Top Ten

September 15, 2014

YorkU announces location, funding details of proposed Markham campus

York University has announced the location of its proposed Markham campus. The proposed campus, to be created in collaboration with Seneca College, would be located in the rapidly developing Markham Centre, on 5 acres of land donated by the city. YorkU also announced that York Regional Council has approved up a contribution of up to $25 M for the project. “Together with Seneca College, the City of Markham, and York Region, we are delighted to be making this official announcement about the site of the proposed York University campus in York Region,” said YorkU President Mamdouh Shoukri. “In situating the campus in the heart of a vibrant new urban centre, our aim is to offer programs that will be responsive to the needs of York Region while furthering the University’s objective of becoming more comprehensive.” The announcement was made in advance of a September 26 deadline for submissions to Ontario’s request for proposals under the Major Capacity Expansion Policy FrameworkYorkU News Release | Seneca News Release |

uOttawa launches Institute in Security and Policy; Students Federation “surprised” by announcement

The University of Ottawa has announced the creation of the Security and Policy Institute of Professional Development, which it describes in a news release as “a powerhouse of information on security matters.” The program will offer an independent forum dedicated to the discussion of security issues with an eye toward policy and strategic planning. “The Security and Policy Institute of Professional Development is not a research centre or a think tank,” said the uOttawa new release; “rather, it aggregates and synthesizes existing and new knowledge on various security topics and transfers this knowledge to select audiences through intensive short courses that are designed to help with practical decision making.” However, some students at the university say the announcement caught them by surprise. Anaïs Elboudjaini, a graduate student representative on the university’s board of governors, said “as an elected representative of the university’s highest governing body, I was shocked to learn of a new institute being launched without any consultation or discussion of how it is being funded.” The Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) and the Graduate Students’ Association have asked for more details on the institute’s purpose and funding. uOttawa News Release | SFUO News Release

uSask signs agreement to complete retail development

The University of Saskatchewan has signed a long-term lease agreement with Ronmor Developers Inc that will enable it to construct a new phase of Preston Crossing, a retail development on university land. Since first opening in 2010, retailers at Preston Crossing have expanded to occupy 690,000 square feet of space on 57 acres. The development generates $1.79 M in student scholarships for uSask each year. Construction on the site is expected to begin next year, with a targeted completion date in spring 2016. “We will be looking at tenants for the new space that complement the existing stores and that potentially bring a new shopping experience to Saskatoon,” said Ronmor President Doug Poronzi. uSask Director of Corporate Administration Judy Yungwirth said, “Ronmor Developers Inc is a new partner for the University of Saskatchewan at Preston Crossing. We are looking forward to working with this regional firm and know they bring the kind of expertise that people have come to expect with our retail developments.” uSask News Release | StarPhoenix

SIAST celebrates opening of expanded Hannin Creek Educational Facility

The Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology and the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation (SWF) officially opened the expanded Hannin Creek Educational Facility last week. The Hannin Creek facility, located at Candle Lake, offers hands-on learning opportunities for students in forestry; fisheries; wildlife; conservation law; recreation; tourism management; and environmental, civil, and water resources engineering technologies programs. “The Hannin Creek facility and property have provided rich learning experiences for many decades. This partnership between SIAST and the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation ensures that education and conservation will continue here for many years,” said SIAST President Larry Rosia. SWF President David Pezderic added, “The securement and enhancement of these facilities guarantee Saskatchewan’s continuing excellence in outdoor education for this and future generations to enjoy.” SIAST News Release

Holland College signs GradPass agreement with Restaurants Canada

Holland College in Prince Edward Island has signed what it says is a “first of its kind” agreement with Restaurants Canada. Per the agreement, graduates of several of Holland's programs will receive a “GradPass” that grants access to research and information on Restaurant Canada’s members-only website, provides admission to trade shows, and enables students to post resumes and profiles on a new industry-focused job site. Holland President Brian McMillan said, “Holland College is committed to providing our students with the skills and knowledge that they will require to enter their chosen occupational field. The GradPass is a tool that will give them direct access to prospective employers in the industry. We are proud to be a founding partner for this initiative.” Holland News Release

HEQCO President calls for better assessments of PSE graduates

President of the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) Harvey Weingarten argues in a Globe and Mail op-ed that PSE students are not being adequately assessed for literacy and numeracy, or for a number of other outcomes that are generally understood as fundamental to a PSE credential. He says that many too quickly assume that completing a PSE program is sufficient evidence of these basic skills, but that they are rarely actually evaluated. Moreover, he says that a PSE degree is not always an indicator of effective critical thinking or problem-solving skills. He calls for investment in assessing skills that he describes as being “highly predictive of employment success,” including determination, persistence, resilience, creativity, and entrepreneurship. Weingarten says that in Ontario, “our commitment to assessment doesn’t measure up.” Globe and Mail

Use of foreign recruiters presents opportunities, challenges for Canadian institutions

University Affairs offers an overview of the use of education agents or recruiters in Canada. The article notes that the use of agents to recruit foreign students is often perceived of as a cost-effective, low-risk way to access new markets, especially for smaller schools. A 2013 report found that 23 of 37 public universities surveyed said they used agents, none of which were among the U15 group of research-intensive Canadian universities. However, the article points out that oversight of agents in foreign countries can be challenging. There are currently no federal laws in Canada regulating the use of foreign agents, and it is up to institutions to carefully vet candidates. Because agents represent a small number of universities, they may not provide prospective students with a full spectrum of options; moreover, agents paid by commission may recommend a school that pays a higher fee regardless of the best interests of the student. University Affairs

Research shows impact of cyberbullying on faculty

Faculty, as well as students, are subject to victimization by cyberbullies, a new article in Maclean’s reports. The article notes examples in which students have posted derogatory comments on faculty rating sites. While occasionally site administrators will agree to remove offensive posts, some professors have said that it is difficult to get responses to such requests. Site guidelines advise contributors to “be honest and objective,” but avoid personal attacks. Research by Lida Blizard, a nursing instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, found that faculty who admitted to being bullied online in such a fashion frequently reported that it affected their productivity as well as their mood. Some respondents to her survey reported experiencing more than 3 effects simultaneously, which, the article says, fits the American Psychiatric Association’s criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder. A larger study from Simon Fraser University of 330 faculty members found that roughly 25% said that they had experienced cyberbullying from a student; some said they had even contemplated suicide as a result. Maclean’s

Millennial donors willing to give, but want to direct where their money is going

A new report says that millennial-generation graduates are willing to give back to their institutions, but require a different engagement approach. According to a recent survey, less than half of a sample of 3,660 millennials said that they had made a donation to their former schools, and three-quarters said they would donate to another organization or cause before their alma mater. 62% of those who had not yet made a donation said it was because they were financially unable to do so. Millennials were also found to be more likely to research and give to causes beyond traditional channels, increasing PSE institutions' competition for donation dollars. More than half said they would prefer to see their donations go directly to scholarships and financial aid for current students, while 29% said they would like their money to go a specific department. “For this generation in particular, they want to know where their $25 is going,” said Brandi Brooks Davis, Director of Young Alumni Giving Programs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

Study links procrastination to poorer performance on assignments

The results of a 5-year study of marketing students at the Warwick Business School show an inverse correlation between procrastination and grades. The study of 777 students found that students who turned in assignments just before a deadline performed worse on assignments than those who turned in their work more than 24 hours early. There was little statistical difference among students who submitted assignments more than 24 hours early; however, after the 24-hour mark, average scores dropped at an increasing rate the closer the submission time was to the deadline. There was a 5% difference in scores between students who submitted their work at the last minute and those who submitted it more than a day in advance, good for a full letter grade. BusinessWeek