Top Ten

March 31, 2014

Queen’s student attacked after receiving threatening emails

A Queen’s University student is alleging she was attacked by a stranger after receiving threatening emails about her support for feminist activities on campus. Danielle d’Entremont says she was walking out of her house last Wednesday evening, when the stranger punched her in the face several times, causing d’Entremont to lose half a tooth. d’Entremont notes that while she isn’t sure whether the attack is related to her feminist activities, the man did know her by name. According to a Queen’s student newspaper, d'Entremont has been actively involved in opposing a Men's Issues Awareness Society event that took place last week, which featured a controversial lecture on "feminism's double standards." Kingston police say they are investigating an assault on a Queen's student, and add they are aware of the "potential context in regards to the topic of feminism, equality and that men's issues awareness group." CTV News | MacLean’s Magazine

NL to replace student loans with non-repayable grants

The 2014 Newfoundland and Labrador budget, tabled last week, includes $50.6 million over 5 years to eliminate provincial student loans and replace them with non-repayable, upfront grants; according to CBC News, about 7,000 students are expected to be eligible. The budget also committed to maintaining its PSE tuition freeze (at a cost of $5.1 million), and $39.8 million for continuing its apprenticeships and labour-market training programs. The Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) has welcomed the budget’s move to replace student loans with grants, calling it “a landmark step towards equality of access to postsecondary education.” Budget | Budget Highlights | CBC News | CFS News Release

2 Canadian magazines suspend unpaid internship programs following Ontario ruling

The Walrus and Toronto Life, 2 of Canada’s most-read magazines, have suspended their unpaid internship programs in the midst of Ontario legislation cracking down on what many call “unfair labour practices.” As a result of provincial investigations carried out at both publications "to determine whether certain publicly posted positions were Employment Standards Act compliant," the Ministry of Labour said the interns would have to be paid. The ministry explains that the only exceptions to new regulations, which bring interns under the act, are for interns working under a program approved by a college of applied arts and technology or a university, and high school students working under an authorized work experience program. The magazines, who say they cannot afford to pay their interns, have told 7 unpaid interns that they no longer have positions at the companies. Globe and Mail | CBC News

eCampusAlberta launches online tutoring service

eCampusAlberta has launched a new online tutoring service, eTutor Alberta, that will provide students from 9 Alberta PSE institutions with support on written assignments. eCampusAlberta Executive Director Tricia Donovan explains that the initiative will be supported by student services executives across eCampusAlberta’s member institutions. Students will submit papers online to be reviewed by a tutor; they will also have the opportunity to ask the tutors specific questions through the “eQuestion” feature, and feedback will be provided within 24-48 hours. “eCampusAlberta is responsible for the vision and foresight that brought eTutor Alberta to life,” says Stefanie Ivan, Senior Consultant with Academica Group and Project Lead for the eTutor Alberta pilot. “While postsecondary institutions are often collaborative by nature, a consortium is dependent upon ‘big picture’ thinkers to look at opportunities from a Campus Alberta perspective, and that’s what eCampusAlberta effectively did.” The service was developed in partnership with BCcampus, which licenses the online tutoring model in Canada from the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium. eCampusAlberta News Release

NSCC receives $1.15 million for student awards

The Nova Scotia Community College Foundation has received a $1.15-million donation from the Construction Association of Nova Scotia (CANS) for student scholarships. "The commitment from our members and NSCC not only helps students financially as they begin their training for careers in the construction industry, but helps to build our economy and to ensure the industry is meeting the growing needs for skilled labour in Nova Scotia," says CANS President Duncan Williams. The NSCC Foundation has been able to help some 250 students a year access funding to pursue education at NSCC. NSCC News Release

Careers2030 site examines jobs of the future

The Canadian Scholarship Trust has launched a website, Careers2030, that aims to “give Canadians a sneak peek” into the careers and workplace needs of the future. The site includes articles and links to sites about changes to the workplace, sorted by sector. It also features several different emerging jobs, such as a “Robot Counsellor,” "Garbage Designer,” and “Carbon Capture Technician.” Users can also read about several “sources of change” that are affecting future careers and the workforce. Careers2030

Canadian publisher releases study on journal publishing habits of academics

A new report by Canadian Science Publishing, a not-for-profit scientific journal publisher, reveals that almost half of researchers published more than half their research in open-source journals in the past 2 years. The study, which surveyed 540 published Canadian researchers in the natural sciences and engineering fields about how they select journals in which to publish, also found that availability of open access was 8 times less important than impact factor and 13 times less important than journal reputation when selecting a journal. Respondents cited peer review, reach, and discoverability as most important features when choosing a journal. The data also show that institutional blogs or websites, and social media are being used more frequently for research dissemination. Canadian Science Publishing News Release | Full Report

OISE study suggests mixed results for full-day kindergarten impact

A team of researchers from the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education has found that children attending full-day kindergarten in Ontario are no better in reading, writing and number knowledge at the end of grade 1 than their half-day peers. However, the study did show that full-day kindergarten students did fare significantly better in their vocabulary, and their ability to control their behaviour and engage in play-based tasks, which are important elements in child development. Also, children who attended 2 years of full-day kindergarten were performing much better than their half-day peers right up until they entered grade 1. The researchers tracked about 550 children through their early primary grades for the study. A recent University of Manitoba study found that there is no difference in academic outcomes for students in full-day compared to half-day kindergarten by grade 3 and beyond. Globe and Mail

US federal agency rules NorthwesternU student athletes “employees”

The US National Labor Relations Board has ruled that football players at Northwestern University are employees and can unionize. The NorthwesternU student athletes had submitted a petition to the board to get a seat at the bargaining table; their victory “could change the landscape of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) model,” reports CNN. NorthwesternU officials opposed the petition, saying the players are students, not employees; the board’s decision cited evidence to the contrary, including being paid in the form of scholarships, working 20 to 50 hours a week, and “generating millions of dollars for their institutions.” The athletes are seeking better medical coverage, concussion testing, 4-year scholarships, and the possibility of being paid. President Mark Emmert says there is little public support for turning student-athletes into paid employees of their universities, and that "an overwhelming majority of student-athletes, across all sports, play college athletics as part of their educational experience and for the love of their sport – not to be paid a salary.” CNN | Inside Higher Ed | Sports Illustrated

Sacramento State think-tank releases “model public agenda” for PSE

A Sacramento State University Institute for Higher Education Leadership & Policy report says California’s approach to structuring and financing PSE is “out of sync with the needs of students and the state,” and puts forth a new “model public agenda” for the sector. This agenda includes a 3-part strategy of regionalism, specialization and technology. Saying such a strategy would require “leadership and collaborative mechanisms that do not exist,” the report recommends creating regional consortia that include representation from all public and private PSE and K-12 institutions; the consortia would set enrolment and completion targets, and determine appropriate roles and contributions for educational providers. They would also guide greater program specialization, or differentiation, and identify how technology could be best used for student success. Full Report