Top Ten

May 14, 2015

Brescia faculty ask board to prohibit double-pay contracts

Faculty at Brescia University College are urging the institution's board of governors to prohibit double-pay contracts of the kind paid to former Principal Colleen Hanycz in 2013 and that recently raised controversy at Western University. The faculty association has asked the board to "explicitly prohibit pay in lieu of leave provisions on any future contracts." Dennis Hudecki, the association's President, said, “our position is that the money could be used to fulfill Brescia's educational mission ... We just want to make sure it does not happen again." Board chair Liz Hewitt said that the board "will conduct a comprehensive survey and review as it moves forward in the selection of the new principal." London Free Press

NS invests in nursing education improvements

Nova Scotia is investing $5 M to improve undergraduate nursing education in the province. Three institutions—Cape Breton University, Dalhousie University, and St Francis Xavier University—will offer a common, revised curriculum including a new accelerated program and multiple start and graduation times. This will allow the healthcare system to hire nurses throughout the year. The universities will also offer a longer, 13-week final clinical placement and work to better recognize previous academic credits and work experience. The province will also pay for experienced nurses to spend time mentoring new nurses, increase the number of specialty nursing programs, support professional development in targeted topics, and offer targeted co-op placements for student nurses. NS News Release | CBCCape Breton Post 

uManitoba med school admissions changes would target underrepresented groups

The Winnipeg Free Press reports that the University of Manitoba is considering changes to medical school admissions that would reduce spaces offered to out-of-province students, re-allocating them to students from qualified but traditionally under-represented groups. "We're only going to be the second medical school in North America with a low socioeconomic stream," said Brian Postl, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and the College of Medicine. The changes would offer more spaces to children of single and/or teen parents, Indigenous students, non-heterosexual students, students who grew up in low-income homes, and refugees. It is hoped that the changes will help Manitoba's doctors better reflect the province's diverse population. Winnipeg Free Press

ON nurses release report on attracting nurses to rural and northern areas

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) has released the results of a year-long task force investigation into issues around recruiting and retaining nurses in rural, remote, and northern communities. The report, Coming Together, Moving Forward: Building the Next Chapter of Ontario's Rural, Remote and Northern Nursing Workforce, makes 23 recommendations to address the shortage of nurses in these communities. These include improving access to nursing education in rural and remote communities, increasing the number of Aboriginal and Francophone peoples in the nursing profession, and providing funding for orientation programs for nurses who choose to work in rural and northern areas. The Conference Board of Canada’s Saskatchewan Institute recently released a report highlighting the benefits of having more Aboriginal people in the nursing profession. RNAO News Release | Sudbury Star | CBC |Full Report

New immigration stream in NS will help employers hire international students

Nova Scotia has introduced a new immigration stream that will help skilled applicants who have been working in the province for at least a year settle there permanently. "What we've heard from the universities and the colleges and the business community is that [workers] are falling through the cracks. They had jobs but [companies] couldn't nominate them through the federal stream," said NS Immigration Minister Lena Metlege Diab. It is hoped that the new express stream will encourage employers to target more international student graduates for hiring. CBC | ChronicleHerald

BC announces $3 M in funding for UVic's CanAssist

British Columbia will provide an additional $3 M in new funding to CanAssist, an organization at the University of Victoria that helps people with disabilities improve their quality of life. The funding will enable CanAssist to develop new technologies, though the specific focus of the funding has not yet been determined. British Columbia has provided CanAssist with $10.5 M in funding since 2011. "Our team is very excited to work with Ministry staff, as well as the five regional health authorities, to begin researching and developing innovative yet highly practical technologies that will benefit many British Columbians and their families for years to come," said CanAssist Executive Director Robin Syme.BC News Release | CanAssist News Release | Times-Colonist

ON PSE institutions considering how to deal with prolonged teachers' strike

Ontario's PSE institutions are working on ways to deal with the potential impact of a prolonged teachers' strike in the province. Durham College will offer admission to students from affected schools based on their midterm marks; Trent University's Oshawa campus may offer summer writing and math workshops for incoming students; and the province's universities have established a task force to build a strategy in case the strikes extend into the summer. However, many unanswered questions remain. "If the strike were to last, universities could be looking at students who have three second-semester courses that are only partially completed," said George Grainger, Executive Director of the Ontario Universities' Application Centre (OUAC). Toronto Star

HEQCO report looks at communications skills of new college students

A new report released by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) assesses the impact of developmental communication courses on students who were admitted to one of four Ontario colleges but did not have “the expected ‘college-level English’ proficiency.” The researchers found that 55% of students who took the course showed improvement on a standardized communications test. The study also found that students who passed the communications course were more likely to continue their PSE studies. The researchers make recommendations to improve data sharing between colleges and between secondary and postsecondary institutions to facilitate stronger research. HEQCO Summary | Full Report

More problems for the US for-profit sector

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged for-profit chain ITT Educational Services and two of its top executives with fraud. The SEC alleges that ITT concealed from investors "the poor performance and looming financial impact of two student-loan programs that ITT financially guaranteed." ITT issued a statement saying that it is "deeply disappointed" in the SEC's "mistaken decision" and that it is "eager to have the court clear our reputation." Other for-profit chains in the US are facing challenges, as well: Education Management Corporation announced this week that it will phase out 15 of its 52 Art Institute locations, and Career Education Corp said it will close or sell all but two of its universities. SEC News Release | ITT News Release | The Chronicle of Higher Education | Inside Higher Ed (ITT) | Inside Higher Ed (Chains) 

Some Native Hawaiians see telescope project as learning opportunity

As the controversy continues around the Thirty Meter Telescope project in Hawaii, some Native Hawaiians are suggesting that the telescope could serve to attract more Native Hawaiian youth to the STEM fields. The University of Hawaii has been actively recruiting Native Hawaiians to STEM fields and now boasts that Native Hawaiians make up 12% of enrolments in STEM majors, up from 9% in 2009. Approximately 23% of the state’s population identify as Native Hawaiian. The organizers behind the telescope project have established the Hawaii Island New Knowledge Fund for STEM education, which will provide $1 M annually to encourage students to pursue studies in STEM fields. The Guardian