Top Ten

June 3, 2015

TRC report summary suggests education key to reconciliation

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) has released the summary of its final report, including 94 recommendations aimed at different levels of government, schools, societies, churches, and Aboriginal organizations. Recommendations include creating a National Centre and Council for Truth and Reconciliation, developing a joint strategy to address education and employment gaps, eliminating funding discrepancies between Aboriginal children educated on-reserve and those educated off-reserve, and drafting new Aboriginal education legislation with full participation of Aboriginal peoples that protects language and culture. “Education is the key to reconciliation,” said TRC Chair Justice Murray Sinclair, noting the recommendation that all children in Canadian schools should be taught the history and legacy of residential schools. CBC (1) | CBC (2) | TRC Summary

Judge criticizes WLU's handling of student accused of sexual assault

A Kitchener judge has criticized Wilfrid Laurier University for allowing a student facing sexual assault allegations to continue to work and study on campus. "The idea that someone who has been charged by the police with rape should be allowed to continue to have classes at the same small university as the complainant is astounding," said Justice Elliott Allen at a sentencing hearing last week. In response, WLU issued a statement noting that it "extended ongoing support to the survivor of this assault" and "upheld the conditions of the accused's release from police custody after he was charged in this matter." These conditions included that the accused have no direct or indirect contact with the survivor. The Record | WLU News Release

Concordia students say sanctions over strike activities are unfair

Concordia University students who are facing sanctions over activities carried out during recent strikes are calling on the institution to dismiss the charges. The students have been accused of violating an article in Concordia's Code of Rights and Responsibilities which prohibits the "obstruction or disruption of university activities." Representatives of campus student associations say the charges are unfair as students were "peacefully enforcing a strike mandate." Students have also complained that there were no earlier indications that the protesters would face sanctions for their activities. Concordia said it did not intervene during the disturbances because they posed no immediate threat to safety. However, three professors did file official complaints, saying that they felt intimidated by students. Global News

Keyano introduces program cuts, revisions to respond to economic conditions

Keyano College has announced a series of changes to its program offerings and staffing levels being made in response to local economic conditions. The revised "program mix" includes the continuation of collaborative degrees in areas such as education and health, adds new educational programming in business and environmental science, and makes available mobile training options across the Wood Buffalo region. However, the college will also review or suspend several low-enrolment or redundant programs, and may shift to on-demand delivery for others. Keyano said it will provide opportunities for students currently registered in low-enrolment programs to complete their program, transfer to similar programs, or participate in alternative study options. The changes will mean the loss of 18 staff and faculty positions. Keyano News Release

AB students critical after reviewing market-modifier proposals

Students in Alberta are questioning the province's decision under the former Progressive Conservative government to approve "market-modifier" tuition increases. Romy Garrido, VP External with the University of Calgary Students' Union, said that the proposals, obtained by Metro News under a Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) request, made it clear that the increases were unnecessary. Navneet Khinda, President of the University of Alberta Students' Union, added, "a lot of reasoning used for these proposals was quite flawed. I think the [past] government approved them all because it was a political opportunity, rather than a good policy decision." The students also said that the institutions and the government did not pay due attention to their input. Metro News

UBC receives donations in support of Aboriginal learners

UBC is the recipient of two $1 M donations for its Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health. The gifts will support UBC’s efforts to recruit and retain Aboriginal learners in health professions such as medicine, dentistry, and nursing. One gift, from UBC Chancellor Lindsay Gordon and his wife Elizabeth, will largely be used to fund scholarships and bursaries for Aboriginal students; the second gift, from investment manager Rudy North and his family, will support summer science and mentoring programs for Aboriginal high school students as well as the creation of a new Aboriginal health certificate program. The donations are part of UBC's start an evolution fundraising campaign. UBC News

SFU receives gift in support of social innovation

Scotiabank has donated $1 M to Simon Fraser University to support social innovation education at the Beedie School of Business's RADIUS lab. The gift will support three new initiatives at SFU: the Scotiabank Student Award in Social Innovation, a $500,000 fund to attract and retain entrepreneurial undergraduate or graduate business students who are passionate about social enterprise; the Social Innovation Student Competition Team Fund, which will create a signature student competition that will inspire innovative solutions to social challenges; and the Student Social Innovation Conference and Event Fund, which will help students develop business ideas and skills by attending and competing at conferences and other events. SFU News Release

Lack of resources and coordination contribute to increased processing times for international students

According to a Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) report obtained by the Globe and Mail, insufficient resources and lack of coordination have contributed to a 30% increase in processing times for study permits and a doubling of the processing time for temporary resident visas. While the federal government has pledged to double the number of international students by 2022, it has not provided sufficient resources to do so, according to Western University President Amit Chakma. Universities Canada President Paul Davidson said, “the question of visa processing times is a critical one in terms of attracting top students. If our competitors are able to turn around visas faster, all the marketing efforts, all the recruitment efforts, all the offers of scholarships fail." Globe and Mail

Canada West Foundation report says skills gap harming productivity in western Canada

According to the Canada West Foundation, 40% of employees in western Canada lack the essential language, literacy, and numeracy skills to remain globally competitive. For university graduates, the report shows that 30% lack essential skills; the number rises even higher, to 50%, for those who have not finished high school. Arguing that the education system has not kept up with demand for skills, the authors suggest that a combination of workplace training and a greater emphasis on skills in high school and PSE could help western Canada achieve significant productivity gains. Lethbridge Herald | Full Report

US accreditors develop common framework for CBE

The Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions (C-RAC), a group representing the US’s seven regional accrediting agencies, has issued a common framework for the assessment and approval of competency-based education (CBE) programs. While CBE is not new, the council notes that there has been relatively little guidance for institutions. “The key is to promote this expansion of CBE while also ensuring the quality and integrity of the academic program,” said Barbara Brittingham, Chair of C-RAC. The new framework allows for both the traditional course-/credit-based approach as well as a direct assessment approach, which awards credentials based on the demonstration of competencies. Inside Higher Ed