Top Ten

November 19, 2014

Ontario contributes $4.2 M to Advanced Manufacturing Innovation facility at Niagara College

Ontario will contribute $4.2 M toward the creation of the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre at Niagara College. The Centre will serve as a permanent, high-tech manufacturing facility, offering manufacturers access to equipment and research facilities in order to help reduce production time and costs. The facility will also serve to strengthen ties between local industries and Niagara’s students and faculty members, who will be available to provide expertise to private sector partners. “Ontario’s funding for a permanent home for our Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre will provide local manufacturers with increased access to leading-edge facilities, equipment, technical expertise, training and services. The centre’s community will boost the regional economy by developing commercialization solutions, innovating products and processes, and expanding into new markets,” said Niagara President Dan Patterson. Niagara News Release

SaskPolytech, Minerals Innovation Institute partner on Centre for Minerals Innovation

Saskatchewan Polytechnic has partnered with International Minerals Innovation Institute (IMII) to create a new Centre for Minerals Innovation. The new centre will foster collaboration between industry representatives and educational institutions in order to provide accessible training and to respond to labour market needs. “The mining sector is a significant employer in our province, and one of Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s key stakeholders. The new Centre for Minerals Innovation will help ensure the sector has access to leading-edge educational services, when and where they’re needed,” said SaskPolytech President Larry Rosia. Engin Özberk, Executive Director of IMII, added, “IMII is a unique partnership, providing leadership to inform, facilitate, co-ordinate, and financially support industry-driven skills and research capacity that will enhance the growth and global competitiveness of Saskatchewan’s minerals industry through collaboration. What we are celebrating today … is one of the significant accomplishments of this collaborative effort.” SaskPolytech News Release

Lack of information, lack of engagement factors in low voter turnout among students

Following municipal elections in many parts of the country, Academica Group launched a quick poll of members of its StudentVu national research panel to learn more about the voting habits of young people. The results of the poll indicate that in spite of widespread efforts to encourage youth to vote, approximately 12% of respondents neglected to vote due to a lack of information about the process. This figure includes those who did not vote because they didn’t know how to vote, because they forgot to vote, or because they said they weren’t on the voters list. 18% of poll respondents did not vote due to a lack of engagement, either because they couldn’t find a candidate who appealed to them or because they weren’t interested in politics. The data point to a critical need to better communicate with and engage young voters. “Young people demonstrate care and interest in local politics; however, many look to engage in non-traditional means, often outside of existing processes,” said Emerson Csorba, Director of Gen Y Inc, a consulting firm that specializes in multigenerational engagement. Academica Blog

Montréal International initiative seeks to increase proportion of persons with university degrees in city

Montréal International, an economic development agency, has announced a new project to increase the number of university graduates in the city. The Graduates Help Build Our Futures initiative seeks to increase the proportion of persons aged 25 and over with university degrees to 31.5% by 2017. Montréal International says that doing so would raise per-capita income in the city by $5,000 and contribute $20 B to Greater Montreal’s GDP. “Paradoxically … the proportion of university graduates among Montrealers aged 25 and over is relatively low,” said Dominique Anglade, President of Montréal International. “It’s a simple equation: the higher the proportion of university graduates, the wealthier the region will be." The announcement was made at the launch of the city-wide Je Vois MTL initiative on Monday. Montréal International News Release

Dal students can earn bonus points for STI tests

Dalhousie University professor Matthew Numer is offering students in his human sexuality course a unique way to earn bonus marks. Students can earn extra points if they present to him proof that they have been tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). “More than 50 per cent of my class is participating,” said Numer. “I expect we’ll see at least that number this year. There’s been strong uptake and the feedback is mostly positive.” One student said, “the class was pretty excited about it.” John Britton, Director of Dal’s Sexual Health Clinic, emphasized the importance of routine testing, given that many STIs can be asymptomatic. Numer said, “I thought a little bit of incentive is a good way to make it a routine, especially with people in this age group, who tend to be more sexually active with different partners.” Students receive the bonus points regardless of the results of their test; they also have the option of earning bonus marks by volunteering for a fundraiser to support the Sexual Health Clinic. CBC News

Survey tests first-year students’ knowledge of Indigenous issues

First-year students at 10 Ontario universities have been asked to participate in a survey to determine their knowledge of Indigenous issues. The voluntary survey, launched by Queen’s University professor Anne Godlewska, was developed in consultation with Indigenous groups and is designed to test students on their knowledge of Aboriginal history in Canada. Godlewska was inspired to create the survey after teaching a class on Indigenous geography. "A very great deal has happened in the legal system and social system in Canada. There's been huge activism on the part of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people and [students] just knew nothing about it," she said. It is hoped the survey may also indicate why this lack of knowledge exists. Participating students will be asked to complete a second survey in their fourth year. This story also appeared in Academica's Indigenous Top TenCBC

Colleges responding to youth demand for entrepreneurship education

Colleges across Canada are working to meet the demand for entrepreneurship education, either by incorporating entrepreneurship courses into a variety of programs or by creating opportunities for students to work with private sector partners. “Whether you end up working explicitly for yourself and start your own business or whether you end up working in the 70 per cent of businesses that are small and medium-sized enterprises, having those entrepreneurial skills and that way of thinking is really important for people who are graduating today,” said Wendy Therrien, VP Government Relations and Canadian Partnerships for Colleges and Institutes Canada. Across the country, institutions are reporting that young people in the 18–24 age bracket are eager to start their own enterprises. “Students seem to be moving in the entrepreneurship direction and they have asked us to offer more courses, more information and resources in terms of starting a business and getting financing,” said Stephanie Koonar, Assistant Chair of the School of Management at Langara College. Globe and Mail

2008 recession frames US college students’ attitudes toward education, entrepreneurship

A new poll from Northeastern University of more than 1,000 16–19-year-olds in the US has found that more than 80% of respondents say that obtaining PSE is important to having a career; however, 67% say they are concerned that they won’t be able to afford an education and that they are opposed to acquiring student debt. 45% of respondents said that they would only be able to handle debt payments of $100 a month or less; close to two-thirds said that they were concerned about finding a job; and 60% said that they were concerned about having enough money as adults. Mike Armini, who heads Northeastern’s Innovation Imperative initiative, said that the results may be attributed in part to young people’s experience of the 2008 recession. “The great recession was a formative experience for this generation. They saw their parents or their friends’ parents suffering real setbacks. We have to increasingly show what the value is of what we offer.” The survey also showed a strong interest in entrepreneurship: 60% of respondents said that they wanted to learn about entrepreneurship in college, and 42% said that they expected to be their own bosses. Nearly 80% of respondents said that their education should include some form of professional experience. Inside Higher Ed | Full Results

Survey sheds light on adjunct working conditions in US

A US-based adjunct advocacy organization has released a new report on part-time academic labour. Researchers with the Service Employees International Union’s Adjunct Action campaign gathered input from adjunct faculty members at 238 US colleges and universities and conducted 40 interviews. According to the report, 16% of respondents are paid less than minimum wage based on the number of hours they actually work. Approximately 40% said that they work 40 hours or more each week, but are still considered part-time employees. 28% said that they spend more than 20 hours each week on work-related tasks outside of the classroom, and 73% said “yes” or “maybe” when asked if they had been asked or expected to perform work that they were not paid for, such as advising students, writing recommendations, presenting talks, sitting on committees, participating in orientation or informational meetings, or designing or developing new courses. The report issues 5 specific recommendations: that federal and state labour protections expand to apply to adjunct faculty, that academic employers fairly compensate all instructional professionals, that adjuncts take action for better standards, that contingent faculty pursue unionization, and that adjuncts advocate for transparency on university spending on instruction. Inside Higher Ed | Adjunct Action News Release | Full Report

US study finds correlation between internships and GPA improvement

A new report from researchers at the University of Iowa has found that students with lower GPAs may benefit more from participating in internships than those with a high GPA. According to the study, all students who participated in internships were likely to see an increase in their GPA, regardless of their institution or other covariates. The correlation also persisted regardless of precollege academic ability. Moreover, students with a lower end-of-first-year GPA who undertook an internship outperformed their peers who did not. The results may suggest that institutions that restrict internship programs to students who have a high GPA may not be reaching those students who stand to benefit the most from such opportunities. The findings are based on an analysis of more than 3,000 college students at 44 US PSE institutions. The Chronicle of Higher Education | Full Report