All Posts Tagged With: "University of Manitoba"
Universities help first-year students with mentors and more
Shari-Ann Baker, who was born and raised in Jamaica, moved to Toronto in 2010 to attend York University. Her first assignment was an essay for a Canadian studies course. Baker got a B, a mark she was able to improve after learning about the school’s Writing Centre: Her next assignment, for a sociology course, received an A. York’s various facilities, programs and clubs, such as the Community of United Jamaicans, were invaluable in helping her get settled. “People say you’ll get worse grades than in high school,” says Baker, now 22, in her fourth year of a linguistics degree. “If you take advantage of resources on campus, I don’t think it’s a problem.”
First year is a precarious time, fraught with new challenges and responsibilities—both academic and personal. Suddenly, “the world sees you as an adult,” says Barry Townshend, manager of the Centre for New Students at the University of Guelph. “A lot of responsibility comes with that,” from getting to class on time to paying rent, not to mention choosing an academic direction that will help with a future career. It’s a lot of pressure, all at once. Universities are increasingly finding a way to support students through this transition with writing centres, advisers, academic coaches and mentors.
Parties agree to arbitration
WINNIPEG – A strike by professors at the University of Manitoba has been averted.
The university and its faculty association reached a last-minute deal Monday night about half an hour before professors were to hit the picket line.
As a result, classes will continue as scheduled.
The three-year agreement on all major issues will ensure there will be no work stoppage.
The parties have agreed to have the remaining issues sent to arbitration.
Faculty association say it’s not about wages
Professors at the University of Manitoba may go on strike on Tuesday putting nearly 30,000 students’ semesters in jeopardy.
In an open letter published on its website and copied below, the University of Manitoba Faculty Association says a strike would not be about wages, “although University of Manitoba academics, at virtually all ranks, are at the bottom of any list of average salaries for comparable universities in Canada.” (The average salary in Canada is $138,853 for a full professor and $89,681 for an assistant professor compared to an average at Manitoba of $133,073 for a full professor and $80,319 for an assistant.) Instead, they say, the main issue is academic freedom.
The university’s administration has set up the page umanitoba.ca/strikeinfo to offer information. In an e-mail to all students, the administration wrote it will, “support the continuation of classes and services in the event of UMFA strike action,” and that, “sessional appointees, teaching assistants and certain members of the Faculty of Medicine…. will continue with academic duties.” However, it’s unclear whether any sessional appointees or teaching assistants would cross picket lines to teach.
Faculty strikes can drag on for months and students often lose class time and tuition money. After Brandon University’s 45-day strike ended in 2011, the term was pushed into May but students still lost class time. After York University’s 85-day-long strike of contract professors, teaching assistants, and graduate assistants in 2008-09, which ended only after a special bill passed in Ontario’s legislature, students were allowed to choose between dropping courses and getting refunds or a condensed semester that stretched as late as June 2nd.
Here is the rest of UMFA’s letter to students:
We are at a serious impasse on several matters: academic freedom; privacy of email and other correspondence; whether the administration can use evaluative measures to restrict the kind of research that will be valued here; and whether collegial governance principles will be respected when setting promotion and tenure criteria and weightings. There has been a steady erosion of collegial governance over the last few years and a decreasing respect for the opinions, views, and beliefs of the academic community here at the University of Manitoba. We are fighting that trend.
Academic freedom is one of the pillars of a good university. UMFA Members want to have the Collective Agreement clearly state that we have the right to criticize the university administration, and that we have the right to contribute to social change through the free expression of opinion on all matters of public interest without fear of reprisal or repression by the university administration. The administration refuses to put these changes into the Collective Agreement.
The administration has said that it is not attempting to reduce rights under the UMFA Collective Agreement. But the truth is that this administration is taking new initiatives outside the collective bargaining process that undermine academic freedom. It has proposed what it calls “performance management systems” that would control what research a professor could do, where that research could be published, and how it could be funded. Researchers would have to meet targets set by administrators, instead of having the academic freedom to choose research projects according to their best professional judgment.
These restrictions on research essentially undermine the idea of the university. A good university has scholars who are immersed in, and passionate about, their subject areas. They strive to expand their fields, not to narrow them into easily “manageable” categories. Protecting academic freedom is essential to maintaining a high quality of education for students.
The administration is also amalgamating and discontinuing faculties in ways that undermine fundamental principles of collegial governance. While the administration asks for the opinions of academics and students, it is clear that it does not take these views into consideration and is not going to change the direction that it has set. We can’t bargain for students, but we must bargain for our Members’ rights to have a real influence on the administration’s decisions and for our rights to be respected when these changes do go forward.
The administration is using its vast public relations resources, including its student listserv, to send you, the students, its perspective on the current state of negotiations. We will do our best to provide you with information from our perspective. We are proposing a mediation process to the university in the hopes of reaching an agreement at the table.
We hope that we can reach a settlement and avoid a strike. But if a satisfactory settlement cannot be reached, a strike will begin on the morning of Tuesday, October 22.
If there is a strike, we hope you will support and respect UMFA’s picket lines. The Manitoba Human Rights Code covers the University of Manitoba and prevents discrimination against students on political grounds. Therefore, students who refuse to cross picket lines must be accommodated and cannot be subject to academic penalty or disadvantage. If there is a strike, picket lines will be up from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. at all Fort Garry campus entrances, with one on the Bannatyne Campus as well.
Old Instagram posts emerge after criticism of CFS agendas
When students at the University of Manitoba got their Students’ Union agendas this fall, missing were the pages dedicated to the Canadian Federation of Students and its Manitoba branch, lobbying groups all students at the Winnipeg school pay mandatory fees to each year.
Al Turnbull, UMSU’s new football-playing president, says his executive ripped the CFS material out of every single book by hand as a political protest, “to try and send a message to the national and provincial components [of CFS] that what they’re doing isn’t right.”
Turnbull is angry that, in the final days of previous president Bilan Arte’s term, UMSU contracted with the CFS to produce agendas for $60,000. Not only did Turnbull see that as too high a price but he thought the decision should have been left to the new executive, as it was the year before. He also says it was wrong for Arte to sign because, after losing the UMSU election to him, she ran for and won the chair seat of CFS Manitoba.
Thousands of Indigenous survivor stories to be archived
The University of Manitoba is set to become “Canada’s national memory” of the country’s residential schools and the experience of those who spent their childhood institutionalized there.
The university will house the national research centre for residential schools as part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. A signing ceremony between the university and commission establishing the archive was scheduled to take place Friday morning.
The archive will hold millions of documents collected by the commission including thousands of stories from residential school survivors.
Commission chairman Murray Sinclair said the research centre is an important part of the commission’s legacy.
“It’s kind of hard to believe that a government would have done what the government of Canada did to aboriginal people by taking away their children and institutionalizing them for all of their childhood and expecting that they would turn out to be normal, functioning human beings,” Sinclair said in an interview.
College students who transfer to university do well
From the 2013 Maclean’s University Rankings
Kristy Normore, 23, grew up in L’Anse-au-Loup, Nfld., and was one of 16 in her high school’s graduating class. (L’Anse-au-Loup has a population of 600.) She left to attend Memorial University in St. John’s, but found it wasn’t for her. “Some of my classes had over 300 people,” she says. “I absolutely hated it. No one knew your name.” Formerly a straight-A student, Normore found her marks began to drop. After her first year, she went back home and spent the year planning her next move.
Intent on a career in social work, Normore enrolled at Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) in Sydney, “one of the best decisions I ever made.” Classes had 30 people—tops. Tuition was cheaper. She got As again. After two years, diploma in hand, Normore transferred to Cape Breton University (CBU), right next to NSCC, into the bachelor of arts community studies (BACS) program. She graduated in June. Starting university the second time, she felt better prepared. “I was used to helping myself. I found it much easier.”
Spencer Fernando: We are more than the colour of our skin.
The University of Manitoba Students’ Union may add a representative for racialized students. Spencer Fernando, a man of mixed heritage, explained his opposition to the idea in this piece for The Manitoban, where is the comment editor. Agree? Disagree? Leave your comment below.
At the outset of this piece, I feel it’s important for me to state clearly that I believe those who favor the creation of the racialized rep. have good intentions. They are making a sincere effort to make the world a better place. My disagreement is not with their intentions, but the method they have chosen.
As we consider this issue, let’s ask ourselves a few questions: First, should there be an UMSU rep. elected on the basis of their skin colour? Second, is it fair to create a position that could exclude white students and discourage them from running or voting for it? Third, should every non-white student be grouped into one category and represented by one person? My answer to these questions is no.
Trump is mad, pot is legal & U. Manitoba’s “racialized rep.”
1. Barack Obama got a second chance, winning the presidency for another four years with 50 per cent of the popular vote to Mitt Romney’s 48 per cent plus victory in battleground states like Ohio. From Obama’s victory speech: “Tonight, in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come.” Full text here.
2. Upon hearing the election results, Donald Trump threw a tantrum on Twitter and threatened to “March on Washington,” the site of this democratic “travesty.”
3. Washington and Colorado passed ballot initiatives during Tuesday’s election that legalize marijuana for recreational use. But pot-heads shouldn’t pack their bags for Denver or Seattle just yet. Legalization may lead to a Supreme Court challenge from the federal government.
Could impact how astrophysicists work
University of Manitoba astrophysicists Samar Safi-Harb and Gilles Ferrand have helped produce 3D simulations of supernova remnants (SNRs) showing the effect of particle acceleration at the wave fronts generated by these powerful X-ray sources. The U of M explains:
Safi-Harb notes: “With these simulations, we are generating the first realistic synthetic maps of projected thermal x-ray emission in young SNRs.”
They note that the results will impact on astrophysicists’ interpretations of high-resolution x-ray observations, such as those currently underway using the orbiting Chandra and XMM-Newton x-ray observatories (launched in 1999 by NASA and ESA, respectively), or those planned with Astro-H (slated for launch by JAXA in 2014).
No Doubt apologizes, plus Glen Murray & Dawgfather PhD
1. The band No Doubt has pulled its music video for a new song called “Looking Hot” after Native Americans called it racist due to the Wild West theme that includes front-woman Gwen Stefani dressed up in native-inspired attire. In response to the outcry, the band apologized on their website: “Although we consulted with Native American friends and Native American studies experts at the University of California, we realize now that we have offended people. This is of great concern to us and we are removing the video immediately. The music that inspired us when we started the band, and the community of friends, family, and fans that surrounds us was built upon respect, unity and inclusiveness. We sincerely apologize to the Native American community.”
2. Premier Brad Wall’s Saskatchewan Party voted at their convention on Saturday to support lowering the drinking age from 19 to 18. It’s not a certainty yet, however. “We take resolutions at the convention very seriously, Wall told CBC, adding, “Before we consider any sort of change, we’re going to have to consult.”
3. Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois received $58,000 in donations from more than 1,700 people to fight his contempt of court conviction. The former head of CLASSE, who led the anti-tuition movement with its nightly marches and shutdown of Quebec universities earlier this year, was recently found guilty of encouraging people to ignore a court injunction that allowed a Laval student to return to classes.
A photographic tour of the campuses in Winnipeg
This fall, Maclean’s photographed 24 of the 49 institutions featured in the 2013 Maclean’s University Rankings. Below, Marianne Helm shows you around the University of Manitoba. Click on each photo to make it larger. Then check out the other 23 galleries by clicking here.
Nitro cocktails, a botched pick-up attempt & a Toronto killer
1. The Peak student newspaper at Simon Fraser University is warning students against cocktails containing liquid nitrogen, which is added by some daring bartenders who want to impress drinkers with the ensuing cloud of vapour. The reason for the warning: The Daily Mail newspaper says a British student who chugged two “Nitro Jagermeisters” ended up with a perforated stomach. Ouch.
2. “It wasn’t exactly the most successful pick-up attempt,” writes Julian Uzielli of Western’s University’s The Gazette. A student briefly lost consciousness and was taken to hospital last Wednesday after being injured in The Spoke pub. “He basically tried to pick up a girl really high in the air, and she fell on him, and he fell backwards and he hit his head,” student Tony Ayala told the newspaper.
3. People in Toronto’s Cabbagetown neighbourhood, not far from Ryerson University, are frightened by a killer who stabbed a woman, in her 50s, early on Tuesday. Toronto police released this security camera footage of the victim being followed around 7 a.m. The suspect is a white male.
Avicii, Beer4Breakfast, Bedpush, Trudeau & Ryan Gosling
1. Honouring the American tradition of free speech and big lawsuits, the University of California Davis has set aside $980,000 to settle with 21 students and alumni who were pepper-sprayed by campus police during an otherwise peaceful Occupy protest last November. Students will get $30,000 each; the plaintiffs’ attorneys will get $250,000.
2. An online reality show called Beer4Breakfast is looking for Canada’s best party city by visiting a number of campuses in southwestern Ontario, reports the Western Gazette. The show’s producers say they will supply a party host with a bartender, DJ and professional photographer and then grade it based on party tricks, popularity, originality, team morale and shock factor. What could possibly go wrong?
3. Skiers near Flagstaff, Arizona will soon be gliding atop fake snow made from 100 per cent sewage effluent. “It’s a disaster, culturally and environmentally,” Taylor McKinnon of the Center for Biological Diversity told the New York Times, adding that he worries about the impact on the alpine tundra and to humans should skiers fall into the treated sewer-water snow and ingest it.
Helena Guergis, student housing, Obama and Occupy
1. The University of Alberta’s class of first-year law students will include Helena Guergis, a former junior cabinet minister who had a very public spat with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Perhaps she’s studying up for her appeal after her lawsuit against the PM was dismissed last week.
2. Students in Fredericton, N.B. have their pick of where to live, due to declining local enrollment.
3. Students in booming Saskatchewan have trouble finding anywhere to live. Vianne Timmons, president of the University of Regina, says a student stopped her on the street to ask if she knew any rentals. New residences are coming.
Energy drinks, job numbers, cow-human marriages…
Here we give you the 10 stories that Canadian students are talking about today. Like us on Facebook for your daily fix.
1. Combining caffeinated energy drinks with alcohol leads to more casual sex, apparently.
“Mixing energy drinks with alcohol can lead to unintentional overdrinking, because the caffeine makes it harder to assess your own level of intoxication,” the study’s lead researcher said.
Here’s another theory: not consuming an energy drink increases the likelihood of leaving the party early and going to bed—alone.
2. An 18-year-old on Bali, Indonesia was caught having sex with a cow. As local tradition dictates, he was forced to marry the cow in front of hundreds of people and then the animal was drowned. In his defense, he said he believed the cow was a beautiful young woman. No word on whether caffeinated energy drinks were involved.
The debate over whether to put more lectures online
When Allison Torbiak sat down in her ﬁrst-year psychology class at the University of Manitoba two Septembers ago, she was surprised to hear the woman at the front of the room announce that their Monday and Friday lectures would be replaced by online recordings of two professors talking over lecture slides. The class would meet only once per week, on Wednesdays, for a seminar led by this woman, a graduate student—and not a professor. While many of her almost 200 classmates seemed excited, Torbiak says she was disappointed. “I was looking forward to the big auditorium with lots of kids.” She wondered, “How will I stay motivated without a real live professor?”
Death not suspicious: police
A male body was found on the University of Manitoba’s Fort Garry campus on Monday around 1 p.m. and Winnipeg Police closed off a pedestrian walkway between the engineering building and the University Centre to investigate. A police spokesperson told The Maintoban that they’re treating it as a “sudden death” investigation, rather than a suspicious death.
As the Jewish tongue dies at home, scholars step up
The old language of Eastern Europe’s Jews—the tongue that brought us such lively words as schmooze, glitch, klutz, chutzpah, nosh, schmuck and schmo—has been through a lot.
Yiddish was threatened by the holocaust when five million speakers—roughly half of the total—were murdered in the genocide, writes University of Ottawa researcher Rebecca Margolis.
Then it was threatened by a generation in the diaspora that was sometimes embarrassed of their parents’ foreign tongue and preferred to converse in English or another vernacular anyway.
Today, Yiddish contends with the fact that its keepers are mainly Bubbes and Zeydes of the diaspora, who may not be around much longer. According to Statistics Canada, between 2001 and 2006, the number of Yiddish speakers declined from 37,010 to 27,605 nationally. More than a third of those who remained—9,305—were over 75 years-old. Only 1,345 were under age five.
Six programs for ambitious undergrads
From the 21st Maclean’s University Rankings—on sale now. Story by Sandy Farran.
It’s the stuff of dreams: in early 2009, University of Waterloo engineering student Ted Livingston set out to design an instant messaging app while taking part in Waterloo’s VeloCity Residence program, an intense four-month incubator for student start-ups. The program provided Livingston with regular access to an entrepreneur-in-residence, use of the latest technology, a collaborative work space, exposure to community mentors and the support of like-minded peers.
The entrepreneurial skills that Livingston acquired while in the VeloCity program propelled his instant-messaging app from the idea phase, in early 2009, to a downloadable app in the fall of 2010. Since then, four million users have downloaded the free technology (called Kik Messenger), investors have come knocking, and Livingston has donated $1 million to his alma mater to help other student entrepreneurs.
Prof. tried to fight award of PhD to student who failed exams
The University of Manitoba says that the ongoing fight with Professor Gabor Lukács has been settled. Although specifics will remain confidential, Lukács will no longer work for the University.
The statement reads, in part: “The University has rescinded all disciplinary actions against Professor Lukács (including reprimand, suspension and denial of increment). All outstanding legal proceedings between the parties are terminated. The parties have also agreed that it is to their mutual benefit to end the employment relationship.”
Lukács was a math professor at U of M. He sued the university because his Dean gave a student who had failed exams a degree, citing the student’s “extreme exam anxiety,” which was considered a disability. A Winnipeg court found that Lukács did not have standing to challenge the Dean.
Lukács was suspended in Oct. 2010 for allegedly breaching the privacy of the student in question. At the time, university president David Barnard accused him of “having engaged in a pattern of behaviour with regard to [the] student which the university considers to be harassment.”