Top Ten

July 14, 2014

CMEC outlines plans to align education, skills training with Canadian needs

Following a meeting in Charlottetown, the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) has issued a joint declaration outlining what it sees as 3 core priorities to help improve Canadians’ employment success and support the nation's economic strength. First, CMEC emphasizes the need to offer flexible ways for Canadians to acquire the knowledge and skills needed for success on the job market. Second, it advocates strategic partnerships and better alignment between business, labour, education, and training providers as “keys to ensuring synergy between education and training systems and Canada’s labour markets.” Finally, CMEC notes the need for accurate, relevant labour market and education information to help Canadians make informed career choices and to help the federal and provincial governments make evidence-based decisions. CMEC News Release (1) | CMEC News Release (2)

Niagara Falls, Milton look to add PSE campuses

Niagara Falls is making its pitch for a PSE presence in its downtown. In a letter to the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, Mayor Jim Diodati pointed out that “compared to other Ontario mid-size cities, the Niagara region has significantly fewer post-secondary enrolment spots per capita.” He added that “this lack of enrolment spaces is leading to an outflow of youth, and a subsequent negative economic impact from lost talent, innovation, and creativity.” Diodati also emphasized that a Niagara Falls campus would help reduce the number of Canadian students who leave the country to attend US institutions near the border. Halton Region has also made its pitch to the province for a PSE campus. Halton regional council voted to support Wilfrid Laurier’s bid to establish a campus in Milton. The Town of Milton has pledged to donate 150 acres of land to house a proposed campus that could eventually accommodate as many as 15,000 students. Niagara Falls Review | Inside Halton

Academica Group releases results of StudentVu summer employment survey

Academica Group has released the results of a new StudentVu survey on students’ summer employment. The survey of more than 1,000 students aged 16 and up found that 70% of respondents thought it was very, quite, or somewhat important to find a summer job that was related to their career goals; however, most found this to be a challenging task. Most students who are employed this summer are working in retail (26%), accommodation and/or food services (22%), or a babysitting, daycare, or camp counselor-style role (16%). Nearly a third of working students said they were returning to a job they’d had before. Slightly more than a quarter of those who found a new job said that they found the position through family or friends, while 21% said they used an online job board. Many students also reported that it was difficult to find an employer who was willing to hire them for the summer season alone. Some respondents also expressed frustration at the low wages and quality of training they received, as well as the high level of qualifications expected by many employers. However, most students were satisfied with their work conditions, responsibilities, and co-workers. Report Summary

Husky donates simulator, scholarships funds to Lakeland

Husky Energy, in partnership with Invensys, has donated a heavy oil upgrading process simulator to Lakeland College’s Lloydminster Energy Centre. The donation will provide the college’s energy programming students with hands-on experience that Husky CEO Asim Ghosh says will help them develop vital skills. “Husky depends on skilled workers and is committed to developing skilled trades capacity in Canada,” he said. Lakeland President Tracy Edwards said, “this technology is phenomenal for heavy oil training and we’re thrilled that Husky donated it to us for use in the new facility.” Husky will also donate an additional $360,000 to Lakeland over the next 3 years for power engineering scholarships, an extension of a previous contract. Husky has donated more than $2 million in cash and gifts-in-kind to Lakeland since 2011. Lakeland’s Energy Centre is currently under construction and is expected to be operational by 2015. Lakeland College News Release

Colleges Ontario releases data on college grads in the economy

Colleges Ontario has released a report outlining Ontario college students’ role in the economy. The report, released as part of Colleges Ontario’s Environmental Scan, says that in 2012 ON certified 57% as many tradespersons as a share of total employment as the rest of Canada. Nova Scotia was the only province that certified fewer tradespersons as a share of total employment. Colleges Ontario also notes that while ON’s ability to match skills to job opportunities is better than the average of the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development's "advanced" countries, it remains behind 3 provinces and 10 other countries. The report also says that Aboriginal students were more likely than the general population to have completed a trade or college credential, but less likely to have completed a degree. Full Report

uLethbridge receives funding for potato research chair

The University of Lethbridge has received $1 million in funding from the Potato Growers of Alberta (PGA), McCain Foods, ConAgra Lamb Weston, and Cavendish Farms to establish a new chair in potato science at the university. “Growers and processors identified a need to expand research in this critical field. There are only a handful of researchers dedicated to the discipline throughout western Canada and we expect this new Chair will greatly enhance and complement the current capacity that exists,” said PGA Executive Director Terence Hochstein. uLethbridge’s Acting VP Research Lesley Brown said, “the work done by this new Chair will complement existing U of L agricultural research strengths like water, epigenetics and remote sensing.” uLethbridge also recently received with Lethbridge College a $5-million donation to establish the Cor Van Raay Southern Alberta Agribusiness Program. uLethbridge News Release

Journalism enrolment drops in US for second consecutive year

The American Journalism Review reports that collective enrolments in US journalism schools dropped by 2.9% in 2012. This represents the second consecutive annual decline in journalism enrolments; in 2011, the number dropped by 1.1%. The researchers who conducted the study say it is premature to talk of a trend. However, they speculate that news about layoffs in the news industry may have contributed to the drop. Lead researcher Lee B Becker said, “I do think the dramatic change in the media landscape is a part of it. If you’re a parent, if you’re a young person looking at the future ... you’re going to be wondering about the security of the enterprise, and the decline of the mainstream media certainly is something that you would expect the student and the parent to be aware of.” American Journalism Review | Inside Higher Ed | Full Report

Queen’s social media campaign over noise bylaws strains relationship with neighbours

A dispute between Queen’s University and some of its Kingston neighbours over noise complaints spread onto social media with unintended consequences. Some residents living near Queen’s west campus sports fields had complained that noise from sporting events, including referees’ whistles and amplified noise, violated local by-laws. Queen’s commissioned a sound study to identify how to reduce noise levels, and asked the city for an exemption between the hours of 9am and 9pm. But, after a social media campaign was launched with the hashtag "#SaveOurFields," city councilor Liz Schell said she received hundreds of emails urging her to vote in favour of the exemption. She said that many were “vitriolic” in tone. She claimed too that residents had been subject to namecalling on Twitter and other platforms. While Schell said that the university’s revised proposal has convinced her to support the exemption, she warned that its relationship with its neighbours may be more difficult to repair. Maclean’s | Kingston Whig-Standard

Academic organizations issue principles to promote net neutrality

11 US university and library groups have released a set of principles that they hope will convince the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to rule against paid Internet “fast lanes.” Groups including the American Library Association, the Association of American Universities, Educause, and the Modern Language Association have told the FCC that they believe that all Internet content should be treated equally. In the preamble to their list of principles, the groups state, “we are deeply concerned that public broadband providers have financial incentives to interfere with the openness of the Internet and may act on these incentives in ways that could be harmful to the Internet content and services provided by libraries and educational institutions.” The group’s guidelines for net neutrality include the prohibition of paid prioritization and content blocking, transparency into internet service providers’ network management practices, continued capacity-based pricing of broadband Internet access, and the adoption of enforceable regulations. Several of the participating organizations also plan to submit more detailed responses to the FCC in advance of a July 15 deadline for public comment. Inside Higher Ed | The Chronicle of Higher Education | Net Neutrality Principles

Journal busts "peer review ring"

The Journal of Vibration and Control, a peer-reviewed journal in the field of acoustics, has retracted 60 articles in one fell swoop, citing the existence of a “peer review and citation ring” that gamed the review process. The journal uses single-blind review, meaning that the reviewer’s name is concealed from the author. Its editor, Ali H Nayfeh, became aware that some individuals had created false identities on the online review system used by the journal. A 14-month investigation revealed that up to 130 reviewers had conspired to fabricate positive reviews, and there was at least one instance of a reviewer evaluating his own submission. A now-former professor at the National Pingtung University of Education in Taiwan was implicated as the ringleader of the scheme; he resigned from his faculty post in February. Washington Post (1) | Washington Post (2)