Today's Top Ten

April 9, 2021

Study examines completion of a college program after a bachelor’s degree: StatCan

Statistics Canada has released the findings of a study on students who complete a college program after completing a bachelor’s degree. The study found that about 14% of students who recently graduated from a college had previously completed a bachelor’s degree or higher. In many cases, the choice of college programs indicated that the student was attaining more specialized, labour-market-directed skills related to their bachelor’s degree. This was more common in younger college graduates (81% were younger than 35). The study also found that college graduates who had a prior bachelor’s degree were less likely to have studied areas such as the trades, health care aide, vocational nursing, childcare, or office support. StatCan (National)

USherbrooke announces plans to establish IRCUS

The Université de Sherbrooke has announced that it will be establishing the Institut de recherche sur le cancer (IRCUS). IRCUS will bring together the teams that are studying cancer at USherbrooke. The centre will focus on increasing knowledge in oncology by providing research teams with new ways to collaborate and interact. The centre will be multidisciplinary, starting with involvement from five faculties with the plan of bringing in other faculties in the future. USherbrooke (QC)

Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians pulls Boréal’s veterinary program accreditation

The Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians has pulled accreditation for Collège Boréal’s veterinary technician program shortly before graduation, reports CBC. CBC states that the loss of accreditation will prevent graduates from writing the national competency exam, which has an impact on employability. “We keep going, but for what? It’s very de-motivating,” said Gabrielle Venne, a student in the program. The article says that the decision was made through a virtual evaluation process; the association had concerns about the lack of hands-on experience with large farm animals in the last year and was concerned that only about 30% of graduates write the national competency exam. “We were completely surprised when we heard of this,” said Boréal Vice-president Academic Lyne Michaud. Michaud told CBC that COVID-19 restrictions impacted opportunities for students to work with farm animals, and that some information may have been lost in translation given that the college’s program documents are written in French. Boréal is working on an appeal. CBC (ON)

International students at risk, facing increasing challenges due to COVID-19: Report

One Voice Canada has published “The Realities for International Students: Evidenced Challenges,” a report that examines the challenges faced by international students pursuing postsecondary education in Canada. The report looks primarily at the experiences of Indian students studying in provinces such as British Columbia and Ontario, and discusses how international students are often placed in vulnerable situations while facing a lack of supports, high tuition fees, and/or illegal or exploitative work arrangements. Both the report and Global News note the increased rate of death by suicide among international students, and how the pandemic has worsened students' mental health situation. The researchers call on stakeholders to take a comprehensive look at the international student program in recent years and take steps to better protect students. Global News | Report (National)

Royal Roads, UFV researchers create CoLabS platform

Royal Roads University Director of the School of Environment and Sustainability Ann Dale and University of the Fraser Valley Food and Agriculture Institute Associate Director Rob Newell have collaborated to create CoLabS, an online platform that facilitates collaboration between researchers. The platform was developed to give people a tool through which they could talk about sustainability, and contains open-source apps for video conferencing, sharing documents and links, and designing research. Researchers can enter or download data and access public maps, and those using the tool can customize it to meet their own needs. “It became clear to us that we had the capacity to create an online platform that allowed people to engage in multiple different ways,” said Rob Newell, an adjunct faculty in Royal Roads’ School of Environment and Sustainability. Royal Roads (BC)

HEQCO reports on evolving micro-credential landscape

A summary of a soon-to-be-released report from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) discusses the micro-credential landscape, the use and value of these credentials, and how HEQCO’s findings compare and contrast with other recent reports on the topic. HEQCO explains that micro-credentials do not have to be digital; 81% of institutions surveyed were offering micro-credentials through a mix of online and in-person learning, while only 13% were offering micro-credentials completely online. The article also recommends focusing on the micro-credential’s stand-alone value rather than attempting to package micro-credential content with a focus on stackability. HEQCO (ON)

Holland College renews pathway with CBU

Holland College’s Atlantic Police Academy has renewed a pathway agreement with Cape Breton University that will allow graduates of the college’s Police Science (Cadet) program to pursue a university degree. Graduates will be eligible to receive up to 36 credit hours toward a Bachelor of Arts in Community Studies degree at CBU, enabling students to pursue further education and unique career paths. “We are thrilled to renew this important degree pathway agreement with the Atlantic Police Academy,” says CBU President David C Dingwall. “Agreements of this nature allow students even greater opportunities to further strengthen their academic successes. We look forward to welcoming students from APA.” Holland College (NS | PE)

UNBC, UNBC Faculty Association ratify collective agreement

The University of Northern British Columbia and the UNBC Faculty Association union have signed a collective agreement. The 4-year collective agreement, which is the first such agreement reached with the university administration since 2014, includes a 2% annual salary increase that is retroactive to July 2019 and a redesigned compensation framework. “It’s evident that things were strained … and it’s no fault of anybody — it’s just where we were,” said UNBC interim president Geoffrey Payne. “The fact that we were able to do it and negotiate it and then have it voted and ratified … is historic and very positive and very exciting for UNBC.” UNBC | CBC (BC)

Reimagining underutilized campus spaces: Opinion

Postsecondary institutions may need to reimagine how to reactivate underutilized campus spaces as the COVID-19 pandemic winds down, writes Mike Aziz. The author describes how postsecondary institutions often have unique spaces that are equipped with technology that makes them easy to transition to other uses. Aziz suggests that institutions with underutilized spaces consider using this space for flexible co-working, to provide support and counseling for entrepreneurs and small businesses, to expand their childcare facilities, for workforce partnerships and retraining, and as space for the public to enjoy outdoor activities and recreation centres. “Ultimately, while every college and university will confront its own specific challenges now and into the future, reimagining the role of a campus can be a useful way to begin reactivating these spaces,” writes Aziz. Inside Higher Ed (International)

Lethbridge cuts application fee in half for the month of April

Lethbridge College has announced that it has cut its application processing fees in half for the month of April in order to make the process of starting higher education more accessible. “We hope this savings in the application fee might make it easier to take that first step to a post-secondary education, whether students are interested in coming for a semester, a certificate, a diploma or a degree,” said Lethbridge College President Dr Paula Burns. The college noted that it plans to see most classes return to campus for the Fall term. Lethbridge News Now | Lethbridge (AB)