Top Ten

May 7, 2013

Alberta invests $11 million in dual credit strategy

The Alberta government announced Monday it will add more dual credit courses across the province. The government is investing more than $11 million over 3 years in the Provincial Dual Credit Strategy, which will allow more students to access dual credit opportunities. The new funding will support schools, PSE institutions, and businesses as they partner to deliver opportunities for students to earn both secondary school and PSE credits for the same course. Currently, students in Alberta can receive high school and PSE credits in classes related to automotive service, carpentry, culinary arts, hair styling, and welding. 5 other dual credits courses are proposed, but not yet approved, for the 2013-14 school year. According to the province, most school divisions have agreements in place with PSE institutions to recognize certain dual credit courses. At least 9 institutions recognize at least one dual credit course right now. Alberta News Release | Edmonton Journal

Anthropology students encounter abuse at field sites, survey finds

As the academic year winds down, scores of anthropology students across Canada are preparing to conduct research in the field. For some, the opportunity can become an unhappy ordeal, filled with experiences that range from feelings of exclusion by colleagues to abuse, harassment, and even sexual assault. So says a team of US researchers behind an online survey on anthropology fieldwork experiences, to which several Canadians have responded. In a preliminary analysis of the first 124 responses, close to 60% said they had experienced inappropriate or sexual remarks while working at a field site, while 18% said they had encountered physical sexual harassment or unwanted sexual contact -- in some cases up to and including rape. The harassment was reported by both women and men, with younger female researchers the most frequent victims. By design, the survey could not address the question of how prevalent such incidents may be. Nevertheless, says one researcher, the survey suggests the anthropology profession needs to address this matter. Canadian anthropology departments vary in how much they prepare students and staff for potential issues in the field. Some have instituted safety protocols that specifically cover inappropriate behaviour, while others consider field sites to be an extension of the campus and governed by the same code of conduct. However, this may not equip young researchers to deal with issues they encounter at sites that are not operated by their home institutions. Globe and Mail

New BC electrical worker certification a "recipe for disaster," say critics

A broad coalition of electrical workers, employers, inspectors, and educators is calling on the BC government to kill an initiative to certify semiskilled electricians in the province, saying the move will jeopardize public safety. The BC Safety Authority, the agency that oversees safety-sensitive regulated work in the province, has approved a new certification called electrical work practitioner. It requires only 480 hours of training compared to the 7,200 hours of schooling and on-the-job training required by a certified electrician, as it will apply only to workers whose job requires limited electrical knowledge. The new certification would be geared toward people who work with low-voltage systems, including computer technicians, biomedical technologies, and security firm technicians who install cameras. However, industry insiders fear the new certification will result in a fragmented trade, and jeopardize public and worker safety. The Electrical Inspectors Association says on its website that there are more industry injuries from low-voltage systems than from high-voltage systems. Vancouver Sun

uAlberta, student union resolve Lister Hall dispute

The University of Alberta announced Monday that its administration and the student union executive have settled a dispute related to Lister Hall residence changes. Last July, among other changes, uAlberta announced there would be no alcohol outside private spaces as of fall 2012 at the residence, and that 3 of 4 residence towers would be primarily for first-year students starting this fall. The student union and the Lister Hall Students' Association were not pleased with the changes, claiming a lack of consultation and damage to the "Lister experience." The resolution doesn't change any rules; instead it is a framework agreement that enhances communication, consultation, and more going forward. The student union's president says there hasn't been a consensus from students on the changes, but the student union is "positively and absolutely" happy their voices will be more easily heard in the future and that there will be more thorough consultation. Major points in the agreement include students being in the majority on the Residence Advisory Committee; the student union providing feedback on the existing alcohol policy; a student representative serving as a member of the hiring committee for the position of assistant dean of students, residence life; and the university seeking staff, student, and community input as part of the review of residence operations related to the changes announced last summer. uAlberta News | Metro Edmonton

Bishop's U breaks ground on new sports centre redevelopment

Monday marked the official launch of the construction work for Bishop's University’s new multi-purpose sports facility. The redevelopment of the John H. Price Sports Centre, originally built in 1975, will consist of refitting the existing sports centre, including construction of a multi-purpose room for fitness and aerobics and expansion of the training room; construction of an 800-seat arena, including dressing rooms, storage rooms, a garage for the ice resurfacing machine (Zamboni), and parking; construction of a double gymnasium; and the addition of a food court, washrooms, storage space, administrative offices, and exterior landscaping work. The federal and Quebec governments will each contribute up to $13.25 million, while the City of Sherbrooke will invest $3 million towards the project. Bishop's U News

BCCAT officially names Langara as a "receiving" institution

Earlier this week, Langara College announced that it has been formally designated as a "receiving" institution by the British Columbia Council on Admissions and Transfer (BCCAT). The college, which has historically been listed as a "sending" institution in BCCAT's BC Transfer Guide, will now be listed as "sending and receiving." The first institution officially listed as "sending" to Langara is Simon Fraser University, providing more complete information for students transferring credit from SFU to the college. More PSE schools will be listed as "sending" to Langara in the coming months. "Langara's designation as a receiving institution is a reflection of today's mobile student, who studies at several institutions throughout their career," said Langara's provost. According to a BCCAT report released earlier this year, student mobility between PSE institutions has become increasingly multi-directional, as opposed to the traditional model of students moving from colleges to research universities. Langara News

Boréal partners with SPCA for a first-of-its-kind vet program in Canada

At the official opening of the new veterinary wing of Collège Boréal’s Sudbury campus on Monday, the chief executive officer of the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Ontario SPCA) and Boréal president Denis Hubert-Dutrisac announced an innovative 5-year partnership that facilitates the sharing of resources and knowledge between the 2 institutions. Thanks to this partnership, Boréal has become the first college in Canada to teach shelter medicine. Through their alliance, the Ontario SPCA and Boréal will also collaborate in creating a new Sudbury and District Ontario SPCA Shelter and Educational Centre, as well as jointly utilizing Boréal’s new veterinary wing. The 5,000-square-foot space is equipped with the latest innovations in animal medicine: digital radiography, a ventilation system adaptable to different species, a cutting-edge operating room, a complete animal dentistry section, and isolation units. Boréal News

McMaster launches new safety app

McMaster University students, faculty, and staff are now able to access safety and security information in the palm of their hand thanks to a new mobile application developed by the institution. The McMaster University Safety, Security and Transit app -- or MUSST for short -- gives users the ability to instantly call campus security, the Student Walk Home Attendant Team, the Emergency First Response Team, and 911. It also gives users one-touch dialing to local taxi companies, up-to-date schedules for public transit, and the ability to check on the time of the next city bus. The idea was borne out of discussions with Queen’s University, which uses a similar mobile application. The app includes direct links to resources on a number of topics, including mental health, accessibility and bullying, campus lockdown procedures, and the sign-up page for the university’s emergency SMS text messaging system. McMaster Daily News

Australia PSE graduates saw improved job results over 3 years, study finds

According to a new report from Graduate Careers Australia, more than a third of Australian university graduates in the creative arts believe their qualification has little to do with their job. By contrast, more than 90% of health and education graduates thought their qualification was vital to the work they were doing 3 years out of university. The Beyond Graduation 2012 report tracked PSE graduates who finished in 2009 and followed up with their employment situation in 2012. According to the findings, a mismatch between degree and employment did not necessarily mean graduates were in “unrewarding jobs” at odd with their career goals. Drawing on 13,000 responses from graduates of 39 institutions, the report also showed improved employment results over time. In 2009, only 59% of creative arts graduates in the market for full-time jobs had managed to find one; this rose to 88% by 2012. For natural and physical sciences graduates, the full-time job success rate rose from 63% to 86% in 2012. Graduates in fields such as health, education, IT, engineering, and agriculture enjoyed full-time job rates in excess of 90% last year. The Australian (via Inside Higher Ed)

Social media dominates 40% of US students' reading time, study finds

College students in the US may be reading more than is commonly thought, but more than 40% of the time they spend reading is on social media, according to a new study. Researchers at Texas-based Midwestern State University asked 1,265 students across disciplinary areas at a public liberal-arts university in the southwest to fill out surveys describing how much time they spent each week engaging in things like academic reading, extracurricular reading, browsing the Internet, working, sleeping, and socializing. The data revealed that students spent nearly 21 hours reading each week: 8.9 hours on the Internet, 7.7 hours on academic reading, and 4.2 hours on extracurricular reading, including the news, graphic novels, and non-academic books. Those numbers are lower than similar recent research has found, but far higher than data produced by the federal government in 2007. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)