Top Ten

December 5, 2013

UoGuelph urges people not to watch, distribute video of student

The University of Guelph is dealing with a recent mental health incident in which a 20-year-old male student live streamed himself starting a fire in his dorm room in what he said was an attempt to end his life. The video soon began to gain traction on social media, and the UoGuelph has since urged outlets to take the video down and for individuals not to watch. University officials also met with affected students and residence-life staff several times this past weekend. Experts are lauding the university’s effort to stop people from watching or distributing the footage, but several have pointed out how difficult a task that is when it comes to social media. “If something’s going to be easily accessible, I’m just not sure how useful it is to put that sort of prohibition on it,” says Dr. Marshall Korenblum, Chief Psychiatrist at the Hincks-Dellcrest Centre for Children and Families in Toronto. UoGuelph News Release | Global News

NorQuest receives $170 million from province for downtown student building

NorQuest College will be receiving a $170-million grant from the Alberta government for its downtown campus development project. The funds will be put towards the construction of the North Learning Centre, a 4-storey, 22,500-square-metre building that will be connected to the college’s existing South Learning Centre building. “This will allow us to consolidate our dispersed Edmonton campuses into one central downtown location and will enhance college life,” says NorQuest Board of Governors Chair Lynn Faulder. The new building will feature 27 new classrooms, a new childcare and day-home centre that will serve both as a working and training facility, enhanced student study and amenity space, enhanced practical nursing simulation laboratories, 20 new health program laboratories, and increased space for Aboriginal ceremonial facilities and resources. The North Learning Centre will open in 2017, and renovations to the South Learning Centre will be complete in 2018. Norquest News Release | Edmonton Journal

Ontario legislation extends labour act to co-op students, interns

Ontario’s Minister of Labour Yasir Naqvi has introduced legislation that extends coverage under the Occupational Health and Safety Act to co-op students, trainees, and other unpaid learners. Many student groups and others have been lobbying the government to do more to protect co-op students and interns, and in October Naqvipromised to look into bringing these workers into the labour Act. The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) supports this week’s legislation, but remains “concerned about the lack of protections for students in work experiences provided through a PSE institution, and the Ministry's enforcement of Ontario's Employment Standards Act (ESA) for postgraduate unpaid internships.” According to OUSA, “estimates of the number of unpaid internships in Canada range from 100,000 to 300,000 positions.” Legislation Backgrounder | OUSA News Release

International students in BC contributed $2.1 billion to economy in 2010-11

The BC Council for International Education (BCCIE) has released a report on the impact of international education in BC that expands on similar 2011 research. The report reveals that the total spending of international students contributed $2.1 billion to the provincial economy in 2011-12, up from $1.8 billion in 2009-10 (a 17% increase). This spending translates into $1.48 billion in provincial GDP, a $240-million increase compared to the 2011 findings, according to the report. The research also shows that some 1,870 more jobs have been created as a result of international students in BC, compared to 2011 report findings, for a total of 23,410 jobs in 2010-11. The number of international students in BC grew from 94,000 in 2009 to 106,600 in 2010-11, an average rate of 6.5% per year. BCCIE Report Summary | Full Report

Centennial opens new recruiting office in China

Centennial College has opened a new office in Chongqing, China to market its programs in the major Chinese city, which is home to more than 30 million people. The new office, which will be the 4th Centennial office in China, will get support from the Canadian Embassy in Beijing, the Canadian Consulate General in Chongqing, and assistance from the Chongqing municipal government. There are almost 1,500 Chinese visa students enrolled in Centennial programs in Toronto, and there are 21 Chinese institutions collaborating with Centennial on joint academic programs, teacher and administrator training, university and college leadership training, language training, faculty and student exchanges. Centennial News Release

NB First Nations group launches website for Aboriginal students

First Nations Education Initiative Inc. in New Brunswick has launched a new interactive website that will help First Nations students make informed PSE decisions. The site, PSE Helper, includes information about accessing scholarships and bursaries, monitors and reports on student and career events going on around the province, helps students and graduates find work in their field of study, and connects students with community elders. “The website was designed specifically for New Brunswick Mi'kmaq and Maliseet students, but we hope this format and service can be adapted to other First Nations communities and cultures across Canada,” says Bob Atwin, Executive Director of First Nations Education Initiative Inc. The NB government provided $45,000 in funding for the site. New Brunswick News Release

SFU Education faculty offers new MA in ‘Contemplative Inquiry’

Simon Fraser University in fall 2014 will begin offering a new Master’s in Contemplative Inquiry and Approaches in Education, “designed to fill the growing hunger for contemplative perspectives, and practices in our educational institutions, communities and world at large.” Co-created by SFU Education Professor Heesoon Bai, the MA will be a first-of-its-kind in North America. The SFU course description explains that students will “examine and interpret traditional and contemporary conceptions of mindfulness and their educational applications,” and “develop their "contemplative capacity," including mindful awareness and communication, the ethics of compassion, wisdom, and creativity.” Vancouver Sun | SFU Course Description

Report argues program prioritization flaws

A York University scholar has released a study on behalf of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) on university program prioritization, the process of ranking an institution’s programs using a set of criteria and then directing more resources to highly-ranked programs, while cutting or shutting down those ranked lower. Craig Heron’s analysis of program prioritization, based on a procedure developed by American consultant, Robert Dickeson, points out several concerns with the practice. According to Heron, the process uses flawed methodology as: its “hundreds of data points…creates the possibility of serious errors and promotes subjective judgments;” “those tasked with ranking are asked to evaluate programs they may know nothing about;” and “it produces absurd comparisons.” Heron also argues that “program prioritization violates the authority of Academic Senates to make academic decisions.” OCUFA Article | Full Report

Parents involved in children’s education may not always be doing good

Parental involvement in children’s education doesn’t always yield positive results, according to 2 US scholars who researched the subject. University of Texas professor Keith Robinson and sociologist Angel Harris combed through data from the US National Center for Education Statistics and found that only approximately 15-20% of the parental involvement was positive, roughly 30% negative, and the rest “statistically insignificant.” “There are actually some ways parents can be involved in their kids’ education that leads to declines in their academic performance,” Robinson tells Maclean’s magazine. “In fact, one of the things that was consistently negative was parents’ help with homework.” Robinson says the most consistently effective type of “parental involvement activity” is talking to children and youth about their post-high school plans. “What this might be hinting at is the psychological component that comes from kids internalizing your message: school is important.” Maclean’s

WashingtonU tries “flipped” career-fair format

St. Louis’ Washington University is transforming the traditional career fair concept by inviting employers to pitch their companies to small groups of students instead of having students approach employers. The career “slams” allow recruiters 45 seconds to pitch their company to about 200 students, and then recruiters and students can mingle afterwards. “The goal is to create a comfortable environment where students are relieved of some of the stress associated with approaching employers at a traditional, multi-industry career fair," says Mark Smith, Associate Vice-Chancellor and Director at the WashingtonU career center. Director of Strategic and Foundation Research at the National Association of Colleges and Employers, Edwin Koc, says the number of 4-year institutions offering specialized career fairs declined from 54.8% in 2010 to 50.8% in 2012. Inside Higher Ed