Top Ten

April 4, 2014

Holland College announces staff reductions

Holland College has announced several measures to manage fiscal constraints, including eliminating 3 full-time positions that are currently vacant, not renewing 2 casual employee contracts, and reducing the hours of 5 other employees. The college will also be changing its Adult Education program to have “fixed entry and exit points 3 times per year as opposed to the continuous enrolment model the courses currently follow.” The courses will include more instructor-led models and student progress management and assessment; Holland has developed special schedules for each of the 9 college locations across PEI that are based on historical patterns of student demand. 5.5 full-time-equivalent term positions and 4.5 FTE casual positions will not be renewed in the Adult Education program. “We are working to minimize the impact of these reductions on the staff. Our Human Resources department and the various department heads will meet with the affected employees over the next few days to discuss their options,” says Holland VP Michael O’Grady. Holland News Release

Global ranking places Canada 2nd in access to PSE

Canada ranks 2nd globally in access to advanced education, and 7th in social and environmental progress, reveals a new global ranking led by Harvard University researcher Michael Porter. The ranking evaluates countries based on 3 separate scales: basic human needs (such as medical care, water and sanitation, and shelter), foundations of wellbeing (such as access to basic knowledge and ecosystem sustainability), and opportunity (such as personal rights, tolerance and freedom, and access to PSE). Canada also scored high compared to countries of similar GDP per capita in “years of tertiary schooling” and “women’s average years in school.” Globe and Mail | Report

NOSM makes suicide awareness training part of curriculum

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine is incorporating suicide awareness training into its medical curriculum in an effort to respond to the high rate of suicide in the region. First-year NOSM students will now take safeTALK training, a 3-hour program created by LivingWorks that trains participants to identify those with thoughts of suicide and to connect them with suicide first-aid resources. The school is also developing and piloting other tools that aim to help medical students deal with suicide during their future career as physicians. Community support workers, including youth, are currently receiving and facilitating safeTALK workshops in approximately half of Nishnawbe Aski Nation’s 49 member communities. “As a medical school committed to improving the health of Northern Ontarians, we need to play our part in reducing the shockingly high number of deaths that occur from suicide in our region,” says NOSM Professor and safeTALK Phase 1 Coordinator Brian Ross. NOSM News Release

UoGuelph to open research office in east Africa

The Guelph Mercury reports that the University of Guelph is finalizing plans to open a research office in Arusha, Tanzania, with administration in talks with the Tanzanian government about the project, dubbed the East Africa Institute. UoGuelph President Alastair Summerlee says over the past 3 years the university has been in talks with several countries on the eastern side of Africa, including South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania. The research conducted at the east Africa office would aim to boost food production and improve the livelihood of women and children in local communities. Summerlee explains the longer-term goal is to allow undergraduate students to go study in east Africa; in the short-term, the university plans to have the new office serve as a home base for faculty and graduate students to continue their research. Guelph Mercury

UFV partners with ontrackTV for training videos

The University of the Fraser Valley has partnered with Quizam Media Corporation to offer the company’s ontrackTV content for labs, self-paced learning, and other online initiatives in UFV credit and non-credit courses. ontrackTV offers online videos that teach viewers skills in a variety of software, business topics, and trades. The first course to use ontrackTV, through the UFV School of Business, is planned for the winter 2015 semester. “Students will be able to access their lessons anytime, from anywhere, from any mobile device, while faculty track attendance and grades,” says Quizam Media President Russ Rossi. “Our colleagues at the UFV School of Business are proving their innovation by thinking about and adapting to the learning styles of the newer generation.” UFV News Release

Lakehead Senate approves Orillia Research Centre for Sustainable Communities

The Lakehead University Senate has approved plans for a new Research Centre for Sustainable Communities at the university’s Orillia, Ontario campus. The concept for the centre, which will focus on environmental, economic and social sustainability, was shaped by a committee of researchers formed in 2011; the creation of the centre is one of the goals included in Lakehead’s 2013-18 Orillia campus plan. “The centre will add to Lakehead University’s growing research reputation, with the objective of positioning Lakehead as a national and international leader in research on sustainable communities, and as a superlative research institution,” says Sreekumari Kurissery, the head of Lakehead’s interdisciplinary studies department. Orillia Packet and Times

More teacher training would help teachers cope with job stress

A study by University of Regina Faculty of Education professors reveals that many young teachers go into their careers with insecurities about certain classroom situations, and that additional training in those areas would reduce anxiety amongst the teachers. The longitudinal study, led by uRegina Associate Professor Ron Martin, began with a survey of more than 700 seasoned teachers in Regina and Saskatoon that examined their jobs, workloads and health. According to the data, the main causes for insecurity and stress among teachers are managing problematic behaviour, working with diverse needs, and struggling with legal and ethical issues. A group of 4th-year education students at uRegina then took a series of seminars around these issues; the study’s researchers then followed these and other students for 3 years, every 6 months having them complete a survey on their anxiety and depression levels. The students who received extra training went into their first job with a lower level of anxiety, exhibited significantly less stress, and largely avoided the first-year-on-the-job spike in stress, compared to the students who did not take the training. Leader-Post

2U eliminates online course consortium

Online education provider 2U has decided to shut down its digital course consortium initiative, Semester Online, and will instead develop fully-online undergraduate degree programs. The Semester Online initiative was announced in fall 2012 as a platform for top-tier universities to offer online courses to paying students. “Semester Online was always an experiment,” says 2U Senior VP Communications Chance Patterson. “The pilot program experienced significant challenges related to the complexities of a consortium structure.” Inside Higher Ed reports that the Semester One pilot lost some of its founding members and struggled with low enrolment following its launch. 2U has unveiled its first undergraduate degree program, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program developed in partnership with Simmons College. Inside Higher Ed

US colleges allow students to work off their tuition

At 7 “work colleges” throughout the US, students work on campus as part of their studies to pay off at least some of their tuition before they graduate; students have done such jobs as landscaping, growing and cooking food, public relations, and feeding farm animals. Such “earning while learning” programs exist at Sterling College in Vermont, Alice Lloyd College and Berea College in Kentucky, Blackburn College in Illinois, the College of the Ozarks in Missouri, Ecclesia College in Arkansas, and Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. “[The program] does not differentiate between those that can afford to pay for their education, from those that must work to cover their educational costs. And that’s a big deal,” says Robin Taffler, Executive Director of the Work Colleges Consortium. “No student can buy their way out of this work program. So this essentially levels the playing field because everybody is doing a job.” Diverse Education

US student accepted by all 8 ivy-league universities

High school senior Kwasi Enin, from Long Island, New York, has been accepted by all 8 American ivy-league universities: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Yale, Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania. “I got into my second-to-last [Ivy League] school – Yale – and I was just astounded,” says Enin. “And then Harvard sent me an e-mail and I was just so grateful.” He adds that all the attention he’s received since the media picked up his accomplishment has been as unexpected as the acceptances. The Globe and Mail reports that Enin has straight As and a 2,250 out of a possible 2,400 SAT score. He attributes his education success so far to his love of music, which “has become the spark of [his] intellectual curiosity.” Globe and Mail (original) | Globe and Mail (follow up)