Top Ten

January 12, 2015

Canada launches new loans program for apprenticeships

Canada officially launched the Canada Apprentice Loan last week, a program that will provide apprentices in 57 Red Seal trades access to up to $4,000 in loans per period of technical training. The program had previously been announced as part of Economic Action Plan 2014. The loans, to be managed by the Canada Student Loans Program, will remain interest-free until after recipients complete or leave their apprenticeship training, up to a maximum of 6 years. A number of institutions across the country welcomed the launch. Nobina Robinson, CEO of Polytechnics Canada, said, “we heartily endorse the objective of the Canada Apprentice Loan to help more trades trainees complete their apprenticeship and become certified journeypersons.” Denise Amyot, President of Colleges and Institutes Canada, added that the program “will help countless Canadians acquire the skills they need to succeed while contributing to the development of their communities.” Canada News Release | Globe and Mail | Polytechnics Canada News Release | CICan News Release

UNB cites academic freedom in case of prof accused of racism

The University of New Brunswick has said that it has “carefully reviewed and addressed” charges of racism that were levelled against one of its professors, emphasizing the importance of freedom of thought and expression. Vancouver City Councillor Kerry Jang, a professor at the University of British Columbia, complained to UNB after professor Ricardo Duchesne was quoted by the CBC as saying that “Vancouver can still be seen as a city that remains British in many areas, but also has this strong, growing Asian side. There is this two-faced character to the city. The fast pace of the change is bad.” Jang also pointed to a number of posts on Duchesne’s blog, which criticized Vancouver city council for acting on “white guilt” and said that Vancouver remained attractive “only because of the institutional legacy of past white generations.” Duchesne denied Jang’s accusations, saying that “one crosses a line into being a racist when you use mean-spirited words, foul language, degrading words in reference to other ethnic groups and cultures, which I never do.” David Robinson, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, said that he felt UNB had “done the right thing,” citing Duchesne’s academic freedom. Globe and Mail | Inside Higher Ed

Waterloo police release stats on September law enforcement program

Waterloo police report that an enforcement project carried out in September in order to monitor university students led to 758 arrests, the second highest number of charges in the last 5 years of the program. Project Safe Semester, which took place between Labour Day and homecoming on September 27, sees police maintaining a highly visible presence near campus. “We take a firm but fair approach,” said Deputy Chief of Police Kevin Chalk. This year, 470 charges were related to alcohol infractions, 175 were Highway Traffic Act offences, 55 were bylaw infractions, and 27 were Criminal Code charges. Chalk attributes the rise in charges to a “more rambunctious crowd this year” and an “increased disregard” for the law on the part of some students. Waterloo police Chief Bryan Larkin said, “this is not about shutting the party down, but having a party responsibly.” He said that he hopes to start a task force with students to address alcohol use and its effects on academics and mental health. The Record

MSVU prof resigns after admitting relationship with mature student

A business instructor at Mount Saint Vincent University has resigned his position after admitting to having sex and exchanging sexually explicit images with a student. Michael Kydd said that his relationship with the 38-year-old student was consensual, but that it nevertheless violated MSVU’s code of conduct. MSVU President Ramona Lumpkin became aware of the allegations on December 23, but said that the student wanted to take the winter break to consider whether or not to take action. The student said that she had become uncomfortable with the situation after perceiving that Kydd was granting her preferential treatment in his class and worried it would affect the school’s integrity. She said that Kydd had told her not to worry about writing an exam. In a news release, Lumpkin said that MSVU is “taking this matter very seriously and are responding accordingly,” and that it is committed to protecting the student involved. MSVU News Release | CTV News | Chronicle-Herald | Winnipeg Free Press (CP)

North Grenville shares proposal for municipal control of Kemptville College

The Municipality of North Grenville has released the details of its proposal for the takeover of Kemptville College. Under the proposal, the college would be “transformed into a multi-tenant campus offering research, education, training, and economic development opportunities to various strategic, collaborative partners as well as opportunities to deliver regional and provincial health and wellness services.” The college would be run by a municipal corporation, an approach that the report says “will ensure the long-term sustainability of the campus, its infrastructure, and strategic partnerships and alliances.” The municipality passed the report on to provincial facilitator Lyle Vanclief in October; Vanclief last month recommended the province turn the college over to the municipality. Standard-Freeholder

Holland College moves to course-based model to meet needs of part-time students

Holland College in Prince Edward Island is moving forward with a shift to a course-based model for many of its programs. In the past, many programs at Holland have followed a rigid curriculum that did not offer students much choice in terms of the courses they study. The new approach breaks many of the college’s programs down into a series of semester-long courses. So far it has been applied to 26 programs, and the college hopes to roll the new scheme out to an additional 16 programs by fall 2017. The new approach will afford students more flexibility in their studies, and also better meet the needs of part-time students. “Now that we are semestered and have a course-based model, there might be the opportunity to pick away at the paramedic program, instead of coming and being gone from the workplace,” said instructor Brent Nicholson. CBC

COTR reports “substantial” uptick in winter enrolments

College of the Rockies in BC is reporting what it is describing as a “substantial” increase in enrolments in its university transferable courses as well as in many other programs for the winter semester. Tourism, Kinesiology, and Business are seeing the largest growth. Registrar DJ Silva said, “this indicates that students continue to see us as a viable option for starting their university education. Smaller class sizes, affordable tuition, and the ability to stay at home for the first year or 2 of their postsecondary journey makes starting at the College an appealing choice.” Silva noted that online enrolments and international enrolments are also up. Lethbridge College also recently announced an increase in winter enrolments, thanks in part to their online programs. COTR News Release

GMAC survey suggests favourable climate for 2015 business school grads

The US-based Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) has good news for business school students who are expecting to complete a graduate degree in 2015, including those in Canada. Their survey of 169 firms in 33 countries indicates that 9 out of 10 employers expect to maintain or add job openings in 2015. The survey results also suggest that employers are slightly more interested in candidates with graduate degrees in business. 72% of firms said that they anticipate hiring new MBA graduates in 2015, up from 69% in 2014. Employers also said that they were interested in candidates with specialty degrees: 41% said that they expected to hire employees with masters of management degrees, up from 30% last year. A larger number of employers also said that they expected to increase base salaries by at least the rate of inflation. However, the market for students with undergraduate business degrees will not be quite as strong as it was in 2014. 78% of companies responding said that they would hire graduates from undergraduate business programs, down from 82%. Globe and Mail | Businessweek

Obama announces free community college proposal

US President Barack Obama on Friday announced plans to offer the first 2 years of a community college education for free to students across the country. “Put simply, what I’d like to do is to see the first 2 years of community college free for everybody who is willing to work for it,” said Obama. Under the proposed plan, the federal government would pay 75% of the “average cost of community college,” covering tuition and fees up front; participating states would be responsible for covering the remaining balance. The plan, called “America’s College Promise,” is based on one previously implemented in Tennessee. The “Tennessee Promise” covers tuition and fees not covered by federal grants as long as students enrol full-time and maintain a GPA of 2.0 or better. Further details of Obama’s plan are expected to be released as part of his State of the Union address later this month; however, Obama’s plan will likely face some stiff opposition from the Republican-controlled Congress and Senate. White House News Release | Globe and Mail | Inside Higher Ed | The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

Big changes in the workplace by 2030

A new documentary film offers a vision of what working might look like in 2030, focusing on the ways in which human labour may be replaced by machines. According to the film Humans Need Not Apply, as much as 45% of the global workforce can be replaced by technology that is already available. The Financial Post notes that the film is just the latest among a number of recent reports that forecast dramatic changes in working life, including the advent of wearable technology, the increasing importance of being able to manage complexity and ambiguity, and the rise of corporate responsibility to the top of companies’ lists of priorities. The Financial Post also cites reports that companies will in the future break down into smaller “collaboration networks,” and that work itself will be restructured around flexibility, employee autonomy, and short-term or contractual employment. The article also suggests that workers will increasingly identify themselves with their skill set rather than as employees of a particular company. Financial Post