Top Ten

October 29, 2014

Nipissing and Canadore investigating after false lockdown alarms

Nipissing University and Canadore College are investigating what was described as a "glitch" that tripped each institution’s lockdown alarms on Monday. The alarms instructed students to lock themselves in a classroom, turn off the lights, and remain quiet. 45 minutes later, a second announcement informed students that there had been no threat. One Nipissing student said that the situation “felt like a drill,” but added that recent events in Ottawa put people on edge. “Everyone took it really seriously,” she said. Another student said that things were “pretty tense.” Both institutions later released statements clarifying that they are investigating what might have caused the false alarms. Nipissing said that its counsellors would be available without an appointment for any students who required assistance following the incident. Bay Today | Nipissing News Release

NAIT partners with Edmonton school boards on “first of its kind” collegiate

A planned Edmonton high school that is reportedly the first of its kind in North America will allow students to fast-track their PSE education. The new collegiate, the result of a partnership between the Edmonton Catholic and public school boards, the provincial government, and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, will focus on students interested in STEM courses, with students being able to earn PSE credits as early as grade 11. The school will be built on land just east of NAIT, allowing students to have access to the institution’s labs. “These children will be taking the Alberta curriculum from [grades] 9-12 but it will be enhanced by what NAIT offers us. NAIT’s partnership will allow them to not only use world-class facilities but also get credits in Grade 11 and get exposure to what it would be like to be in whatever particular science, technology, engineering, mathematics career they are looking at,” said Debbie Engel, a spokesperson for the Edmonton Catholic School Board. CTV News

MacEwan shares new integrated strategic plan online

MacEwan University has published online its new integrated strategic plan. The plan is presented on a new website that describes the university’s plans and provides a forum for charting progress toward institutional goals. The 5-year plan focuses on MacEwan’s role as an urban teaching university that provides accessible learning, a blend and balance of teaching, research, scholarly and creative activity, and that is committed to diversity, sustainability, and the health and well-being of the campus community. It names 2 specific strategic directions: strong community engagement and institutional excellence. The university commits to positioning itself as a leader in sustainability through educational programs and operational practices; to engaging with Aboriginal leaders and charitable and non-profit organizations to ensure that the needs of Aboriginal and underrepresented learners are being met; and to engaging with business, government, and social agencies involved in Edmonton's downtown development to define the university’s role as an urban campus. MacEwan News Release | Plan Website

uWinnipeg teams with community organizations to provide mental health, addiction support

The University of Winnipeg is partnering with 2 community organizations to help students with mental health and addictions issues. The Manitoba Adolescent Treatment Centre (MATC) will begin providing a full-time mental health clinician on campus, and the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba will provide a community addictions worker on campus 2 days a week. “Partnering with the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba and the Manitoba Adolescent Treatment Centre brings the campus and community together to meet real needs for students,” said Jan Byrd, Executive Director of Wellness and Student Life at uWinnipeg. Jaye Miles, Director of Psychology with the Manitoba Adolescent Treatement Centre, added, “The MATC is thrilled to be able to offer its services to the population of young adults at uWinnipeg who are beginning their journeys into adulthood, but who still might need extra supports and services that we have available.” uWinnipeg News

20-year StatsCan study finds wide variance in graduates' cumulative earnings

A new report released by Statistics Canada indicates that cumulative earnings can vary widely by gender as well as by field of study. The longitudinal study tracked individuals from 1991 to 2010. It found that the median cumulative earnings over the 20 year period of male bachelor’s degree holders ranged from approximately $840,000 for male degree holders in fine and applied arts fields to $1.8 M for engineering degree holders. For women, the ranges varied from $650,000 in fine and applied arts to $1.2 M for graduates with business administration degrees. Cumulative earnings ranged widely within fields, as well, with the variation in cumulative earnings within fields of study being higher among women. The report suggests that this is explained in part by the fact that women at the bottom of the distribution earn less than their male counterparts. The StatsCan report also notes that college graduates and bachelor’s degree holders earned about 1.3 and 1.7 times the cumulative amount earned by high school graduates over the same period, respectively. StatsCan Daily | Full Report

WLU launches new website designed for prospective students

Wilfrid Laurier University has unveiled its new website, which it says is designed to appeal to prospective students in particular. The new, fully responsive website provides information as well as stories, photos and videos intended to reflect life at the university. Visitors are able to easily access admissions information, an Instagram feed, and links to pages tailored for media, alumni, community members, and university visitors. “The concept and design of the new website appeals to a new generation of students and better reflects the premier university experience, quality teaching and wide range of programs we offer at Laurier,” said AVP External Relations Joel Peters. WLU will now turn its focus to developing a new intranet for current campus community members. WLU News Release

"Man Up Against Violence" project at uRegina calls on men to oppose violence against women

Students and faculty at the University of Regina marched through campus on Monday to raise awareness of violence against women as part of a new “Man Up Against Violence” initiative being held on campus this week. The program is designed to help bring broader awareness to the issue of violence against women, as well as to help educate the public about the issue, especially as it affects Saskatchewan. The Man Up Against Violence program focuses especially on the role men can play in curbing violence. Program Chair Roz Kelsey said that social expectations can make it difficult for men to speak out about abuse; however, she says that men have a critical role to play. “If you stand up and talk about the issue of violence against women as a man’s issue, you will be heard by other men,” she said. Event organizers reached out to male student athletes to participate in this week’s event. One such athlete, hockey player Ryan Dech, said that as a role model to young people he has a responsibility to speak out. “Realizing that equality doesn’t make you any less of a man is the direction we need to head,” he said. Leader-Post | Man Up Against Violence Website

Polytechnics Canada President issues recommendations for Science, Technology, and Innovation strategy

In an op-ed for The Hill Times, Polytechnics Canada President Nobina Robinson says that the government needs to adopt a new approach in order to foster innovation in Canada. Robinson says that while basic research is vital to the public good, the nation’s college and polytechnics are equally important for economic prosperity. She says that the government’s promised Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) strategy needs to strike a balance between the need for discovery and the need for practical and applied research. She says that Canada is falling behind in areas such as advanced manufacturing, and that Canada’s global competitiveness is damaged by its trade deficit in intellectual property receipts. She lists 4 specific requirements for the modernization of the STI strategy: balance between the “idea-push” dynamic of basic research and the “demand-pull” logic of applied research; differentiation of outcomes among discovery research, applied research, and commercialization; an adaptation of the meaning of “research excellence” to fit 21st-century realities; and better linking of innovation policies to current skill and talent priorities. Polytechnics Canada

Corporate-sponsored programs bring STEM training to Canadian youth

Tech firms like Google Canada, Cisco Canada, and Microsoft Canada are investing heavily in programs that bring STEM education to Canadian youth. These firms are stepping in as many are suggesting that Canadian high school students graduate without adequate training in STEM fields. Some parents have turned to extracurricular programs to help fill what they see as an unmet need. The corporate-sponsored programs seek to combine education and fun in order to better engage young people and raise awareness and interest in science and mathematics, as well as working to combat stereotypes about technology. “It is important to engage the kids early because we want to make sure that as they go through school they are motivated to take the courses they need, to have the skills and educational background in data and science for those kinds of technology jobs,” said GE Canada President Elyse Allen. She added that more support for teachers is also necessary. Globe and Mail

Bringing the flipped classroom to large lecture courses

Adopting a “flipped classroom” approach to teaching has been shown to promote collaborative learning and increased interaction between professors and students, but has been perceived as being difficult to implement in large lecture courses. However, researchers at Columbia University’s Center for New Media Teaching and Learning are working on ways to make it work. In 2013, the Center helped professor Brent Stockwell adopt the flipped approach to his 180-student biochemistry class. Stockwell uploaded videos and presentations to YouTube, along with short for-credit quizzes. After this initial experiment, Stockwell began adding new features, such as a polling service that would allow students to give him real-time responses to questions. He also divided his 180 students up into groups of 5, assigning them problems to work on as a group. Based on their success in Stockwell’s class, Center researchers moved on to an even bigger class in Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. While the experience for both professors was positive, challenges remained: space was often limited, and Stockwell said he sometimes had difficulty coming up with problems and case studies. Nevertheless, he was convinced of the value of the flipped approach, even in a large lecture course. Campus Technology