Top Ten

May 7, 2014

Atleo resigns, First Nations education legislation put ‘on hold’

Following the sudden resignation of Shawn A-in-chut Atleo as the Assembly of First Nations’ (AFN) National Chief on Friday, the controversial First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act has been put on hold until the AFN “clarifies its position” on the legislation. Atleo was criticized by various chiefs and First Nations communities for his support of the legislation, which was viewed by many as unilateral and lacking proper consultation. In his resignation speech, Atleo stated, “this work is too important and I am not prepared to be an obstacle to it or a lightning rod distracting from the kids and their potential.” Ontario AFN Regional Chief Stan Beardy recently called for a meeting of chiefs to discuss the bill and its implications; it is not yet clear how the AFN will respond to Atleo’s resignation. Grand Chief Derek Nepinak of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and Pam Palmater, Chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University, have both spoken out against the bill and are cautioning the AFN against making any statements for or against the bill without further consultation with First Nations. CBC | Globe and Mail | National Post | CBC (Beardy) | AFN News Release | APTN News

uToronto student union considers changing representation of students

The outgoing board of directors at the University of Toronto Students’ Union voted last week to submit a proposal at the next AGM that, if approved, would remove student representation from colleges and faculties and would add 10 “constituency representatives” that would represent specific groups, including international students, LGBTQ, women, racialized students, Indigenous students, mature students, students with disabilities, commuters, athletes, and first-years. The 46-member board has faced multiple controversies in the past, including complaints about election processes and undemocratic methods. One outgoing board member who opposed the motion questioned whether the new approach would “force students to choose between local representation and increased support for identity groups.” An incoming board member commented that although he supports the idea of increased representation of specific groups, there should have been more student consultation before sending the proposal to the AGM. Maclean’s

Orillia defers decision on Georgian’s request for $10 million

The City of Orillia will defer until July a decision on providing $10 million in funding requested by Georgian College for its planned expansion. On Monday, the city's councillors decided to discuss the request further as part of a major capital facilities budgeting process meeting. City staff had recommended just a $1-million contribution to the project. Georgian President MaryLynn West-Moynes said the college's request is "all about economic development." Through the expansion, Georgian would grow by 500 full-time students. Campus Dean Mary O'Farrell-Bowers noted 2,200 full-time students would bring the college's annual economic impact in the city to $31.2 million–a $5.2 million boost. The expansion plans include a new social entrepreneurship centre and a community-safety institute. Orillia Packet and Times


New mental health strategy launched at uManitoba

uManitoba launched a new mental health strategy on Monday, to coincide with national Mental Health Week. The Success Through Wellness strategy is intended to promote the support of mental health as a collective responsibility and focuses equally on students, staff, and faculty members. As part of the strategy’s recommendations, a new campus mental health facilitator position has been created and is expected to be filled this month. uManitoba President David T Barnard said, “I am extremely proud of the work that is already underway and believe that the launch of the Success Through Wellness strategy is the starting point to a more caring, inclusive and successful future for our students and employees.” The program is the result of over a year of development that included cross-campus consultations and assessment of best practices to support positive mental health as well as input from a mental health strategy advisory committee. uManitoba News

Colleges Ontario urges candidates to support expansion of degree programs with new website

Colleges Ontario has a launched a new interactive website to promote its priorities to candidates in Ontario’s upcoming election. The website, entitled “Better Jobs and a Stronger Economy,” urges candidates to expand degree programs at colleges, reform the apprenticeship system, and commit to funding for college programs. In a press release, Colleges Ontario notes that Ontario’s policy that graduates of 3-year programs must be awarded diplomas rather than degrees puts the province at odds with most members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. St Lawrence College President Glenn Vollebregt said that “expanding the range of degree programs will help more young people get the qualifications and advanced skills that are essential in this economy.” Colleges Ontario News Release | Better Jobs and a Stronger Economy

uWindsor purchases restaurant site as part of expansion plans

The University of Windsor has purchased a popular area restaurant as part of its downtown expansion plans. The Tunnel Bar-B-Q restaurant will become the new home of uWindsor’s School for Arts and Creative Innovation (SACI). uWindsor had planned to expand SACI to a former Greyhound bus terminal; however, studies found that it would have been prohibitively expensive to develop the site without interfering with the Detroit-Windsor tunnel that runs underneath it. uWindsor President Alan Wildeman said, “we are pleased to secure an ideal footprint in Windsor’s downtown core with the purchase of the Tunnel Bar-B-Q property. The new building on this site will house studio space to complement the programming in the Armouries to the west.” The site was purchased at a cost of $4 million. Construction of the new building, expected to open in 2016, will cost an estimated $8.5 million. uWindsor News | Windsor Star

UBC politician training bootcamp expands to Toronto

A “bootcamp” program developed to train aspiring politicians will be offered in Ontario this summer. The University of British Columbia’s Summer Institute for Future Legislators offers training for would-be politicians in areas such as ethics, lawmaking, budgeting, and media training and protocol, as well as guidance on balancing their personal and political lives. The program culminates in parliamentary simulations that will be conducted at the legislative chambers in Victoria and Toronto. “The Summer Institute will provide intensive hands-on mentoring and training for anyone seeking the experience and training necessary to make a difference at the local, provincial, or federal level … The only prerequisites are political aspirations and a readiness to learn from highly experienced practitioners,” said Institute co-founder Max Cameron. First offered in Vancouver in the summer of 2013, the program is now accepting applications for weekend workshops in Toronto. Last year, guest speakers included notable figures such as former Leader of the Official Opposition Preston Manning and former BC Premier Mike Harcourt. UBC News Release

Caring profs, deep learning experiences drive post-graduate well-being

A new US survey offers insight into the relationship between certain college experiences and graduates’ post-college well-being. The report considers workplace engagement, overall well-being, and alumni attachment. The type of institution attended by students was not found to have a significant impact on the well-being of respondents. Liberal arts majors were typically more satisfied with their jobs than business and science majors, but were less likely to have full-time employment. Graduates who had “experiential and deep learning” experiences such as internships, long-term projects, or extracurricular activities were found to be more engaged with their post-college work. A close relationship with an inspiring professor was also found to be a strong indicator of graduates’ post-college well-being, doubling their odds of being engaged with their work and tripling their likelihood of thriving in their well-being. The report also found that graduates who reported high levels of alumni attachment were more likely to have lived on campus or participated in clubs, fraternities, or sororities. Inside Higher Ed | The Chronicle of Higher Education | Full Report

New bachelor’s degree for $10,000 or less at College for America

Southern New Hampshire University’s College for America has received approval to offer accredited self-paced, competency-based bachelor’s degrees in health care management and communications. The online college has been offering 2-year associate degrees in general studies since early 2013; the expansion to bachelor’s degrees is partly in response to calls by politicians in Florida, Texas, and California for PSE institutions to offer a low-cost degree option. The new degree program at College for America can be completed in under 4 years for less than $10,000, says Kristine Clerkin, Executive Director of the college. College for America’s direct assessment model of learning uses competencies instead of credit-hours for assessing learning. Students enrolled in the new program pay for courses per 6-month term, allowing some students to move faster than those in traditional courses. Tuition subsidies and federal grants are also applicable, meaning the total cost could be even lower for some students. Clerkin further noted that many companies are encouraging staff to enrol at the college. Inside Higher Ed

Rate of US college student mobility stabilizes

A new report on student mobility has found that the rate of US college students swirling between institutions in the last academic year has stabilized at 9%. Students who began their studies at 2-year public colleges were most likely to attend multiple institutions (11.5%), while students who began at 4-year, private colleges were least likely (4.9%). Younger students were also more likely to enrol in more than one institution in a single academic year. The rate of mobility was highest among students aged 20 and under (11.4%), followed by students aged 20–24 (10.2%). Women were more likely to attend multiple institutions than men, by a slight margin. The stabilization of student enrolment marks a shift from the trend of the previous 2 academic years; mobility had increased slightly in both 2010–11 and 2011–12. The Chronicle of Higher Education | Full Report