Top Ten

February 10, 2014

BC introduces international student regulations to comply with federal plan

The British Columbia government has announced new requirements that require PSE institutions accepting international students in study programs of longer than 6 months to have BC’s Education Quality Assurance (EQA) designation. A BC news release says the requirement will be phased in over the next 18 months to give institutions time to acquire the designation, which will entail “establishing quality assurance standards—including having a transparent tuition refund policy.” The regulations are in response to the federal government’s new program within the International Education Strategy, which requires all provinces and territories to develop a list of PSE institutions eligible to host international students for study programs of longer than 6 months. BC News Release

UVic launches new Master’s in Indigenous Communities Counselling

The University of Victoria has launched a new Master’s degree in Indigenous Communities Counselling leading to provincial and national certification, reportedly the first of its kind in Canada. The program provides coursework that follows national guidelines and certification requirements for professional counsellors, but is grounded in Indigenous ways of knowing and includes courses on spirituality and healing, cross-generational counselling, and topics on the importance of ceremony, culture and language. The 3-year program is offered part-time on campus and in the community, enabling learners to continue working and/or caring for families while studying. A pilot version of the program ran successfully in 2011-12; the first cohort of the new degree program began this January. “The program will directly address the urgent need for professional counsellors who are able to provide culturally relevant counselling services to Indigenous individuals, families and communities,” says Anne Marshall, an education professor who co-chaired the initial advisory committee that led to the program. UVic News Release

Trent, Fleming receive almost $2 million for new programming, services

Peterborough, ON’s Trent University and Fleming College have been given nearly $2 million from the Ontario government for new programming. Trent President Steven Franklin says plans for the portion given to his university include developing joint programs with the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) in Oshawa, ON. Fleming President Tony Tilly says the college will use some of the funding to redesign some of its courses so they can be easily offered online, and to add technology such as webcams in classrooms so students in remote locations can watch lectures. Trent and Fleming will both use a portion of the grant to back up the other’s computer systems to be better prepared for large-scale computer crashes at either institution. Peterborough Examiner

Lakehead launches co-curricular record

Lakehead University has joined many other PSE institutions in the country in launching a new Co-Curricular Record (CCR), an official document that will chronicle students’ involvement in not-for-credit activities at the university. “Combined with their Academic Transcript, students will now have the perfect tool to be recognized and celebrated for their achievements inside and outside the classroom,” reads a Lakehead news release. The new record aligns with Lakehead’s Strategic Plan, which was released about a year ago. “Specifically, this adds to Lakehead’s learner-centred student experience by providing students with various extracurricular options while attending Lakehead, as well as a means to document and share that experience and those accomplishments with potential employers,” says Lakehead President Brian Stevenson. Lakehead News Release

UOIT, Durham College developing campus master plan

The University of Ontario Institute of Technology and Durham College are developing a master plan for their shared campus that focuses on expanding into the jointly-owned Windfields Farm lands. “We have to figure out, as both institutions grow, how are we going to use that space [to best] support our staff, our faculty and our researchers,” says UOIT VP External Relations Sue McGovern. The planning team will in late February complete a Vision and Directions report and Framework Plan, which includes creating protected natural corridors in the former farm lands and integrating these corridors into the master plan. The campus vision also includes the creation of an interior and exterior pedestrian and cycling network to link the campus to the expanded areas. Durham Region News | Vision and Directions Report

CCPA suggests alternative budget for PSE

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) has released an alternative federal budget that suggests: reducing the cost of PSE to pre-1992 levels, a PSE cash transfer of $2,875 per full-time student that increases by 2% per year, removing the cap for the Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP), increasing federal granting agency budgets by 10%, and creating a commission to study and provide policy recommendations on apprenticeships, college education, and skills-based training. The 2014 federal budget will be tabled on February 11. Canada Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said last week that this year’s budget will not be balanced. CCPA Alternative Budget - PSE | CCPA News Release | CTV

Student-led survey asks peers about Alberta PSE

Several Alberta PSE student groups have released a new study, Ignite: Ideas for Post-Secondary Education, which compiles data from a series of student focus groups held at 23 PSE institutions across the province, and a survey of “thousands” of Alberta students. The study gauged student opinion on cost, access, and quality of the province’s PSE system. 83% of students agreed that in order to reduce the average debt of current students, more non-repayable student financial aid is needed. 87% of respondents agreed that provincial and federal funding to PSE institutions needs to be increased and sustained. Finally, more than 90% of students agreed that high-quality teaching should be the leading focus of Alberta’s PSE institutions. Council of Alberta University Students | Calgary Herald

YorkU study reveals Canadians worried about income gap

A York University and Toronto Star study reveals that 80% of Canadians think that the national income gap is growing, and that 70% think this has made Canada a less fair society. When asked for reasons for the income gap, 69% of those surveyed cited fewer jobs at a decent wage available, 58% identified the loss of jobs to countries that pay lower wages, 65% cited increasing salaries of business leaders, and 41% cited changes to government programs such as employment insurance and old age security. YorkU’s Institute for Social Research asked 1898 Canadians from all provinces about their opinions on various aspects of income distribution via a telephone survey. YorkU News Release

Could Canada adopt Germany’s apprenticeship model?

Maclean’s On Campus contributor Adrian Lee examines whether Canada should implement an apprenticeship program similar to the German model, which involves 4 years of free training split between class and the workplace, and offers a job upon completion. Lee points out that Germany has an unemployment rate of 5.2% (8% amoung youth), and that the country has stayed on top of the manufacturing sector by “making the things people crave most, from luxury cars and high-end appliances to mission-critical industrial equipment.” Canadian Apprenticeship Forum Executive Director Sarah Watts-Rynard says one of the biggest differences between German and Canadian apprenticeship programs is that Germany’s closely involve more industry partners. Lee points out that such employer involvement may not be reasonable for Canada as “there may simply not be enough companies with the scale to make such schemes viable.” Watts-Rynard notes that only about one in 5 skilled-trade employers are actually hiring and training apprentices in Canada at present. Lee also suggests that the German model may close off too many opportunities for a career change later in life. Maclean’s On Campus

Canadian magazines see drop in circulation

Canadian consumer magazines have seen a 12.6% drop in single-copy sales, and a 5.4% decrease in paid subscriptions, in the second half of 2013, reveal data by the Illinois-based Alliance for Audited Media (AAM). Data also reveal that 8 of the top 10 titles saw a decline in overall circulation, with Canadian Living and Style at Home being the only 2 magazines to experience circulation growth. Chatelaine remains the country’s highest paid and verified circulation at 523,942—a 2.3% decline from the same period in 2012. Marketing Mag | Full Report