Top Ten

November 16, 2022

ON postsecondary institutions reach agreements with faculty unions

Three postsecondary institutions in Ontario recently reached agreements with their faculty unions. Western University and its faculty union averted a strike after reaching a tentative agreement just before the strike deadline. The union will hold a ratification vote on the agreement in the near future. The University of Guelph and the University of Guelph Faculty Association have also reached a tentative agreement with assistance from an external mediator that has yet to be ratified by both parties. St Jerome’s University and its contract academic staff have signed a renewal collective agreement, which will be in place for three years. The agreement includes annual 1% increases to course stipends for Contract Academic Staff and clarifications regarding working conditions, seniority, and benefits. London Free Press (Western) | Global News (Western) | CTV News (UofGuelph) | SJU (ON)

Editorials debate benefits, deficits of MB's proposed funding model

Two recent articles published in the Brandon Sun and Winnipeg Free Press address the topic of the performance-based funding model for Manitoba's higher education system. In both cases, the authors point out the value of accountability, oversight, and outcomes tracking, but raise issues with how the current proposal evaluates institutions and how it will be enacted. "Accountability is necessary, and oversight is necessary, but issues remain related to how that oversight is expected to roll out," explains an editorial published by the Winnipeg Free Press. A letter from Rosemarie and Chester Letkeman also expressed concern about how the role of institutions would be assessed, as metrics are only as valid as the "relevance they have with respect to the role, function, and purpose of the organization." As MB’s proposal currently stands, they write, it risks having a "tactless disregard for the role of universities with respect to having a functional society and a community of informed, knowledgeable, engaged citizens." Winnipeg Free Press (Sub. Req.) | Brandon Sun (Sub. Req.) (MB)

CapilanoU launches Interaction Design diploma

Capilano University has launched an Interaction Design diploma program that will train students in design technology. Students in the two-year program will learn about topics such as user experience, user interface design, and visual design in a project-based, hands-on environment. Students will have the opportunity to work with new technologies and learn how to manage digital environments and workflows. Graduates can enter the workforce or apply to enter the third year of CapilanoU’s Bachelor of Design in Visual Communication degree program. CapilanoU (BC)

Clarivate reveals 2022 Highly Cited Researchers list, Canada ranks 6th overall for host regions

Clarivate has unveiled its 2022 list of Highly Cited Researchers, which draws on data from the Web of Science citation index to identify researchers with disproportionately significant and broad influence in their field or fields of research. 226 of the 6,938 Highly Cited Researchers (HCRs) were affiliated with institutions in Canada, which ranked 6th for the highest number of HCRs in a particular country or region. The leading countries and regions overall were the United States, China Mainland, and United Kingdom. The University of Toronto ranked 28th across all host institutions with 36 HCRs; the leading institutions overall were Harvard University, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Stanford University. Newswire | Clarivate (Ranking) | Clarivate (Analysis) (National)

Former assistant professor sues Queen’s for $600K

Dr Matt Strauss, Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit's acting medical officer of health and a former assistant professor at Queen's University, has reportedly launched a $600K lawsuit against Queen's. Strauss alleges that he experienced "consistent and relentless harassment... humiliation and belittlement" while working for the university in 2021, which he states stemmed from his public criticisms of lockdowns and other public health measures. The Whig Standard reports that the lawsuit seeks $600K in damages along with wages and benefits lost due to what the filing describes as a "constructive dismissal." Queen's stated that it has not yet been served with a claim, and CBC reports that none of the allegations have been tested in court at this time. CBC | The Whig (ON)

HEC, McMaster support AI research projects receiving funding from SCALE AI

SCALE AI recently announced $25M in investments to support AI projects in areas such as supply chain intelligence platforms, workforce decision-making, and planning. HEC Montréal is involved in a project led by the Maritime Employers Association that has received $1.5M from SCALE AI to optimise the constantly varying daily workload at the Port of Montréal. McMaster University's MiSCAN Lab is part of a project that has received $1M to develop a software that will help small- and medium-enterprises understand their supply chain health. "By strengthening collaborations between all industry players, we have contributed to the interactions between AI labs, AI product and service providers and companies that drive innovations and their implementation on the field," said SCALE AI CEO Julien Billot. Newswire (SCALE AI) (QC | ON)

Calgary Chamber of Commerce recommends expansion of postsecondary presence into downtown

The Calgary Chamber of Commerce has called for an expansion of the postsecondary presence in downtown Calgary as an investment in the area. A report released by the chamber outlines key opportunities for the improvement of downtown Calgary in order to better attract and retain talent and ensure that the area is recognized as a place for postsecondary training and access. Chamber President Deborah Yedlin said that more postsecondary institutions and faculties should be relocated downtown, such as key faculties from the University of Calgary or the Alberta University for the Arts. She further encourages investments in the Alberta Jobs Now program for reskilling and training, as well as for further evaluation of the skills needed in the labour market. Calgary Herald (AB)

Cambrian unveils Wiidokaazawin sharing space

Cambrian College has unveiled a new facility called Wiidokaazawin (The Gathering Space). Wiidokaazawin is modelled after the medicine wheel and features two hand-carved wood sculptures representing Family and Protection at its entrance. At the facility’s centre is a large, circular table that demonstrates inclusion and equality. The facility also features a display case that features art from Indigenous individuals and ceremonial clothing donated by Elders. The space was created using a $100K donation from Anmar Mechanical & Electrical Contractors, which will also be used to create the Anmar Mechanical Indigenous Student Support Program for students who are interested in the mining and mining supply sectors. The Sudbury Star | Nation Talk | Cochrane Times-Post (Gallery) (ON)

Pilot project co-led by StFX receives $1M to support expansion into Atlantic Canada

A pilot project led in part by St Francis Xavier University Professor Dr Chris Gilham has received $1M to expand across Atlantic Canada. The school-based GuysWork program is focused on shifting young boys’ and men’s attitudes towards healthy masculinity. Gilham is the Evaluation Lead for the project, and StFX Professor Dr Derrick Lee will support the evaluation. “Our evaluation of GuysWork shows a shift in attitudes towards healthy masculinity that promises both the short and long-term health of boys and those around them, specifically their future partners,” said Gilham. “With this funding, we can expand the program throughout the Atlantic provinces and do a longer-term evaluation.” The project has received $525K from the Government of Canada and $525K from the Government of Nova Scotia. StFX (NS)

Tenured professors should engage in career planning for a personally rewarding career: Opinion

Established scholars should take time to plan their careers after they gain tenure, writes Michael S Weisbach. Weisbach writes that even tenured professors need to develop a career strategy that is personally rewarding and maximizes their value to their institution. He notes that considering potential future career options can help to motivate tenured faculty to stay up-to-date, creative, and productive and avoid becoming bitter or fostering negative relations with younger scholars entering the field. Weisbach encourages faculty to find a niche and continue to contribute to their institution and society through avenues such as new research, administration, writing textbooks, becoming public intellectuals, or consulting. Inside Higher Ed (Acct. Req.) (Editorial)