Top Ten

November 23, 2012

Thousands of students march in Montreal in support of free tuition

Several thousand students marched through downtown Montreal Thursday to demand free education. Although a tuition freeze is in effect in Quebec this academic year, about 60,000 students voted for a day, or a few days, of boycotting classes in support of the International Student Movement, which organized worldwide demonstrations in favour of free education, and opposing the commercialization of education, for the week of November 14 to 22. "We want all public services to be free," said a spokesman for ASSÉ, the umbrella group representing Quebec student associations. "Education is not being treated like a public service; it's been treated like an investment that students make to have a better job." The federations representing Quebec university and CÉGEP students did not support Thursday's demonstration. FEUQ said it was none too pleased about a demonstration with a seemingly unclear focus, and which came at a time when the focus should be on the upcoming education summit. FEUQ's president said students demonstrated last year when there were no other options, but, she said, there is now a government open to listening to students, and it is time to talk. ASSÉ said it has not yet decided if it will even take part in the summit. "The strength of our mobilization today demonstrates the Quebec student movement is still very strong," the ASSÉ spokesman said Thursday. "If this government is intent on raising tuition fees, if it is intent on continuing to commodify education, we will be here to remind them we have the necessary leverage to make this process stop." Montreal Gazette | CBC | CTV

La Cité proposes digital portfolio to define profile of graduate

In its draft strategic mandate agreement submitted to the Ontario government, La Cité collégiale says it wants to design a process that will guarantee both employers and society that La Cité graduates have mastered distinct and specific skills. The digital portfolio would be generated directly from the Ottawa-based college's learning management system, and would be gradually built up as students gain experience at La Cité and in the workplace. The digital portfolio aims to define "the profile of the graduate of La Cité collégiale" -- in other words, to define what sets La Cité's graduates apart from those of other colleges. La Cité SMA

LSUC approves Law Practice Program pilot

On Thursday, the Law Society of Upper Canada's governing council voted 36-20 in favour of an alternative path to licensing lawyers. Called the Law Practice Program (LPP), the initiative was recommended last month by an LSUC task force assigned to find ways of addressing a critical shortage of articling positions in Ontario. Under the 3-year pilot project, which comes into effect in the 2014-15 licensing year, candidates may either complete the traditional 10-month articling term, with enhanced documentation, or an LPP, which calls for 4 months of extra classroom education as well as an unpaid, co-op work placement. During debate, some LSUC council members expressed misgivings about the competency of many students pursuing a legal career. The profession is risking its credibility by diluting its high standards, said a former Ontario attorney-general. "I think the public would be concerned to hear how many of us have reservations about how the current system is preparing [young lawyers]." While the Ontario Bar Association said the new plan is "the right way forward for the profession and the public," others following the vote took to Twitter to criticize LSUC's decision to create a two-tiered licensing system. For example, one law student tweeted: "Thank you for potentially creating a generation of under-qualified, indebted, unpaid lawyers." LSUC News Release | Toronto Star | Globe and Mail | Legal Feeds | LSUC Articling Task Force Final Report

Construction begins on Pan Am stadium at York U

Work began last Monday to break ground for a new stadium at York University that will host track and field events during the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games. The stadium will feature a 400-metre track, an infield designed for throwing and jumping disciplines, permanent seating for 3,000 spectators with an extra 2,000 temporary seats. There will be additional seating in the stadium during the Games for up to 12,500 spectators. Slated to open in July 2014, a year in advance of the Games, the stadium is projected to cost $45.5 million. Noting that the university is pleased to be part of the Games, York U president Mamdouh Shoukri said the stadium "will enhance the experience not only for our students and athletes, but will also create a lasting legacy for community members for years to come." York U News Release | National Post

Update on WLU Global Innovation Exchange building

The site of Wilfrid Laurier University's Global Innovation Exchange (GIE) building may appear quiet, but the institution is busy confirming details and putting the build team in place for the new home of WLU's School of Business and Economics and Department of Mathematics. To be located at the Waterloo campus, the 215,000-square-foot GIE building will feature 9 lecture halls, a 1,000-seat auditorium, computer and math labs, meeting rooms, faculty and administrative offices, student club support spaces, and a café. In order to provide additional student space, the building's design was updated earlier this year to convert an open outdoor courtyard into an indoor atrium. The building is slated to open in spring 2015. WLU News

Canadore board expresses commitment to filling skills gap

At its November 20 meeting, Canadore College's board of governors demonstrated commitment to bolstering the next wave of skilled workers by passing a resolution of support for key areas of growth. Canadore said its board recognizes the need to produce highly-skilled, industry-ready graduates in the aviation and health and wellness fields, where skilled worker shortages could have the most impact. "Expanding our potential to offer more aviation and health and wellness programs in dedicated space, using leading-edge equipment, represents an excellent investment," said the board chair. "As we edge into the future, the ability for our society to remain healthy and safe will be challenging without a skilled workforce. Canadore is committed to reversing this trend with its Skilled Solution initiative." Canadore News Release

uSask med students raise concerns with province about clinical learning time

A group of University of Saskatchewan medical students visited the Legislative Building last Thursday to raise concerns about clinical learning time. The proposal the group presented to the province was that it quickly implement a program to increase resident teaching. One student said uSask has "been regarded as strong clinically across the nation, and in current years, that has been slipping." Having raised issues about clinical learning time reductions during question period, the Opposition NDP's health critic later told reporters that the students want to see residents receive an incentive "to participate more fully in the clinical education component with medical students." "We certainly appreciate (the students') input and the proposal that they put forward," said Saskatchewan's health minister, who met with the students Thursday. "That's going to have to be discussed and looked at...when the time comes to renegotiate with the residents. That negotiation takes place between the employer, which is the university, and the residents themselves." Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

Ontario running ad campaign to promote tuition grant

The Ontario government has launched a $5-million advertising campaign to promote a program that offers more than $400 million in tuition rebates to PSE students. 2 TV commercials will inform students that they may qualify for the province's tuition grant. Students whose family incomes are under $160,000 are eligible to receive up to $1,680 back on university tuition fees and up to $770 back on college tuition fees. The two 30-second commercials cost the government $990,000 to produce, and the province is purchasing $3.8 million worth of air time on TV stations. Now airing, the commercials will be go on hiatus on December 21 and resume in early January. Canadian Press

Report explores attracting more women to mining industry

Carleton University's Centre for Women in Politics and Public Leadership has released a report about creating gender inclusive leadership in Canada's mining industry, which will require more than 75,000 new workers in under a decade. Women's employment in this industry is very low (18%) compared to other key sectors such as finance (61.53%) and energy (24.6%). Potential strategies to attract female students to the mining industry include granting internships, job placements, and scholarships, and informing and training career advisors at high schools and PSE institutions about job opportunities in the sector. One of the report's recommendations for the mining industry is to build partnerships with government, academia, and the non-profit sector to attract women to the industry and support women's participation in the trades. Carleton News Release | Report

US institutions using video interviews to gain additional information about Chinese applicants

The number of Chinese students on US campuses has jumped by 139% in the past 5 years, and admissions officers are struggling to keep up with demand. Confronted with anecdotes about widespread fraud, PSE's gatekeepers describe challenges in getting accurate portraits of who their Chinese applicants are -- and how well they speak English. US institutions are increasingly employing the services of companies that provide video interviews of Chinese applicants and promise, in various ways, to assist with vetting and verification. Some companies score applicants' interviews and writing samples, while others simply serve a secure conduit, passing a videotaped interview along to the admissions office. Inside Higher Ed