Top Ten

December 3, 2012

2 Wyoming community college instructors killed

The son of a faculty member at Casper College fatally shot his father with a bow and arrow Friday while his father was teaching at the Wyoming-based institution. While the father succumbed to his wounds from that single shot, he wrestled with his son, allowing his students to flee the classroom. Just before coming to campus, the son had gone to his father's home and killed his father's live-in girlfriend, who was also a faculty member at Casper. The son took his own life after killing his father. The college will hold a candlelight vigil and memorial service today. Casper College Emergency Blog | Associated Press | Inside Higher Ed

Universities respond to increase in students with mental health needs

Across Canada, university support services are inundated with students, particularly during final exam season. As classes wind down, McGill University's mental health services clinic gets more than 20 emergency drop-ins a day -- 4 times the usual rate. Increasingly, though, the clinic is busy year round, with 20,000-plus visits, double the figure from 5 years ago. Exam season has become mental health season at the University of Alberta. It began last Thursday with a yoga class to de-stress students, and a table set up in the Students' Union Building with 100 balloons. Each balloon represented 4 suicide attempts for a total of 400, an estimate of the number of uAlberta's 38,000 students who will attempt suicide based on the rate among PSE students across the country. The campaign urges students to eschew the stigma of mental illness, using terms like "psycho" or "schizo" to grab attention. It's an initiative lead by uAlberta's provost's fellow for student mental health -- a position created less than a year ago. "We need to get [mental health issues] out of the closet," the fellow says. "It's not something to be ashamed of. There's no way it should be taboo." Globe and Mail

Report explores counselling services in Ontario colleges

The Ontario College Counsellors has published an initial report on an analysis of counselling services at provincial colleges. Conducted during the 2011-12 academic year, the study was designed to provide a comprehensive description of counsellor characteristics, determine how counselling is delivered in the colleges, identify models to counselling delivery, identify strengths and weaknesses associated with each model, and develop realistic guidelines that incorporate ethical practice, professional regulatory requirements, and fiscal realities. The report found that system growth has outpaced counsellor complement by 6 times between 2007 and 2012, that upcoming regulation of psychotherapy is seen as a positive development by both counsellors and counselling managers, and that the counsellor role has "narrowed," potentially putting the concept of holistic student development at risk. OCC website | Report

Mismatch in job market risk to Canadian economy, report finds

A new CIBC report suggests the country's economic prosperity is at risk because of a labour market split in which high-demand positions go unfilled while lower-skilled workers languish in unemployment. The mismatch of companies unable to hire and people unable to find jobs "is simply big enough to impact the economy as a whole, our productivity, our potential growth and therefore our standard of living in the future," says the report's author. The report breaks down the labour market divide into 25 "have" and 20 "have-not" occupations. It notes the health and science fields, natural resources extraction, plumbing, psychology, and social work are among the sectors showing signs of skills shortages, while "traditional" occupations such as clerical work, food services, manufacturing labour, and teaching are seeing a surplus of workers chasing a limited number of positions. The report's author says the skilled labour shortage means the economy is "underused" and businesses cannot grow due to a lack of people. He says government and business need to boost efforts on training in order to bring the increasing number of long-term unemployed Canadians back into the economy. CIBC News Release | Canadian Press | Report

Algonquin College opens Pembroke campus

Last Thursday marked the grand opening of Algonquin College's new $36-million waterfront campus in Pembroke. The 4-storey campus is anchored by a large, airy student commons. There is a library and gymnasium on the main floor, as well as various student services and an expansion automotive shop. Classrooms and laboratories share the upper levels with quiet study spaces and faculty offices. Many in Pembroke believe Algonquin College's investment in a much-needed facility situated a stone's throne away from downtown signals a turning point in the city. "The college will be the beacon that will draw people to the community," Pembroke's mayor says. "If I were a student, I'd want to be there." Algonquin College Media Advisory | Ottawa Citizen

Ottawa invests in Boréal's Toronto campus

The federal government has made a $1.6-million contribution to Collège Boréal for its new Toronto campus. Confirming the funding Friday, an MP said that through the government's contribution, "this new campus offers students in the Greater Toronto Area an outstanding college solution that meets the growing need for quality training in French." Since last June, the campus has provided Boréal students with twice the space and facilities they had before. A total of 19 PSE training programs will be on the curriculum at the start of 2013-14 academic year at the new campus. Boréal News Release

$1-million donation supports York U's MBA Global Mining Management specialization

Inmet Mining Corporation, a Canadian-based global mining company that produces copper and zinc, is donating $1 million to York University's Schulich School of Business to support its new MBA specialization in Global Mining Management. The donation will be comprised of 4 annual payments of $250,000 in each of the years from 2012 to 2015. It will be used for further growth and development of the specialization through increased teaching capacity, academic research, industry outreach, and scholarships. YFile

PEI launches Family Medicine Sponsorship Program

The PEI government released Friday details of its new Family Medicine Sponsorship Program, which requires medical students to commit to practice in the province for 5 years after they graduate in return for financial aid. The pilot project will provide support for medical education expenses to 3 students annually. In return, the students commit to the 5-year time frame. The students can apply to the program at the end of their second year of medical school. The current program aimed at bringing young doctors to PEI is not working. The province has no medical school of its own, and for the past 12 years it has spent $800,000 annually to guarantee 4 spots for PSE students at Memorial University. The idea was that these students might return as doctors to PEI, but only one has, the province's health minister says. The MUN program is now under review. PEI News Release | Globe and Mail | Charlottetown Guardian

Incorporating theology into Canadian med school curricula

The concept of mandatory training of physicians in the provision of "spiritual health care" seems to be making some in-roads in Canada. While none of country's medical schools has yet made a course in spiritual health care a prerequisite toward earning an MD, several are integrating some aspects of spiritual health care into courses. There has been considerable, if informal, progress with respect to spiritual pedagogy in Canadian medical schools over the past decade, says a Northern Ontario School of Medicine official, who notes there are constant pressures on curricula. "The real challenge in Canadian medical education [is] that pretty much every issue, disease or concept on the planet could benefit from the same sort of endeavor, so the question becomes how many of these types of requests can one address?" she says. "With limited resources and limited time which ones do we focus on?...We can't fit everything in the curriculum." CMAJ

"Mystery shopping" in student services

While common in entertainment, hospitality, and retail fields, "mystery shopping" is not a tool regularly used by PSE administrators, but the president of Virginia-based Marymount University hopes to change that. At the president's behest, a group of students surreptitiously tested different offices to evaluate service quality. "Inside the classroom, students are students, but outside it they're customers," says the president, whose institution is engaging in a broader initiative to improve service quality on campus. He notes that a student's interaction with university officials outside the classroom, while not the focus of a student's time at Marymount, can shade his or her view of the experience, thereby making him or her less likely to recommend the university to others or keep him or her from engaging with a particular campus office. In the case of the library or career services, it could significantly affect that student's educational or professional outcome. Inside Higher Ed