Top Ten

January 13, 2015

YorkU announces new School of Continuing Ed

York University has announced the creation of its new School of Continuing Studies, uniting several existing continuing professional programs and the YorkU English Language Institute (YUELI). YorkU says that its continuing studies program offers students a unique opportunity to study in the cohort format, proceeding through programs with their peers. Among the programs that will be offered is a full-time, post-degree human resources management certificate, reportedly the first of its kind in Canada, that will enable students to earn a certificate in 8 months while having time to work. YorkU will also offer a part-time certificate for working professionals that can be completed over 2 years with the summers off. This latter program will be offered online and, later, in a blended learning format. “Our new School of Continuing Studies will help York achieve its vision of building strong links with the community, creating life-long learning opportunities for part-time, mature, and returning students,” said YorkU Provost Rhonda Lenton. YorkU News Release

Former student donates $1 M to WLU School of Business and Economics

Wilfrid Laurier University’s School of Business and Economics has received a $1 M donation from former student Bill Webb and his wife Agnes Wong. The gift will help fund the construction of the new Global Innovation Exchange (GIE) building. It was made as part of WLU’s Building Canada’s Best Business School fundraising campaign, which aims to raise $55 M for scholarships, research, new programs, and the GIE building. “Our investment in the new Global Innovation Exchange promises to help Laurier expand its ability to deliver integrated and engaged learning opportunities, while at the same time ensuring support for Canada’s future business leaders,” said Webb. A 150-seat lecture hall in the GIE will be named in recognition of Webb and Wong’s donation. WLU News Release

22 of 961 unpaid interns employed by federal government hired for paid jobs

The federal government has employed 961 unpaid interns since 2008, but only 22 of those were subsequently hired to work for the government. The government released the information, which includes data from 32 federal agencies, in response to a query from NDP MP Laurin Liu about the Post-Secondary Co-Operative Education and Internship Program. Veterans Affairs employed the most interns, separately from the program; of 142 employed since 2008, only one was later hired as a paid employee. Of 57 interns employed by the Department of National Defence, 7 were offered jobs. A number of other departments reported that they did not track their unpaid interns, with others saying that they lacked data for several years. A spokesperson for Veterans Affairs said that the internship program “provides high-school and university students with on-the-job training and valuable work experience in an office environment to complement education and to help fulfill program requirements.” Liu, who has put forward a bill to limit the use of non-educational internships in federally regulated industries and to extend workplace standards and safety provisions to interns, said that the hiring rate was “really dismal.” The NDP has previously introduced federal and provincial legislation with the intention of protecting interns. Globe and Mail | Toronto Star

UNB frats, sororities protest ban on use of school facilities

The University of New Brunswick has banned its sororities and fraternities from using school facilities, a move that some members of the Greek community are protesting as discrimination. UNB told CBC that the decision, made by the university management committee, was based on a “substantive body of research in higher education that highlights significant negative impacts associated with Greek letter organizations on university communities.” However, members of UNB’s 2 sororities and lone fraternity says the move is based on stereotypes. “They were saying that we’re not welcome,” said sorority member Marie Meade. Andrew DeMarco, President of Psi Lambda Phi, argued that “it’s against student rights to discriminate against certain clubs and societies over others, especially since we are recognized by the student union.” The student union at UNB said that it was not consulted by the university before the decision. CBC News

BCCAT publishes longitudinal study on experiences of class of 1988

The British Columbia Council on Admissions & Transfer has released a new report, Paths on Life’s Way, that offers a longitudinal study of the postsecondary experiences of high school graduates from BC’s class of 1988. The study followed 332 female and 208 male respondents and their progress through various “states,” such as full- or part-time postsecondary education, full- or part-time employment, or unemployment. 31% of the respondents went through 6 of the 8 possible states and 25% participated in 7 different states; less than 2% participated in only 2 states across the 22 years examined in the study. Only 20% did not commence postsecondary studies within one year of graduating from high school, and by 2010, only 3% identified themselves as having never attended any postsecondary education. The study also revealed significant differences between the experiences of men and women: women generally took longer to enter the full-time workforce and spent triple the number of average years in part-time employment. Full Report

Culture of low- or no-pay means tough future for journalism students

An editorial in the National Post paints a grim picture for young people interested in or studying journalism. The author, Mireille Silcoff, reflects on being asked to speak to a friend’s university journalism class. She considers recent shifts in journalism, suggesting that copyediting has become “an extreme luxury” for many publications, with fact-checkers becoming “a distant memory.” She further laments the loss of free weekly newspapers, and the shrinking budgets for cultural reporting. According to Silcoff, today’s journalism school graduates “are destined for years of unpaid internships” and “will be convinced to write for free over and over again.” Silcoff says that describing her recent experience writing a cover story for an American magazine to students would be tantamount to “lying,” not because her story was untrue, but because it represents a kind of career that may not be available to new graduates. “Plainly,” she writes, “most millennials aspiring to be journalists will have to be supported by family money or another job if they want to write.” Some journalism programs in Canada have been facing closure or restructuring due to waning interest. National Post

E-learning as effective as traditional teaching for health professionals

A World Health Organization (WHO)-commissioned study has found that e-learning is likely to be as effective as traditional delivery methods when it comes to training doctors and nurses. The research, carried out by researchers at Imperial College London, involved a meta-analysis of scientific literature around the effectiveness of e-learning for undergraduate health education, and included separate analyses of online and offline e-learning. Researchers found that students acquired knowledge and skills as well or better using online and offline e-learning as they did through traditional teaching. The WHO commissioned the report in part to see if e-learning could be used to address a global shortage of healthcare professionals. Imperial College News Release

Global PSE participation rates predicted to reach 50% by 2025

PSE participation rates should continue to climb as demand increases in countries such as China and India, according to Simon Marginson of the University College London Institute of Education. Marginson told attendees of a recent conference of the Society for Research into Higher Education that the global gross tertiary enrolment ratio (GTER) has climbed from 14% in 1992 to 32% in 2012, and that it will exceed 50% by 2025. Marginson said that growth over the next 10 years will be fueled not by state planning or the world economy, but by the rise of an aspirational middle class in developing countries. “Once a mass system is in place,” he argued, “popular demand is rising and the costs of non-participation is apparent, [so] the state is less crucial.” Marginson also said that a poor graduate job market will not act as a deterrent due to the “incoherent” relationship between higher education and the labour market. Times Higher Education

Swets bankruptcy could come at high cost for campus libraries

The bankruptcy of Netherlands-based Swets Information Services, a company that manages subscriptions to academic journals, could come at a significant cost to many college and university libraries in Canada and the US. Swets’ North American wing filed for bankruptcy in November, leaving behind a list of creditors that includes more than 100 institutions. Some large US institutions have claimed that they had paid Swets as much as $3 M prior to the filing, which came just as many libraries were paying their invoices for January 1 subscription start dates. Some publishers have said that they will honor subscriptions even without payment from Swets, but in the meantime, librarians will be busy reaching out to secure a payment plan or to ask for a grace period. In some cases, this may mean phone calls to hundreds of individual publishers. Inside Higher Ed

Lumina President says PSE must change to accommodate shifting demographics

In an editorial published in The Hill, Lumina Foundation President Jamie Merisotis argues that PSE must adapt to meet changes in student demographics. Merisotis notes that today’s students are far more diverse than those in the past, and coming from a broader range of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, as well as being older and having more work experience. He also cites a study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research that shows that a quarter of all college students are raising dependent children, with half of those being single parents. Merisotis says that PSE leaders must “redesign education beyond high school” in order to improve attainment rates and close the talent gap. He calls for 3 specific shifts: first, he calls for changes to financial aid to maximize its impact, including incentives for students who make rapid progress and complete their degrees; second, he says that educators should measure student learning rather than classroom time, turning to a more competency-based approach to assessment; and finally, he calls for the "democratization of high-quality instruction" by making the knowledge and skills needed to obtain credentials more accessible. The Hill