Top Ten

November 26, 2019

ON student groups hopeful that funding can be restored ASAP in wake of court ruling

Student groups are hopeful that funding to campus organizations can be restored as soon as possible after an Ontario Divisional Court ruling last week that struck down the ON government’s Student Choice Initiative. Canadian Federation of Students' Ontario representative Kayla Weiler said she is unsure if the fee schedule and full funding for those groups can resume for next semester or next year. What is more, it is not clear what might happen with the funding of such organizations if the province appeals the court’s decision. "We're hoping the fees will go back into regular collection as soon as it's possible," said Weiler. "I think of particularly food banks and how they're unable to budget for the upcoming semester because of the Student Choice Initiative." CBC (1) | CBC (2) (ON)

UBC votes to divest $380M from fossil fuels

The University of British Columbia’s board of governors has voted to transfer $380M of its $2B endowment fund to a "sustainable" fund free of fossil fuel investments. Pending legal review and study, UBC’s board of governor’s investment policy committee “could result in a portfolio that has a carbon emission reduction target beyond what could be achieved through simple divestment,” said UBC treasurer Yale Loh in a written statement. However, some students, faculty, staff, and alumni are calling on UBC to divest its entire endowment of fossil fuel investments. "[The vote was] clearly not enough considering the situation that we are in," said UBC student Mukta Chachra. "We are in a climate crisis right now." CBC (BC)

Embracing your growth mind-set: Opinion

“What might you accomplish in your quest for a fulfilling post-graduate school career if you’re willing to do things that scare you?” asks Melissa Dalgleish. Drawing on the work of Carol Dweck, the author argues that there are “two basic mind-sets” that persons bring to task-accomplishment: a growth mind-set that believes talent and skill are built over time, and a fixed mind-set that suggests intelligence and skill are innate and cannot be changed or improved with effort. According to Dalgleish, too often academics and alt-academics have a fixed mind-set about their intelligence and work because such persons have tied their identities to perceptions of intelligence. The author concludes by challenging readers to “[...] embrace the suckitude of doing something new, to learn to get comfortable with being a beginner.” Inside Higher Ed (International)

Advanced degrees less correlated with social mobility than bachelor’s: Study

“Higher education is the great equalizer [...] Graduate and professional degrees? Not so much,” writes Colleen Flaherty. According to a forthcoming American study, intergenerational mobility is high for college graduates but lower among advanced degree holders. Examining the relationship between parents’ education and children’s earnings, the authors of the study found that children from families with high socioeconomic status obtain relatively expensive and financially rewarding advanced degrees, attend more selective institutions, and graduate at a younger age than their less socioeconomically advantaged peers. Authors caution, however, that the research should not be interpreted to mean that advanced degrees hurt those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Inside Higher Ed (International)

UQTR offers new Bachelor of Social Work program, doubles spaces in Advanced Bachelor of Nursing program

The Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières has partnered with the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue to deliver a new Bachelor of Social Work program at the Drummondville campus. Beginning in September 2020, the program teaches students the knowledge and skills necessary to improve the living conditions, quality of life, and social and civic participation of vulnerable individuals. The program is accredited by the Canadian Association for Social Work Education, and connects students to the Ordre des travailleurs sociaux et des thérapeutes conjugaux et familiaux du Québec. Alongside the new social work program, UQTR will double the number of spaces in its Bachelor of Nursing (Advanced) program. UQTR (QC)

UofT unveils Maanjiwe nendamowinan, new home for humanities and social sciences

The University of Toronto Mississauga has officially opened Maanjiwe nendamowinan (Gathering of Minds), a redeveloped building which will house the humanities and social sciences. The name of the building, which is derived from the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, was chosen after a university committee unanimously recommended an Indigenous name be considered. The new six-storey structure includes almost 40,000 square feet of new classroom space, more than 500 study spaces to accommodate individual and group work, a space for digital humanities research, and a large atrium that doubles as an event space. UofT (ON)

UNBC faculty strike continues

The Faculty Association at the University of Northern British Columbia remains on strike after rejecting a new proposal tabled by the school’s administration. UNBC has committed to providing a non-refundable financial credit for all students affected by the strike if faculty do not return to teaching before December 3rd. The value of the credit will depend on the length of the strike and will be determined once an agreement is in place. If faculty were to return to teaching after November 25, but on or before December 3, then UNBC would plan to extend the teaching semester to December 14, which is the last scheduled day of exams. UNBC (BC)

Postsecondary athletes push-back against ‘old-school’ coaching methods

Several Canadian postsecondary students are moving to end ‘old-school’ coaching techniques that experts say are abusive, reports the National Post. Recently, student-athletes who attended postsecondary institutions in Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia have complained that their schools mishandled serious allegations of abuse and/or harassment in recent years. Royal Roads University Professor Jennifer Walinga told the National Post that her research has shown that humiliating or neglecting athletes typically leads to worse performances. “You can still win and be broken,” says Walinga. “But you can achieve greater heights, win more gold medals and for longer periods of time with a values-based approach to coaching.” National Post (National)

Research challenges for academics studying the new digital platform economy: Opinion

“Canadian academics struggle to find reliable data to analyze how the ‘digital platform economy’ affects labour and policy-making,” writes Michael Rancic. According to University of Toronto Urban Studies Professor Shauna Brail, although the digital platform economy allows users access to labour or capital through centralized technology with relative ease, the same cannot be said about researchers’ ability to access data generated by these companies that could be crucial to understanding the impact of new economies on labour issues, employee/contractor management, and governance. “We don’t have the same data for these workers to see what factors cause wage loss or unemployment,” said University of Calgary Professor Arvind Magesan. “Until we have that data at the worker level, it’s going to be hard to answer questions from a policy perspective to help them out.” University Affairs (National)

Students question appropriateness of Mulroney quote in StFX building

Some students at St Francis Xavier University are questioning the appropriateness of a quote on a plaque in the institution’s new Mulroney Hall, reports CBC The quote, “the only way out of a paper mill town is through a university door,” is attributed to the father of former Canadian prime minister and StFX alumnus Brian Mulroney. In a Facebook post, one student argued that the quote “devalues tradespeople, leaves an impression paper mill towns are impoverished and embarrassing, and encourages people to leave their home communities.” StFX interim President Kevin Wamsley said that he and his executive council will be reviewing the issue soon. "I am grateful to those of you who voiced concerns about the quote and how it offended you,” said Wamsley. “As a university, we are bound to self-reflection and, frankly, we did not read that context into it.” CBC (NS)