Top Ten

June 14, 2013

Co-op work programs under review in BC

The Private Career Training Institutions Agency (PCTIA) of BC has initiated a review of all co-op work programs at over 2 dozen institutions in the province, following reports of students doing co-op placements in areas unrelated to their area of study, such as fast-food enterprises. Incomplete placement data, combined with other instances of non-compliance, have already led to the closing of 2 institutions, and prompted the review of all co-op programs. The institutions cater largely to international students, and offer diploma programs in a variety of fields. A PCTIA spokesperson stated that the reviews are meant to ensure that the guidelines “are clear and the bylaws are being interpreted correctly.” The Province

Curriculum changes to uSask’s education program

After a successful pilot program this past school year, the University of Saskatchewan’s college of education will be launching a revamped curriculum to next year’s incoming education students. The most significant change appears to be the 2 day per week in-school training from the start of the school year. There will be more interdisciplinary courses offered, and the new curriculum includes a “notable focus on ‘anti-colonialist’ education and First Nations content.” As well, there will be “teaching methods” courses for multiple subjects, in response to early criticism of the new curriculum. The college conducted surveys and focus groups to gauge reaction to, and effectiveness of, the pilot program, and early results seem to indicate that the students especially enjoyed being in the classroom early in their studies. Saskatoon Star Phoenix

Northern College changes Porcupine Campus’ name to Timmins Campus

Northern College’s board of governors last week supported the renaming of the Porcupine Campus to Timmins Campus. Northern says the change aims to facilitate a greater understanding of its campus locations and the lifestyle their communities offer. The college has experienced growth in enrolment by students from outside the traditional college catchment area, which includes over 65 communities throughout northeastern Ontario and along the James Bay Coast. The name change will also allow Northern to capitalize on the City of Timmins’ recent branding efforts – they hope that as the city reaches top-of-mind presence in the country and internationally, the college will gain that recognition as well. Northern News Release

VIU Foundation revenues grow by 50%

The Vancouver Island University Foundation board has announced that it was able to grow its annual revenues from $2.1 million to $3.2 million in the last fiscal year. The 22-member volunteer board works with donors and VIU’s advancement and alumni relations office to raise money to fund scholarships, awards, bursaries and improved learning environments for students. VIU News Release

Spike in uRegina applications from Alberta won’t affect Saskatchewan students, VP says

Saskatchewan students hoping to attend the University of Regina won’t be negatively impacted by a rise in Alberta students applying to the university, an official says. VP academic Thomas Chase says cuts to Alberta’s PSE sector seem to have caused the applications from Alberta to double this year, but assures hopeful applicants that “no Saskatchewan student would be excluded from admission because we are taking students from other jurisdictions including Alberta." Meanwhile, the University of Saskatchewan is expecting 500 Alberta students this year, a 10% increase from last year, CBC reports. CBC

CNA president talks about college’s challenges

The College of the North Atlantic is asking how to prepare students for the careers of the future, after a tough few months of budget cuts and an ongoing need to restrain further, the college’s president, Ann Marie Vaughan, told the Rotary Club last week. “We still have $4 million of reductions to make, and that will be related to the staffing side of the operation,” Vaughan told reporters. “We are trying to figure out how we do that right.” The president also took the opportunity to talk about the impact that CNA’s project in Qatar makes. “When you think about what’s going on in the world, when you think about that part of the world, that’s fundamentally transformative to a region, and it’s an amazing opportunity to be a part of that,” says Vaughan. CNA-Qatar has recently signed off on a contract to keep the campus open for another 3 years. The Telegram

Ontario threatens to opt out of Jobs Grants unless changes made

The federal government has indicated that it is open to ideas for how to structure its recently-announced Jobs Grants, which will redirect some federal funds from existing skills programs to a new system in which employers would apply for money to train people for specific jobs, according to the Globe and Mail. Ontario training, colleges and universities minister Brad Duguid has threatened to pull out of the program if his demands for changes are not met, saying that “the federal government should not find the money for the grant by pulling funding from existing programs that serve youth, First Nations, people with disabilities and other groups that need extra help getting work,” the Globe reports. According to the paper, Ontario is not the first province to voice concerns over the grants – Quebec claimed it was a federal intrusion, other finance ministers are wondering where to find the money to match Ottawa’s funds, which is part of the deal, and BC shares concerns similar to Ontario’s about the redirection from other funds. Globe and Mail

Governor General encourages community-university partnerships

PSE institutions and communities together have the unique potential to bring about social change through partnerships and co-operation, Canada’s Governor General David Johnston told a crowd at a Community-University Expo in Corner Brook, NL last week. “Communities know what our needs are, and PSE institutions know the methods and possess the experience and expertise to help determine how to go about meeting those needs,” he said. He also said that a key to bringing about social change is to include youth in the discussion. “Young people make up the body of PSE institutions, and they are eager to make their mark in communities,” Johnston said. The Western Star

Government investment in PSE pays off, CCPA study says

Public investment in PSE is paid back to government in full, and helps reduce the financial burden to students, says a new study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). The study backs up the often-touted fact that public funding for PSE is paid back many times over when graduates pay higher income tax on their higher earnings. According to the 2006 Census, 25-34 year-olds with a BA/BSc working full-time made $50,857 compared to $37,475 for high school grads. “The length of time it takes governments to recoup their investment in PSE in the form of income taxes ranges from a low of 10.3 years in Ontario to 17.5 years in Saskatchewan,” says the study’s author. “While completely eliminating tuition would increase the payback period, those increases are minimal -- ranging from 0.6 years in Quebec to 2.6 years in PEI and BC.” The study also debunks the claim that subsidized tuition leads to an unfair, regressive income transfer from lower-income families to middle- and upper-income families. It argues that “when the source of revenue required to fund PSE is taken into account, subsidies for PSE redistribute resources away from higher-income households and towards lower-income households, not the other way around.” CCPA News Release

Social media app “Vine” latest way to engage PSE students

Vine, the mobile application owned by Twitter that allows users to upload and share 6-second videos, is the newest social media platform being used by universities to engage their students. Universities across the US are using Vine to promote everything from convocation to sporting events, from campus construction to student clubs. According to a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, Vine’s engagement growth in May was faster than that of messaging service WhatsApp, LinkedIn, and the Chrome web browser. Ed Tech Magazine  |  Vine.co