Post-Secondary News Digest for February 10, 2022

Canada

McGill to review asbestos findings:
(CBC) McGill University has begun reviewing findings from an extensive research project regarding the relationship between asbestos and cancer. A CBC report alleges that McGill researcher J. Corbett McDonald received a million dollars from the asbestos industry in the 1960s and 1970s. His research concluded that an asbestos byproduct called chrysotile was “innocuous" for human health and suitable for export. A Brown University professor alleges McDonald, who is now retired, manipulated the data.

Self-harming on the rise in N.B. university students:
(CBC) A University of New Brunswick study says self-harming among students at the university is on the rise. Psychologist Nancy Buzzell has revealed that 91 of 260 students who sought counselling have admitted to harming themselves. More than five per cent of those students began to hurt themselves after starting university, 17.9 per cent started before education but continued. Buzzell has her clients focus on something else to relieve stress, suggesting re-directing their focus, running, or deep breathing as options.

A donation boost for MSVU:
(Metro News) The first female lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, Margaret McCain, has donated $2.25 million to Mount Saint Vincent University that will go toward developing a new building on campus. The building, named the Margaret Norrie McCain Centre for Teaching, Learning and Research, will consist of both classrooms and a museum honouring women. McCain’s donation is the largest individual donation given to MSVU in its history. The building requires $12 million to build. Since last year the school raised $7 million.

Researcher hails new approach to paleontology:
(Canada.com) University of Alberta researcher Phil Bell is using fossilized skin, rather than bones, to identify different species of dinosaurs. Bell first attempted this new technique when comparing fossilized skin from a Mongolian Hadrosaur from one found in Alberta a hundred years ago. Bell’s technique has been declared the first-ever discovery in dinosaur science.

One stop mental health:
(Western Gazette ) The University of Western Ontario has launched a website where students, faculty and parents can find all of Western’s mental health resources in one location. The re-vamping of the sites was influenced by recent reports discussing the mental stresses students can face. It also aims to promote mental health rather than treating mental issues after they arise. Originally, the university’s counselling departments had their own individual websites, with multiple locations across campus to find support.

Tuition hikes especially hard on females: institute:
(Montreal Gazette) The Simone de Beauvoir Institute of Concordia University says Quebec’s decision to raise tuition for undergraduates by $1,625 over the next five years will adversely affect women. Statistics show women continue to earn 71 cents for every dollar a man earns, and thus may be more affected by rising tuition. Advocates of the tuition hike say because those earning degrees will have higher wage employment, students should be paying higher financial costs.

U.S.

Court upholds university's dismissal of admin over anti-gay column:
(Inside Higher Education) A U.S. federal judge ruled this week that the University of Toledo was within its rights when it fired its head human resources administrator in 2008 after she wrote a newspaper column saying gay people do not need the protection of civil rights laws. In his ruling David A. Katz said the nature of Crystal Dixon’s job meant that she was not protected by the First Amendment protections for expressing her views in a public forum.

U. of Texas adopts rules for post-tenure reviews:
(Inside Higher Education) The board of regents at the University of Texas has adopted tougher rules for post-tenure reviews of faculty members in the university system. According to the new rule announced Thursday, tenured faculty members will receive annual reviews as the basis for salary changes. They will also receive comprehensive reviews at least once every six years.

Much debate, but no decision on Kean U. president:
(Inside Higher Education) A New Jersey university held a meeting Thursday to debate the accuracy of its president’s numerous resumes, which show papers that were never published. No decision was made after the speeches at Kean University. Its president, Dawood Y. Farahi, has for years been clashing with faculty leaders, but has up until now continued to enjoy strong support from the university’s board.

Education gap between rich and poor growing:
(Inside Higher Education) Several recent studies suggest that education gaps between rich and poor students are growing, from elementary school through college. The studies also show that race-based gaps are narrowing. “We have moved from a society in the 1950s and 1960s, in which race was more consequential than family income, to one today in which family income appears more determinative of educational success than race,” said Stanford University sociologist Sean F. Reardon.

Pell Grants helping rural Kansas students:
(Inside Higher Education) A case study shows U.S. federal grants to community colleges in Kansas State have had a positive impact, leading to more students attending college, especially in the state’s rural areas. The study, which the University of Alabama Education Policy Centre released yesterday, found that the Pell Grants funds that were distributed to Kansas students almost doubled between 2008 and 2010. The director of the policy centre said the study “explodes the myth” that Pell Grants help mainly urban students.

Tensions over direction of Yale business school:
(Inside Higher Education ) Some Yale University School of Management alumni say they fear the school is abandoning its standout qualities as the Yale competes with other top business schools. The management school has historically focused more on preparing leaders for nonprofit organizations or the government world than other leading business schools have. Yale only began offering an MBA in 1999. Currently, Yale still ranks well below other top business schools.

World

U.K. study: 1 in 4 adults can't do math:
(BBC) English students are failing in math education at the high-school level and it’s hurting universities. A study by the Royal Society of Arts states one in four adults cannot do basic calculations and “the current system puts many students off math for life,” according to the report’s author. Universities have to compensate by minimizing math content in science, medicine and psychology courses. Only 15 per cent of English students continue into math after the age of 16.

Student visa process in Australia easier for international students:
(The Australian ) International students coming to Australia will have fewer immigration problems thanks to a new student visa process. Universities Australia has recommended to its members that they sign up for the new process. Schools will have more regulatory responsibility under the new system, but they will have to ensure students meet English standards and have financial resources. They will be monitored by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

British Council slams student visa policy:
(Times Higher Education) The British government’s decision to toughen student visa guidelines could wreck higher education in the United Kingdom, says the director of the British Council. The organization, which promotes British education overseas, says the new rules will put Britain’s schools behind competitors in Canada, the U.S. and Australia. Britain’s new rules make it difficult for international students to work in Britain after graduation. The aim of the policy was to create more jobs for young Britons, but the British Council says it might threaten the economy long-term.

Political education feud grows in Britain:
(BBC) Two sides of Britain’s education debate are digging in over the case of Les Ebdon, the candidate for director of the Office for Fair Access. MPs on a committee rejected Ebdon’s appointment yesterday, however the secretary of the Business, Innovation and Skills department and the universities minister have announced they are standing by his appointment. Ebdon, the vice-chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire, has spoken out on poor access to higher education and had threatened to fine schools that failed access standards.

U.K. teachers to be trained in schools, not universities:
(BBC) Funding for university courses in education in the United Kingdom could be cut in 2013 because fewer secondary teachers are needed. There are 300 secondary school courses that have 10 or fewer students. That may lead to school mergers or closures. The Universities Council for the Education of Teachers has expressed concern with the loss of facilities and expertise this could cause.

Tough end for troubled Australian sport college:
(The Australian) The end has come for the Vocational Training Group in Melbourne. It has finally had its registration withdrawn by the state government. An investigation found that the school had no "viable financial model." The school was involved in a kickback scheme last year that lured students with financial handouts, quick courses and iPads. The scheme would have earned the school and local clubs thousands of dollars, until activists and media found out.