Top Ten

March 11, 2014

uSask to raise tuition by up to 5.5%

The University of Saskatchewan’s Board of Governors has approved tuition increases for 2014-15, with students in the College of Arts and Science to see a 4.15% increase this fall. Other undergraduate students can expect a 0% to 5.5% increase, while graduate students can expect an average increase of 4% for standard programs. “This is projected to put tuition for these students at 11% below the median rate of comparable programs in Canada,” explains a uSask news release. uSask adds that all additional revenue raised by 2014-15 tuition increases will be returned directly to the colleges and schools. uSask News Release | uSask Tuition Facts

More than 85% of new Canadian jobs created in Alberta

Statistics Canada’s latest employment data show that in February, 87% of the new jobs in Canada were created in Alberta, with 18,800 jobs created largely in construction, mining, and oil and gas. In the rest of the country, overall employment fell. "I know this is not a new story but it's becoming extreme," says Bank of Montreal Chief Economist Doug Porter. "In the last 12 months, Alberta is the only province that's seen meaningful growth. They've had job gains of nearly 4% and meanwhile 6 provinces have seen declines and one's been flat." Data also show that Alberta is steadily increasing its workforce, by 81,300 people in the past 12 months alone. CTV News

CANARIE, Association of University Research Parks partner to offer businesses cloud computing

CANARIE, Canada's Advanced Research and Innovation Network, has partnered with the Association of University Research Parks (AURP) Canada to offer cloud computing technology to the nearly 1,400 knowledge-based businesses located in research and technology parks. These businesses will have access to CANARIE’s Digital Accelerator for Innovation and Research (DAIR) program, which provides free cloud-based computing, network and storage resources. “Going forward, the partners will look for other opportunities to increase the connectivity between industry and academia through additional programming that supports commercialization,” explains a CANARIE news release. For example, Algonquin College, New Brunswick Community College, and Red River College are using DAIR’s free cloud resources to support applied research alliances between colleges and local businesses. CANARIE News Release

Canadian PSE, trades leaders to study German, British best practices

Employment Minister Jason Kenney is leading a Canadian delegation on a “study tour” of Germany and the UK this week to learn from the countries’ education and skills training models. "[We want] to learn how we can apply best practices to Canada in order to improve our labour market system," says Kenney. Saskatchewan's Minister of Advanced Learning Rob Norris, who will join Kenney, explains, "We're at a stage where some fresh eyes and some fresh ideas may serve us very well when we begin to think about how we can be undertaking our work better."  CBC News points out that Germany’s dual vocational education/training system, in which students learn a trade for a few years and then go on to obtain a university degree, has been cited as one of the major factors in the country's economic success. CBC News

Conestoga president says deferred maintenance must be Ontario budget priority

Conestoga College President John Tibbits says dealing with a deferred maintenance backlog at Ontario’s colleges should be a priority in the upcoming provincial budget, citing the $568 to $745 million in deferred maintenance projects reported in 2010 by then auditor general Jim McCarter. “Four years later, that figure is most certainly much higher,” says Tibbits. He adds that recent budgets have included less than $10 million per year for infrastructure renewal, which is “significantly less than the amount needed to address the long-overdue critical repairs, and nowhere near enough to start addressing the bigger problems.” Tibbits says colleges are grateful for the provincial commitments made towards new infrastructure projects in recent years, but concludes that support to address the critical backlog of repairs at Ontario's colleges is essential. The Record

College offers better ROI than university in some jobs

A new study by University of Toronto’s Martin Prosperity Institute reveals that while a university education generally offers a higher return on investment (measured in increased earnings over those with only high school diplomas), there are certain occupations in which a college degree offers a better ROI. In healthcare, senior management and legal services, people with university degrees make about 40% more than those with no PSE credential, while those with college degrees make roughly 20% more. However, chefs and cooks, child-care workers, and sales people who have college credentials make about 20% more than those with only high school, while those with university degrees make roughly 5% to 10% more, according to the study. In the trades, including construction and transportation, college credentials offer a 20% premium over a high school diploma, while university adds only 5%. Martin Prosperity Institute | Maclean’s Magazine

5 ways in which 21st-century education will be different

Steven Mintz, Executive Director of the University of Texas System’s Institute for Transformational Learning, outlines 5 ways in which 21st-century learning will differ from 20th-century learning. Mintz writes that as PSE moves toward a larger emphasis on learning outcomes, it will also focus on how to help students master the skills and competencies that we seek, and even eliminate traditional grades all together, aiming for “100% proficiency.” Mintz also suggests the new century’s education models will “rest on the science of learning,” using such evidence-based concepts from neuroscience as “cognitive flexibility” and “metacognition” to help educators improve students’ motivation, memory, attention, and “cognitive processing.” Mintz says 21st-century education will be data driven, giving us better insights into how students learn, navigate the learning experience, and interact with the course material. Education will be more personalized, says Mintz, “as instructors embrace adaptive learning, which will customize students’ learning pathways.” It will also be team-based, with content area specialists, educational technologists, and instructional designers included. Finally, Mintz predicts that 21st-century education will take advantage of technology “in ways that truly enhance the learning experience.” Inside Higher Ed

Professor’s partisan comments to class shines light on digital-age challenge in academia

University of Wisconsin at La Crosse Assistant Professor Rachel Slocum unintentionally started a social media frenzy this past fall when, during the partial government shutdown, she emailed her students, saying “Some of [your] data gathering assignment will be impossible to complete until the Republican/Tea Party controlled House of Representatives agrees to fund the government.” Slocum urged her students to do whatever they could of an assignment that required government data to complete, but said the rest “will have to wait until Congress decides we actually need a government." When a student posted the email to Facebook, Slocum began to receive abusive and threatening emails, and traditional and social media began to buzz with discussions about freedom of speech for professors vs keeping partisan agendas out of academia. “What had been just a problem for Rachel Slocum now clearly loomed a problem for her entire university, exposing the complexities of dealing with the potential pitfalls of online communication,” writes Peter Schmidt of the Chronicle of Higher Education. Chronicle of Higher Education

Idaho House approves bill to allow guns on PSE campuses

The Idaho House of Representatives has recently approved legislation that would allow concealed guns to be carried on public PSE institution campuses by a vote of 50 to 19. Student residences and venues that have a seating capacity of more than 1,000 people would be exempt from the measures. The presidents of Idaho’s 8 public colleges and universities have spoken out against the bill, which was also approved by the Senate last month. The bill will now go to the state’s Republican Governor CL (Butch) Otter, who has not yet taken a definitive position on the legislation. Chronicle of Higher Education

Update: March 17, 2014

Idaho Governor CL (Butch) Otter has signed into law a bill to allow concealed guns to be carried on the state’s public PSE institution campuses. Beginning in July, retired law-enforcement officers and individuals who hold concealed-weapons permits will be able to carry their guns on all campus areas except for dormitories and venues that hold more than 1,000 people. Chronicle of Higher Education

Survey suggests Indian businesses don’t see value of international graduates

International PSE institutions looking to recruit students from India need to work harder to convince corporate India about the value of an international education, says a new study that surveyed 559 Indian graduates who returned to India after achieving academic qualifications from overseas, and 71 Indian companies from various sectors. The survey reveals that Indian companies can be reluctant to hire candidates with overseas academic qualifications, and suggests that “there has been very little done to highlight the quality of international universities and the opportunities for corporate India.” The authors recommend overseas institutions promote the employability of their alumni through “campaigns in India about the advantages of hiring international degree holders,” particularly ones that focus on “business-specific skills like lateral thinking skills, domain expertise, superior communication skills, and a strong team ethic.” Sannam S4 News Release