nearly two-thirds of students experienced “overwhelming anxiety,” with just over 44% of respondents reporting that they felt so depressed they had difficulty functioning, while 13% had seriously considered suicide. To address this growing issue, universities have begun handing out mental wellness support kits during frosh week, offering counselling services 24 hours a day, and creating peer mentorship programs centred on mental health. Global News (National)

U of T researchers receive $2.3M for Parkinson’s disease drug development

University of Toronto researchers in partnership with Cyclica and Rosetta Therapeutics have been awarded a $2.3M grant from Genome Canada to develop drugs to treat Parkinson’s disease. The three-year grant will support drug discovery related to treating people with the long-term neurodegenerative disease and will involve the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning. “The general concept is to accelerate the drug discovery process [by] taking advantage of all [...] advances in deep learning and machine learning, which has come to the fore in the last few years, said U of T Professor Emeritus Peter Lewis. U of T (ON)

How to improve leadership skills through listening: Opinion

“Effective leaders are good listeners,” write C.K. Gunsalus, Elizabeth A Luckman, Nicholas C Burbules, and Sebastian Wright. For those who wish to become better leaders, the authors provide four strategies that enable one to elevate their listening practices: understand which situations are best addressed through passive listening and those that require active listening; use questions effectively to uncover new information; be attentive to the nonverbal messages you send through body language and facial expressions; and practice listening with a peer or colleague. “Listening is fundamental to innovation and problem solving,” write the authors. “When the leader is a good listener, everyone becomes more capable of providing value in their work.” Inside Higher Ed (International)

Faculty, student unions at MUN demand greater transparency in presidential candidate search

Faculty and students at Memorial University are speaking out against a perceived lack of transparency regarding the institution’s search for a new president. MUN’s faculty association and students’ union argue that further action could be taken to ensure the participation of the university community in the selection of the new president from a short-list of candidates, such as publicizing the names of short-listed candidates or requiring finalists to give public presentations to the university. A spokesperson from MUN indicated that the institution’s policy regarding short-listed candidates is in line with the policies of other Canadian Universities. The spokesperson added that MUN is open to revisiting its policy regarding hiring processes and transparency, but “do[esn’t] believe that the middle of a search is the appropriate time to change the rules around that search." CBC (NL)

Dal apologizes to former student via Twitter, student argues the Tweets are “not good enough”

A former Dalhousie University student has received an apology from the institution via Twitter regarding the student’s controversial disciplinary case in 2017. This past Sunday, Masuma Khan reminded Dal via Twitter that she was still awaiting an apology for the institution’s handling of complaints made against the former student union VP regarding a Facebook post addressing the Canada 150 celebrations. In a Twitter response, Dal officials note their regret of any harm Khan or her family may have suffered and invited the former student to set up a time to meet with the VP of student affairs. Khan writes that she does not believe the Twitter apology is “good enough” and has accepted a meeting with Dal officials to be held next week. CBC (NS)

YorkU receives $5M donation to build new visual art galley

York University has received a $5M donation to create a new art gallery that will help solidify the YorkU’s commitment to the visual arts. The funds donated by Joan and Martin Goldfarb will enable the gallery to be built on YorkU’s Keele campus, acting as a space where people can view and discuss visual artistic works. “This gift will provide funds to build and establish the Joan and Martin Goldfarb Art Gallery of York University, which will create a focal point for the celebration of visual art to the benefit of communities within and beyond our campuses,” said YorkU President Rhonda L Lenton. YorkU (ON)

UFred signs MOUs with two Indian postsecondary institutions, promotes educational collaboration

The University of Fredericton has signed Memoranda of Understanding with India’s Sanskriti University and the Institute of Management Studies (IMS) to enhance educational collaboration opportunities between UFred and the two institutions. While UFred’s partnership with Sanskriti will focus on the expansion of scholarly, educational, and research-based ties at both institutions, UFred’s agreement with IMS will explore the institutions’ mutual interest in academic collaboration, promotion, and facilitation of educational programs by each of the partner institutions. “We’re pleased to extend our reach into India and look forward to the outcomes of these important partnerships,” said UFred VP of Academics Sheri McKillop. UFred (NB)

UBC creates Food and Beverage Innovation Professorship

The University of British Columbia has received $2.58M in funding from its provincial government to support scientific innovation for BC’s food and beverage industry. The funds, which will be allocated to UBC over three years, will be used to create an endowment to fund the Food and Beverage Innovation Professorship, a position that will enable the development of academic programming and the development of industry partnerships. “With the Food and Beverage Innovation Professorship, we are able to expand our support for entrepreneurs and others working in industry who have the inspiration and imagination to create ground-breaking new products, but who may not have had a scientific research partner,” said UBC Dean of Faculty of Land and Food Systems Rickey Yada. UBC (BC)

Brock partners with Malaysian university to support academic, cultural exchange

Brock University has signed a new agreement with Malaysia’s University of Malaya (UM) to foster potential collaborative opportunities. The Memorandum of Understanding between the two institutions is designed to enhance academic and cultural exchange in the areas of education and research. Highlights of the partnership include a focus on student transfers, exchange of staff and students, visiting scholar opportunities, and the potential for collaborative research and publications. “The groundwork we create now will have positive and lasting impacts on both Brock and UM students for years to come,” said Brock Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Science Syed Ejaz Ahmed. Brock (ON)