Top Ten

July 17, 2015

New nursing exam sparks reaction from ON students, administrators

Nursing students and hospital administrators have criticized the National Council Licensure Examination that was administered for the first time this year. Students in Ontario looking to earn their nursing licenses need to pass the test, but Rhonda Crocker-Ellacott, Chief Nursing Executive at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, says the failure rate for this year’s exam cohort could be “five-to-six times greater” than in previous years. According to the Chronicle Journal, many nursing students are calling the exam unfair because it is based too heavily on the American health-care system. Bill Clarke, a communications specialist with the College of Nurses of Ontario, told CBC that the official results of the exam will not be released until the fall at the earliest. CBC | Chronicle Journal

ON working group will examine future of Kemptville campus

Ontario has established a working group to examine the future of the Kemptville campus. The group will explore program and course offerings, and will consider adding instruction in health and wellness, business, and trades training, in addition to the focus on agriculture and food education. The University of Guelph operated the campus until its March 2014 announcement that it would close the campus; funding from the province has kept the campus open for one more year. The working group includes representatives from the municipality of North Grenville, UoGuelph, the counties of Leeds and Grenville, and the province. Ottawa Citizen | Guelph Mercury | ON

McMaster business professors get first victory in attempt to overturn sanctions

A Divisional Court judge has ruled that a group of McMaster University business professors will be permitted to submit nine affidavits as evidence in their effort to overturn lengthy suspensions and other sanctions placed upon them by McMaster. The university attempted to block the inclusion of the affidavits on the grounds that they did not contain any information that was not already in the official record of McMaster’s internal hearing and that the faculty waived their rights to object by failing to raise concerns at the time of the hearing. In 2013, a McMaster panel ruled that business school faculty members Chris Bart, Devashish Pujari, Bill Richardson, Joe Rose, Sourav Ray, George Steiner, and Wayne Taylor had breached policy through intimidation, threats, and a general attempt to create a “poisoned” work environment during a lengthy debate over the leadership of former business Dean Paul Bates. Hamilton Spectator

NB Student Alliance urges province to address highest student debt in Canada

The New Brunswick Student Alliance (NBSA) is urging its province to take action after a new map ranked NB highest in Canada for student debt levels and second highest for university tuition. NBSA Executive Director Lindsay Handren said the map shows that NB students graduating with debt owe an average of $35,200, while the national average is $22,300. NB’s Post-Secondary Education Minister Francine Landry said the government has introduced a tuition freeze for universities and has made a priority of bringing stability to planning for education. Global News | NBSA

Improvement needed in ON college recruitment of underrepresented students, study says

Three University of Windsor researchers, with funding from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO), have completed a survey finding that Ontario colleges need to improve their methods for recruiting and retaining students from underrepresented groups. The final report, titled The Recruitment of Underrepresented Groups at Ontario Colleges: A Survey of Current Practices, recommends that colleges address this need by implementing a collaborative provincial model, improving tracking systems, developing universal definitions, and expanding successful programs. uWindsor

Ryerson becomes first Canadian institution in world city university network

Ryerson University has become the first Canadian university to gain membership in World Cities World Class University (WC2) Network, an international body that brings together universities located in major cities to respond to the challenges and opportunities confronting urban areas. Other universities in the network include City University of New York, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. “Our participation in the WC2 Network will help Ryerson students and faculty gain greater global visibility,” said Ryerson Provost Mohamed Lachemi. “It presents a new opportunity to share urban-themed knowledge and ideas at the international level.” Ryerson | WC2

Lumina gives $1.27 M to develop more comprehensive model for student transcripts

The Lumina Foundation has contributed $1.27 M for two national American organizations to explore new methods for collecting, documenting, and distributing information about student learning and other competencies, including what is learned outside of the traditional academic classroom. The partnering bodies will be the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) and the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO). The organizations will work with eight colleges to develop and test several models for a “comprehensive student record,” which might document previously underrepresented forms of student knowledge, such as experiential learning, critical thinking, and strong communication. Inside Higher Ed | Chronicle of Higher Education

Associate dean blames wage gap for lack of female MBA students

A persistent wage gap between male and female MBA graduates is to blame for the low numbers of women enrolling in these programs, writes Bernard Garrette, Associate Dean of the MBA program at HEC Paris. In the Chronicle of Higher Education, Garrette argues that setting higher quotas for female enrolment in MBA programs will not do enough to address the labour-market forces that discourage women from enrolling in these programs in the first place. Garrette also critiques the common arguments that women graduates pursue lower-paid fields or earn less because of family considerations, career interruptions, and fewer working hours. Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

Academia a “breeding ground” for worry, says professor

“The modern university is a breeding ground for worry,” writes Francis O’Gorman, professor of English at the University of Leeds. O’Gorman finds that faculty members are being forced into a culture of constant assessment that makes them ask, “is this research good enough? Is this teaching good enough? Is this public-engagement work valuable enough? Am I showing ‘leadership,’ doing ‘collaborative research,’ applying for enough grants?” O’Gorman adds that professors often pass this worry on to their students by giving them dauntingly long feedback on assignments and pressuring them to think about the job market. However, O’Gorman notes that worrying can be transformed into a valuable critical skill if directed against harmful institutions or social norms. Chronicle of Higher Education

Tests become “learning celebrations” in Baylor prof’s class

An associate professor of sociology at Baylor University has decided to recast his quizzes and exams as “learning checks” and “learning celebrations,” reports Inside Higher Ed. In doing so, Professor Kevin Dougherty hopes to mitigate some of the ways that student anxiety can negatively impact test scores. Some of Dougherty’s techniques include mentioning students from the class in questions, building questions around scenarios students may encounter in daily life, and even decorating his class with party streamers and balloons. Dougherty says that his approach has raised the average score of assessments in his class by nearly two points over the three semesters since he implemented it. Inside Higher Ed