Top Ten

June 20, 2014

CIBC reports high job stability, growing skills gap

A new report released this week by CIBC economists suggests that Canada’s labour market has defied earlier expectations that employees would become much more mobile and job stability would decline. In fact, the report reveals that job stability is at an all-time high, with a record number of employees that have been with an employer for 5 years or more. Another interesting trend is the rise in vacancy rates without the expected corresponding decline in unemployment rates. "The abnormal relationship between recent vacancy rates and unemployment suggests that large swaths of those unemployed are not what employers are seeking," says CIBC Deputy Chief Economist Benjamin Tal, co-author of the report. Although the numbers of those unemployed for less than 3 months or less is nearing a record low, the numbers of those unemployed for more than 27 months remain high. The report also found that Canadians with higher levels of education and training are enjoying stronger pay increases than is usually seen post-recession. CIBC News Release | Globe and Mail | Full Report

RDC receives $1 million donation

Red Deer College has received a donation of $1 million from Bill and Irma Welikoklad to mark the college’s 50th anniversary. The gift is the second largest individual donation ever made to RDC. $100,000 of the gift will help grow the Welikoklad Family/Home Building Centre Endowment that was established by an earlier gift the couple made of $250,000 in 2010. The rest will be entrusted to RDC to be put toward projects it deems most beneficial to its students. Bill Welikoklad, who was a foreman on the construction team that helped build the main campus of RDC in 1966, said that “we feel our investment was very worthy and the monies put to good use. Our endowment has made it possible to pass out scholarships to deserving students each year and these students have always been appreciative and sent ‘Thank You’ notes in acknowledgement.” RDC News Release

Postscript: October 16, 2014

Red Deer College has announced that its City Centre Stage has been renamed the Welikoklad Event Centre in recognition of a $1 M donation from Bill and Irma Welikoklad. “The Welikoklad Family, and their name, are an integral part of what makes Red Deer a special place. Their history of entrepreneurship, of community building and generosity in giving back, with such a strong commitment to learning through this wonderful investment, is poignant for all of us in Red Deer and central Alberta,” said RDC VP Enterprise and Community Relations Michael Donlevy. The Welikoklad’s donation, announced in June, was the second-largest individual donation ever made to RDC. RDC News Release

Conestoga delivers pitch for downtown Guelph campus

A downtown parking lot in Guelph could become the site of a new Conestoga College campus, although some city councillors are unsure whether the city can afford the $43 million needed for the development. Several ideas were pitched to Guelph’s city council regarding the downtown space; Conestoga’s project would also include the development of condo spaces and a public library. Marty Williams, Executive Director of the Downtown Guelph Business Association, would rather see a mix of public and private enterprises use the space than a mostly private development. “When you add a library and a Conestoga College and a YMCA, and then you add a layer of condo dwellers on top of that … then you’ve got that rich mix … that produces more economic activity.” CTV News | Guelph Mercury

Maclean’s to sponsor Student Life Expo

Maclean's magazine has announced that it will co-sponsor with Pumped Inc this year's Student Life Expo. The Student Life Expo, which is endorsed by the Ontario School Counsellors' Association, offers students the opportunity to converse one-on-one with representatives from universities, colleges, and trades, as well as to see exhibits on issues including finances, gap years, health issues, and careers. The Expo is open to both universities and colleges from inside and outside Ontario. "We are thrilled to partner with Student Life Expo to continue the conversation we started with students almost 20 years ago in our Canadian Universities Guidebook," said Sandra Parente, Publisher of Maclean's. She added, "our experience in education coupled with that of our new Future of Jobs report will help students navigate the overwhelming choices they face as they graduate." The Maclean's Student Life Expo will take place in Toronto on September 27 and 28. Student Life Expo News Release

Humanities funding has yet to recover post-recession

A new report from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) says that financial support for the humanities has yet to recover from the economic downturn that began in 2008. The report, released to coincide with the re-launch of the AAAS’s Humanities Indicators website, says that the humanities are “a field being squeezed on several sides, with federal funding, state support for higher education, and charitable giving to the humanities all flagging since 2007.” From 2008–2014, federal support for programs that focus specifically on humanities activities fell from $855 million to $594 million after adjustments for inflation, with programs in the Department of Education taking the hardest hits. Individual, corporate, and foundation giving to arts, culture, and humanities organizations has recovered slowly after dropping 21% between 2007 and 2008, but has still not reached pre-2008 levels. The humanities’ share of all private giving has also dropped. The Chronicle of Higher Education | Full Report

Female, male students have different perspectives on US campus violence

Data from a survey conducted by Chegg, a textbook rental company, shows significant differences between male and female attitudes toward safety on US campuses. 67% of all students reported feeling safe on or near campus; however, female respondents were significantly more concerned with on-campus violence than male respondents. 41% of female students said non-lethal assaults were a top concern, compared with just 25% of males. Males were more concerned about property crime, with 66% identifying it as a top concern, compared to just 48% of females. 43% of females said that their school was not doing enough to prevent sexual assaults, compared with just 32% of males. Chegg CEO Dan Rosenweig said the numbers mean “that we are not doing enough. We have to engage students in a dialogue about what could make them not only feel more safe but actually be more safe.” 1,765 students responded to the poll, including college and college-bound high school students. The US government recently released a set of guidelines intended to curb sexual violence on campus. Inside Higher Ed | Chegg News Release

US institutions develop smartphone apps for sexual assault victims

Several US PSE institutions are using smartphone apps to help support sexual assault victims. Loyola College in Chicago’s “Here for You” app offers advice and information about sexual violence and connects students to local gender-based violence services and campus resources. It also offers a means for victims to report assaults. The University of Texas-Brownsville teamed with the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault to launch the TX Safety U app last summer, which provides students easy access to resources from 174 Texas schools as well as helpful information. The apps are considered beneficial because smartphones are a more private way to access information. “It’s something that if a student was in a violent relationship, they could download it and [later] erase it from their phone. It’s just really accessible for them,” said Stephanie Atella, a health educator at Loyola. The US government has been working to address the problem of sexual violence on US campuses. Huffington Post

US group promotes plan for federally funded tuition

A coalition calling itself “Redeeming America’s Promise” has proposed to create federally funded, full-tuition scholarships for students at 2- and 4-year US colleges. The group says that students with family incomes of less than $160,000 would be eligible for the proposed scholarships, the value of which would vary across different states depending on the cost of tuition. It also says that it is possible for the US government to subsidize tuition without raising taxes or affecting the national debt by reallocating current funding from tax credits and Pell Grants. Their plan would also make available loans for students of up to $10,000 to cover living expenses. These loans would accrue no interest while a student is enrolled in college, and repayments would be contingent on the student’s income. Inside Higher Ed | The Chronicle of Higher Education | Washington Times

Vancouver school board approves new sexual orientation policy

The Vancouver school board has revised its sexual orientation and gender identities policy, outlining the procedures and supports available for transgender youth in Vancouver schools. Youth will now have access to gender-neutral bathrooms and will be able to choose the pronoun they wish to be referred to as, including the gender-neutral terms xe, xem, and xyr as alternatives to s/he, her/him, and hers/his, respectively. Board approval came after a series of public, contentious debates and consultations, with vocal opponents concerned about revolutionary changes that might occur. Patti Bacchus, Chairwoman of the Vancouver school board, stated that the revised policy “give[s] more direction to students and staff about how to support a student who is transgender or unsure about their gender identity,” bringing the school district in line with policies in cities like Toronto and Edmonton. “What I hope it does is that it gives a much clearer message to everyone,” Bacchus said. “We know that these kids are at much higher risk of bullying and even violence than the rest of the population.” Vancouver Sun (1) | Vancouver Sun (2) | Globe and Mail

One weird trick to generate buzz for your research

A new Tumblr feed offers to produce attention-grabbing "clickbait" headlines for grad students' research projects. Clickbait Dissertations, described as “what this one PhD student did to avoid working on his dissertation,” lets dissertation writers translate their research into prose that would be more at home on Upworthy than in the ivory tower. The site’s operator invites scholars to send along their project title and abstract and offers to “take a stab at turning it into clickbait.” Among the titles already posted are “Think your rocket is stable? Take our new quiz! Hopefully you *won’t* be blown away,” for a thesis on rocket motors, and “What happens when you put farmers on the Internet? Justice,” for a dissertation on knowledge as a site of contestation in global justice movements. The author says that he is currently overwhelmed with submissions—he is working on his own dissertation, after all—but that he plans to continue to work through the backlog as time permits. Clickbait Dissertations