Top Ten

January 16, 2020

Douglas unveils $4M renovated library

Douglas College has opened a renovated library at the college's Westminster Campus. The library was funded by $4M from the college's capital reserve and capital funding from the Government of British Columbia. The space features renovated lighting and acoustics; modernized flooring and furniture; integrated IT services; and enhanced power, network, and electrical systems. “Douglas College continues to invest in its students’ educational experience,” said Douglas President Kathy Denton. “The renovations to the New Westminster Campus library provide the campus community with a modern space for research and collaboration.” Douglas (BC)

USask researchers receives over $8M to address crop challenges

University of Saskatchewan researchers have received more than $8M in total funding from the provincial government to address crop challenges. Part of Saskatchewan's Agricultural Development Fund, the grants will support projects that aim to improve disease resistance crops; extend the growing season by developing early sowing, fast-germinating seeds; and improve wheat breeding and production. “This major funding commitment from our partners will address critically important crop challenges to help create a prosperous and sustainable future for Saskatchewan producers and communities, while helping to strengthen Canada’s agricultural sector and feed a hungry world,” said USask Vice-President of Research Karen Chad. USask | Star Phoenix (SK)

Report examines earnings upon graduation for Canadian postsecondary students

A recent report by the Education Policy Research Initiative and Labour Market Information Council report examines the earnings of postsecondary students after graduation by a number of factors, including academic factors such as credential and field of study, as well as demographic factors. The report found that earnings varied by credential and field of study, with students from the top fields of study earned between 40% and 60% more than graduates from the fields with the lowest earnings. They researchers identified a gender earnings gap that appeared immediately after graduation and proceeded to widen over time, as well as a distinct difference in salary between international and domestic students that narrowed over time. ReportGlobe and Mail (National)

Tenured professor resigns due to McGill's refusal to divest

A tenured philosophy professor at McGill University has resigned from his position after the institution's third refusal since 2013 to divest from fossil fuels. "What it boiled down to, for me, was a matter of conscience," said Gregory Mikkelson, who had been a professor in biology and environmental ethics at McGill for 18 years. Early in December, McGill announced it would not sell off all stocks and investments in fossil fuel companies, despite demands for full divestment from staff, faculty, and students. A report produced by the institution stated that a full fossil fuel divestment would pose "a financial risk to the institution" and that there are more effective ways than divestment to positively impact the environment. CBC (QC)

To increase re-enrolment, pair financial incentives with information: Study

A recent US research study examined the impact of different incentives for students to re-enroll in college: additional information, tuition waivers, or both. Researchers found that information alone did not have a significant effect on re-enrollment, but that students who received both information and a tuition waiver were 1.5% more likely to re-enroll than students who received nothing. Based on these results, the article states that the findings suggest that schools could pair “nudges” with any number of financial incentives to improve re-enrollment numbers. Inside Higher Ed (International)

AI Supercluster announces 10 projects to innovate various industries

The Government of Canada's Scale AI Supercluster has announced the commencement of 10 new projects that explore how AI can help reduce costs and improve efficiencies across various sectors. The projects will bring together over 60 partner organizations including universities and SMEs to employ AI to modernize processes and enhance productivity in shipping, retail, aeronautics, and health care sectors. “We are excited by the diversity and quality of the projects submitted to Scale AI’s financing program for applied artificial intelligence projects," said Scale AI Supercluster CEO Julien Billot. "Every one of these 10 projects will help accelerate the adoption of AI at the participating companies and will inspire others to follow suit.” CA (National)

Canadian universities lead OECD in tertiary education: Kresta

Drawing on data from the OECD, Suzanne Kresta states that Canada has the highest percentage (53%) of population aged 25-64 with some form of tertiary education as compared to the OECD average of 32%. Kresta notes that as work becomes increasingly automated, Canada will need skilled workers to build, control, and fix these machines. Universities, according to the author, are and will continue to be places that produce skilled workers that possess the creativity and insight "needed for the jobs of today and the leaders of tomorrow.” The Star (National)

AB institutions, students "cautiously optimistic" about performance-based funding

Some Alberta postsecondary institutions, as well as their students, have expressed a "cautious optimism" about impending changes to the postsecondary governmental funding that will institute a performance-based model, reports CBC. While schools and students alike say they welcome the changes, there are concerns regarding how such a system may disadvantage learners based on school or program choice. In an editorial, Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides said students currently contribute 20% of their educational costs through tuition, while taxpayers account for 50%; tuition changes will adjust those figures to 25% and 45%, respectively. “Ultimately, students want a transparent and accountable model they can hold institutions to," said Council of Alberta University Students Chair Sadiya Nazir. CBC (AB)

A guide to respectful interactions with mentees that pursue alternative academic careers

It is ethically and morally important that senior academics change their views of what constitutes success for Ph.D. graduates, writes Robert Alford. Alford writes about his experience of feeling alienated and belittled by an academic mentor over his choice to deviate from a scholarly career. The author then offers mentors four points to remember when interacting with mentees that have chosen non-academic career paths: pursuing a PhD should be understood and presented as one among multiple professionalization paths; students who leave the academy as scholars are not failing themselves, the field, or their mentors; students who enter administrative roles in the academy can be allies; and respect the choices mentees make. Inside Higher Ed (International)

UPEI, Veterans Affairs Canada partner on services for veterans

The University of Prince Edward Island has partnered with Veterans Affairs Canada to improve and develop new services for veterans and their families. The agreement will facilitate a streamlined collaboration between the two organizations in clinical, recruitment, training, and educational services. The partnership will also give UPEI students employment opportunities and Veterans Affairs Canada a pool of potential employees with relevant experience. "What it does is provide the type of applicant that Veterans Affairs needs," said Minister of Veterans Affairs Lawrence MacAulay. "The fact is we need psychologists, and we don't have psychologists — the university is going to help provide that." CBC (PE)