Top Ten

March 12, 2014

Study reveals cyberbullying prevalent on university campuses

A study by researchers at Simon Fraser University suggests that cyberbullying is not only prevalent among elementary and high-school children, but on Canadian university campuses as well. The research team, which surveyed over 2,000 people and interviewed 30 participants from 4 Canadian universities, reports that undergraduate students are harassing their peers on social media, instructors are victims of student-led online smear campaigns, and faculty members are “belittling” their colleagues via email. "When you look at cyberbullying among younger kids, or kids in middle and high school, usually by age 15, it dies off," says SFU Education Professor and study co-author Wanda Cassidy. The data collected so far indicate that one in 5 undergraduate students have been cyberbullied, mostly through Facebook, text messages and email. The study also revealed that just over half of the students and faculty surveyed said they tried to stop cyberbullying, but suggested less than half of them reported success. CTV News (Canadian Press)

Queen’s introduces 5-year Strategic Framework

Queen’s University has introduced a new Strategic Framework for the next 5 years that aims to “advance the university’s vision as the quintessential balanced academy.” The framework, which is closely aligned with the university’s Academic Plan and Strategic Research Plan, includes 4 priorities that support the university’s vision: the student learning experience, research prominence, financial sustainability, and internationalization. “While the framework sets priorities, it is not prescriptive,” says Queen’s Provost and VP Academic Alan Harrison. “Ultimately, it is up to each of the faculties and shared service units to identify the actions each of them will take to advance the university’s objectives and improve the metrics we measure ourselves by. Everyone has a role to play in the university’s success as we move forward.” The Queen’s principal and VPs will review the Strategic Framework regularly over its 5-year timeframe and develop progress reports for the Queen’s community on an annual basis. Queen’s News Release | Strategic Framework

Brock’s Goodman MBA gains accreditation from CPA Ontario

The Goodman School of Business at Brock University has gained accreditation from the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario (CPA Ontario) for its MBA program. Goodman’s combined MBA and CPA program is reportedly the first-of-its-kind at an Ontario business school, and allows non-accounting university graduates to pursue an MBA and an accounting designation at the same time. “It’s never too late to make a career change and this accreditation provides university graduates with a faster and seamless route to becoming professional accountants,” says Goodman Dean Don Cyr. The 2-year graduate program also includes a co-op work term. BrockU News Release

uAlberta Faculty of Education helps restore Somali university’s education programs

The University of Alberta’s Faculty of Education has agreed to help recreate the education faculty at the Somali National University (SNU), which was forced to shut its doors when conflict demolished Somalia’s infrastructure. "As we speak, the level of education in the country is extremely weak. The majority of people have no education at all," explains Ali Abdi, Co-Director of uAlberta’s Centre for Global Citizenship Education and Research. “As a result, there are very few teachers in the country. If you don't have teachers, the quality of education will be weak and undeveloped. In that sense, a faculty of education is extremely important," he says. For several months, members of the uAlberta faculty gathered up-to-date books so that 400 of them could be mailed to SNU. uAlberta faculty members will donate their time and expertise to participate in seminars for future SNU staff, which will likely be held just over the border, in Nairobi, Kenya. uAlberta News Release

Changes to Citizenship Act could deter international students

Recently-announced changes to the Canadian Citizenship Act could have a negative impact on the number of international students who come to Canada to study PSE, reports the Canadian Press. The government will be taking away a provision in which every day spent in Canada as a non-permanent resident counts as a half day of residence needed for a citizenship application, up to a maximum of 2 years. In addition, changes to the act will increase residency requirements for citizenship so that international students will have to be living in Canada 4 out of 6 years, rather than the current 3 out of 4 years, to qualify for citizenship. “We’re taking away one of our major selling points,” says Debbie Douglas, Executive Director of the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants. “We’re continuing to compete internationally with countries like the UK, US and Australia increasingly for talent and it makes no sense for us to take away incentives that we knew would bear fruit.” The Canadian Press points out that the move seems to “run counter to the government’s pledge to double the number of international students in Canada by 2022.” Maclean’s (Canadian Press)

Some Canadian business schools resisting urge to sell name

Globe and Mail contributor Daina Lawrence reports that while many Canadian business schools have raised millions of dollars in naming deals with donors, there are a few Canadian business schools that have decided “their names aren’t for sale.” The University of Alberta School of Business held a “Preservation of the Name Campaign” to raise money to make sure the school’s name could be preserved. The campaign raised more than $21 million (around the average donation for a naming) in just over 2 years, beginning in 2008. uAlberta School of Business Dean Joseph Doucet says he respects the naming decisions made by most other business schools, “but, for him, keeping the ‘Alberta’ name allows the faculty and students to feel a closer connection to the community and, in this global marketplace, other business leaders will know where these students come from.” Globe and Mail

Ontario to roll out K-12 career/life planning policy

The Ontario government will this fall be rolling out a new career- and life-planning program at elementary and high schools that aims to help students begin getting ready for their careers from Kindergarten through Grade 12. The policy, Creating Pathways to Success, provides the framework from which each school board can work to implement its own version of the program. The policy focuses on 3 key goals: ensuring students make informed career and education choices, giving students learning opportunities about careers inside and outside the classroom, and engaging parents to be part of the planning. London Free Press | Creating Pathways to Success

Canada as “global pace setter” for female entrepreneurship

Startup Canada Executive Writer Barbara Balfour reports that Statistics Canada/Industry Canada data show Canada as being “a global pace setter” in women in entrepreneurship, with female business owners contributing to the creation of almost 10,000 jobs in 2011 alone. Balfour points out that women are also experimenting with innovative business models that contribute to social change. “In our research we’ve observed many women who start businesses are anxious to not just make a living, but also support a philanthropic cause they believe in,” says Catherine Elliott, a Business Professor at uOttawa’s Telfer School of Management. However, these female business leaders recognize that more work must be done to break down barriers that still exist for female entrepreneurs. “Larger businesses in Canada tend to be male-owned. Procurement regulations to work with federal government agencies are biased towards larger companies. By the very nature of these rules, women can’t access these lucrative contracts,” says Elliott. “I think we need more household names. We need to publicize our success stories more. Women still don’t see entrepreneurship as a viable career option.” Financial Post

US library directors less comfortable with ebooks than digital journals

A study of library directors at US 4-year PSE institutions reveals that the transition of journals from print to digital is, “from a budget-allocation perspective,” nearly complete, while the format shift from printed books to ebooks is happening at a “more measured pace.” The study also shows that library directors tend to be more comfortable with the format shift of journals than are faculty members, whereas when it comes to books, library directors may be less aggressive in moving towards electronic formats than faculty members. Not surprisingly, a minority of respondents believe that purchasing print books to build research collections is important; a large majority believe that building local print collections has declined in importance. Full Report

M Night Shyamalan writes book on how to close US education gap

Movie director M Night Shyamalan has transitioned into the role of education researcher, working with a team of researchers to “discover the secret recipe to successful education in the United States.” Using this research, Shyamalan wrote a book called I Got Schooled: The Unlikely Story of How a Moonlighting Movie Maker Learned the Five Keys to Closing America’s Education Gap. “We asked educational leaders what works. Everyone gave us a different list. There was no common set of knowledge. So, I decided to make that list,” explains Shyamalan. The book suggests that the 5 keys to closing the education gap is to "eliminate the worst teachers, pivot the principal's job from operations to improving teaching and school culture, give teachers and principals feedback, build smaller schools, and keep children in class for more hours.” District Administration | Wall Street Journal