All Posts Tagged With: "University of Manitoba"
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.”
How universities are embracing the Aboriginal baby boom
From the Maclean’s University Rankings—on newsstands now. Story by Ken MacQueen.
It’s one of those small things that’s actually very big. The University of Manitoba has a policy on smudging: the Aboriginal tradition of burning sage, sweetgrass or cedar as a way of setting a positive tone and purifying the mind. Say a love affair goes sideways, or a professor is unimpressed with your political science presentation, or it’s autumn on the reserve and here you are in Winnipeg, lonely and blue; well, retreating to a quiet place to wash yourself in the smoke of a smudge is a way to turn the page, to gain strength and clarity. The policy on smudging and pipe ceremonies is the product of deep bureaucratic thought, legal consultation and many meetings, because, of course, there are no-smoking laws. So, it’s complicated.
It’s not the first time a president has praised a politician
A University of Saskatchewan professor says President Peter MacKinnon’s endorsement of a Saskatchewan Party minister is unprecedented and constitutes an “abuse of power.”
MacKinnon is quoted in a brochure saying: “Rob Norris is the finest minister responsible for post-secondary education that I have been privileged to work with in my (13) years as (president).”
Len Findlay, Director of the Humanities Research Unit at the university, said presidents are required to stay neutral. “It’s a publicly funded institution and it’s a provincial responsibility,” Findlay told the StarPhoeix. “Provincial governments change and the interests of the institution and the public interest is best served by the university not being seen to align itself with one party…”
MacKinnon said there’s nothing wrong with the comment. He said that it’s important to be careful during election campaigns, but the comment was made in a speech before the writ was dropped.
But are such endorsements, even during elections, really unprecedented as Findlay suggests?
Here are some recent examples of how university and college presidents have praised political parties. You be the judge.
In March, University of Guelph President Alastair Summerlee endorsed federal Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff’s “Learning Passport,” calling it “absolutely amazing” and “a very, very positive contribution,” reported the Guelph Mercury.
In September, York University President Mamdouh Shoukri said in response to the Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal platform that: ”the goals of having the highest postsecondary attainment rate and most educated workforce in the world are the right ones.”
That same week, Sheldon Levy, President of Ryerson University, said that the Ontario Liberal’s platform included “the most progressive change in tuition policy I have seen in 40 years.”
And while their words came after the election in October, both University of Manitoba President David Barnard and Red River College President Stephanie Forsyth offered their gratitude to the NDP for promises of new funding that came in Manitoba’s Throne Speech, according to CKNW.
MacKinnon’s comments may be controversial, but such endorsements aren’t unprecedented.
Some are moved by the apology. Others ask questions.
The University of Manitoba’s President, David Barnard, has apologized for his institution’s indirect role in the residential schools that negatively impacted as many as 150,000 Aboriginal Canadians.
At a Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearing in Halifax, Barnard said that the U of M made a “grave mistake” by educating people who perpetuated the assimilation of Aboriginal Canadians.
The apology brought some Aboriginal Canadians in the audience on Thursday to tears. Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo, welcomed the words.
But some public relations experts and Native leaders questioned the motivations for the apology, because the University of Manitoba had no direct involvement in the residential schools.
Barnard responded on Thursday. “The university and other organizations in Canada stood by while this was happening, and we didn’t speak out against it early enough,” he told the National Post.
But why not apologize to other groups harmed indirectly by the inaction of the University? “It’s clear that this has been a significant, damaging, traumatic experience for people that are served by the University of Manitoba. This is something that has deep meaning to people in Winnipeg and in Manitoba,” he told the National Post, adding that it may help “bring more people to university.”
The University of Manitoba is already one of Canada’s biggest centres for Native Studies and drew more than 1,900 self-declared Aboriginal students to campus this year—more than most other schools.
Of course, the U of M isn’t the only university that’s working to make universities work better for Aboriginal Canadians. Read Ken MacQueen’s feature article Success, one student at at time in the 2011 Maclean’s University Rankings issue to find out what universities from Victoria to Nipissing are doing to help Native Canadians succeed. Pick up your copy on newsstands today.
How to use terms like Native, Indigenous and Aboriginal
After Deborah Young was appointed the Executive Lead, Aboriginal Achievement at the University of Manitoba in April, she quickly changed her title to Executive Lead, Indigenous Achievement.
That’s caused the school to explore in a podcast, “What do I say?” Local experts explain that there are important nuances in the terms we use to describe the decendents of those who lived in Canada first. Here are just a few of their ideas.
Young says that she chose the term Indigenous because it’s more uniting than Aboriginal. Indigenous is a term that crosses borders and recognizes a shared history. Indigenous is the word used by the United Nations. Aboriginal is not wrong. It’s simply an umbrella term used for First Nations, Metis and Inuit people in Canada. But, warns Young: “One of my pet peeves is that people don’t capitalize Aboriginal.”
Student passed despite “fundamental errors” says prof.
One month ago, professor Gábor Lukács failed to gain standing in his lawsuit that accused the University of Manitoba of violating its own standards by awarding a PhD to a student who hadn’t passed a required exam because of disability related to exam anxiety.
Now, another professor at the University of Manitoba says a student who didn’t adequately meet a requirement was awarded a graduate degree.
Education professor Rodney Clifton tells Maclean’s On Campus that he was pulled from a thesis committee by an Associate Dean two days before a student’s oral defence of what he calls a substandard Master’s thesis that required serious revisions.
Clifton had served since 2006 as a member of a four-person Master’s of Education examining committee. When a draft of the thesis in question came to him in the summer of 2010, Clifton found what he considered “fundamental errors in the analysis of the data” on which the thesis was based. He pointed these problems out to the committee, including the supervisor Robert Renaud.
Clifton says Renaud assured him that the errors could be corrected after the oral defence, itself a fairly common practice when the errors are minor. But Clifton insisted that the data problems were too big for a conditional approval, that an entirely different method of analysis was called for, and that if the thesis did proceed to the oral defence, there was a good chance that he would vote against passing it. Because the university’s policies require unanimous decisions, his objections meant the student would likely have failed.
Clifton was rebuffed when he asked via e-mail to meet with the entire committee to discuss delaying the defence in order to give the student a chance to fix the mistakes. Telephone calls and e-mails Maclean’s On Campus left for Robert Renaud were not returned. But one of the e-mails Clifton received from Renaud indicates that the men disagreed over whether the whole committee should meet to discuss the errors. As the thesis defence date approached, Renaud wrote that he was not about to “waste the time of the committee” just to hear Clifton “rant” about problems Clifton had already pointed out.
A few days before the defence was scheduled, Renaud restated his case for letting the defence go ahead, insisting that he did not want the committee members to lower their academic standards, but that if the concerns about the thesis would eventually be fixed, and given that the student was approaching the deadline, why would Clifton want to “make things unnecessarily difficult?”
When Clifton still objected, Renaud wrote to express his disappointment with his refusal to compromise and cooperate. A day later, he wrote again, indicating that Clifton’s “reactions will negatively affect [the student’s] progress,” and telling him that since he was “unwilling to change [his] perspective,” Renaud was removing Clifton from the committee. Clifton fired back that Renaud had no business removing him from the committee, but that he was willing to have the student proceed to the defence to see if he could be convinced that his objections were not insurmountable. “It still remains to be seen,” Clifton warned, “if the student passes the oral examination or not.”
Less than an hour later—and only two days before the student defended the thesis—Clifton received the e-mail from Associate Dean Zana Lutfiyya saying that since “the majority of committee members are prepared to allow the student to move to the oral defence… I am comfortable with the defense proceeding, and in the change of committee membership.” The thesis was approved.
When Clifton asked Lutfiyya if he could see the final version of the thesis, the copy she forwarded showed, according to Clifton, that the changes to the statistical analysis were never made.
Taking him off the committee, Clifton says, violated principles of academic accountability. Faculty members must be allowed to debate the merits of a thesis. If administrators can simply replace a faculty member who objects, then that accountability disappears, he argues. The whole point of the committee, he says, is that the decision is not left up to individual administrators or even individual faculty members. ”We don’t have external agencies coming in to adjudicate us,” Clifton points out. Professors are bound to ensure the integrity of the degrees their university grants, he says.
In his more than 30 years as an academic, Clifton has never seen a case like this, he says.
Maclean’s On Campus tried to contact Dr. Lutfiyya for comment, but received notifications that she would be away until mid-October. U of M Dean of Education Robert Macmillan, the academic head of the faculty, did respond by e-mail on the school’s behalf to say that while he could not comment on the specifics of this case since he was not Dean at the time the events occurred, he had “seen instances elsewhere when committee members, and even supervisors, have been changed as a result of conflicting views over a student’s work.” In cases that he was familiar with, he said, “the decisions have not been made lightly.”
Todd Pettigrew (PhD) is an Associate Professor of English at Cape Breton University.